Glasgow Airport exterior

Government ministers have been urged to step in to save local jobs – before it’s too late. 

The call came after UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, could not confirm which aviation companies or how many had made use of special support promised by the Chancellor over two months. 

Glasgow Airport exterior

With Glasgow Airport and Rolls-Royce both major employers in Renfrewshire, any loss of jobs at either would have major implications for the local economy. 

British Airways have already announced 12,000 proposed job losses, representing over one third of their total staff, with Chief Executive Willie Walsh appearing before the Transport Select Committee last week to face a grilling from MPs. 

MP Gavin Newlands, whose Paisley and Renfrewshire North seat includes the airport, and who sits on the Committee, hit out at the UK Government for their lack of action to help employees and employers. 

 

Gavin said: 

“Two months ago the Chancellor promised a bespoke support scheme for the aviation sector, and two months later we are still waiting for detail. 

“Vague answers about letters received just aren’t good enough – tens if not hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country are on the line and people’s livelihoods are too important to simply make vague promises.  We already know BA want to axe 12,000 jobs, including 130 at their Edinburgh base, and there can be no doubt that hundreds of jobs in Renfrewshire are under threat if BA go ahead with their plans.  

“Meanwhile road haulage and logistics firms are weeks from bankruptcy, while the coach industry is on its knees – both key sectors for the economic recovery we all need to see happen once the current crisis is over. 

“Transport is a fundamental building block of our national and international economy, and the lack of answers or a clear plan from the UK Government is deeply worrying.  Leaving our transport future up to Willie Walsh to plan is a recipe for disaster.” 

Provost Lorraine Cameron

The Leader, Provost and Board Conveners of Renfrewshire Council have praised the dedication and hard work of staff, as well as the patience and community spirit of residents during the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a video posted to the council’s social media channels, Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson paid tribute to the “incredible sacrifices” being made by local people to continue to care for the most vulnerable, while Chair of the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board, Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, saluted the council’s care staff saying “we really owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Provost Lorraine Cameron

Education and Children Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, praised the “imagination and creativity of our teaching staff in creating new and exciting ways of learning”, while Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Environment and Infrastructure, called the continuation of a full waste collection service “an incredible achievement.”

Convener of Finance and Resources, Councillor John Shaw, celebrated the work of the council’s Customer Services team as they answer, “tens of thousands of calls every week to ensure that help and support is available for people, as and when they need it.”, and Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, spoke of the amazing job Renfrewshire Leisure staff are doing to “help all of us with our physical and mental wellbeing at this incredibly difficult and stressful time”.

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Communities, Housing and Planning Convener Councillor Marie McGurk praised the community spirit in Renfrewshire saying of volunteers that she is “delighted that these people call Renfrewshire home”, while Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron declared the actions of local people made her “proud to be part of this community.”

The council’s response to Coronavirus has included setting up a local helpline – 0300 300 0230 – to ensure that those being shielded are able to access essential food and medication – with more than 37,000 meals and essential supplies delivered already.

Health and Social Care teams continue to care for the most vulnerable in the community, while emergency repairs are still being undertaken for residents who need them – with the appropriate PPE and distancing measures in place.

Key workers have received childcare places thanks to qualified staff from across all services volunteering to work in childcare hubs and teachers are continuing to provide a positive, engaging education for pupils in their own homes.

Businesses have been supported to access funding and receive detailed guidance, with more than £15million in grants awarded to local businesses so far.

A full waste collection service is still being provided at this time and the Council’s Community Meals Service continues to operate for those who need it.

To protect people’s mental and physical wellbeing, Renfrewshire Leisure is keeping people active via online classes and resource, and Youth Services are keeping in touch with young people to ensure they have an outlet should they need it.

The video can be viewed via www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VmEI-BmWpg, and is also available on Facebook @renfrewshirecouncil, Twitter @RenCouncil and Instagram @Renfrewshire_Council.

For the latest advice and guidance on Coronavirus, please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

BrexitSpeech gavin

Gavin Newlands MP has said the UK government must introduce urgent health measures for people travelling to the UK – including health checks and quarantine measures at the border. 
 
