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George alongside Eileen, Director of Action on Hearing Loss

Paisley’s MSP Welcomes Charities Social Advice Service

George Adam MSP is urging deaf in Paisley who have queries about benefits decisions to use a charity’s welfare rights advocacy service.

 

The service, which is run by the charity Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, can provide people who are Deaf or have hearing loss – including British Sign Language (BSL) users – with information, advice and, where possible, formal representation to challenge benefits decisions.

 

George Adam MSP said: “I’m pleased to support Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s welfare rights advocacy service which provides valuable advice and reassurance for deaf or hard of hearing people who are concerned or confused about their social security benefits.

 

“I encourage people in Paisley who are Deaf or have hearing loss to contact the service if you would like to be better informed about the support you may be entitled to.”

George alongside Eileen, Director of Action on Hearing Loss

Eileen Clarkson, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland and George Adam, Paisley’s MSP.

 

Delia Henry, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to have George Adam MSP’s backing for our welfare rights advocacy service which is making a real difference to the everyday lives of deaf people trying to access Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in particular.

 

“If you are Deaf or have hearing loss and need some help to understand letters you have received regarding your benefits, our Welfare Rights Officer would be delighted to help you make sense of it all.”

 

For information about Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s social security advice service, call telephone: 0141 341 5346, textphone: 0141 341 5350, email: SocialSecurity@hearingloss.org.uk or visit www.hearingloss.org.uk/SocialSecurity.  British Sign Language users can contact via the ContactSCOTLAND-BSL service

Damian Green being presented with a signed I, Daniel Blake book by George

I, Daniel Blake write launches attack on minister following Holyrood grilling

THE writer of an acclaimed film that savages Britain’s welfare regime has accused the UK Work and Pensions Secretary of talking “guff” during a showdown with MSPs.

Paul Laverty, the Scot who penned I, Daniel Blake, escalated a war of words between the film’s creators and Damian Green after watching the minister reject claims that the benefits system had driven people to suicide in an appearance at the Scottish Parliament._92246155_cwvfyd4wiaafwdu

During a fraught evidence session with Holyrood’s social security committee, Mr Green was given a signed copy of the script of the film which he has previously criticised as a ‘monstrously unfair’ work of fiction despite admitting he has never seen it.

Afterwards, Mr Laverty accused Mr Green of “an absolute and total whitewash” during questioning and failing to acknowledge the reality of the “terrifying” impact of benefit sanctions on the lives of the vulnerable.

The writer added: “That was a public relations exercise, it’s absolutely guff. Two days ago Mr Damian Green described our film ‘as having no relationship to the modern benefits system’ and ‘monstrously unfair’ to the job centre staff. Then he admits he hasn’t seen it.

“I travelled the whole country, spoke to whistleblowers within the DWP, activists, academics and people in foodbanks. What we saw was people’s lives thrown into absolute chaos by the sanctions regime. When he says our film has no resemblance to reality, it does make my blood boil.

“The characters in the film are fictional, but are informed and inspired by everything we saw during some serious investigation.”

Mr Green was repeatedly challenged by MSPs over benefit reforms and the sanctions regime which can see claimants’ payments suspended if they do not follow strict rules.

He declined an invitation to apologise the “significant failures and problems” of the reforms since their 2010 roll-out, saying the policies were aimed at helping people “take control” of their lives while describing sanctions are a “necessary backstop”.

SNP MSP George Adam presented Mr Green with a signed copy of the Daniel Blake book as “light reading” for his journey back to London. He added that campaigners who had previously given evidence to the committee had “almost” accused Mr Green of murder due to suicides that had taken place due to the stresses of the benefits system.

 

Damian Green being presented with a signed I, Daniel Blake book by George

Damian Green being presented with a signed I, Daniel Blake book by George

A visibly irritated Mr Green replied: “There is no evidence, and I think bringing people who committed suicide into political debate is always unfortunate. Clearly every suicide is a tragedy, there are complex reasons behind everyone, and as I say to try and politicise individual tragedies like this always seems to me to be very unfortunate.”

