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George outside Paisley Museum

SNP Taking Action to Reduce Nuisance Calls in Paisley

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, to Raise Problem With Nuisance Calls Commission.

 George Adam has pledged to support Scottish Government efforts to cut down on nuisance calls – after it was announced that a new commission is meeting this week to tackle the issue in Scotland.

 Nuisance calls can be particularly disruptive for vulnerable people across Paisley, causing distress and even financial hardship – sometimes leaving people too scared to even answer their phone.

 George plans to raise the problem of nuisance calls in Paisley with the Nuisance Calls Commission, and invites any constituents plagued by cold calls to get in touch.

 George outside Paisley Museum


Commenting,
George said:

 “Cold calling can be very distressing, particularly for vulnerable people across Paisley – and can go as far as causing financial hardship and even leave people too scared to answer their phones.

 “The Scottish Government has been taking action to prevent nuisance calls, and this new Nuisance Calls Commission will help give individuals and businesses more power to stop cold calling, whilst exploring if stronger regulation is necessary.

“I intend to raise the issue of nuisance calls in Paisley with the Commission – and invite any concerned individuals to get in touch to talk about their experience.

 “The Commission is an important step in helping to tackle the problem. Whilst the UK government announcement on banning pensions cold calling is welcome, more can be done to protect individuals – and the Scottish Government intends to use newly devolved powers to do what it can to prevent nuisance calls, whilst urging the UK government to do more and to work with them to take concerted action.”

 

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Paisley Legend Goes to Parliament

The Scottish Parliament has been graced by the depiction of a Paisley Legend.  A portrait of Tony Fitzpatrick, former player, captain, manager and now chief executive of St Mirren will now hang in the office of Paisley’s MSP, George Adam at the parliament.

The famous captain of the 1987 Scottish Cup winning is depicted in a painting produced by Garry Byars, a local Paisley artist.

 

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George Adam MSP with local artist, Garry Byars

George said:

‘Everyone knows that I am a St Mirren fan and I must say that Tony has a place in my heart.  He was captain of our club at the age of 17, Alex Ferguson had seen his potential and his capability at a very young age.  He was also captain of the club in 1987 a very special time for all saints fans that were around at that time.

‘Tony is someone that is very well thought of in Paisley and throughout football.  It’s going to be a real pleasure having Garry’s artwork in my office for all to see.

 

Garry said:

‘It has been a double honour with Tony Fitzpatrick signing the painting, which went on auction at this year’s Sma Shot Day Festival and now to have it going to such a good home in George Adam’s office at The Holyrood Parliament is beyond my expectations. I would like to say thanks to George and to St Mirren for making 2016 a very exceptional year.

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Disability Agenda Scotland (DAS) event at the Scottish Parliament

George Adam MSP Backs Disability Alliance’s Call For Measures To Reduce Stigma And Discrimination

 

 

George Adam MSP is backing Disability Agenda Scotland’s call to raise awareness about the positive contributions of disabled people and help to end the stigma and discrimination which are still experienced.

 

Following the publication of DAS’s Equal? Still not, why not?

 

Pic Greg Macvean - 23/11/2016 - 07971 826 457 Disability Agenda Scotland (DAS) event at the Scottish Parliament

Pic Greg Macvean – 23/11/2016 – 07971 826 457
Disability Agenda Scotland (DAS) event at the Scottish Parliament

report this week which details the experiences of more than 80 people who live with a variety of disabilities, the alliance is also calling for action to ensure greater support and opportunities for disabled people.

 

DAS wants to see a concerted effort by the Scottish Government, UK Government, local authorities and other bodies to reduce the disability employment gap by improving the ways employment services work, as well as effective coordination to ensure the new social security systems are underpinned by a commitment to human rights, dignity and respect.

 

Representatives from DAS, an alliance of Scotland’s six major disability charities Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, Capability Scotland, ENABLE Scotland, RNIB Scotland, SAMH and Sense Scotland; highlighted during an event in the Scottish Parliament that disabled people continue to feel they are not equal citizens in Scottish society and more needs to be done to improve their life opportunities.

 

George Adam MSP said: “I’m pleased to support DAS’s call for the many positive contributions of disabled people in our communities to be highlighted. I also want more to do be done to eradicate remaining barriers to enable people with a disability in Paisley to have equal access to all public transport, services and get any person-centred support that is needed to ensure they can take up everyday opportunities like everyone else.” Delia Henry, Chair of DAS, said: “We appreciate George Adam MSP’s support and recognition that more needs to be done to support disabled people to fulfil their personal career and life aspirations, reduce isolation and end the stigma of disability so that they begin to feel like equal members of society.”

 

For a copy of DAS’s Equal? Still not, why not? report, visit www.disabilityagenda.scot or email: layla@disabilityagenda.scot

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.”

 

George Outside Paisley Crown Post Office

November 17 is announced as closing date for Paisley’s Piazza post office

Paisley MSP George Adam says workers have been treated with “disdain” 
 Protests: People signed petitions in a bid to keep the facility open
Roberto Cavieres – Protests: People signed petitions in a bid to keep the facility open
PAISLEY DAILY EXPRESS: Live news as it happens

Paisley’s Crown post office is to finally close in a few weeks.The long running campaign to keep the Piazza-based service open was defeated earlier this year, but staff were only told recently of the date the axe falls —Thursday, November 17.

