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George outside Paisley Museum

Cabinet Secretary Congratulates Hunterhill Care Home Campaigners

Alex Neil, while still in his post as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing joined Paisley’s MSP George Adam in congratulating the campaigners who saved Hunterhill Care Home from closure. Speaking in parliament during Health and Wellbeing Questions, George asked the Cabinet Secretary about the importance of local authority care homes in the provision of caring for our older people. He then went on to ask the Cabinet Secretary his thoughts on Labour controlled Renfrewshire Council’s attempts to close Hunterhill Care Home with little consultation.George outside Paisley Museum

Commenting, George said, “As the Cabinet Secretary quite rightly said in his response to my question, I have sent a comment to the Paisley Daily Express. However this is not a comment for comments sake, we need to keep the pressure on Renfrewshire Council who have yet to guarantee the long-term future of Hunterhill Care Home. Mr Neil is clear that it is extremely important that in reshaping care for our elderly, we include care homes and that local authorities have an important role to play in this.

‘However, like me, he is keen to congratulate the campaigners who saved Hunterhill Care Home from closure. One of the most galling things to come out of the consultation process over the close of the care home was the distinct lack of consultation. Family, friends and staff all made me aware of the poor communication and consultation undertaken by the local authority. Then after performing a dramatic U-Turn, keeping the care home open and again allowing people waiting to move into the home, they extinguished the myth that there was not a need for these places.

‘I now call on Labour councillors to give us a cast iron guarantee that Hunterhill Care Home will remain open and residents will not again have their position in the home put in doubt.”

George and Nicola outside Paisley Abbey

Scotland Welcomes its New First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Scotland today welcomes its new First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon as Alex Salmond stands down after seven and a half years at the helm of the country. Emotional scenes in the Scottish Parliament yesterday seen Mr Salmond applauded in the chamber and cheered as he left the parliament for one last time as First Minister. With Nicola Sturgeon becoming the first female to lead the SNP, she now becomes the first female to the lead the Scottish Government.

George and Nicola outside Paisley Abbey

George and Nicola outside Paisley Abbey

Speaking on the significant day in the history of the Scottish Parliament, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, commented, “It’s a sad day to no longer see Alex as First Minister of Scotland. Many of the 16 and 17 year olds voting in the election might not fully remember Scotland without him as First Minister. However, in his place steps one of the best politicians of her generation, Nicola Sturgeon.

‘I have known Nicola since our teenage years, spent in the Young Scottish Nationalists, now the Young Scots for Independence. Even in those early days, you could just tell she was going to go far. A more committed person to social justice and equality you will not meet. As the most prominent politician in the Yes campaign, she took us within inches of securing a Yes vote.

‘Now as leader of our great nation, could she be the one to deliver a Yes vote in the future, should the public demand another vote? We have all watched Nicola over the past seven and a half years in her role as Deputy First Minister. The team of Alex and Nicola has seen off 3 Labour leaders, 2 Tory leaders and 3 leaders of the Lib Dems. Her longevity at the forefront of Scottish politics in this day and age shows how capable she has been at doing her job effectively. I feel this is evidence enough to point to the fact that she will go on to be a great First Minister of our country.”

George sma shot portrait

Support the Paisley BID

With voting ending on the 13th November in the ballot for the Paisley Business Improvement District, Paisley’s MSP has urged local businesses to vote Yes. Speaking in parliament George was keen to highlight the potential benefits which a BID could have for Paisley. Initially aided by £20,000 of grant support from the Scottish Government, the Paisley BID would be the 8th in Scotland.
George sma shot portrait

George said, “I have supported the BID right from the start, seeing the benefits it would have for our great town. With the closing date for voting less than a week away, I would urge anyone who hasn’t yet voted to mark a cross in the Yes box, which would see Paisley vote Yes for the second time this year.

‘In a recent speech at Holyrood, I spoke about the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Action Plan one year on from its launch. There has been many great initiatives developed, including the Town Centre First Principle which seeks to keep our public bodies like local authorities and health board using buildings in the centre of our towns. I believe this principle would have seen the Russell Institute remaining in use, instead of going through years of closure. Thankfully, thanks to the Paisley Development Trust and £2m of Scottish Government funding, it is to be brought back into use.

