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.”

Gavin Newlands MP

Renfrewshire can help Scotland lead the world in phasing out pollution and phasing in electric vehicles – but only if Westminster gets out the road.

Gavin Newlands MP

Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP, Gavin Newlands, made the call as Parliament debated the UK Government’s lack of progress on phasing out new diesel and petrol cars and replacing them with electric cars powered by renewable energy.

With nearly 1,000 public charging points, and another 1,500 points in the pipeline, Scotland is investing in low-carbon, renewable-powered electric vehicles, with the UK’s first ever electric trunk road taking shape along the A9.

Scotland’s near neighbour Norway now leads the world in electric car use, with a majority of new cars powered by electricity, a global first.

Renfrewshire will see dozens of new charging points installed in the future as Scotland aims to be the world’s first carbon-neutral country.

Gavin said:

“The UK Government approach to electric vehicles is stuck in first gear, while in Scotland we are in the fast lane and accelerating fast.

“Climate change is the biggest threat our society faces, and the Scottish Government’s world leading carbon reduction targets are part of how we must tackle this threat.  Electric vehicles show that cutting our carbon emissions doesn’t mean cutting our mobility.

“Already much has been done – but there is a huge amount still to do, and the First Minister’s declaration that we are facing a climate emergency highlights the need for investment across the board.

“Scotland’s parliament needs the full powers that Norway has used to great effect to make huge progress in this field – and ensure we aren’t left at a red light waiting for a Westminster Government with their foot on the brake”.


Gavin Newlands MP joined the Lawn Tennis Association to back their announcement of ambitious plans to develop hundreds of new indoor tennis courts in communities across Great Britain over the next 10 years – but urged them to give Renfrewshire and Scotland the fair share of investment.


Gavin pushed tennis chiefs at an event the Houses of Parliament, taking the opportunity to press LTA bosses on what more the governing body should be doing to support tennis in Scotland and their plans to grow the sport more generally.

As part of this initiative nearly 100 areas across the UK have been targeted as having little or no access to indoor courts., A dozen of these are in Scotland – but Renfrewshire is not on the list.

Gavin said;

“In the week Andy Murray returns to action at Wimbledon, our tennis facilities will be as busy as ever.  The enthusiasm for the game the Murrays have sparked over the years continues, but the courts our future superstars play on need to keep up.

“The more investment we have in infrastructure the better – but that also means ensuring local kids and adults can play the game.

“It’s frustrating to see the huge financial dividends of Wimbledon aren’t coming to Renfrewshire.  Tennis Scotland have done a great job over the years but they’ve been hamstrung by decisions elsewhere.

“I congratulate other towns for already securing investment through the current investment programme that Tennis Scotland is currently rolling out, but Renfrewshire requires affordable indoor facilities open to the general public, and I will continue to push for this.  Moreover, we need to ensure that the present public park facilities such as those at Robertson Park and Brodie Park are in a playable condition. The Robertson Park courts are still well below par and it is not good enough.

“Getting the infrastructure in place for tennis in Renfrewshire is key to making sure the Andy Murrays of the future can emerge from our area”.

Scott Lloyd, Chief Executive of the LTA said;

“We are already making progress with several new indoor tennis centres currently going through the planning process in Scotland, and I am looking forward to us working with local authorities and partners in all of our target locations across the whole of Britain”.

Gavin Newlands MP

The SNP has urged the UK government to draw a line under a “dismal decade” of failed and toxic immigration and asylum policies, The SNP used their Opposition Day debate to highlight the many failures of the Tories immigration.
Gavin Newlands MPThe SNP has consistently called for a fundamental change in the approach to immigration with policies based on evidence, human rights and fairness; a recognition of the contribution made by migrants to Scotland and the UK’s economy, society and culture; as well as a recognition that a migration policy that works for the whole of the UK will require different policy solutions for different parts of the UK, particularly given Scotland’s demographic and economic profile.

Gavin Newlands SNP MP said: “In the Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016, we have seen an effort to prevent people from accessing basic services such as employment, healthcare and education. We have witnessed a Home Secretary become Prime Minister and knowingly take a cruel and entirely unnecessary approach towards immigration. If we listened to the Government, we would think the immigration process is straightforward, but many people are unable simply to leave, as the Government might lead us to think. More often than not, the Government’s policies have meant that the most vulnerable in society, often women, are disproportionately suffering. The SNP will continue to seek devolution of immigration powers so that Scotland can have a humane immigration policy that works for our economy and society.”

