Neil Bibby 20 Mar 19

Neil Bibby MSP has today joined environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, in applauding the efforts of local residents from Paisley who are participating in its annual Spring Clean campaign, which is taking place across the country throughout April and May.

Keep Scotland Beautiful is supporting communities to take part and help remove litter from their local area – transforming the places that they live in and improving the areas that they care for.

Neil Bibby 20 Mar 19

Throughout April and May, Keep Scotland Beautiful will be working with Paisley residents, businesses, schools and community groups to arrange their own Clean Up events to remove rubbish from local streets, parks and public areas.

Neil Bibby MSP said:

I am proud of the actions of local residents from Paisley who are participating in the annual Spring Clean Campaign – helping to remove more litter and preserve the places that we live in. I hope that the 2019 Spring Clean Campaign is a fantastic success.”

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, commented:
“Keep Scotland Beautiful is calling for people across the country to take part in our annual Spring Clean campaign. Every April and May thousands of volunteers take to the streets and remove a significant amount of litter from their local communities.

“We are very proud of everyone’s hard work and hope that everyone will take part – helping to make 2019 the most successful Spring Clean campaign to date.”

gavin newlands mp

LOCAL MP SUPPORTS BEN & JERRY’S ASYLUM SEEKER WORK CAMPAIGN

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, is backing the Lift the Ban Coalition campaign to restore the right to work for people seeking asylum who have been waiting for a decision on their asylum claim for over six months, unconstrained by the Shortage Occupation List which details many professions that are desperately needed in the UK.

gavin newlands mp

The Lift the Ban Coalition is made up of over 170 organisations, including faith groups, businesses, trade unions and NGOs from across the UK.

One of these coalition members is Ben & Jerry’s, who campaign on a range of social issues at a local, national and international level, and are vocal supporters of restoring the right to work for asylum seekers.

MPs have been receiving unexpected deliveries from Ben and Jerry’s. In support of Lift the Ban’s campaign they have sent out ice creams tubs with nonsensical flavours to MPs. Ice cream of these silly flavours, like the current policy preventing people seeking asylum from working, doesn’t make sense.

The campaign hopes that these nonsense pints will help this issue get the attention it deserves.

Gavin Newlands received a tub of ‘Sprout of your Rind’. Backing the campaign he said:

“We in the Scottish National Party have been arguing for a long time that the UK Tory Government’s inhumane current rules that ban people seeking asylum from working don’t make sense – just like this Ben & Jerry’s Sprout of your Rind ice cream flavour!

“I’m proud to support the campaign to #LiftTheBan. It makes sense and it’s humane!”

Gavin Newlands MP

LOCAL MP PRAISES COUNCIL ON NEW BUDGET PLANS

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has welcomed key areas of spending in the Renfrewshire Council’s 2019/20 budget. The budget includes ambitious spending plans such as £29million for school buildings, and a £40 million five-year investment strategy for Renfrewshire roads, cycle routes and pedestrian paths, but it also includes a targeted investment package aimed at protecting the most vulnerable people.

As part of this £4.3 million package, £10,000 will be allocated to ensure staff are trained to support victims of domestic abuse. This will play a key part of Renfrewshire Council’s leading work on tackling domestic abuse, which has been spearheaded by Renfrewshire’s Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC).

The spending package also contains £115,000 recurring revenue to support a 3% allowance increase for Foster and Kinship Carers recognising the life-changing contribution they make to our most vulnerable children and young people

Newlands welcomed the spending commitment:

“Renfrewshire Council’s SNP administration is to be commended for a budget that commits to helping people across our communities.

“Their £4.3 million funding package targeted at protecting the most vulnerable people in Renfrewshire, including the rise in Foster and Kinship carers allowance, is extremely welcome and I’m confident it will make a real difference to people’s lives.

“£10,000 on domestic abuse training may not sound like much, but this is just one example of smart spending from our Council which will go far in making Renfrewshire an even safer place, and it is an example of the excellent leadership shown by our local SNP administration.

“I look forward to seeing the results flow from this budget, and I hope that other Councils will look to Renfrewshire as an example of proactive local government.”

mhairi black

Today during Prime Ministers Questions local MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black asked the Prime Minister if she thought it was appropriate that one of her constituents had been sent away from an ESA medical assessment and made to arrange a new appointment.

mhairi black

The SNP MP said to the Prime Minister –

“My constituent arrived early to her assessment as requested by her assessors only to be told she would have to wait another 90 minutes to be seen. Now she has an open wound so sitting for any amount of time causes her great distress and pain. So after her 90 minute wait she was then told she would not be seen and would have to make another appointment altogether and I believe this is happening right now.

So does the Prime Minister think that it’s right that my constituent has to go through this humiliating process all over again?”

Prime Minister Theresa May replied –

“Can I say to the honourable lady obviously she has raised what sounds like a very distressing individual case, I will ensure the appropriate Minister writes to her about it.”

