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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 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

George Is Paisley’s Candidate!

Paisley SNP Constituency Association has confirmed George Adam as its candidate for the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election. George, who has been Paisley’s MSP for the past 4 years will seek re-election to continue his work of representing his constituents and promoting our town locally and nationally. George, who is Paisley born and breed, lives in Paisley with his wife Stacey and is not only our local MSP, but chairman of the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMiSA) and honorary president of Paisley Pirates Ice Hockey Club, to name but a few things George is involved with in our local community.

George and Nicola outside Paisley Abbey

George and Nicola outside Paisley Abbey

Speaking after his selection, George said, “It has been the privilege of a life time to spend the last 4 years representing my home town in the Scottish Parliament. When I was elected on 5th May 2011 in the wee hours of the morning, I made a commitment to the people of Paisley that I would stand up for everyone in my constituency, both those that voted for me and those that didn’t.

“I am here to represent you no matter your political affiliation. Since that night, I have worked every day to raise out towns profile and promote Paisley, highlighting everything it has to offer. It is a standing joke in the Scottish Parliament that I will mention Paisley, St Mirren, Paisley Buddies in every speech I make. Now my colleagues may find this amusing, but that’s what I’m there to do, talk up Paisley and bring attention to the numerous great people and places we have in this historic town.

George with SNP members on the night he was selected as the SNP Candidate for the forthcoming Scottish Parliament Election

George with SNP members on the night he was selected as the SNP Candidate for the forthcoming Scottish Parliament Election

“By seeking re-election, I ask the people of Paisley to again put their trust in me to effectively represent Paisley in our nation’s Parliament. Months of hard campaign are ahead and I relish the opportunity of speaking to as many of my constituents as possible, out and about in our town centre, on the doorstep and throughout our town, putting forward a positive message of how I will continue to promote our town and stand up for the people of Paisley.”

George and Nairne

Nairne’s Week With Team Paisley

Recently, Nairne Clark, a fourth year pupil at Belmont House School, has joined the family at Paisley’s Parliamentary Office for his work experience. As the fourth years at his school were scheduled to undertake work experience at the end of June, Nairne thought it would be a good experience as he has a keen interest in politics and current affairs that has grown due to the recent political awakening in Scotland and the General Election. 16 year old Nairne thought it would also be interesting to learn about the tasks and duties of an MSP, both in the constituency and the Scottish Parliament.

George and Nairne

George and Nairne

Speaking of his time at the office on Johnston Street Nairne said, “The past week has been a brilliant experience! I’ve gained some valuable skills through preparing a briefing and looking in to issues raised by local constituents. The team of George, Matthew, Dave, Tom and Cathy made the week even better as they were very nice and welcoming. I also had the pleasure of being invited to go to the Parliament on the Wednesday; it was a great honour and a very interesting experience.”

“At the parliament I received an insight into the duties of MSP’s and met George’s lovely wife Stacey. As well as this, I was able to sit in the gallery of the chamber and watch the Community Empowerment bill make its way through parliament. In addition to this I received a tour of the wonderful, modern building and saw a few familiar faces! Over all it has been a very interesting and informative experience.”

Speaking of the experience George said, “It was great to have Nairne in the office this week. He was a pleasure to work with and provided great assistance to me and my staff. On his first day in the office, I was clear to see that Nairne already had a great understanding of politics and was knowledgeable about current affairs. He was constantly asking questions to find out more information; he really wanted to take full advantage of working within a busy constituency office. I would like to thank Nairne for his hard work and wish him well for the future.

George at St Mirren Park

Paisley’s MSP wants to call time on booze ban for supporters at St Mirren Park

Story from Paisley Daily Express – http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/paisley-msp-wants-call-time-5064146

Paisley MSP George Adam has called for St Mirren Park to be used in a pilot scheme to bring booze back to football.

The Saints fan has asked Minister for Sport Jamie Hepburn if the SPFL club could be used in a trial to examine the re-introduction of selling alcohol at matches.

And he has backing from St Mirren chief executive Brian Caldwell.

George at St Mirren Park

George at St Mirren Park

Since 1980, alcohol has been banned from Scottish grounds but Mr Adam believes the time could have come to ease restrictions.

But growing moves have been made to the reverse the ban.

Mr Adam said: “I like having a pint before the game on a Saturday and why should the presumption be that I will misbehave if I do?

“We also need to think about the financial aspect … lifting the ban could give clubs a much-needed financial boost.

“We do need to have a good look at this issue again, in an informed and considered manner.

“I will work with any interested party looking to take this matter forward and I have written to the head of Police Scotland and the SPFL asking for their views at this stage.”

Mr Adam pointed out the recent success of a free Fans’ Zone at St Mirren Park last month, which was attended by 200 adults and children before a match against Motherwell.

He added: “A marquee was erected in the car park, kids were able to kick a ball about and play computer games, while adults were able to enjoy a drink and listen to live music.

“It was a great atmosphere and proof that alcohol can be consumed at the ground before a game.

“Since the ban back in 1980, the game has changed dramatically as has the modern stadium.

“All Scottish Premiership grounds are now all-seater, have expensive security and CCTV systems monitoring the crowd and more importantly, gone are the days of the running battles in the streets before and after games.

