SNP SUPPORTING LOW INCOME FAMILIES IN PAISLEY

Paisley’s MSP George Adam has welcomed new figures showing that 2,140 payments to low income families have been made under the Scottish Government’s Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods schemes in Renfrewshire.

The Best Start Grant package is putting more money in the pockets of low income families than the DWP system it replaced.

The Grant comprises three cash payments:  the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, for parents with babies up to 6 months old; the Early Learning Payment, for when your child is 2 to 3 and a half years old; and the School Age payment, for when your child reaches school age.

Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that can be used in shops and online to buy healthy foods for children under 3.

The vast majority, 70%, of the 3,075 applications processed from Renfrewshire were approved by Social Security Scotland. 

Across the country, £17.8 million of Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments have been made to support people between 10 December 2018 and 30 September 2019.

George Adam said that these figures show what could be achieved if Scotland had full powers over social security.

Paisley’s MSP commented:

“These payments are making a big difference to families right here in Paisley who are continuing to be pushed to the brink by continued Tory welfare cuts.

“This SNP Government has strived to mitigate the worst effects of the Tories’ austerity agenda but Brexit looms like a storm cloud above our heads.  Any form of Brexit will hit the Scottish economy and drive more people into poverty – with analysis showing a no deal Brexit will push 130,000 people into poverty. 

“The Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments sit in stark contrast to the two-child cap, benefits freeze and disastrous Universal Credit rollout recklessly imposed by the Tories in Government. The SNP has sent a strong message about the kind of country we can be – free from these uncaring Tory policies. 

“We can create a social security system which works to protect people rather than treating those on low incomes with the hostility and suspicion they have been subjected to under the Tories.

“Only a vote for the SNP will ensure that we can escape Brexit, put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands and foster a society built upon dignity and respect.”

TORY WELFARE CUTS DRIVING PAISLEY FOOD BANK DEMAND

New figures from the Trussell Trust show that thousands of three day emergency food parcels were handed out in Renfrewshire this year. 

Between 1st April 2019 and 30th September 2019, across Renfrewshire, 3,314 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in crisis by food banks in the Trust’s network – including 1,388 provided for children.

The statistics released today show April to September 2019 to be the busiest half-year period for food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network since the charity opened.

These shocking figures follow a trend of increased food bank demand since the roll out of the UK Government’s Universal Credit policy.

Geroge Adam MSP

The main reasons cited for people needing emergency food in Scotland are low benefit income (38%), delays (19%), or changes (17%) to benefits being paid.

Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“The SNP has strongly opposed the benefits freeze, the two child cap and the disastrous roll out of Universal Credit but these callous Tory welfare cuts have pushed more and more Scots into poverty.

“This increased reliance on food banks in our community is the most damning indictment of the UK Government’s approach to our society’s most vulnerable people. 

“Food bank organisers and volunteers are dedicated and compassionate individuals but, let’s be clear, they should not be needed.  It is unacceptable that food bank provision has become commonplace under the Tories’ watch. 

“The upcoming election is a chance to hold the Tories to account – and the SNP are the only party who can beat the Tories in Scotland.

“Scotland must have the option to escape from Brexit and yet more Tory austerity.”

GEORGE ADAM MSP URGES OLDER PAISLEY BUDDIES TO ATTEND HEARING LOSS CHARITY’S EVENT IN SHOPMOBILITY

Paisley’s MSP George Adam is backing a charity’s service urging Paisley Buddies to get their hearing checked and start benefiting from using hearing aids and assistive equipment.

As Action on Hearing Loss Scotland estimate 70% of people over 70 have some kind of hearing loss, Paisley’s MSP is encouraging the town’s older residents in particular to attend an upcoming information event which the charity’s Hear to Inform and Connect service is running in Shopmobility.

The service’s Information Manager, Malaika Rose, will be available to give hearing checks and provide details about the full range of support that is available for people who have hearing loss during the event in Shopmobility, The Paisley Centre Car Park, Storie Street between 10.30-12.30 on Friday 25 October.

George Adam MSP said:

“I’m pleased to back Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s call on older people in Paisley to take the opportunity to get their hearing checked at the charity’s upcoming event in Shopmobility and get reassurance about the straightforward process of being fitted with hearing aids and accessing other support to reduce the impact of hearing loss in everyday life.

