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Scotland Hits 95% Fibre Broadband Target

Paisleys MSP, George Adam has hailed the news that the SNP Government has already exceeded its Programme for Government pledge to deliver fibre broadband to more than 95% of premises in Scotland as a “landmark achievement.”

 

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme is being delivered through two projects – the first covering the Highlands and Islands and the second covering the rest of Scotland.

 

The project covering ‘the Rest of Scotland’ is valued at £264 million and led by the Scottish Government with funding from BT Group, local authorities, the EU via the European Regional Development Fund as well as the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

 

Paisleys MSP, George Adam.

Commenting, George said:

 

“It is a landmark achievement that we have already exceeded the SNP Programme for Government 2017-18 target of ensuring 95% of homes and businesses have access to fibre broadband.

 

“The DSSB project is the most ambitious fibre infrastructure programme in the whole of Europe that has already connected 890,000 premises in Scotland and without which, it is estimated only 66% of Scotland would be able to receive broadband.

 

“Fast and reliable internet is fundamental for the future economic and social success of Paisley and the SNP Government is setting its sights even higher pledging to deliver access speeds of at least 30Mbps to 100% of premises in Scotland by the end of 2021. We will not rest until that final 5% of households are connected.”

George high street

SNP Budget Brings Funding Boost For Paisley.

More Cash For Local Services Thanks To Progressive Reforms

 

Renfrewshire Council is set to receive a significant funding boost as a result of this year’s SNP Scottish Government budget – with local services in Renfrewshire benefiting from an extra £8.823 million.

 

The SNP’s progressive reforms – which will see 55% of taxpayers pay less in income tax than if they lived in the rest of the UK – guarantee a 2.83% increase rise in Renfrewshire council’s resource budget, providing extra funding for schools, roads and housing. The budget will also see Renfrewshire schools benefit from £4,272,240 million as part of the Pupil Equity Fund, helping to tackle the attainment gap.

 

The Scottish Budget also provides additional spending on our NHS – which will see an extra £400 million in funding to help protect our health service from Tory austerity.

 

Commenting, Paisleys MSP, George Adam said:George high street

 

“This extra funding for Renfrewshire council – an additional £8.823 million for the coming year – is a great settlement for our communities.

 

“The SNP’s progressive reforms on income tax, seeing 70% of people pay less than they did last year, and 55% pay less than they would if they lived south of the border, are vital for allowing this funding increase despite continued austerity being imposed by the Tories at Westminster.

 

“And it takes the total resource budget for our council’s services – such as schools, roads and housing – to £311.453 million for the coming year, an increase of 2.83% when compared with last year.

 

“This progressive budget also provides extra funding for our NHS, education and broadband, and more money for our economy, research and our environment too – as well as protecting free university tuition, free personal care for the elderly, free school meals and free prescriptions.

 

“While the Tories propose cutting over £556 million from public services in order to pay for their tax cuts for the wealthiest – the SNP Government delivers for our councils and protects the vital local services in Paisley that we all hold dear.”

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, Encourages Shoppers To Keep It Local This Small Business Saturday

 

George Adam MSP

George Adam MSP is encouraging consumers in Paisley and across Scotland to shop locally and support the local economy this Small Business Saturday (2nd December).

 

Small Business Saturday boosted takings by £717m last year in Scotland, and with research showing that money spent locally is more likely to stay in the local economy, a key aim of this campaign is to encourage lasting, year-round support for small businesses.

 

There are 4,685 small businesses in Renfrewshire, employing 28,430 workers.

 

George Adam said:

“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and account for 99% of all businesses across the country, supporting jobs and growth in our communities as well as providing an invaluable service to consumers.

 

“Since 2009, the SNP Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme has provided a total of £1.5bn rates relief and last year a £500m growth fund was set up to cope with the new challenges posed by a Tory hard Brexit.

 

“Paisley has a huge variety of brilliant independent, locally run businesses such as Bianco Nero, Zambretto, Castlevecchi, With Love Flowers, Eigen & Helen’s Haberdashery. Each small business offers something unique and special, and it’s important that we support them in a market that’s increasingly dominated by the big players.