And the town’s MSP, George Adam, discovered the news from the Paisley Daily Express before hitting out angrily at the treatment of the workforce.

He blasted: “Once again, it would seem that the workers at the post office and the people of Paisley are being treated with disdain.

“I have been told that the Piazza post office is being closed in less than three weeks, but not from the Post Office itself, of course.

“I’m sure that you might think they would contact the representative of the town before such a dreadful action, just a few weeks before Christmas. Alas, it wouldn’t surprise me.”

He added: “‘I took part in the consultation.

“And it was during that consultation where it was discovered the Post Office was already advertising for staff at the new location, as revealed by the Paisley Daily Express.

“And that was before a decision had been made.

“I am still waiting to hear about the responses to the consultation and the numbers in favour of the Piazza location closing.

“Speaking to people around the town, there is a bad smell about this whole process.

“There has been talk of ‘sham’ and ‘done deal’ and, at the moment, I have no evidence to contradict these calls.”

The post office is to be moved to
WH Smith, in Paisley High Street, where work is underway at the back of the store to build glass-fronted counters.

A spokesman for the Communications Workers Union said: “It is all very sad.

“It seems to have been a foregone conclusion that Paisley Crown post office would close from the start.

“It will become a franchise and that is always a worry too for new terms and conditions for any staff who transfer over.

“But, so far, we have not had word of any staff deciding to make that move.

“So it looks very much like when the post office closes in the Piazza, then the jobs finish there too. Again, it’s very sad.

“We are not sure even if the WH Smith post office will be opening immediately after the Piazza branch closes.

“We had 373 Crown post offices in 2012 and today we have 301.

“That shows the loss of a great service to the public.”

A Post Office spokeswoman said: “Our plans to move are continuing and the new branch will open on November 17.

“The current branch will operate until normal closing time hopefully on November 16.”

She added: “There are 14 staff at the current branch seven part-time and seven full-time.

“The staff can transfer to WHSmith in line with TUPE legislation.

“We support employees who don’t want to take up this option, exploring redeployment opportunities, or leaving under a settlement agreement.

“We’ve got a good track record on this and we’re discussing options with people on an individual basis.”

Meanwhile, Paisley MP Mhairi Black said:“It is very disappointing that the Post Office has decided to go ahead with this move, despite the people of Paisley sending a clear message that they disagree with the plans.

“The problems identified during the consultation process remain and I hope that the Post Office will take them into consideration when implementing the move.

“It remains to be seen whether the feedback myself and others provided to the Post Office will be listened to when it opens up in WH Smith, and I will be making sure to visit the new post office when it opens.”

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The Scottish Parliament Has Backed The SNP’s Plans To Reform Local Council Tax

George with Nicola Sturgeon.

The Scottish Parliament has backed the SNP’s plans to reform local council tax, paving the way for an additional £500 million in education spending over this parliament.

 The majority of households will see no rise in their bills due to these changes. While those who can afford to pay more will see a moderate increase in their bills, all households will continue to pay less on average than under council tax regimes in England.

 Renfrewshire schools are set to benefit from the increased spending as the SNP take forward plans to close the attainment gap between those from low-income and high-income families.

 The overwhelming vote in favour of the change is the first step in the process of reforming council tax, with the Scottish Government committing to further discussions on fair and progressive taxation.

 Commenting, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

 “This reform represents the SNP’s continued commitment to a fair and progressive system of local taxation, with £100m delivered for our schools each year while keeping bills down for most households.

“Improving standards in schools is the SNP’s number one priority in government and this investment is a major step forward in achieving this.

“The extra revenue raised by these reforms will be invested into Paisley schools, with funding targeted at schools with the greatest need.

 “This is an important step in making sure that council tax reflects the ability to pay, while making an important difference to schools in Paisley.”

 

 

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

Damian Green given signed I, Daniel Blake book

Philip Green

Image caption Mr Green was also “photobombed” by someone wearing an I, Daniel Blake t-shirt

T
he BBC  – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-3786316
Read more about sharing.

MSPs have given the UK government’s work and pensions secretary a signed copy of the I, Daniel Blake book.

It came as a Holyrood committee repeatedly challenged Damian Green over the benefit system’s sanctions regime.

Mr Green strongly rejected claims that the welfare system had driven people to commit suicide.

He also accused MSPs of attempting to “politicise individual tragedies” and said the system was there to help people.

I, Daniel Blake – which has been turned into a film by Ken Loach exploring poverty and the benefits system – has previously been described as “fiction” by Mr Green.

The book was signed by screenwriter Paul Laverty, who was at the committee meeting and wrote inside the front cover that he “stands by every single incident” in it as a “fair reflection of what is going on today”.

‘Light reading’

It was presented to Mr Green by SNP MSP George Adam, who suggested he use it as “light reading” for his journey back to London.