“I also encourage community and social groups throughout Paisley to contact Action on Hearing Loss Scotland for free information talks to help raise awareness about the signs of hearing loss, how hearing aids and assistive equipment can help and the best ways to communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

Teri Devine, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said:

“We appreciate George’s support for our Hear to Inform and Connect service, which is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, and we look forward to welcoming many local people to our event in Shopmobility on 25th October.

“We want to ensure that everyone who may have hearing loss are informed about the importance of getting fitted with hearing aids programmed to meet their individual needs so that they can fully participate in conversations and stay active and connected with others in society.”

For more information about the service, email: info.scotland@hearingloss.org.uk, or telephone/text: 07388 227407.

PAISLEY’S MSP GEORGE ADAM WEARS IT PINK FOR BREAST CANCER NOW FUNDRAISER

Paisley’s MSP George Adam added a dash of pink to his usual attire to support Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink fundraiser, which takes place on Friday 18 October.

Since launching in 2002, wear it pink has had an enormous impact on the lives of those affected by breast cancer, raising over £33 million to date. George is calling for his constituents to join him by signing up for wear it pink and helping to fund world-class breast cancer research and life changing support for those affected by the disease.

Breast Cancer Now supporters Alison Tait and Jane O’Neill, who have both been affected by breast cancer, joined George at the Scottish Parliament.

Alison Tait, 49 from Edinburgh, is a single parent living with incurable secondary breast cancer. Commenting on why she is supporting this year’s wear it pink day she said:   

‘“Being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer turns your world upside down. Breast Cancer Now does incredible work that makes a real difference for people like me who are living with this disease.

“In May 2018, I helped Breast Cancer Now to launch the Perjeta Now campaign in Scotland. It successfully made this extraordinary drug routinely available to women in Scotland living with incurable secondary breast cancer – giving them nearly 16 months of extra life compared to other treatments.

“Fundraising events like wear it pink help to support Breast Cancer Now’s invaluable work and I would like to encourage people across Scotland to get involved and donate what you can.”

George Adam MSP, said:

“Every year in Scotland, around 4,700 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and over 1,000 women die of the disease. That’s why I’m encouraging my constituents to take part in Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink day on Friday 18 October.  

“The money raised by this wonderful event has such a huge impact, allowing Breast Cancer Now to fund vital research and support for those living with a diagnosis. I hope that everybody will wear it pink this October and support this very important cause.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, said:

“Breast cancer still affects so many of us, and our goal as a charity is that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and be supported to live well. The money raised from wear it pink is so crucial to this helping us to fund vital breast cancer research and support for those affected by the disease.

“We hope that by wearing pink himself, George will encourage more people to wear it pink in on 18 October and help us to continue to fund vital breast cancer research and support.”

Anyone can take part in wear it pink. Some people will choose to hold a cake sale, while others will opt to organise a raffle and some will arrange a pink fancy dress day at their school or workplace. No matter how people chose to wear it pink, all the money raised will help to fund vital breast cancer research and support.

Wear it pink on 18 October and raise funds for breast cancer research and support. Visit wearitpink.org to register and claim your free fundraising pack.

PAISLEY’S MSP QUIZZES OPENREACH

George Adam MSP quizzed engineers from Openreach about Scotland’s digital future during a drop-in session at the Scottish Parliament this week (Thursday).

      The Paisley MSP heard about the work being done to upgrade the country’s broadband network and how politicians can help industry investors to speed up the build.

      He also tried connecting tiny glass fibres used to transmit data at the speed of light and chatted to some of the 220 new apprentices taken on by Openreach in Scotland this year.

      George Adam MSP said: “Scotland’s at the start of a digital journey from old copper cables to full fibre technology, where the fibre doesn’t stop at the street cabinet but goes all the way to the home. It’s more resilient and future-proof as well as faster – with fibreoptic cables as thin as a hair able to deliver gigabit speeds.

      “This was a great opportunity to learn what that will mean for local people, businesses and future public services like education, healthcare, transport, energy, water and housing. Good connectivity supports productivity and economic growth but also brings really valuable new opportunities for sustainable communities.”