‘Another key theme of the Town Centre Action Plan is to build homes in our town centre. Again, Paisley has greatly benefitted from Scottish Government money as we see with the two development next to the Abbey. This all ties in with the BID. Local businessmen and women will be directing the agenda for business in Paisley. The people who know most about retail in our town, those who work in the sector, will help to shape the future direction of our town centre by being part of the BID.

‘Local Government Minister and Renfrewshire North MSP Derek MacKay who delivered the £20,000 grant support to the Paisley BID noted in parliament recently that the BID would offer support to the retail sector, promote art, cultural, historical, social and educational opportunities, bring more events to the town centre and ‘locate Paisley as a serious visitor destination.’ I would like to congratulate all those involved in the BID process and look forward to working with them all in the future.”

George Abbey New

Cameron’s Attack on Young Unemployed Branded ‘Grossly Irresponsible’

Reports in the Sunday Times [28/9/14] that David Cameron is set to announce a package of welfare cuts targeted at young people have been branded ‘grossly irresponsible’ today.

The Sunday Times reveals that people between 18 and 21 are to be barred from claiming either jobseeker’s allowance or housing benefit, leaving a potentially catastrophic gap in support for young people who face difficulties at the start of their careers.George Abbey New

Meanwhile young people between 16 and 21 who are out of work for over six months will be forced to do ‘community work’ in order to receive benefits.

In Scotland, youth unemployment has fallen from 91,000 to 65,000 over the last two years and the Scottish Government has set a target of providing 30,000 Modern Apprenticeships a year by 2020.

The most recent labour market statistics showed that at 55.6 per cent, Scotland has a higher youth employment rate than the 51.6 per cent rate for the UK as a whole and that the youth unemployment rate has decreased by 2.9 percentage points over the year.

The Scottish Government has repeatedly called on the UK Government to fully adopt the EU’s Youth Guarantee, which would ensure an opportunity of a job, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship for every under 25 within four months of becoming unemployed – but the UK Government has refused.

Commenting, SNP MSP George Adam said:

“These punitive plans are grossly irresponsible and are far more about raising cheers on the Tory backbenches than any serious effort to address youth unemployment.

“Young people need opportunities, not the threat of being cut adrift if youth unemployment is to be tackled.

“With the limited powers of the Scottish Parliament, the SNP has a strong track record of leading the way on supporting our young people into work, training or education.

“That success has come thanks to our focus on positive action, not headline grabbing attacks on young people and we are on course to deliver 30,000 modern apprenticeships by 2020.

“We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to fully adopt the European Union’s Youth Guarantee – which would transform the lives of thousands of young people in Scotland alone.

“If David Cameron was serious about addressing youth unemployment, he should be looking to Scotland rather than his party’s most rabid voices.”

Notes: David Cameron’s plans can be viewed on page 7 of the Sunday Times 28/9/14.

NEW COUNCIL HOUSES IN RENFREWSHIRE

George outside Paisley AbbeyGeorge Adam has welcomed new figures showing that  37 new council houses have been built in Renfrewshire  since 2009 with Scottish Government funding, providing a “huge boost” to the local economy.

 

This compares with only 6 council homes being built in the whole of Scotland during the previous Labour/ LibDem Government’s term.

 

Analysis shows that the Scottish Government Council House Build Programme – introduced in April 2009 – has seen more than £135m invested to provide local authority housing for people across the country.

 

The funding incentivises local authorities to build new homes – the first such central government support to councils in a generation.

 

Commenting George said:

 

“It is fantastic that this SNP Scottish Government has provided funding for more than 37 new homes in Rernfrewshire and demonstrates the scale and ambition of this programme.

 

“The SNP Government is on track to deliver 30,000 affordable homes across Scotland by March 2016, with 1,324 council homes built in 2013/14 alone – the highest number since a new generation of council house construction was kick-started in 2009.

 

“In contrast, the previous Labour/LibDem administration built just six council homes during the four years of their last term in office.

 

“Despite considerable challenges to the money we get back from Westminster the SNP Scottish Government plans to spend over £1.7 billion to deliver our target of 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this Parliament, supporting an estimated 8,000 jobs each year.

 

“However only a Yes vote and the full powers of independence will give us full control to tailor our housing supply investment and initiatives to meet the needs of our communities and the homebuilding industry in Scotland.

 

“It will also provide the full borrowing powers we need to invest prudently in infrastructure, and not have our capital budget dictated to us by Westminster.”

Gonnae Get The Grass Cut!

