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George and Nicola outside Paisley Abbey

Make Sure You Have a Say in Your Country’s Future

Paisley’s MSP George Adam has today backed a new campaign encouraging voters missing from the electoral roll in Paisley to register to vote in time for the Scottish Parliament election.

A new campaign launched today by Shelter Scotland and the Electoral Commission is aimed at encouraging those living in rented or temporary accommodation and homeless people to sign up to vote.

Figures published by the Electoral Commission show that only 63.3% of people who rent from a private landlord were registered to vote in 2014, compared to 93.6% of those who own their home outright and 89.3% who own their home with a mortgage.

George and Nicola outside Paisley Abbey

Commenting, George said:

“This is a very welcome campaign and I commend Shelter Scotland and the Electoral Commission’s work – nobody in Paisley should find themselves disenfranchised simply because of their living situation and it’s important that we do everything we can to ensure as many people as possible are signed up to vote.

“One of the great successes of the independence referendum in Paisley was the level of engagement and voter participation that swept across our communities in the weeks and months before September 18th.

“Never before have so many people signed up to have their say in the democratic process in Scotland – it is vitally important that we aim to retain this level of voter participation as we move in to the Scottish Parliament election campaign.

“The Scottish Parliament election is about how we keep Paisley and Scotland moving forward and build on the progress we’ve made since 2007 – and it’s vitally important that everyone’s voice is heard as Scotland’s national debate takes place over the next 100 days.”
ENDS

Notes to editors

Further details of the campaign can be found by clicking here. 

The deadline to register to vote in time for the Scottish Parliament election is April 18th and the online link can be found by clicking here.

George Town Hall

New St Fergus School

George outside Paisley Town Hall

Renfrewshire will receive a share of £230 million from the Scottish Government to replace St Fergus Primary school in the town’s Ferguslie Park.

The £230 million investment, part of the final phase of the £1.8 billion ‘Schools for the Future’ programme, will take the overall number of schools being delivered across Scotland to 112.

Since the Schools for the Future programme began it has created an estimated 11,000 construction jobs and 230 apprenticeships.

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

“This SNP government is working hard to improve educational standards across the country to make sure that every child in Scotland has the ability to achieve their potential. Part of that is making sure children have the right physical environment to learn in.

“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for Renfrewshire. The new primary school will be a fantastic, modern building that pupils, teachers and the whole community will enjoy for generations to come.

“There were a lot scare stories and nonsense about the project but I’m sure everyone will get together to back the building of the school with funding from the Scottish Government.

“Since 2007, we have worked with local authorities to rebuild or refurbish 607 schools, resulting in the number of children educated in ‘poor’ or ‘bad’ condition schools falling by 60 per cent.

“In addition to the educational benefits of the new school, it will also provide a boost to the local economy, creating many construction jobs and apprenticeship opportunities.”

 

George outside Paisley Abbey and Paisley Town Hall, underneath Glasgow Airport's Flightpath

Employment Hits Record High as Scotland Outperforms UK

New figures showing employment in Scotland at a record high and outperforming the UK have been welcomed, as the SNP in government gets on with the job of boosting Scotland’s economy.

Figures show that the employment level in Scotland has risen to 2,631,000 – and the employment rate has grown to 74.9 per cent, the highest rate of the four UK nations, and outperforms the UK as a whole. The new figures also show that youth unemployment in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level since 2006.

In further good economic news for Scotland, new figures show that manufacturing exports to overseas markets grew by 2.4 per cent in the year to Q3 2015.George outside Paisley Abbey and Paisley Town Hall, underneath Glasgow Airport's Flightpath

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“These are very encouraging figures showing employment at a record high – with Scotland outperforming every other nation in the UK as the SNP continues to use every economic lever at our disposal to create jobs and support people back into work.

“The figures on youth employment are particularly welcome – it’s vital that we do everything we can to ensure that our young people are empowered to reach their full potential, and today’s figures show that we are on the right track. There have been a number of business in Paisley opening in recent months which can only bode well for the local employment rate. We also have two iconic local buildings being refurbished, the Russell Institute and the former Arnotts building, which both when finished will increase job opportunities and further boost our local economy.

“While this progress across the country is very welcome, there is more work to be done – and over the coming weeks and months the SNP will lead an ambitious, national debate focussed on building on this progress and keep Scotland’s economy moving forward, with the re-election of Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister and an SNP government delivering for Scotland.”