Those who claim Employment Support Allowance have to go for medical assessments. These assessments have been criticised widely as being unfair and demoralising for claimants in the past.

Mhairi Black MP said –

“The Prime Minister’s response to my constituent was insincere. I am sure my constituent will welcome the letter from the Minister apologising for this error however I do not believe a letter makes up for yet another horror story form the DWP. A letter from a Minister does not give my constituent the time and stress back that this horrible ordeal has caused her.

“If the solution to issues such as this is letters of apology from Ministers then I am afraid the Minister will be writing letters for a long time to come. This austerity obsessed Tory government goes from one low to the next without remorse.”

MSP George Adam

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam has joined with colleagues from across the party divide to oppose Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal and call for the threat of No-Deal to be taken off the table.

MSP George Adam

Speaking in the chamber during a Scottish Government debate on EU withdrawal negotiations, MSPs from the SNP, Scottish Labour, Green Party and the Liberal Democrats highlighted the growing support across Scotland for an extension to the Article 50 process to avoid a No-Deal scenario on 29th March.

 

In a historic move, politicians at the Welsh Assembly joined forces with Holyrood to debate the same motion simultaneously. Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell said the unprecedented event sent a “strong message to the UK government that it must stop pursing such a disastrous course of action”.

 

Political commentators have suggested there is currently no prospect of the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal being passed by MPs at Westminster at the second attempt scheduled for 12th March – just 17 days before the UK is set to crash out of the EU.

 

Research has shown that Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal would lead to a 6% fall in GDP by 2031, costing each person in Scotland £1,600.

 

Speaking in the debate, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

 

“No-Deal should be definitively ruled out – and today, from Edinburgh and Cardiff, we demand that it is.

 

“The deal on the table guarantees more years of uncertainty during which Scotland’s interests will be at the mercy of a vicious, and seemingly never-ending, Tory civil war – one where the extreme Brexiteers are currently in the ascendancy.

 

“The preferable alternative option, in my view, is now a second EU referendum. After all, nobody voting to leave the EU knew precisely what they were voting for – the leave campaign was deliberately vague, some may say deceitful, about the form Brexit would take.”

 

Last month, a report from the Chief Economic Advisor to Scotland warned that a No-Deal Brexit would expose up to [X%] of [Area’s] workforce to economic shock and possible job losses.

 

George Adam MSP said:

 

“The current Withdrawal Agreement means Scotland faces being taken out of the EU against our democratic wishes, taken out of the Single Market against our economic interests, and cut off from our European friends and neighbours against our will.

 

“This is something the SNP are not okay with, and we have made that fact blatantly clear since the day and hour the Brexit process began. Nevertheless, we have repeatedly been ignored and sidelined.

 

“The Westminster Government have handled the Brexit process deplorably since the moment the referendum result was announced, and just when you begin to think enough is surely enough; the cycle of broken promises, disappointment and confusion only continues to spin out of control.

“Scotland deserves better than this.”

BrexitSpeech gavin

TORY MPs CHALLENGED TO BACK FAIR FUNDING FOR SCOTLAND 

The SNP has challenged Scottish Tory MPs to back calls for Scotland to get the £3.4billion it is owed by the UK government – as a result of the additional funding Theresa May has given to Northern Ireland in a series of Brexit bungs to the DUP.

Gavin Newlands MP will raise the issue during the passage of the Northern Ireland Bill in the House of Commons today, which will see a further £140million of new funding handed over – while Scotland is set to receive nothing. Scotland’s budget should receive an additional £400million in 2019-2020 as a result of Barnett consequentials for this money.

The extra £140million in funding to Northern Ireland, follows the £1billion in additional funding already given as part of Theresa May’s Confidence and Supply agreement with the DUP. In total, Scotland’s budget should now receive a boost of £3.4billion in Barnett consequentials.

On Friday, Scottish Government Finance Secretary Derek MacKay wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer urging that the spring statement provides a proportionate amount of additional finance and flexibility to Scotland.

Commenting, SNP Northern Ireland spokesperson, Gavin Newlands MP said:

“Scotland is now owed £3.4billion in missing funding as a result of Theresa May’s Brexit bungs to the DUP. This is crucial money that could be spent on our public services after a decade of deep Tory cuts to Scotland’s budget.

“Scottish Secretary David Mundell has so far failed to secure a single penny for Scotland. It is time that Scottish Tory MPs stopped selling Scotland short and joined with the SNP in demanding our fair share of this funding.

“The UK government must explain when Scotland will receive this missing money, and why they have dragged their heels and failed to provide any announcement to date.

“Yet again, Westminster is failing Scotland and communities are losing out as a result. It is clearer by the day that the only way to properly protect our interests is with independence.”