 

He added: “It is absolutely not the intention of anyone connected with the welfare system, whether it’s ministers or staff of the DWP, to cause distress. The system is there to help people and I see it as an essential part of my job to try and set up structures and set up the organisation of the system so that it is there to help.”

“Absolutely I think they need to be there, but also they need to be there only as a last resort,” he said.

George outside Paisley's East End Branch of the Bank of Scotland

JOBS BLOW: 300 Paisley DWP workers give devastating news that the Lonend centre is closing

More than 300 people face the sack after Department of Work and Pensions bosses announced plans to close its centre in Paisley.

Trade unions and politicians reacted with fury at the latest jobs’ blow to affect Renfrewshire, coming on the back of Chivas’ announcement shedding 460 jobs, as well as Doosan Backcock’s shock decision to axe more than 300 workers at its Renfrew factory.

Staff at the Lonend site face compulsory redundancy from April with the administration centre closing for good by March 2018.

George outside Paisley's East End Branch of the Bank of Scotland

Trade union, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) last night voiced its anger at the announcement.

Paisley shop steward Colin Mack said: “We have more than 300 jobs at risk. I am shocked and disgusted by this decision.

“They are taking these jobs out of Paisley and leaving the staff without their livelihoods, where they have families, childcare, mortgages.

“The staff work really hard and they have been left reeling by this sudden and unexpected announcement. People here are really upset.”

He added redundancy talks are underway and will end by April with the centre closing for good from March 2018.

Union sources added the work is being transferred to a site in Glasgow, which remains unidentified to the workforce.

Paisley 2021

Jobs Boost For Renfrewshire As Scottish Tourism Booms

The number of people working in tourism in Renfrewshire increased by 14% in one year, new figures show – with Scotland as a whole seeing an increase of 11 per cent.

 

The statistics produced by Visit Scotland show that tourism supports 5,800 jobs in Renfrewshire, 7% of total jobs in the area.

 

Between 2014 and 2015, the number of people employed in the sector across Scotland grew to 217,000 – with the 11 per cent increase in Scotland above the 4 per cent rise in Great Britain as a whole.

 

The 217,000 members of the Scottish tourism industry represent 9 per cent of the country’s total employment and is the highest tourism level since Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) records began in 2009.

 

41% of staff in the tourism industry work in restaurants, 24% in hotels and other accommodation and 17% in bars and related businesses.

 

George Adam MSP commented:

 

“Our tourism industry is going from strength to strength and this increase in jobs shows the vital role that tourism plays in Scotland’s economy and particularly in Paisley.

 

“Scotland is famed for its warm welcome, incredible scenery and top class attractions – and with 2017 the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology we are celebrating our exceptional historical attractions.

 

“With Scotland ranked second in the Rough Guides list of the best countries in the world to visit this year, tourism in Paisley has a very bright future.”

 

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

 

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience. It creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy.

 

“These fantastic new figures show that, from hotel owners to waiting staff, tourism really is the driving force for providing the jobs of today and tomorrow. They also demonstrate the industry’s commitment to the 2020 strategy – which aims to generate economic growth through tourism.”

George Serious Paisley Town Hall

Paisley’s MSP Condemns Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

Announcements Show Brexit “Will Hit Poorest Hardest”

 

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam has condemned the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement – which drove home the fact that Brexit and continuing austerity will hit poorest families hardest.

 

Philip Hammond revealed the staggering level of borrowing needed to fill the Brexit blackhole in government finances and failed to halt the Tories’ austerity onslaught – policies that have proven so damaging to families and communities throughout Paisley.

 George Serious Paisley Town Hall

The Chancellor announced a rise in insurance premiums which will mean rising costs for hard pressed families in Paisley. The Autumn Statement came alongside forecasts from the OBR, predicting consumers will be squeezed by the rising cost of exports due to a weak pound caused by Brexit – which will hit family budgets in supermarkets and shops across Paisley.