George and Marie next to the hidden Lochfield Road sign

George and Marie next to the hidden Lochfield Road sign

After receiving numerous complaints from annoyed constituents about Renfrewshire Council’s inability to cut grass, Paisley’s MSP George Adam and Paisley South Councillor Marie McGurk are saying enough is enough, get the grass cut! Since March this year, the issue which George has received the most correspondence about is the lack of grass cutting, coupled with the amount of rubbish strewn all over our town. Cllr McGurk has also seen a rise in the number of complaints she is receiving about the same issues.

Commenting on this on-going situation, George said, “Gonnae just get the grass cut. I’m getting sick of asking and my constituents are getting sick of having to complain. Let’s be honest, many parts of Paisley are a complete mess. The grass which runs along parts of Lochfield Road is an eyesore, with weeds over 4ft growing as well. One of the street signs on Lochfield Road is also hidden by grass and a large thistle. It’s nice to see our national flower growing, currently embodied by the Commonwealth Games mascot Clyde, but this jungle is definitely not a fitting back drop. So my message to Renfrewshire Council is a simple one; take accountability for the mess in many parts of our town and get the grass cut!

Cllr McGurk added, “I have been asking for some time to have this section of grass cut on Lochfield Road and area along Barrhead Road. I had been given assurances that it would be, however this failed to happened and my patience is running thin with the powers at be. I have been inundated with calls from local residents asking, why are the council not cutting the grass. I have asked and been told it’s because of a number of different things, but not once have I been given a good reason why it can’t be done. So like George, I have a simply message, get the grass cut!

Sma Shot Day 2014

George submitted this parliamentary motion today, congratulating everyone involved in this years Sma Shot Day.  Below are some pictures from the event.

Motion Number: S4M-10556
Lodged By: George Adam
Date Lodged: 07/07/2014

Title: Sma Shot Day 2014

Motion Text:
That the Parliament congratulates everyone involved in what it considers yet another successful Sma Shot Day, from the council staff who made it happen to the parade participants; notes that the event celebrates a historic wage victory for weavers over their employers in 19th century Paisley; applauds the participants of the parade, who marched from Brodie Park to Abbey Close in the town centre to take part in the customary burning of the cork; praises all the Paisley Buddies who turned out in their droves to cheer on those in the parade while enjoying the glorious Paisley weather, and looks forward to Sma Shot Day returning in 2015.

No Vote Offers Nothing But Austerity

George Adam MSPAmid increasing warnings that public services south of the border are on the brink of collapse, the Paisley’s MSP is warning that further years of austerity is all that is on offer from the anti-independence parties.

Former Tory Health Minister Stephen Dorrell warned that the NHS in England could collapse within five years due to a lack of resources if it does not receive a substantial funding increase. Yet despite these warnings, senior Tories are advising that the ring-fencing around the NHS budget in England should be removed after 2015.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association which represents local authorities in England warned that a funding gap of £5.8 billion over the next two years is threatening severe cuts to frontline services.

With cuts in public services south of the border having a knock-on effect on Scotland’s devolved budget, further years of austerity would only increase the pressure on Scotland’s public finances.

Commenting, George said, “Those giving the warnings have been shouting from the roof-tops, but no surprises, their cries have fallen on deaf ears around Westminster. We currently have a situation where no party south of the border is giving any inkling that ‘Project Austerity’ may be reversed, it’s almost a race to the bottom to see who can cut the most.

‘The current funding system ensures that those Westminster cuts are passed on to people in Scotland despite being utterly at odds with the priorities of people in Scotland. George Osborne has already made clear that he is signed up to a further £25 billion of cuts and it was recently revealed that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of public sector jobs are in the firing line.

‘The choice is becoming all too clear, vote No and face years of cuts at the hands of either Tory or Labour, with the Lib Dems happy to support which everyone needs them. Austerity is an obsession for Westminster, however we in Scotland do not share this obsession. We want a government we voted for, looking after the priorities of the people of Scotland.

‘Scotland is a wealthy country – generating more tax per head than the UK as a whole in every single one of the last 33 years, and we are in the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world. We can more than afford to be independent, and these damaging Westminster decisions show why we should and must vote Yes.

‘With a Yes vote in September we can make our own choices on tax and spending, and will gain the tools we need to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country.”

Stephen Dorrell’s warnings can be viewed by clicking here.

The Local Government Association’s warnings can be viewed by clicking here.