PAISLEY’S MSP URGES EVERYONE TO DOWNLOAD ‘PROTECT SCOTLAND’ APP

Paisley’s MSP George Adam has urged people in Paisley to download the new ‘Protect Scotland’ app – to help slow the spread of Coronavirus and support the easing of lockdown restrictions. 

The free and anonymous app will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and can be downloaded onto phones immediately. It will let users know if they have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 and will automatically alert users if that happens.

No personal identifiable information will be entered on the app and the Scottish Government has assured that it will not monitor the location of individuals as the app uses Bluetooth technology, and not GPS, to identify contacts.

Since launching last night, the app has already been downloaded more than 50,000 times. 

George Adam said:

“The Scottish Government has now launched the ‘Protect Scotland’ proximity tracing app, to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus and complement the person-to-person approach of Test and Protect.

“The app – which takes less than a minute to download – will allow us to alert people at risk far more quickly, so that we can all take steps to reduce the risk of infecting others. 

“Scotland’s official contact tracing app will help us all to protect ourselves, our family, our friends, and our community by enabling faster contact tracing so the more people who have the app, the more it can help to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

“That’s why I’m urging everyone here in Paisley to download the app as soon as possible. Let’s all protect Scotland and stop this virus spreading throughout our communities as soon as we can.”

Further information and how to download can be found at https://protect.scot/

ANTI-POVERTY PAYMENT COULD BENEFIT OVER 6,300 CHILDREN IN RENFREWSHIRE

An estimated 6,300 children across Renfrewshire could benefit from the Scottish Government’s ground breaking anti-poverty payment, new figures have revealed.

The Scottish Child Payment will be worth £10 per child for low-income families by the end of 2022, with introduction for under-6s starting by early 2021, and the latest figures from the Scottish Fiscal Commission estimate that 194,000 children aged under six will be eligible.

The brand new benefit was described as a “game changer” and a “lifeline” by anti-poverty campaigners and is central to the SNP’s ambitions to tackle child poverty.

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“The Scottish Child Payment is an ambitious and ground-breaking new benefit which will directly tackle child poverty across the country. 


“This support is needed more than ever, and when this additional £10 per week per child becomes available in February, it will be a lifeline for many families in Paisley. 

“It will help reduce financial pressures and demonstrates the potential of social security to make a positive difference and reflect our society’s shared values of compassion and fairness.

“Tory cuts are driving too many families in our town into poverty – but the SNP is determined to use every power at its disposal to help families make ends meet.”

PAISLEY’S MSP: SNP TAKING ACTION TO TACKLE CHILD POVERTY DESPITE CHALLENGES OF CORONAVIRUS

From November 2020, low-income families with a child under six will be able to apply for £10 per child, per week to assist with living costs, with payments to start from the end of February.

Despite the significant impact of COVID-19 and the challenges of lockdown, the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment has only been delayed by two months and will go a long way towards mitigating the effect the current climate has had on those facing poverty.

In a renewed commitment to ensure no one is left behind, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell also confirmed that a further £2.35 million will be made available to the Parental Employability Support Fund this financial year to boost the £5 million already allocated and £1 million of this additional funding will be targeted at supporting disabled parents to progress toward employment and compete for jobs.

Ms Campbell said:

“These past months have been challenging for everyone but we know that coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a greater impact on the poorest in our society – many of whom will have struggled to make ends meet.  

“That is why we’ve worked at pace and focused resources on getting the new Scottish Child Payment ready for applications. We know this vital payment will play a key role in tackling the blight of child poverty so to ensure that families receive the full support they are entitled to, we will link the Scottish Child Payment with the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods through the application process. With all three schemes combined, low income families will receive over £5,200 of support for their first child by the time they turn six.

“What’s more, we are making an additional £2.35 million available for the Parental Employability Support Fund to focus support for both disabled and young parents and to maximise the impact of expanded Early Learning and Childcare entitlements. This will help families to move towards and into employment and provide wrap-around support and advice on issues such as housing and childcare.

“We are determined to continue to tackle child poverty. This has been shown by our investment targeted at children living in low-income households rising to £672 million – part of an estimated £1.96 billion directed at low-income households in 2019-20.”

George Adam MSP

George Adam said:

“I have always been very passionate and outspoken about how our children are the future of this country and as such deserve the very best start in life possible.

“This should not be determined by postcode or family circumstances so I am delighted by the SNP Government’s continued drive and determination to tackle child poverty head on and provide easy access to support and financial help.