SNP Depute Leader and Westminster Economy spokesperson Stewart Hosie added:

“The SNP in government is doing everything we can with the powers at our disposal to support more people into work – and we can’t allow this progress to be held back by a Tory government at Westminster obsessed with austerity.

“It’s time for George Osborne and David Cameron to learn some lessons from the approach of the SNP in government – and abandon their ideological commitment to austerity and use every means at their disposal to invest and create jobs.”

Further details can be found here.

SGF Report

Scottish Grocers’ Federation Scottish Local Shop Report

Independent retailers have welcomed the support shown for their industry by Paisley’s MSP George Adam. George attended an event in the Scottish Parliament to receive a copy of the recently published Scottish Grocers’ Federation Scottish Local Shop Report and spoke in the parliamentary debate. The report highlights the value of local independent convenience stores to communities – convenience stores provide over 44,000 jobs and provide valuable services including post offices, bill payment services and ATMs.SGF Report

Speaking in the debate George said, “I represent the great town of Paisley, which has faced many of the challenges that have been mentioned in the retail sector over the past 10 to 15 years. The media automatically tend to take a picture of Paisley High Street when they want to make a point about how dramatically things have changed. However, although the retail giants have moved out of town, the convenience stores are still in my town centre, serving and working with the community.’

‘It is interesting that one of the top three stores that everyone wants to have in their area is a specialist food shop, such as a traditional butcher, which we still have a number of locally. They were extremely busy during the festive period, although they tend to slow up, but they are still the only type of business where people can get certain products. Shops such as independent butchers and grocers make our town centres thrive because they offer something that is slightly different and a service that people can no longer get elsewhere.

‘I believe that small retailers are the solution to our town centre problems. I wish all the retailers all the best, but I encourage everyone to try to shop in local stores, as I did recently in my town when buying Christmas presents. We need to lead from the front and support such traders.”

Scottish Grocers’ Federation Chief Executive Pete Cheema said,

“We were delighted that George was able to join us at our event. The support of MSPs is vital in ensuring a prosperous and sustainable independent convenience store industry in Scotland.”

The report also shows that here are more convenience stores per head of population in Scotland tan there are in the rest of the UK and that in 87% of retailers are involved in community activities.

George

Record Higher Education Figures

George parliamentThe number of Higher Education students studying full time for recognised qualifications at colleges has grown by 22 per cent since 2008-09.

Figures published today by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) on college performance show that in 2014-15, 23,717 students successfully completed such courses at that level, the highest ever number.

Successful full-time Further Education course completion is also 5.2 percentage points higher than in 2008-09, while there were 119,078 funded full time equivalent students at college last year, over 3,000 more than the Scottish Government target of 116,000.

Figures also released today by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show there has been more Scottish-domiciled full-time first degree entrants to Scottish universities compared to last year.

Overall enrolments at Scottish institutions are up one per cent, compared to a two per cent drop in England. First degree qualifiers from Scottish universities are comparable to last year, compared to a seven per cent drop in England.

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:

‘Changes in our college system are paying off.  Concentrating on courses which produce recognised qualifications are important.  It provides standards that are easily understood by employers enabling students to develop and grow within their chosen fields.

‘This is all part of the government’s focus on creating and supporting courses, increasing the time spent in college, producing students that are prepared for life and their career.

‘In the past this was not always the case.  Students must be allowed to study in their chosen field but we must never forget the skills that are needed in our local communities must have a place within the education system.

‘These figures are very positive and we must be vigilant to ensure this progress continues.’

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance said:

“2015 was a landmark year for Scotland’s young people. A record 34,775 Scots-domiciled students were accepted to university. School and college leaver destinations have been very positive, and figures in December showed that youth employment was at its highest August to October level since 2008.

“A year ago we were also looking at record rates of successful completion in our colleges and today’s figures show continuing high standards across the board, particularly when compared to 2008-09. The ambitious changes in our college system continue to bed in following a period of intensive reform and will ensure colleges are focused on our economic growth.

“Compared to 2007, the number of learning hours delivered to students with a disability has increased considerably, as have the average hours of learning per student and learning hours delivered on courses leading to a recognised qualification. We have also once again comfortably exceeded targets on full time equivalent college student numbers.

“These figures suggest that our reforms are working and that more students successfully completed full-time courses leading to recognised qualifications that would lead to additional study or to relevant training or work.

“Today’s university student numbers back up last month’s record UCAS figures and complement our continuing delivery of free tuition for Scottish undergraduate students, sparing them from the additional debt incurred by having to pay fees.