Gavin Newlands MP

The SNP Scottish Government has announced it will use new social security powers to introduce a brand new benefit to tackle child poverty

Gavin Newlands MP

The Scottish Child Payment will be introduced by 2022 for all eligible families with children under 16. The Payment will begin for children under six by early 2021, with the payment set at £10 per week.

This new benefit will provide support for families on low incomes, reduce child poverty and mitigate some of the damaging impact of UK Government austerity and welfare cuts. It will be paid monthly and will be available to all children in eligible families with qualifying benefits including Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance and Child Tax Credits. There will be no cap on the number of children in families.

When fully introduced, the payment to around 410,000 eligible children and a substantial investment in families most in need in Scotland.

Gavin Newlands SNP MP said: “The Tory UK Government obsession with austerity has shamefully focussed on slashing the UK social security leaving many in dire circumstances, one only has to look at the shambolic roll out of Universal Credit and the introduction of the abhorrent rape clause as two of the more high profile examples. In stark contrast, the Scottish Government has once again shown the way with the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment which will lift thousands of children in Renfrewshire out of poverty and is just another example of the SNP supporting the most vulnerable in our society.”


SNP MSP Derek Mackay is urging Renfrewshire’s dog owners not to leave their pets in hot cars this summer.


Mr Mackay is highlighting research undertaken by Dogs Trust which shows that almost people believe it is ok to leave a dog in a car if counter-measures are taken, such as leaving a window open or parking under a tree.

Under 20 minutes in a hot car can prove fatal to a dog, should its body exceed 41°C. Within a matter of minutes, as the temperature rises in your car, your dog’s suffering will become evident through excessive panting, whimpering or barking. This will then develop into a loss of muscle control and ultimately their kidneys will cease to function, the brain will become damaged and their heart will stop.

The Renfrewshire North & West MSP is warning constituents that on even wet or cooler days, leaving their pet in the car even for a few minutes can be dangerous.

Mr Mackay said:

“Many people don’t know that dogs take a lot longer than humans to cool down and with temperatures rising over the summer it is more important than ever that dog owners are warned of the dangers of leaving their pets unattended in cars. Even on cooler or very wet days, cars can become very hot, very quickly, and be fatal for dogs.

“You just need to touch the dashboard or seat of a car to see how hot it can get. Andparking in the shade or leaving the window down will not make it any safer.

“If you are carrying your dog in the car over the summer carry plenty of drinking water for it, use sun blinds on the windows and do not leave the dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes.

“If you do see a dog in distress in a parked car call the police or the SSPCA immediately.”

Derek Mackay - SNP

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the announcement of a new benefit to target child poverty.

Derek Mackay - SNP

Eligible families will receive £10 a week for every child under 16, with introduction for under sixes starting by early 2021.

The Scottish Child Payment will give more immediate support to eligible families who need it most, as almost 60% of all children in poverty live in a family with a child under the age of six.

It will be delivered to all remaining eligible families with children under 16 by the end of 2022, with no cap on the number of children in families.

When delivered in full, 410,000 children could be eligible for the income supplement – over a third of all children. It is estimated it will lift 30,000 children out of relative poverty by 2023/24.

For a family with two children under the age of 16 this new payment would mean additional support of more than £1,000 a year.

Derek Mackay MSP said:

“The SNP will not stand by and simply watch the spike in child poverty as a result of continued UK Government austerity. Instead we will take action.

“This benefit can make a massive difference to thousands of children across Renfrewshire.

“Almost 60% of all children in poverty live in a family where a child is under six years old, which is why we will deliver the payment for this group first.

“This benefit will not only help raise children out of poverty but is also designed to help prevent those just above the poverty threshold.


This payment will be available a year earlier to under sixes than set out in the Scottish Government’s Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan.

The payment will be paid monthly and increase annually in line with inflation.

Disability Assistance for Working Age People, the Scottish replacement for Personal Independence Payment, will be delivered in early 2021, as already outlined to

Parliament. Disability Assistance for Children and Young People will be delivered in summer 2020 also as announced.