“Were these fights even fuelled by alcohol, or were they just a product of their time?

“I choose now to put faith in the football fan, like we do with rugby fans across our nation.”

The initial response from Mr Hepburn was that – after seeking advice from Police Scotland – the Scottish Government is not leaning towards to lift the ban.

But, according to Saints chief executive Brian Caldwell, the Fans’ Zone initiative shows what can be achieved if it’s handled in the right way.

He said: “We have the newest stadium in Scottish football and have no pubs in close proximity, therefore to have the option to segregate and allow supporters to come to the stadium early and enjoy a drink would be a positive move and be a no-brainer for our club and both sets of supporters.

“The Fans’ Zone was extremely successful and all those attending enjoyed coming to the stadium early in a family environment and enjoying a few pre-match drinks.

“Stadiums have better facilities than ever before, with so many modern stadia and this has worked for rugby, the Commonwealth Games and other sporting events in Scotland, as well as for football and other sporting events in England and many other countries around the world.

“Now is the time to run a pilot and we would be happy to be involved with the new facilities we have in Paisley.”

George high street

Moratorium on Fracking in Scotland Announced

A moratorium on planning consents for unconventional onshore oil & gas wells, including fracking, has been announced today by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.

Fergus Ewing also announced that a full public consultation on unconventional oil & gas extraction will be held to ensure that the voices of communities across Scotland are heard on the issue.George outside Paisley Town Hall

Earlier this week the majority of Scottish Labour MPs failed to vote for a moratorium on fracking in the House of Commons, despite Jim Murphy stating his supposed opposition to the technology at the weekend. Every SNP MP voted in favour of a UK-wide moratorium.

Speaking after the announcement, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said, “This news will be welcomed the length and breadth of the country. Over recent months, the issue of fracking has been mentioned at almost every public meeting I’ve attended, as well as receiving numerous piece of correspondence on the subject. The consensuses has been that until more is known about this unconventional oil and gas extraction, how can planning consent be given to frack under someone’s home, without that person having the right to object.

‘Thankfully, the Scottish government has taken the step to block all unconventional oil and gas developments on planning grounds. This flies in the face of the gung-ho approach of the Westminster Government who, as we know from the squandering of Scotland’s oil, will do anything to make a quick buck. We also seen a sorry state of affairs recently when Jim Murphy said Scottish Labour was against fracking, but his MPs failed to turn up and vote for a moratorium when it was voted on at Westminster.

‘I fully support the Scottish Government taking a very cautious stance regarding fracking and look forward to the day when we don’t need to implement a moratorium, but can legislate on all matters relation to fracking in the Scottish Parliament.”

Murray and George

Murray’s Week with Team Paisley

For the last week, 4th year pupil Gleniffer High pupil Murray Pattison has joined the team at Paisley’s Parliamentary Office to undertake his work experience. With 15 year old Murray’s interest in politics, heightened by the recently referendum debate, he contacted George to see if he could spend the week learning about how a busy constituency office operates.

Murray and George

Murray and George

Speaking about his time with Team Paisley, Murray commented, “I have spent the last week in George Adam MSP’s office and it’s been a blast. I’ve contributed in a range of different activities from helping with casework to getting relevant information for George’s speeches. On Wednesday I had the privilege of visiting the Scottish Parliament building (although getting up at half 5 wasn’t as fun!).

‘I was shocked at its beautiful irregular design during my tour and I enjoyed experiencing the budget debate where the Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney gave his plan for setting the new property tax, replacing stamp duty. I felt very proud to have witnessed this.

‘At the parliament building I met George’s lovely wife, Stacey, and I had an all-round great time. All in all I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at the office and parliament.”

George commented on Murray’s stay: “I was delighted to welcome another pupil to my office to undertake their work experience, the first from Gleniffer High School. Having Murray in the office gave him valuable experience regarding the inner working of a busy office right in the centre of Paisley.

‘He tells me he gained a new insight into politics, enhanced further with his day of work through in Edinburgh. I would like to thank Murray for his hard work throughout the week, the interesting debates we have had and wish him well in the future. Who knows, we could have a future Alex Salmond on our hands!”

George Gets the Christmas Post Ready

The Royal Mail is facing its busiest week. This is when all the Christmas post is being delivered, cards and parcels to loved ones across the country and beyond. Workers across Scotland will be doing everything in their power to get the mail delivered to businesses, friends and loved ones at this time of year.

George sending out his 2104 Christmas Cards

Paisley’s MSP has also been delivering his Christmas cards across the town.

George said:

‘Everyone appreciates the hard work conducted by everyone in the Royal Mail to get the Christmas deliveries out.

‘My postbag grows considerably in and out of the office at this time of year.

‘This year I have posted hundreds of cards to my friends and family.

‘I always like to show winter scenes of Paisley on my cards and this year is no exception. Cards depicting the Coats Memorial Church and Paisley Abbey will be going through the doors of many people showing some of the special places in our town.

‘I would like to remind everyone that the last posting dates for second class mail is Thursday the 18th of December, first class is Saturday the 20th of December.

‘I wish everyone in Paisley and beyond a happy Christmas’.

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.