The Renfrewshire MP has written to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps raising concerns about the UK Government’s failure to act, which has meant hundreds of thousands of people have entered the UK without appropriate checks and measures in the months since the pandemic began. 

 
The SNP Shadow Transport Secretary said the Government must finally bring the UK into line with other countries, where tighter measures are being placed on travel in response to coronavirus. 

Fellow SNP MP Joanna Cherry, Shadow Home Secretary, followed suit in writing to the Home Secretary asking for similar action to stop coronavirus at the border and halt the virus in its tracks. 
 
Gavin said: 
 
“The UK government must urgently introduce coronavirus health checks and quarantine measures at the border for people travelling to the UK. 
 
“It is deeply concerning that UK Government has failed to act – and is still allowing thousands of people to enter the UK without appropriate checks and measures in place. 
 
“Other countries in Europe and across the world have already introduced these measures – leaving the UK as an outlier. The UK government has been far too slow to act and must now step up to prevent an increased risk of transmission. 
 

“It’s crazy that people can travel from coronavirus hotspots like Italy and Spain into Scotland and UK with no checks, no quarantine, and no action from the border or transport authorities. 

“It’s also putting the staff who remain working at airports at greater risk of contracting the virus and hindering efforts to stop the spread of this disease. 

“For people to have confidence in the UK government’s approach, it is crucial they put these long-overdue measures in place and set out how this will form part of a considered exit strategy.” 

gavin newlands

Charities across Renfrewshire are being encouraged to apply for emergency funding to help cope with the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

gavin newlands

The £50 million Wellbeing Fund is part of a £350 million package announced by the Scottish Government to support those most affected by the pandemic and enable a swift response according to local need. 

Of this, £10 million has been allocated for immediate priorities and £7 million committed to support around 2000 charities through small grants.  

This leaves £33 million of the Wellbeing Fund now open to bids from third sector organisations, with the application process run by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

Over 500 charities are registered in Renfrewshire with many more headquartered elsewhere but providing services across the county.

The huge impact of coronavirus is being felt by charities with normal donations from the public dropping sharply, combined with a rise in demand for their services as the country battles through the current situation.

Organisations are being urged to visit scvo.org.uk and register their interest soon.

 

Gavin said: 

“Charities are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with donations down and a sharp increase in the demands on their services, so this news from the Scottish Government is particularly welcome. 

“Our third sector is working incredibly hard to help individuals and communities who need help the most, and this new fund is aimed at making sure local groups can carry on the tremendous work already going on in towns and villages across Renfrewshire and beyond. 

“Every charity, big or small, can apply for funding and I urge every local group who needs financial support to continue helping communities across Renfrewshire to make sure their application is in as soon as possible. 

“If your local group needs a helping hand through this unprecedented time, visit the SCVO website and start the process today.” 

gavin newlands

NEW SURVEY REVEALS ONE IN THREE SCOTS WORRIED ABOUT BEING ABLE TO PAY FOR FOOD

Local MP Gavin Newlands has renewed calls on the UK government to provide urgent support to families and households across the UK who are struggling to make ends meet due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes after a Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) survey revealed that one in three Scots expressed worries over how they would continue to pay for bills, food and other essentials. While four in ten living in rented accommodation said they were concerned about future payments on their home.

gavin newlands

Earlier, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford wrote to party leaders urging the UK government and opposition parties to hold an urgent meeting with utilities companies to ensure households have the support they need as unemployment rises, incomes are reduced, and utility costs and usage increase.

Meanwhile the Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP has asked the Chancellor to amend the furlough scheme to allow thousands more workers to qualify, with many falling through the safety net.

Gavin said:

“The coronavirus crisis has pushed many families and individuals across the UK, through no fault of their own, into hardship and financial difficulty.

“With a significant number of people in Scotland worried about how they will pay for food, essential items, bills, and payments on their homes, it is vital that the UK government sets out measures to support people in their time of need.