“What is important here is that no limits have been placed on the number of children supported by the Scottish Child Payment, Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods scheme and together the three Best Start Grant payments are worth £1,100 for the first child and £800 for second and subsequent children. Additionally, payments through Best Start Foods are worth over £1,000 by the time a child reaches the age of three.

“I know all of these payments will go a long way towards helping families right here in Paisley and I look forward to our community beginning to see the benefits of the new Scottish Child Payment when payments start next year.”

GEORGE ADAM: SCOTLAND SET TO REVIEW AND CREATE A NATIONAL CARE SERVICE

An independent review is to consider the idea of a national care service

In a Programme for Government commitment announced by the First Minister, an independent review is to consider the idea of a national care service in Scotland and will aim to ensure consistently excellent support for people who use these services, as well as their carers and their families, is provided to all.

It will be chaired by Derek Feeley, former director general of Health and Social Care in the Scottish Government, and will report by January 2021.

Adult social care comprises a wide array of services and non-clinical support in a range of settings, involving care homes, care at home, day services, and community support for people with a range of needs.

Social care supports more than 200,000 people across Scotland – those with disabilities, older people, people with mental health problems, and those with drug and alcohol problems – and the review will take into account the experiences of those supported by, and who work, in social care, as well as looking at funding, governance, administration and delivery.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“This will be a wide ranging review of all aspects of a service which supports and involves so many people across Scotland. I am looking forward to recommendations that help ensure high standards of service and support into the future.

“This independent review will examine how adult social care can be most effectively reformed to deliver a national approach to care and support services – and this will include consideration of a national care service.

“It will also build upon our existing commitments to improving provision – long standing issues in adult social care have been thrown into sharp relief during the pandemic, and they demand our attention.

“We owe it to those who use and work in adult social care services to acknowledge these challenges, to learn from them, and to consider carefully how we can most effective plan for the future.”

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:

“I am absolutely delighted by this Programme for Government announcement and am truly excited to see what we can do to further improve upon the care we provide to all right here in Paisley.

“This commitment to people, health care, and equality it is a testament once again to this Government’s drive to put real issues at the top of the agenda and to make sure everyone has access to the very best this country has to offer.

“These past 6 months have been some of the most challenging in our lifetime and I take my hat off to all of the dedicated and hard working men and women across the country who have tirelessly kept going in very difficult circumstances. It’s vital that their voices are heard now too and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve with everyone’s voices all together in collaboration.”

The possible remit and structure of a potential national care service has not yet been set out but it could cover a range of organisational, funding and delivery options, which will be for the independent review to consider.

The review will also consider previous and ongoing work, including:

  • the programme for social care reform currently being taken forward by the Scottish Government and COSLA
  • progress with integration of health and social care in Scotland, including the outcomes of the recent review undertaken by the Scottish Government and COSLA
  • work undertaken by the Care Inspectorate to consider opportunities for improving adult social care provision
  • work undertaken by wider partners including the third sector to understand people’s experience of care and support improvement
  • scrutiny by Audit Scotland of social care and progress with integrating health and social care scrutiny by the Health and Sport Committee of the Scottish Parliament of reform of social care to date and progress with integrating health and social care

PAISLEY’S MSP: THE YOUTH GUARANTEE WILL GIVE EVERY CHILD IN PAISLEY THE CHANCE TO SUCCEED

Following the First Minister’s Programme for Government announcement that a £60million Youth Guarantee will be put in place to give everyone aged 16-24, a job, a place in education or a place in training; Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has set out more details of how Scotland’s Youth Guarantee will give young people the chance to succeed despite the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The new partnership between the Scottish Government and Scotland’s employers is backed by £60 million of government investment and will ensure everyone aged between 16 and 24 in Paisley has the opportunity of work, education or training. The Scottish Government is funding it with £60 million which will be broken down as follows:

  • £30 million through local authorities to help local partnerships to deliver employability support for young people
  • £10 million to create additional opportunities in colleges
  • £10 million additional funding for Developing the Young Workforce, the Scottish Government’s internationally recognised Youth Employment Strategy
  • £10 million to support pathways to apprenticeships

This autumn, the Scottish Government will also launch the National Transition Training Fund, which is backed by initial funding of £25 million and will help up to 10,000 people of all ages retrain for jobs in growth sectors.

Paisley’s MSP said:

““Governments have rightly taken unprecedented steps to protect workers and businesses through this pandemic, but it’s vital that young people are not left behind. That is why this SNP government is absolutely determined that youth unemployment will not become the legacy of the Coronavirus pandemic and have placed our kids’ future at the top of the agenda.