      According to thinkbroadband, the UK’s largest independent broadband news and information site, nearly 94 per cent of Scots can currently access superfast broadband at 30Mbps+.

      More than 2.6m Scottish households and businesses can connect to Openreach’s digital network through their service provider – including household names like BT, Sky and TalkTalk.

      However, the focus is now shifting to ‘ultrafast’ full fibre, as the copper network reaches the end of its life. Openreach is the UK’s leading full fibre builder, with plans to reach four million homes by March 2021.

      Work is already under way in Edinburgh, Greater Glasgow, West Lothian and Kilmarnock as part of its Fibre First programme. This week it was announced that Aberdeen, Ayr and Stanecastle (Irvine, North Ayrshire) will be next to benefit.

      The drop-in event was hosted by Brendan Dick, chair of the Openreach Board in Scotland, who said: “We can’t build a new full fibre network for Scotland without support from our public sector partners. It won’t be quick or easy, but action to reduce red tape and remove barriers will speed things up.

      “The Scottish Government has already reduced the tax on fibre infrastructure but we also need to make street works and getting access to land and blocks of flats simpler and mandate full fibre for all new housing developments, which we think is a no-brainer.

      “But this is not simply about putting wires into the ground. It’s about what full fibre technology can do for Scotland, helping to answer long term challenges like energy use, climate change and sustainable rural communities.”

      Openreach is recruiting 220 trainees in Scotland this year, building on its biggest ever recruitment of 400 new engineers last year. They join its 3,200-strong Scottish workforce.

      It has invested more than £500,000 in fibre training centres in Livingston and Dundee to make sure engineers have the right skills to deliver the new full fibre network.

GEORGE ADAM ENCOURAGES FLU JAB TAKE UP

Paisley’s MSP George Adam has urged parents to “trust the facts” and make sure their child is vaccinated for flu this winter.

This week, the Scottish Government has launched its annual national flu vaccination programme – with a focus on people with health conditions and children aged 2-5.

Every year thousands of children are hospitalised with flu. Even healthy children can become seriously ill from it. Protecting children can also stop the virus from spreading to family, friends and others.

To date more than 1.6 million doses of the nasal vaccine have been given to 2-11 year olds as part of the Scottish childhood immunisation programme. But more parents and carers are being urged to take up the offer.

Everyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people at most risk of serious illness are offered the flu vaccination on the NHS.

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“Getting your kids vaccinated is free and only takes a few minutes – but it helps to protect against the flu bug for around a year.

“The flu is no joke. There’s plenty of misinformation about vaccines online – but it’s important that parents in Paisley trust the facts.

“Staff at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are doing a tremendous job with a tough time of year ahead and we should all do our bit to not add unnecessary pressure on the health service.

“If you or your children are eligible, make sure that getting the vaccination is a priority and book an appointment with your GP practice or health board as soon as possible.”

CHILDREN TARGETED IN PAISLEY AND RENFREWSHIRE SOUTH

SNP – TORY GOVERNMENT MUST SCRAP “HEARTLESS” POLICY

14.8% of the total number of children in Paisley and Renfrewshire South could be affected by the two-child cap, according to new research  – prompting more calls for the UK Government to scrap the “heartless” policy.

The “two-child policy” allows low-income families to claim child tax credits or universal credit for their first two children only.

New research from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has revealed that 160,000 families have had their income slashed by the two-child limit to-date.

The charity estimates that more than 3 million children could eventually be affected by the benefit cap.

Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“Social security should be a safety net for all of us, but the two-child limit is having a devastating effect on families up and down the country, with 2,300 of children in Paisley and Renfrewshire South set to be affected by it.

“All families are valuable and worthy of support, but this heartless policy turns people away when they most need support, and leaves children to grow up in hardship – which can have lifelong consequences for their health and wellbeing.

“The SNP government has been left to pick up the pieces, investing over £125 million to mitigate callous Tory welfare policies.

“In addition, it is introducing a Scottish Child Payment to tackle child poverty. Without the two-child cap, this payment could go so much further.

“The next Tory Prime Minister should make it a priority to tackle poverty and enable children to thrive, starting with reversing the two-child limit and horrendous ‘rape clause.’”