“Household costs are rising at the same time as millions of people are seeing a reduction or complete loss of their income. The financial strain facing many people is becoming unbearable. The UK government must urgently take steps to alleviate the burden, including through introducing a guaranteed minimum income, an Emergency Coronavirus Energy Grant, a six-month reprieve on utilities being cut off, and a freeze on prices.

“These are difficult times and no family or household should be left behind or struggling to heat their home, pay their bills, or put food on their table.

“The UK government has worked constructively with the devolved governments on measures that have been brought forward so far, but much more needs to be done to help those households who are on the brink and struggling to make ends meet.”

council PCT partnership

The ongoing drive to regenerate Paisley town centre will be boosted through a new partnership between Renfrewshire Council and the group hoping to bring a new cinema to the town.

Paisley Community Trust (PCT) are taking forward plans for a new cinema on Paisley High Street as part of their wider aim of delivering community-driven economic regeneration of the town.

council PCT partnership

And the trust has now signed a strategic partnership agreement with the council to formalise the commitment of both parties to work together.

A strategic partnership acts as statement of intent, strengthening the links and communication between two groups.

The council has already piloted this approach elsewhere in Renfrewshire, and last week councillors gave approval to sign a similar agreement with Active Communities, who are building a new community hub in the former police station in Johnstone.

The PCT are evolving their plans for a community-focused cinema in the heart of the town centre, and with funding from Renfrewshire Council and Regional Screen Scotland, are shortlisting suitable sites and carrying out initial feasibility studies to explore their potential.

This would be ‘Project One’ to emerge from the Paisley Vision – an ambitious ten-year blueprint recently revealed by the council, Scottish Government and Scotland’s Town Partnership, which imagines some ideas for what Paisley town centre could look like in a decade.

The Vision considers how vacant retail space could be better used to meet what people will need in future – and suggests ideas including new homes for town centre residents and new community and leisure ‘attractors’ such as a cinema or continental-style food hall.

The agreement was signed by Renfrewshire Council’s leader Iain Nicolson and depute leader Jim Paterson, and the PCT’s chair Gary Kerr and deputy chair Andy Campbell.

Cllr Nicolson said: “The council’s job is help make Renfrewshire a place where communities and businesses can thrive – but we recognise we can’t do that on our own.

“That can only happen by working with community groups who share our aims and by supporting them to deliver on theirs, and there are a number of current initiatives intended to strengthen that.

“The council and the PCT share a common goal to help bring new life to Paisley town centre and their plans for a new High Street cinema could complement the work we are already doing to transform Paisley’s future through investment in our historic venues and outdoor spaces.

“This agreement helps formalise that commitment and we look forward to seeing how we can support the trust to deliver on their ambitions.”

Gary Kerr of the PCT added: “Paisley Community Trust have been working with our local communities for a number of years to deliver community-focused leisure-led regeneration projects to the town.

“’Project 1’, the cinema project is a culmination of these years of work and refinement. We were delighted to be part of the Paisley Vision research and to make a strong case for the inclusion of cinema in the long-term plans and we are delighted to see its adoption as a vital component.

“Community-focused cinema has such an important role to play in the town. It can reconnect socially isolated groups such as pensioners. It can provide accessible, autistic-friendly viewing options for children with autism and their parents.

“It can educate and deliver resources to our young people to allow them to tell their own stories on film. Vitally it can provide considerable footfall in the town, delivering an economic boost for our local traders.”

Renfrewshire Council is currently overseeing a once-in-a-generation £100m investment in Paisley town centre, including the transformation of Paisley Museum into a world-class destination and keeping Paisley Town Hall at the heart of local life as a landmark entertainment venue, bringing huge volumes of new visitors to the town.

paisley south

The results of the 2019 UK General Election for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituencies have been declared.

Gavin Newlands has been re-elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North.

paisley north

Mhairi Black has been re-elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

paisley south

In Paisley and Renfrewshire North, 49,835 votes were cast, a 69.2 per cent turnout.

In Paisley and Renfrewshire South, there were 43,217 votes cast, a 67.1 per cent turnout.

Returning Officer Sandra Black, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Council, announced the results in the early hours of Friday 13 December at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley.