St James PS 7.2.19-9219

Thirteen Renfrewshire schools will go cashless this spring as the roll-out of ParentPay continues.

ParentPay launched in Howwood Primary, Castlehead High School, St Fillan’s Primary, Gryffe High School, Auchenlodment Primary and St James’ Primary in Renfrew in January.

The next stage of the roll-out will begin in March, with Johnstone High School, Trinity High School, Houston Primary, Bridge of Weir Primary, West Primary, Wallace Primary, St Anne’s Primary, St Catherine’s Primary, Bargarran Primary, St John Bosco Primary, Kilbarchan Primary, Lochwinnoch Primary and Thorn Primary all going cashless by early May 2019.

St James PS 7.2.19-9219

The new cashless system allows parents to pay for school lunches, trips, events, activities and equipment online.

The roll-out is part of a programme that will see all schools in Renfrewshire go cashless by April 2020.

Councillor John Shaw, Convener of Finance, Resources and Customer Services at Renfrewshire Council, said: “Introducing ParentPay in our schools will revolutionise the way parents and carers pay for school meals, trips and activities.

“It takes money out of the classroom, allowing parents to top up online and keep track of what their child is eating at lunch time.

“We want to make all schools in Renfrewshire cashless by April 2020. I’m excited to get the next phase of our ParentPay launch programme underway.”

The cashless system, which is already used in more than 8,500 UK schools, allows parents and carers to make online payments into their child’s account 24/7. They will also be able to see what their child has ordered for lunch and keep a record of all the payments they have made.

Parents and carers who don’t use online banking can put money into their child’s account at their nearest PayPoint, usually located in newsagents and other local shops.

Activation letters with step-by-step instructions on how to register for ParentPay will be sent out to parents and carers before their child’s school moves onto the new system.

Parents and carers will need to set up a MyGovScot MyAccount login to use the new payment system.

To register for MyAccount visit https://myaccount.renfrewshire.gov.uk/

neil-bibby

Neil Bibby MSP is backing calls at Holyrood for an increase in Carers Allowance. Mr Bibby has said that the Scottish Parliament could use its new welfare powers to reverse welfare reforms and ensure the Carer’s Allowance and the Carer’s Supplement will be uprated in line with the higher Retail Price Index (RPI) instead of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

That would see carers in Paisley receiving a boost in their incomes to better keep pace with the rising costs of living. The Scottish Parliament Information Centre shows that uprating by RPI would leave 82,000 carers better off. This week in a vote at the Scottish Parliament the SNP failed to back the call.

neil-bibby

Neil Bibby MSP said:

“82,000 carers are being short-changed and that needs to change. For years the Scottish Government have said they will deliver a social security system based on dignity and respect but unfortunately they have failed to reverse the pernicious change in uprating from RPI to CPI.

“Day-in, day-out carers in Paisley work tirelessly to care for their loved ones but since 2010, they have lost out on almost £1000 because of the switch to CPI – a loss which gets worse every year. Uprating in line with RPI would see a modest increase in Carers Allowance but taken over time those cumulative rises would add up and leave carers in a stronger position.

“It’s disappointing the SNP failed to back Labour’s call this week and voted against our proposals. The Scottish Parliament has the powers to take a different path, to show that social security is an investment in the people of Scotland, and to give carers the support they need.”

gavin newlands mp

LABOUR MUST EXPLICITLY BACK NEW REFERENDUM TO PUT DECISION TO PEOPLE

 

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has said Tory MPs have “betrayed Scotland” by voting to keep the threat of a devastating No-Deal Brexit on the table – despite knowing it could cost 100,000 jobs in Scotland and cause a recession worse than the 2008 financial crisis.

gavin newlands mp

With just 30 days left until the UK is due to crash out of the EU, all thirteen Tory MPs with Scottish constituencies voted against the SNP amendment to rule out a No-Deal Brexit, which received cross-party support from Labour, Lib Dem, Independent, Plaid Cymru, and Green MPs. The amendment was defeated narrowly by 288 to 324.

Speaking after the vote, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said time is running out to prevent a disastrous bad-deal or no-deal Brexit – and called on Labour to “unequivocally and explicitly back a new referendum” to put the decision back to the people.

Analysis has shown that any form of Brexit will be damaging for Scotland’s economy. A report by the Scottish Government’s top economic adviser, published last week, revealed that a no-deal Brexit could result in a recession worse than 2008 – causing Scotland’s GDP to fall by up to 7%, and leading to unemployment rising by around 100,000.

Speaking after the vote, Gavin Newlands said:

“This week MPs had the opportunity to finally protect Scotland’s interests by agreeing to take No-Deal off the table, but Westminster voted against this- including thirteen Scottish Tory MPs

“We now face the real danger of crashing out of the EU, with a devastating hard Tory Brexit that could cost 100,000 Scottish jobs and cause a recession worse than the 2008 financial crisis.