“The new £60 million Youth Guarantee, announced in the First Minister’s Programme for Government, will guarantee every young person right here in Paisley aged 16-24 a job, a place in training, or a place in education.

“This is backed by additional funding for employers to recruit and retain apprentices, and the new Job Start Payment to help with the costs associated with starting a new job.

“I would urge all employers who are able, to work with the Scottish Government to create more opportunities that recognise the valuable contribution our young people have to make in growing our economy. “These steps to support those most adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic are most welcome, and the SNP will continue to work to ensure every young person in Paisley – and indeed across Scotland – is given the opportunity to succeed”

Geroge Adam MSP

‘HARMFUL’ TORY BENEFIT CAP HITS 153 FAMILIES IN RENFREWSHIRE

The number of households in Renfrewshire hit by the Tory government’s ‘harmful’ benefit cap has soared by 100% since the Covid-19 pandemic started. 

New statistics show that as of May this year, a total of 6,034 households in Scotland were hit by the benefit cap – an increase of almost 76 per cent. In Renfrewshire around 153 households saw the money they received cut by this policy. 

Shelter Scotland has warned that the controversial benefit cap, which the SNP has called to be scrapped, is forcing families into poverty during this Coronavirus crisis.

Paialey’s MSP George Adam said:

“Austerity is having a devastating impact on thousands of families in Renfrewshire and across Scotland, 

with vulnerable people hit hard by the benefit cap, as well as a host of other Tory welfare cuts. 

“The SNP has long called for an end to the benefit cap, which hits families with children hardest, and leaves people in Paisley worrying about how they’ll pay rent or put food on the table. 

“In government, the SNP has done everything it can to support those hit by the benefit cap – but as long as the key levers remain in the hands of Westminster, we are fighting poverty with one hand tied behind our backs.

“Now, more than ever, these shocking figures must serve as a wake-up call to Boris Johnson and his government. If they were really serious about improving the lives of people in Renfrewshire they would scrap this harmful policy now.”

TORY BREXIT HAS LEFT EVERY PERSON IN RENFREWSHIRE £1,740.50 WORSE OFF WHILE BORIS JOHNSON’S BREXIT HAS ALREADY COST SCOTLAND £3.9 BILLION

Paisley’s MSP has called on Boris Johnson to apologise during his flying visit to Scotland, after a new report found that people in Renfrewshire have already been left £309.44 million worse off as a result of Brexit.

The new analysis, published from experts at Warwick University, found that nationally Scotland is now £3.9 billion worse off thanks to Brexit and has already lost £736 per head of population.

Separately, Scottish Government analysis has revealed that ending the transition period in 2020 could cut £3billion from the Scottish economy in just two years – on top of the impact of coronavirus.

Geroge Adam MSP

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

“This new analysis makes clear that any form of Brexit will inflict major harm on Scotland’s economy – with people in Paisley already significantly worse off thanks to Boris Johnson. It is quite frankly deplorable to leave our towns and cities so economically disadvantaged for something we didn’t even vote for.

“These Tory Brexiteers at Westminster want to drag Scotland out of the EU against our will, and in the middle of a global pandemic that is exactly the last thing our economy needs.

“The people of our town didn’t vote for this Tory government and they certainly didn’t vote for Brexit – but Boris Johnson simply doesn’t care. I am absolutely appalled – but unfortunately not surprised – at his treatment of the Scottish people and it is incredibly worrying to see families in our town facing a loss of thousands when things are already hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With Westminster hell-bent on taking a wrecking ball to our economy, it is clearer than ever that the only way to protect Scotland’s interests, her people, and our place in Europe is to become an independent country.”

PAISLEY’S MSP: TORIES MUST DELIVER REAL FISCAL STIMULUS AFTER STATEMENT FALLS APART

The SNP has renewed calls for the Tory government to deliver a meaningful fiscal stimulus package – after new analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) confirmed up to £10billion of the measures in the summer statement will be funded through reallocations of previously announced spending.

The analysis published by IFS concludes the so-called ‘New Deal’ of £5.5billion additional capital spending actually “represents an increase of precisely zero this year on Budget plans” – reallocating money previously confirmed for other projects.

The analysis confirms the Scottish Government will receive just £21million in Barnett consequentials from the money announced to support the economy – “because (the) total spending envelope so little changed by last week’s announcement”.

The IFS outlines examples including:

  • The £2billion Green Homes Grant scheme for England is actually being funded from within pre-existing spending limits – resulting in no new money for Scotland.
  • Almost half of the £400 million announced for traineeships, apprenticeships, school leavers and careers advice in England is being reallocated from existing budgets.
  • The £5.5billion infrastructure package actually represents an acceleration of previously planned investment and is funded by underspends – not new money.