 

The retailer, Mothercare, and former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King have both warned this week of expected price rises of around 5% in children’s clothes and groceries due to Brexit.

 

Commenting, George said:

 

“The Chancellor has just proved that this UK government simply does not care for working families across Paisley – with the full impact of Brexit yet to come.

 

“We are already seeing the impact of leaving the EU hitting consumers, with OBR figures showing that the rising cost of imports due to a fall in the value of Sterling will cause prices of products to rise in our supermarkets and shops – as industry leaders have warned in recent weeks. Insurance premiums are also on the rise – yet another UK government policy that will hit the poorest hardest.

 

“The Chancellor has completely failed to protect those on low incomes – continuing with the failed austerity onslaught that has been deeply damaging to families and communities across Paisley. Think-tanks and charities have rightly condemned this, with lower earnings, benefit cuts and higher costs providing a bleak outlook for people throughout Paisley – and this is before the full impact of Brexit is felt.

 

“We already know that Brexit could cost up to 80,000 jobs in Scotland and take £11.2 billion from our economy every year – and the Chancellor has not done enough to help prevent this happening, or to fill the forecasted £220 billion Brexit black hole.

 

“Piecemeal offerings from Philipp Hammond have been more than offset by the deeply damaging impact of this Tory government’s policies – and people across Paisley will be feeling the effects of the Tories’ regressive policies for a long time to come.”

 

deputy-first-minister2 (1)

Paisley’s MSP Backs SNP Stimulus In Brexit Aftermath

George Adam has backed the Scottish Government’s commitment to stimulate the economy with new infrastructure funding in the wake of the EU referendum.

 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced an additional £100m of funding in this financial year to speed up the delivery of health and other infrastructure projects – as well as the establishment of a new service to provide information and support to businesses affected by the EU referendum.

 

Projects will be assessed for accelerated funding against a range of criteria including how quickly work can start, the number of jobs that will be supported or created, the likely impact on the supply chain and geographic spread.deputy-first-minister2 (1)

 

George has called on the UK Government to urgently announce its own economic stimulus package, which would enable the Scottish Government to do even more to accelerate capital spending to support communities in Paisley and across Scotland.

 

Commenting, George said:

 

“Nicola Sturgeon has been clear that the Scottish Government will pursue all possible options to protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU.

 

“But in the meantime we must do all we can to ensure that our economy doesn’t suffer, hitting jobs and investment in Paisley and across the country.

 

“It’s up to the UK Government to match the Scottish Government’s ambition and begin fixing this mess of their own making. Theresa May must take meaningful action to alleviate uncertainty and announce a UK wide stimulus, allowing the Scottish Government to do even more to secure jobs in Paisley and beyond.”

George Town Hall

Paisley to host the Scottish Parliament for the day

Credit: Scottish Parliament Website 

People in Paisley will have the opportunity to have their democratic voice heard as the Scottish Parliament comes to Paisley Town Hall for the day on Monday 21 September.

Holyrood’s Parliament Day initiative, introduced by the Presiding Officer the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP, takes the Parliament out into communities around Scotland, encouraging local people to take an interest in and engage directly with the Parliament and its work.

As part of Parliament Day Paisley, MSPs on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee will meet with local people to hear about how their working lives have changed since the 2008 recession. This session will inform an inquiry the Committee is undertaking on the issue of ‘work, wages and wellbeing.’

In the evening, local people are also invited to an informal Q&A session, hosted by the Presiding Officer, where they can quiz MSPs about how their Parliament works for them.

Members of the local community are invited to come along and find out more, with refreshments available.George Town Hall

The Presiding Officer said:
“The Scottish Parliament is there to represent all of Scotland’s communities and it’s important we hear directly from local people about the issues affecting their daily lives. I’m sure the people of Paisley will take this opportunity to make their voice heard and engage with their Parliament.