The election count involved more than 300 staff, counting the contents of 167 ballot boxes and 46 postal ballot boxes.

59 polling places containing 167 stations across Renfrewshire had been open from 7am until 10pm and included various venues such as schools, community centres, churches and a bowling club.

For more information, visit http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/article/9655/2019-UK-General-Election-Results.

PAISLEY PASSENGERS SET TO BE HIT BY RIP OFF RAIL FARE RISES

Hard-pressed commuters in Paisley are set to pay hundreds of pounds more to travel on ScotRail services after it was announced regulated rail fares and seasons tickets will increase by 2.8% in January.

Analysis by Neil Bibby MSP has shown that a season ticket from Paisley to Glasgow will rise by £25 to £921.08 next year.

Neil Bibby MSP said:

“It’s simply unfair for hard-pressed Paisley commuters to pay more and more for services which are continually plagued by delays, cancellations and overcrowding.

This rip off fare increase, is unwanted, unwelcome and unnecessary and will hit thousands of working people in Paisley and across Scotland who use our railways to get to work.

Scotland’s rail franchise system is broke, we need to bring ScotRail back into public hands to bring an end to these rip off fares and to deliver a railway system that puts passengers first not private train companies.”

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Residents who want to make a difference in their communities are being encouraged to join their local Community Council.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Elections to Community Councils across Renfrewshire open today (Monday 12 August).

Renfrewshire has 21 active Community Councils, with Charleston, Gallowhill, Glenburn and Hunterhill not currently having any Community Council representation.

Elections will only take place for Renfrewshire’s active Community Councils, however, anyone who is interested in setting up a group in one of the four areas currently without representation should contact Renfrewshire Council.

Residents must be aged 16 or over, live in the Community Council area and be registered to vote to be eligible to stand in the elections.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Community Councils can be the voice of our local people and an important part of community life in Renfrewshire.

“They can help improve their community and public services as well as the quality of life in their areas by generating community spirit, resilience and pride.

“If you live in an area that does not currently have a Community Council and would like help establishing a group, please get in touch for advice and support.

“I would encourage anyone who wants to get involved in their local area to put themselves forward for the Community Council elections. This is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference in your local community.”

The Community Council elections close on Friday 13 September 2019, with the first meeting of each group taking place in October.

To join your Community Council, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/ccelections, download a nomination form and send the completed form to Anne McNaughton, Senior Committee Services Officer, Finance & Resources, Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire House, Cotton Street, Paisley, PA1 1TR.

For more information about Community Councils or if you are interested in helping establish a Community Council in Charleston, Gallowhill, Glenburn or Hunterhill, call Senior Committee Services Officer Anne McNaughton on 0141 618 7104 or email council.cs@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Gavin Newlands MP

Government ministers have been urged to see sense and roll back changes to visa rules which are costing churches thousands of pounds, and threaten the future of religious groups across Renfrewshire.

New rules forced through by the Home Office earlier this year mean religious workers now face a massive 150% increase in fees for priests and ministers visiting Scotland – with Renfrewshire churches such as St Conval’s in Linwood having to freeze plans for the future.

Gavin Newlands MP

Traditionally churches and other places of worship have used overseas clergy to cover for holidays and sick leave taken by longer-term religious leaders.

But the UK Government’s changes have left churches struggling to cope with skyrocketing fees and bureaucratic processes.

Gavin Newlands MP, Paisley and Renfrewshire North, raised the issue in Parliament last week, and slammed Government ministers for their approach.

He said,

“Not only can individual churches not afford these elevated costs, but wider dioceses can’t absorb the full cost imposed on dozens of parishes and places of worship.

“For years our communities and society have been enrichened and supported by religious workers coming to Scotland on a short-term basis to help parishioners and worshippers.

“Places of worship play a vital role in our local communities, and for the Home Office to sneakily place obstacles in the way of those who want to help their fellow human beings is truly shameful.

“The SNP and I are urging the Minister to see sense, listen to the voices across the political and religious spectrum condemning this move, and scrap this piece of bureaucratic nonsense.”