“When compared to a two per cent drop in English domiciled enrolments at English universities and a seven per cent drop in first degree qualifiers in England, the HESA figures clearly show a strong performance for students in Scotland. As highlighted in last month’s draft budget, we will continue to invest heavily in further and higher education to ensure Scotland remains a word class place to study.”

George at Glasgow Airport Amanda McMillan Alyn Smith MEP

Record Passengers Numbers at Glasgow Airport

George has today lodged a parliamentary motion congratulating Glasgow Airport on a very successful 2015 when it seen 8.7 million passengers travelling through its doors.  Speaking on the news from one of Paisley’s biggest employers, George said:

“It is terrific that we have one of the country’s most important and successful businesses right on our door step.  Every month last year, the airport show growth on the year previous.  Amanda McMillan and her team continue to provide great service and an excellent experience when travelling through their doors in Paisley.

‘To see 99.21% of passengers making their way through security in under 10 minutes is testament to the level of care and attention the airport staff pay to making everyone’s journey as smooth as possible.   It is also great to see the amount of extra destinations people can travel to and from, with including Milan, Salzburg, Bucharest and later this year Orlando.

‘Hopefully, we can attract as many people as possible travelling from these destinations to sample what Paisley has to offer.   That is the benefit of having an international airport in Paisley.  So, once again, I congratulate Amanda and her staff on a truly magnificent year for the airport and wish them all well during the airports 50th year.George at Glasgow Airport Amanda McMillan Alyn Smith MEP

Parliamentary motion lodged by George. 

Motion Number: S4M-15285
Lodged By: George Adam
Date Lodged: 11/01/2016

Title: Record Passengers Numbers at Glasgow Airport

Motion Text:

That the Parliament congratulates Glasgow Airport on its largest ever annual increase in passenger numbers in 2015, with more than 8.7 million passengers travelling through the airport, representing an annual increase of 13%, equating to over one million additional passengers; notes that the airport’s success was recognised in 2015 when it was named UK Airport of the Year, Scottish Airport of the Year and the Best Airport in the UK with three to 10 million passengers; commends the airport’s staff, who managed to deal with 99.21% of passengers travelling through security in under 10 minutes; welcomes the news that, commencing in March 2016, Air France will start a daily service to Paris Charles de Gaulle while Virgin Atlantic has announced a new service to Orlando starting in winter 2016, and  wishes the airport and its staff every success in the future, particularly in 2016, which marks 50 years since the airport opened.

George sma shot portrait

The Case for Paisley as City of Culture Championed at Parliament

George sma shot portraitIn a debate about a City of Culture bid the case for Paisley was championed by the town’s MSP.  Parliamentary time was used to discuss the bid for another Scottish town but the case for Paisley was strongly put by George Adam.  Paisley is currently going through the process of applying for City of Culture status which has been bestowed on Derry-Londonderry in 2013 and Hull for 2017.

 

Speaking in the debate, George said:

 

‘Redevelopment and regeneration are, for me, the most important part of any bid, because they have to do with what actually comes out of a bid—its legacy is the most important aspect.

 

‘A successful bid would create the capital investment to ensure that Paisley has the capacity to have such an event, Paisley has many venues, including Paisley town hall, the abbey—which is also now being used as an arts venue—and the arts centre. They demonstrate Paisley’s history and legacy and the importance of Paisley to Scotland in general.

 

‘Any bid needs to ensure that it has public backing—it has to be owned by the people in the town.

 

‘Our local newspaper, the Paisley Daily Express, has urged all buddies to back the bid by running a social media campaign using #WhyILovePaisley. We all know that I tend to come here just to say that, but I have been taking to social media to do it as well. What is not to love about Paisley, its history and the bid?

 

‘What is not to love about the people and their passion for life or about what we have given the world, historically and culturally, from David Tennant to Gerard Butler, from Gerry Rafferty to John Byrne, from the weaver poet Robert Tannahill to the Rev John Witherspoon, who signed the American declaration of independence, and of course the world-famous Paisley pattern?

 

‘All those things will be part of the bid that Paisley is pushing forward’.

 

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop stated:

 

‘I am mindful that, as George Adam pointed out, other Scottish cities and areas have indicated… a desire to bid to become UK city of culture 2021.

 

‘I recently met Renfrewshire Council to hear of its ambitions for Paisley. There is a strong case for Scotland in the competition and our cities are in a strong place culturally. May the competition be constructive, and advertise our country’s cultural successes and potential collectively’.