Scottish Parliament

George Welcomes Funding for Young People

George outside Paisley AbbeyThe Scottish Government yesterday [27/9/12] announced the 24 projects which have received funding from the Third Sector and Social Enterprise Challenge Fund, with three of these projects helping young people in Paisley and the whole of Renfrewshire. The Kibble Education and Care Centre, the Wise Group and Barnardo’s have received funding for projects in Renfrewshire.

Speaking on the announcement, George said, “I was delighted to hear that three projects within Paisley, and indeed the whole of Renfrewshire have been award money from the Third Sector Challenge and Social Enterprise Fund. The Kibble Education and Care Centre are going to use their award to provide a six month transitional jobs programme for 34 young people between the ages of 18 and 24. The Wise Group will use their ward for their Green Skills Route way programme to offer young people opportunities in the green energy sector, while Bardardo’s Work Services will use the award to help young people, 16 plus, into education training and employment placements.

‘I was really delighted to hear this announcement from the Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance which highlights the Scottish Governments continued commitment to helping young people into an education, training or employment post. I have ever confidence that the three Renfrewshire based organisations will offer great help and support to our communities young people.

Commenting, Angela Constance said, “We have put record levels of investment into opening up opportunities for our young people to improve their chances of finding employment.

“The Third Sector Challenge and Social Enterprise Fund forms part of our unique guarantee to 16 to 19 year olds that all will be offered a place in training or education. I am very pleased to be able to fund such a broad range of projects, all of which have a single goal – helping Scotland’s young people into a job.

George asks Question on Mental Health

George outside PaisleyTown HallThe day before the launch of the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival in Paisley Town Hall, George Adam, MSP for Paisley, asked the Scottish Governments Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, what research the government had conducted on whether there is a relationship between obesity and mental health. The Minister noted the importance of the link and outlined the steps taken by the government to address this issue in the new mental health strategy, published by the government in August.

Commenting, George said, “Today [27/9/12] I am attending the launch of the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival. I thought it would be the right time to ask the question of the government, finding out what they are doing to promote a more active lifestyle amongst people with mental health conditions. I was pleased to hear that in the new mental health strategy, the government gave a commitment to work with the NHS boards and other partners to support a range of measures to help people with severe and enduring mental illness to improve their physical ability levels.

‘I am very happy to have the launch of the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival in Paisley, as hopefully this festival, like it did last year, will get people who suffer from mental health issues out and about, attending many of the wonderful events, and in turn, getting more physical activity. Attending many of the events last year, I talked too many who suffered with mental health problems, and they were thrilled to have this festival, which allowed them to get out and see events specific to there issues.

‘With the Scottish Governments commitment to help improve the physical ability levels of people with metal health issues, and the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival offering it own unique events, I truly hope we can help many to improve there physical health, while also having fun and gaining more confidence to become more active.

Click here for a link to the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

George Takes Up Post in Cabinet Secretary’s Office

George, the new PLO to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong LearningIn the wake of the recent cabinet reshuffle, Paisley’s MSP George Adam has been promoted to the post of Parliamentary Liaison Officer (PLO) to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Mike Russell. George will now be the link between the cabinet and MSP’s regarding all things educational.

Speaking on the appointment, George said, “I met with the First Minister last Thursday [13/09/12] to officially accept the post and was delighted to have been asked to take on such an important role. Education forms the foundations of society, what we learn in our early years forms so much of what we will do in our later years, so it is paramount that we give everyone the same opportunities. I am eager to contribute in any way I can to the Scottish Government’s world renowned education system.

‘In my role, I will hold regular meetings with Mike Russell to discuss current educational matters while I will also sit on the Education Committee at Holyrood. I believe this post will be educational for me as well, I hope to learn as much as I can, taking on board opinions from all corners of society, opinions which I will always be ready to pass on to the Cabinet Secretary.

‘As Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mike Russell has three Ministers working under him overseeing, science, children and young people and youth employment, all areas of great importance to the people of Scotland, areas which I also intend to work with and support. I would like to thank both Mike Russell and the First Minister for giving me the opportunity and look forward to making a positive contribution to Scottish education.”

Parliament Bewitched by George’s Debate

Geogre with Fiona Hyslop MSp and members of Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697Yesterday, as members of the Scottish Parliament listened to the closing remarks of a debate in the parliament chamber, they turned around to the viewing gallery where they looked with amazement to see members of the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 enter dressed in full costume. They were there to see George Adam MSPs member’s debate regarding this project and the benefits it has had for our town.

Speaking after the debate, the first ever members debate to be held on a Tuesday, George said:

“I was delighted to welcome to parliament members of the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 and others involved in the project. I was able to secure a members debate after submitting a motion to parliament congratulating the project for the event which was staged in Paisley in June this year, while also highlighting the great benefit cultural events like this can have for any town in Scotland.

‘Liz Gardiner of Fablevision and one of the many people involved with the witch hunt has been keen to tell me how cultural planning can benefit towns around Scotland, picking up on a towns cultural assets, like the tale of the Paisley witches, and develop it into a event to bring people into our towns and showing the best we have to offer.