 

“That’s why I’d suggest kicking off your Christmas shopping this weekend, if you haven’t already, by sampling the delights on your door step and visiting your local businesses this Small Business Saturday and beyond to ensure our local businesses thrive.”

SNP Takes The Lead On Income Tax Discussion

Tax Must “Protect Low Earners, Be Progressive And Proportionate”

 

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, has welcomed the publication of a discussion paper on the role of income tax in Scotland and praised the Scottish Government for taking the initiative to discuss the issue in an open and honest manner.

 

The Scottish Government’s paper includes proposals from all of Scotland’s political parties – with progressive parties backing varied measures in order to support public services, and Tory proposals supporting tax cuts for highest earners at the expense of public services.

 

The First Minister also outlined that any changes to income tax in Scotland must pass four key tests – including supporting public services, ensuring the lowest earners don’t see their taxes increase, making the system more progressive, and supporting the economy.

 

Commenting, George said:George sma shot portrait

 

“This discussion paper outlines the various proposals of Scotland’s political parties and where we stand heading towards the budget.

 

“It is perfectly clear that the Tories are isolated on taxation, as they are on so many other issues – with their proposals only offering a tax cut for the wealthiest and continued austerity for the rest of us.

 

“People in Paisley and across Scotland have the right to an open and honest discussion about the income tax that they will pay – and this is exactly what the Scottish Government is delivering.

 

“We need to be prepared to ask these difficult questions and to work with other parties to find an answer that means individuals and businesses are treated fairly and pay the right amount for the services that they receive in return.

 

“And as we work towards delivering a budget that works for Paisley and all of Scotland, we can rest assured that the Scottish Government will bring forward policy proposals that are in the interests of everyone, protecting the lowest earners and our public services in Paisley as opposed to just standing up for a wealthy few and putting our education and health services on the bonfire.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grass almost up to your knees is currently plotting the Paisley landscape

The Brexit Bombshell: Farmer’s Incomes Could Halve After No Deal

 

Farmers in Scotland could see their incomes cut in half after Brexit, a report by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board has warned.

The staggering new research warns that a No Deal Brexit, as increasingly threatened by Theresa May, is one of a number of threats to farm incomes – alongside possible changes to tariffs and subsidies.

The report finds that the “worst-case scenario” would see average farm profits across the UK fall from £38,000 a year to just £15,000.

Grass almost up to your knees is currently plotting the Paisley landscape

 

 

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

 

This is a bombshell report that exposes just how bad a Tory Brexit could get for rural Scotland.

 

“The food and drink industries are flourishing, and agriculture is an essential part to the local economy in Scotland – helping drive our tourism and hospitality industries as well as putting food on family tables.

 

“Theresa May’s reckless approach to negotiations risks enormous damage to our economy. It’s time that the Tories put the interests of the country ahead of their party squabbles – and committed to staying in the single market.”

 

Scottish Economic Growth Outstrips The UK

New GDP figures show that Scotland’s economy has grown 0.8% in the first quarter of 2017, four times the UK growth rate for the same quarter.

 

Production grew by 3.1%, accounting for most of the growth in Scotland, and the services industry grew by 0.3%.

 

Since 2007, productivity in Scotland – the key driver of economic performance  –  has grown by more than 7%. In the UK as a whole productivity growth has been close to zero (0.4%).

 

Commenting on the latest GDP figures, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:russell institute

 

“We are seeing an improving picture across Scotland – the economy is growing, the number of people in employment is rising and unemployment is at historic lows.

 

“Paisley has lots to be confident about. The SNP Scottish Government’s £6 billion infrastructure plan, £500 million Scottish Growth Scheme and record investment in Modern Apprenticeships and education will continue to support Paisley’s economy.

 

“However Brexit, and being removed from the world’s largest single market, poses the biggest threat to this progress and Scotland’s economy. A blind crusade towards a hard Brexit cliff edge could cost our economy around £11 billion a year by 2030 and result in 80,000 fewer jobs, and the fall in Sterling since the referendum is already pushing up prices and squeezing household incomes. This, accompanied by relentless Tory austerity, means we cannot be complacent.

 

“The SNP has a plan to grow our economy and we will continue to work hard to support it through difficult times ahead – determined to remain an open, European nation inside the world’s largest single market.”

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

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.

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.”