Mr Adam stated that the story of a 59-year-old joiner who is plunged into extreme poverty and confronted by a faceless bureaucracy when his benefits are stopped was drawn from real-life research.

He also said campaigners from the Black Triangle Campaign group had told the committee that “basically the regime of Personal Independence Payment assessments (which assess people with a disability for benefits) is sending people to go and commit suicide”.

He added: “They almost accused you of murdering people.”

George Adam

Image caption SNP MSP George Adam presented a copy of the book to Mr Green

Mr Green said: “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.”

I Daniel Blake
Image copyright Sixteen Films

Image caption I, Daniel Blake story of a 59-year-old joiner who is plunged into extreme poverty

Mr Green was invited by the members of Holyrood’s Social Security Committee to apologise for the “significant failures and problems” of the benefits reforms since their 2010 roll-out, which can see claimants’ payments suspended if they do not follow their agreement.

MSPs also quizzed the minister on a Green Paper published on Monday, which contains a range of new proposals to help people with disabilities and long-term health problems find work and stay in their jobs.

Mr Green said benefit reforms were aimed at helping people “take control” of their lives, and described sanctions as a “necessary backstop”.

The proposals contained in the Green Paper will help those with disabilities realise their potential, he said.

‘Last resort’

Sanctions, he said, have fallen in the last year, with Scotland seeing a 60% fall in Jobseekers’ Allowance sanctions in the year to March 2016.

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

On his Green Paper, Mr Green added: “One of the things that strikes me as hugely ironic is the way every four years now we have got into the routine of everyone in the country hugely admiring Paralympians.

“And then everyone goes back to their day jobs and tends to regard disabled people as ‘we feel sorry for them’… not recognising there are millions of people with talents to do great things.

“We have got to make it easier for those people to express those talents and do the great things that are within them.”

George town hall landscape

Paisley’s MSP Calls On Local Organisations To Adopt The New £8.45 Living Wage

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, today welcomed the new Scottish Living Wage rate of £8.45 an hour and encouraged more employers in Paisley to sign up as Accredited Living Wage Employers.

The Scottish Living Wage, calculated to meet the cost of living, is reviewed every year based on living standards.

The rise of 20 pence per hour will benefit thousands of workers at Living Wage across Scotland, including many in Paisley.

George town hall landscape George said:

“The new Living Wage of £8.45 will be a welcome pay rise for thousands of workers across Scotland and in Paisley , ensuring that people’s basic wage continues to meet the real costs of living.

“I would encourage all businesses in Paisley to consider becoming Scottish Living Wage employers. For business, paying the Living Wage makes sense – it’s an investment in people and all the evidence shows it leads to increased productivity and reduced staff absence and turnover, while sending a strong signal to customers about fairness.

“With millions of workers worse off as a result of the UK Government’s welfare cuts, and low pay one of the main drivers of in-work poverty, employers can make a real difference by choosing to pay the real Living Wage.

“I encourage all businesses in my constituency to recognise the benefits of paying the real Living Wage.”

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Paisley MSP George Adam wrongly threatened with Sheriff Officers over unpaid bill mix-up

Mr Adam was accused of not paying a £400 levy

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Paisley MSP George Adam revealed he has been threatened with Sheriff Officers being sent to his town centre office.

The warning was issued by Renfrewshire Council on behalf of Paisley First amid claims he had failed to cough up a £400 levy — despite it being paid in May.

Mr Adam laughed off the threat regarding his Johnston Street office and said: “The letter has been signed by Alan Russell as director of finance and resources, and I know him well from my time at the council.

“He’s a good guy.

“I don’t know how this has happened. I have no idea, but I have received two letters saying I have not made payment of the required instalment for BID — Business Improvement District — with the second saying that unless payment was made within 14 days, then they will apply to Sheriff Officers for the recovery of any payments.

“My office manager, David McCartney, has been trying to sort this out, but nothing has been resolved.

“I find it all really funny.

“The bill was paid by the Scottish Parliament as a matter of course, because there are office expenses for the basics such as water, electricity, heating and this levy.

“So my office is basically a little piece of Parliament in Paisley.

“It is an extension of Parliament and non-political with no party posters, or anything like that.

“In fact, I wonder if it is actually legal for Sheriff Officers to carry out any action on Parliament. I must check that out.”

George cart landscape

Local Recorded Crime Falls Under SNP Government

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, has welcomed latest figures that show a steep decline in recorded crime across Paisley since the SNP came to power in 2007.

 

Recorded crime in Renfrewshire has fallen by 42% in the ten years between 2006/07 and 2015/16, part of a nationwide fall of 41%. George believes this shows the success of SNP policies in policing and justice.George cart landscape

 

Commenting, George said:

 

“These are welcome figures that show a steep fall in recorded crime in the period since the SNP entered office in 2007 – and shows that SNP policies, such as having more police officers, have made our communities safer.

 

“It is excellent to see a decline in recorded crime of 42% across Renfrewshire, part of a Scotland-wide picture that shows an overall fall of 41% since 2006/07.

 

“Having safe communities where everyone feels welcome are vital to creating the Scotland that we all want to see – and these figures show that, under the SNP, we have made significant progress in achieving this goal.”