However it is expected that Disability Assistance for Older People will need to be introduced in 2021, rather than winter 2020 as originally planned.

Scottish Carer’s Allowance will be put back a few months to early 2022. The transfer of benefit cases from DWP to Social

Security Scotland is expected to be completed by 2025 rather than 2024.

Further assessment on the impact of introducing the new benefit, including on IT systems, staffing, and supplier services, will be carried out over the summer and reported to Parliament.

George Adam MSP


Disabled people in Renfrewshire have successfully appealed against a decision to deny them benefits 1,030 times – prompting calls for a fresh review of the DWP assessment and appeals process.

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws show 1,030 assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) have been successfully challenged by people in Renfrewshire since April 2013.

George Adam MSP

This means that there was a 63% level of appeals that were overturned.

PIP is being rolled-out across the UK to replace Living Allowance (DLA) as the main benefit for disabled or ill people. To receive this benefit, claimants have to endure controversial assessments, conducted by private companies on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

George Adam said:

“Disabled people in Renfrewshire rely on these financial lifelines to live independently and be part of their community.

“For the DWP to get these cases so consistently wrong suggests a systematic hostility towards people in need.

“The Tory government’s punitive approach to the system simply isn’t working. It’s failing vulnerable people, withdrawing support from those who need it most, and leaving people out of pocket and unable to afford the basic essentials.

“The UK government’s disastrous record on welfare shows why Scotland should have the power to take our own approach – rather than leaving these powers at Westminster.

“In the meantime, it’s vital that these fundamental flaws in the current assessment appeals process are urgently addressed.”





Thousands of carers in Renfrewshire have benefitted from new Carer’s Allowance Supplement (CAS) payments of up to £442 introduced by the Scottish Government.

New figures show that 2730 payments have been to carers in Renfrewshire totalling £1,112,000.

The Carer’s Allowance Supplement is an extra payment made to carers in Scotland twice a year, in recognition of the important contribution they make.

Carers will now get two supplementary payments totalling £442 per year, equivalent to an extra £8.50 per week, which is a 13% increase on the Carer’s Allowance from the UK Government.

Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“Last year, the Carer’s Allowance Supplement helped 83,000 carers across Scotland.

“Carers in Renfrewshire make an absolutely vital contribution to our society, and it’s only appropriate that they’re duly valued and properly supported.

“The SNP is determined to use the powers available to the Scottish Government to improve the lives of people across Scotland.

“This supplementary payment allows the Scottish Government to get more money into the pockets of carers, as quickly as possible.

“I am delighted that carers in Renfrewshire are being recognised for the important contribution carers make, and the hard work they do in what can often be difficult circumstances.”


Commenting on the news that James Wright’s appeal has been thrown out, Michael McClelland, father of Craig McClelland, said:


“No family should have to go through what we have. Not only was Craig taken from us but he was killed by someone who had no right to be on the streets of Paisley that night. Someone who should have been behind bars. The system that is supposed to keep people safe broke down and, as a consequence, my son was murdered. A murderer has been convicted but there has still not been a full, independent inquiry into why this happened. The authorities need to be held to account too.

“The Lord Advocate promised us a decision on whether he would order a Fatal Accident Inquiry after the appeal. Now the appeal has been dealt with, there is absolutely no reason to delay a decision any further. The Lord Advocate has the power to give us an inquiry and to do it now. Only a full inquiry can help us find the answers we need about why this was allowed to happen and how we can stop it ever happening again.”

Neil Bibby MSP said:

“There must be a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the failures that led to Craig McClelland’s tragic murder. It is not just in the interest of Craig’s family that they find answers, it is in the public interest that this tragedy is fully investigated and the lessons are fully learned. What happened to Craig McClelland cannot be allowed to ever happen again.

“We have known since March that the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit have been examining this case, preparing the ground for a potential FAI ahead of James Wright’s appeal. The Lord Advocate himself promised the McClelland family that a decision on whether to order an FAI would be made once the appeal had been heard. Now that the appeal has been thrown out, there is no good reason for the Lord Advocate or anyone else to stand in the way of a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

“The time has come for the Lord Advocate to make his decision and I sincerely hope it is the right one. The only way to restore confidence in the tagging system and help this family find the answers they need is to order an inquiry into the McClelland case.”