Report – http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/All%20Kids%20Count%20report%20FINAL_0.pdf

“SCOTLAND HAS HAD ENOUGH OF BEING IGNORED” – SNP LAUNCH EURO CAMPAIGN

Voters in Paisley should use the upcoming European election to send a message to Theresa May that “Scotland has had enough of being ignored”, SNP MSP George Adam has said.

The SNP launched their European campaign on Thursday 9th May as postal ballots arrived with 750,000 voters across Scotland.

May 9 is also Europe Day, which celebrates peace and unity in Europe.

Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“This is by far the most important European election in Scotland’s history.

“Renfrewshire voted to Remain in the EU by 65%, along with the rest of Scotland voting overwhelmingly to remain in the EU; yet we face being dragged out against our will with no clarity on what Brexit actually means. What we do know is; Brexit will be bad for Scotland – with fewer jobs, fewer opportunities, and households right here in Paisley left worse off.

“On May the 23rd by voting SNP, people in our town can send a clear and unequivocal message to Theresa May – Scotland will not stand for Brexit and we deserve better than a Westminster system that isn’t working.

“Scotland has had enough of being ignored. We have already proven ourselves as world leaders in many areas – minimum pricing for alcohol, ambitious and radical climate change goals, and progressive policies for social and ecomonic change to name but a few – so I want Scotland to continue this trend on the world stage.

“Scotland’s future lies in Europe. A vote for the SNP is a vote to make clear Scotland says No to Brexit.”

360 RENFREWSHIRE FAMILIES SUPPORTED BY BEST START GRANT

APPLICATIONS FOR NEW SCOTGOV BENEFIT OPEN THIS WEEK

George Adam MSP

360 families in Renfrewshire received a payment of £600 on the birth of a first child, and £300 on the birth of any siblings, thanks to the Scottish Government’s Best Start Grant scheme.

Since opening for applications in December, nearly 10,000 low income families across every area of Scotland got help from the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby payment, with the new benefit paying out £3.5 million in the first three months.

This week, the First Minister announced a brand-new benefit as part of the Scottish Government’s new Best Start Grant package, which will build on the success of the Pregnancy and Baby Payment.

Applications are open for the new payment, which will see low-income families paid a further £250 when their children start nursery and school.

The Early Learning Payment is for children aged between two to three and a half and can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys, books or days out.

SNP MSP for Paisley, George Adam said:

“This substantial increase in support for families and new babies shows what can be achieved if we take a different approach to social security – using Scotland’s new powers to support families across the country.

“In just the first two months of the Best Start Grant, the Scottish Government got more money into people’s pockets than the DWP had managed under the old system in an entire year.

“The SNP in government has consistently demonstrated a commitment to increasing financial support for families, bringing equality to Scotland’s children by helping them towards the best possible start in life.

“With full powers over social security, Scotland can be the best place for a child to grow up.”

SNP MSP DEMANDS ACTION ON BANK CLOSURES IN PAISLEY

SNP MSP George Adam has called for re-assurances that local bank branches will remain open in Paisley, after concerns over the number of banks and building societies which have closed across the country were raised.

Geroge Adam MSP

A Which? study revealed that 8 banks and building societies have shut their doors in Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and almost 400 banks and building societies have closed across Scotland since 2015.

Communities across Scotland are rightly concerned about the impact of the decision to close will have on local businesses, employees, the elderly and vulnerable and all those who need access to banking services.

SNP MSPs and MPs have been arguing for the reversal of hundreds of bank branch closures across Scotland, and a Holyrood committee urged that banks should be required to consult with customers, businesses and the wider community before closing local branches.

Despite repeated calls for action, and its role as majority shareholder in RBS, the Tory Westminster government has failed to lift a finger to prevent the closures.

Commenting, SNP MSP George Adam said:

“These bank closures contribute to a lack of banking facilities, which will hit local families, small businesses, and tourism here in Paisley.

“More and more of us do our banking on the internet or by phone, but that simply isn’t an option for everyone. A face-to-face banking service is indispensable for many people, and banks must engage with people and businesses on their needs before deciding to close a branch.

“It would be a huge loss to Paisley to see any more branches shut their doors – this could leave a significant number of elderly and vulnerable people without the preferred or necessary level of face-to-face service.

“My SNP colleagues and I will continue to fight for urgent action to ensure our communities have full access to adequate banking facilities.”