‘As I said in my speech, many people in Paisley know of the witch trials and the horse shoe marking the last resting place of the suspected witches on Maxwellton Street, but few were familiar with the whole story. So it is great that we have such an enthusiastic group of people here in our town willing to re-enact this piece of history.

‘I was delighted that the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, was able to meet with the group after the debate to see the costumes close up and here a few extra pieces of the story. I would like to thank everyone that came through for the day, many of my colleagues commented on how seeing everyone in costume added to the debate, and hope that Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 goes from strength to strength and I look forward to seeing the event again next summer.

Motion which was debated during the member’s debate –

Motion S4M-03284: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/06/2012

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697, Shining the Light for Community-based Events

That the Parliament congratulates the Paisley Development Trust and everyone involved with the event, Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697; notes that the event took place across Paisley town centre on 9 June 2012 and included storytelling and numerous re-enactments; praises all of the volunteers who gave up time to make what it considers to have been a great and successful day; thanks especially the 250 people who donned historical garments to make the re-enactments as authentic as possible and the estimated 1,000 people from Paisley and Renfrewshire who came out in force to support the day; considers that community-led events such as the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 are a great way to engage communities, bring people to towns, spark interest in local history and culture and, more generally, provide locally based and produced entertainment and enjoyment for towns as a whole, and believes that more events like this in cities, towns and villages across Scotland would be of great benefit to local communities and would highlight the talent and imagination of so many throughout the land.

 

George Speaks in the Empty Property Relief Debate

George yesterday spoke on in the Local Government Debate on Empty Property Relief. Empty properties are a sight that blights our high street and George has and will work with any group to promote our town centre and make positive contributions in making this great town even better.

During the debate George commented: “There is potential to bring 5,500 properties back into use. The alternative is that, as Mr Brown (Conservative MSP) suggested, we do nothing and leave our town centres the way they are, with no hope or vision for the future. That is what the Tories constantly come up with. If we continue to do nothing, the cost and impact will be that, in 2012-13, £152 million will be used to subsidise empty shops. We will spend £152 million to keep shops and businesses closed. That is not right or correct in a modern and dynamic Scotland. What incentive does that give faceless absentee landlords on our high streets, who sit on properties while having no interest in town centre regeneration? Reform of empty property rates will revitalise our town centres and provide that incentive. It will work alongside other regeneration strategies and groups in our communities. It is important to our town centres and to our local economies, which work locally with the authorities and partner organisations to ensure that we can have vibrant and sustainable town centres.”

There are many positive groups in our town working to open up our town centre, injecting creativity and purpose which will benefit Paisley. If you wish to work with George in developing our town centre, do not hesitate to get in contact.

To view George’s full contribution to the debate and the full debate in its entirety, click here. George’s contribution is on page 10363.

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697, Shining the Light for Community-based Events

George today lodged a motion at parliament congratulating all involved in the very successful event which took place in Paisley Town Centre this past Saturday, Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697. The motion carries on by highlighting how events such as this can have great benefits for local communities. The motion is as follows:

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697, Shining the Light for Community-based Events

That the Parliament congratulates the Paisley Development Trust and everyone involved with the event, Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697; notes that the event took place across Paisley town centre on 9 June 2012 and included storytelling and numerous re-enactments; praises all of the volunteers who gave up time to make what it considers to have been a great and successful day; thanks especially the 250 people who donned historical garments to make the re-enactments as authentic as possible and the estimated 1,000 people from Paisley and Renfrewshire who came out in force to support the day; considers that community-lead events such as the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 are a great way to engage communities, bring people to towns, spark interest in local history and culture and, more generally, provide locally based and produced entertainment and enjoyment for towns as a whole, and believes that more events like this in cities, towns and villages across Scotland would be of great benefit to local communities and would highlight the talent and imagination of so many throughout the land.

George Votes in Historic Yes Vote

George says Yes to IndependenceGeorge Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, last week [31/05/2012] voted for First Minister Alex Salmond’s parliamentary motion which stated, “That the Parliament agrees that Scotland should be an independent country; sees it as the responsibility of this generation to hand over a better country to the next generation than the one inherited, and believes that it is vital for the people of Scotland to take full responsibility for the decisions about the future of Scotland.”

This was the first time that Holyrood has indicated its support for Scotland becoming an independent country, and commenting after the vote George said:

‘This was a historic day in the parliament and indeed in Scotland. This is the first time that elected member’s in Scotland have voted in favour of Scotland becoming and independent nation. Indeed, it is not the elected members who will decide whether or not we become independent, but the people of Scotland; however, as a life long supporter of independence for Scotland, this was a very symbolic day for myself and my colleagues.

‘Even just a few years ago, the thought of such a vote would have been unimaginable. Now the unimaginable has arrived, and can act as a starting point, on top of last weeks Yes Campaign launch, on the journey to Scotland taking her seat alongside the world other independent nations once again.