“Time is running out to prevent a bad-deal or no-deal Brexit. Either outcome would be deeply damaging for Scotland – destroying jobs, and inflicting lasting harm on our economy, public services and people’s living standards.

“It is shameful that all thirteen Tory MPs with Scottish constituencies betrayed Scotland by voting against taking No-Deal off the table, against the clear interests of their own voters who will be left poorer as a result.

“It is now time for Labour to join the SNP in unequivocally backing a new referendum, with Remain in the European Union on the ballot paper.

“Scotland did not vote for Brexit and we should not be dragged out of the EU against our will. Whatever happens now, it is crystal clear that the only Scotland can protect its intersts is with independence.”

Renfrewshire Council Budget 2019-20

A positive budget benefiting “every single community and neighbourhood in Renfrewshire” was agreed by councillors today (Thursday 28 February 2019).

A £412million budget for 2019-20 includes a transformational £79million package of one-off and longer-term investments.

Renfrewshire Council Budget 2019-20

This will see an additional £29million invested in school buildings and £40million over the next five years towards Renfrewshire roads, pathways and cycling routes.

Further targeted investments totalling £4.3million will protect the most vulnerable people in our communities, support inclusive economic growth, improve the environment, breathe new life into community facilities and enhance cultural participation.

The budget also confirms the Council’s £324million capital investment programme and supports national policies including the expansion of free early years childcare.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Our budget is based on doing what is right for Renfrewshire today and tomorrow. That’s why we are making major investments which will bring long-lasting benefit over the coming years and putting in place funds which will benefit every single community and neighbourhood in Renfrewshire.

“We are making a massive investment in our children and young people, matching their commitment to learning by providing the best possible learning environments.

“And our roads investment is the single biggest ever of its kind in Renfrewshire, making journeys safer and easier and improving business connectivity. These significant works will complement new developments and ongoing town centre improvements and make it easier for visitors to enjoy all Renfrewshire has to offer.”

Five-year funding for Renfrewshire roads is in addition to the existing City Deal infrastructure projects in the region, while the budget sets aside £5.5million to support regeneration to the south of the Glasgow Airport Investment Area and provide greater economic connectivity between Paisley town centre and the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland.

Funds for school buildings will enable the council to unlock money from the Scottish Government’s £1billion school investment fund. There’s also immediate investment in improving facilities at Bishopton Primary; Kirklandneuk Primary, St Anthony’s Primary and Paisley Grammar School, while defibrillators will be installed across all Renfrewshire secondary schools.

Bucking the national trend, music tuition will remain free in Renfrewshire schools for the next four years through a £500,000 investment, recognising the power of culture in raising attainment and improving health and wellbeing.

The Provost’s School Exchange Fund is being established to support cultural exchanges for pupils and school road safety is bolstered by the development of a safety initiative team tackling irresponsible parking in and around schools.

Support to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities sees £1.4million for adult social care services, enabling Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to meet increasing demand and care cost pressures.

There is a 3% increase in the allowance for Foster and Kinship Carers recognising the lifechanging contribution they make to the most vulnerable children and young people; a commitment to help secure the Living Wage for all care staff working with Renfrewshire residents and funds for more staff to be trained in supporting victims of domestic abuse.

Communities will benefit from £2.3million towards community halls, prioritising a full refurbishment of the McKillop Institute, Lochwinnoch; Elderslie Village Hall and South End Action Centre, Paisley alongside repairs to Steeple Hall, Kilbarchan.

Renfrewshire Leisure will receive funds to develop a library outreach service and there’s funds for improvements to the popular Barshaw Park pond and to develop plans for an inclusive adventure playpark.

Initiatives to support inclusive economic growth include further funds for businesses to improve their shop fronts, enhanced warden provision in Paisley town centre and money to improve priority road markings.

Building on the successes of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, new multi-purpose litter and dog fouling bins will replace existing bins and there’s tree works planned across key locations.

Councillor Nicolson added: “Our budget reflects our on-going commitment to listen to what our communities are telling us and respects their role as partners in building success for the region over the coming years.

“It treats people fairly and builds on our multi-year investments made last year to support employability, tackle poverty and enhance the local environment.”

Also included in the budget are commitments not to introduce a workforce parking levy or any form of new household waste collection charges.

Council Tax will increase by 4.79% – equivalent to a weekly increase of £1.10 on a Band D property – with £1.3million of income it generates ring-fenced to drive the school and roads investment.

The budget includes £19million of efficiency savings through initiatives including the Better Council Change Programme, the council having delivered £117million of savings since 2010.

Councillor John Shaw, Finance, Resources and Customer Services Convener, said: “We are in a stable financial position and this has enabled us to put forward such a positive budget.

“At the same time we understand the challenging financial outlook facing all local councils and that’s why our investments support our priorities beyond the financial year and safeguard services for the future.”