“I would encourage everyone who can to come along to the Town Hall to chat to me, my fellow MSPs and Parliament staff and find out more about politics and the Parliament. We want to hear from you.”

George Adam, MSP for Paisley said:
“One of the most important aspects of our modern parliament is its ability to engage with people across Scotland. Paisley is a great town with great people and a tremendous history. This is easily observed just walking through the centre of the town with our Abbey, which is over 850 years old, and the civic buildings created by the Victorian cotton mill owners.

“This visit by the Parliament to Paisley is about engagement. Towns like Paisley have their issues like unemployment and the need to reinvigorate town centres. These are challenges that must be tackled head on and the Parliament coming to Paisley is part of a process that should be welcomed, ensuring greater transparency for policies and decisions at parliamentary level.

“This visit also highlights that it is up to all of us to play our part in ensuring that our town is the type of place we wish to live and work.”
Background

Parliament Day Paisley will be held in Paisley Town Hall, Abbey Close, Paisley PA1 1JF. The informal Q&A session with the Presiding Officer is open to all from 5:30pm.

Launched in November 2012, the Parliament Day initiative is all about taking the Parliament out of Edinburgh and into communities across Scotland. Parliament Days allow people to see the Parliament at work – both official parliamentary business such as committee meetings, and on a less formal level by meeting local MSPs and Parliament staff.

Eleven Parliament Days have been held across Scotland from Orkney to Hawick, and from Stornoway to Arbroath.
– See more at: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/newsandmediacentre/91544.aspx#sthash.Qnu0lT5H.dpuf

Budget to Protect Scotland

George, the new PLO to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong LearningThis year’s budget at the Scottish Parliament was announced by Finance Secretary John Swinney today.  In his statement it was stated that the NHS budget will be protected alongside the local government budget against the cuts being made by the Tories and Lib-Dems at Westminster.

 

Speaking on the budget Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

 

‘Once again it is up to the SNP Government to protect Scotland against Westminster cuts.

 

‘While the NHS is being privatised in England, which then means Scotland gets less money for our NHS, the SNP are maintaining investment for the NHS.

 

‘The Tories have cut the local government budget by almost 19% since 2013, again this has been passed on to the Scottish Government.  This Government will protect local government funding right through to 2016.  Very different priorities.

 

‘Cuts imposed by Westminster, protection offered by the SNP Government.

 

‘Anyone can see we have different priorities on important public services.

 

‘Along with £23 million being used to alleviate the Bedroom Tax attack by the Tories this government is offering protection to the people of Scotland.

 

‘We must have a debate.  Is this the type of Scottish Parliament that we want?  To react to attacks from Westminster?

 

‘Decisions about the people of Scotland should be made by the people of Scotland.  That can only be delivered through independence.’

 

 

Other aspects of the budget.

 

To support the economy the budget will:

  • Fully fund 125 additional hours of early learning and childcare to a total of over £190 million
  • Drive investment in affordable housing of over £1.35 billion over 4 years
  • Provide £24m for a National Performance Centre for Sport
  • Secure £8bn of infrastructure investment over the next two years

To help our people and communities to thrive the budget will:

  • Invest £522m in colleges next year rising to £526m in 2015-16
  • Provide at least £68m in each of the next two years to mitigate the impact of UK welfare cuts and a further £20m this financial year to limit the impact of the bedroom tax
  • £33m per year for the Scottish Welfare Fund
  • Maintain a council tax freeze across Scotland
  • Maintain the council tax reduction scheme
  • Continue the social wage commitments including free prescriptions, concessionary travel and free personal care

To support Public Services the budget will:

  • Protect the NHS budget
  • Protect the Local Government budget
  • Maintain a Scottish living wage for public sector workers
  • Reject UK plans to reform pay progression
  • Continued support for the three Change Funds, driving a shift to more preventative approaches
  • Provide £120m funding in 2015-16 to assist health and social care integration