‘The task ahead is great, but it is a task which we all should relish being part of. Myself and the rest of my independence supporting MSP colleagues are in a fortunate position during this historic time, sitting in a parliament which looks to take the biggest step in over 300 years, however, every single person in Scotland is fortunate also; they hold the opportunity in their hands to make Scotland independent once more.

George welcomes consultation in Victims’ Rights Bill

George Adam MSPGeorge Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s consultation on their proposed Victims’ Rights Bill.

The proposed Bill aims to introduce new measure to help further protect those affected by crime and to allow further openness and transparency between victims of crime and the Scottish justice system.

Commenting George said:

“The role of the Scottish justice system is to protect the victims of crimes as well as ensuring those who perpetrate crime are held to account for their actions.

“The Scottish Government has already made improvements to the way victims of crime and witnesses are treated by the judicial system. Courts can now award higher compensation payments and the Government also continues to support the work of Victim Support Scotland.

“The consultation contains a wide range of proposals that aim to further improve the experience of the justice system for victims and witnesses and offer them additional support. It aim to make sure victims, witnesses and their families feel better prepared to give evidence, ensure that they are more informed about any court proceedings and better ensure that victims and witnesses needs remain a priority.

“I would urge as many people as possible in Paisley and beyond to respond to the consultation, as their opinions could be vital in ensuring that this bill goes further to protect those affected by crime.”

Click here for a link to the consultation paper

National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Week

Stacey and her father during MS WeekGeorge recently secured his second members debate, on a subject very close to his heart, Multiple Sclerosis (MS). As many of you will know, George’s wife Stacy suffers from MS, first being diagnosed when she was 16. Stacey has the secondary/ progressive form of the disease and often finds it difficult to undertake small everyday tasks, however on occasion, she can get up and dance with George on a night out. Scotland has the most cases of MS in the world per capita, and while great steps are being taken every day to understand this disease, much has still to be done. That is why debates like that which George secured in the parliament, during National MS week, helps to make people more aware of this disease. George would like to thank all the members who took part in the debate, everyone who supported National MS Week, and also his wife Stacey who made the trip through to Edinburgh for the debate, while this was a long and tiring day for Stacey, she too appreciated all the support people have offered her and everyone else who suffers from this disease.

You can view the dabate by clicking here.

 

MSP Secures Fairtrade Debate to Launch Fairtrade Fortnight

George with his favourite Fairtrade chocolateGeorge Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, today [23/02/12] led a Members Debate in the Scottish Parliament on the new Fairtrade campaign ‘Take a Step in 2012’. Fairtrade Fortnight begins on the 27th February and runs until 11th March, and is the highlight of the Fairtrade calendar with many events happening all over Scotland.

George said, “I was delighted to secure a members debate on Fairtrade in the run up to Fairtrade Fortnight. I have been passionate about Fairtrade for years; it was actually hearing about child sweat-shops being used to manufacture some of the most popular clothes at the time, which eventually lead me onto finding out about Fairtrade. Nowadays, many top brands are Fairtrade, like Kit Kats and Cadbury’s Chocolate Buttons, which are a personal favorite of mine.

‘Fairtrade looks to guarantee fair prices for producers of many products, from coffee, tea, wine and cotton. Many of these producers are from third world countries and were exploited for years, being paid very poor prices. So the more people that turn to Fairtrade means more producers around the world will get a fair price for their produce, increasing their wage and raising their living standards.

‘Take a Step in 2012, is a campaign designed to make people aware that no matter how small a step they make for Fairtrade; even a small step is a good step. Whether you alert a friend to Fairtrade, change to Fairtrade coffee yourself, change your office to only use Fairtrade products, of turn your school into a Fairtrade one, these are all positive steps. Renfrewshire has been a Fairtrade Zone since 2009, with Paisley being a Fairtrade Town since 2007.

‘Council Leader Brian Lawson has done wonders for Fairtrade locally; I can vouch for this as I was on the Fairtrade Steering Group with him as a councilor, before I became the Co-Convener of the Cross Party Group on Fairtrade at the Scottish Parliament. 2012 is the also the year that Scotland hopes to become a Fairtrade country, like our Celtic cousin, Wales. The positive nature of the debate I had in Parliament can only bode well for Scotland’s chances and I would urge as many Buddies as possible to Take a Step, for Fairtrade, in 2012. “

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, who closed the debate said, “I echo the sentiments that have been expressed in the chamber and thank George Adam. An assessment panel will meet in the autumn to review our evidence and judge whether Scotland has achieved enough to become a Fairtrade nation. I am confident that we will have done so, but we have to strive to go beyond that.

‘Evidence suggests that fair trade sales are holding up, despite the recession. In 2010, sales of fair trade products soared by 40 per cent to an estimated retail value of £1.17 billion, and the Fairtrade Foundation is expected to reveal another increase in sales.”

For more information on Fairtrade Fortnight, Take a Step in 2012 or just Fairtrade in general, click Here. You can also watch the full debate on the BBC Democracy Live Website – click here.