Separately, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has estimated that despite claims that the UK government’s so-called ‘Plan for Jobs’ will deliver £30billion in investment, the actual investment is likely to be around a third lower at just £20billion, including the recycled money.

George Adam, Paisley’s MSP, said:

“Quite frankly this is unacceptable – but if I’m being honest, not surprising from a UK Government who have missed the mark on numerous occasions since the beginning of their time in office, never mind the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Not only is the Chancellor’s package of support incredibly disappointing, but now it emerges that it is incredibly misleading too and absolutely falls apart under scrutiny from the IFS and OBR.

“Thousands of people are losing their jobs across the country and businesses are understandably struggling after months of closure so it is vital that the Tories stop being disingenuous and look to the example set by other countries and actually deliver the investment needed to boost the economy.

“Paisley deserves better than this and if there is one thing people hate more than anything, it’s being lied to – especially during such uncertain and difficult times. What the UK Government are doing is offensive and they must be held accountable here.”

PAISLEY’S MSP LOOKS FORWARD TO SCHOOLS REOPENING IN AUGUST AS PROGRESS AGAINST VIRUS CONTINUES

As Scotland continues to make swift progress in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, subject to the continued suppression of the virus and to surveillance and mitigations being in place, schools will re-open from the 11th August.

In Scotland, as of the 12th July 2020, 151 (0.8%) of a total 18,365 positive cases were among people aged under 15 – this is a rate of less than 20 per 100,000 of the population in that age group.

To help preparations for the year ahead, scientific advice for the safe re-opening of schools and resumption of school transport has been published by the Scottish Government, and the advice will inform the development of comprehensive guidance on how to ensure the safe re-opening of schools for learners, teachers and families.

This includes a package of measures on hygiene and contact management that must be in place to reduce the transmission of the virus and which will form part of the future guidance. The advice also indicates that no physical distancing is required between children and young people in primary and secondary schools.

On school transport, the advice outlines that dedicated services should be regarded as an extension of the school estate, with physical distancing measures between pupils therefore unnecessary for as long as infection rates in Scotland remain low. For pupils using public transport, general Scottish Government and Transport Scotland guidelines should continue to apply.

Education Secretary, John Swinney, said:

“This scientific advice will inform the way schools can re-open safely from 11 August, if infection rates continue to remain low.

“The Education Recovery Group which comprises local authorities, parent representatives and teachers’ organisations and trades unions, has been developing plans for how to open schools safely for everyone.

“We are considering this advice as we develop comprehensive guidance which will give confidence to our school communities that the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and staff is ensured as we welcome them back.

“Ensuring the highest quality education for our young people, in a safe environment, must be a priority for us all and I know that everyone is committed to make sure that children’s education is not adversely affected in the longer term.”

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:

“It is incredibly encouraging to see Scotland make such progress in combatting coronavirus that plans to reopen schools for the start of the next school year are continuing to go ahead.

“This is a testament to the hard work of the Scottish Government, the scientific and medical community, and of course the people of Scotland who are following the rules as much as they can.

“As long as we keep doing what we’re doing and remain committed to keeping the ‘R’ number low, life will keep progressing back to normal as quick as possible.

“As a parent and grandparent, one of my chief concerns is keeping Paisley’s young people safe but it is also important that our children return to the classroom as soon as the scientific advice says they can. Our kids have done an incredibly good job of following the rules so far and I know lockdown must have been very challenging for them, so I’m looking forward to families getting back into a normal routine soon.”

Up to date advice published by the COVID-19 Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/news/planning-for-re-opening-schools-safely/

PAISLEY’S MSP WELCOMES PHASE THREE CHANGES AS PLACES OF WORSHIP ARE SET TO REOPEN FOR COMMUNAL PRAYER AND CONTEMPLATION

On Thursday 9th July, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced Scotland’s transition into Phase 3 and outlined the further easing of restrictions coming into effect on the 10th of July and throughout the month.

Since publishing the Route Map in May, the Scottish Government have continually reviewed and assessed the scientific and medical data so as to ease Scotland through the four phased plan as efficiently and safely as possible. The R number, the rate a virus spreads within the population, has remained low and the decision has been made to enter Phase 3 and continue with the reopening of a key range of industries and activities.

From the 10th July, a household can now meet up to 4 other households at a time – up to 15 people in total – outdoors, with restrictions on indoor visits also increasing to 8 people in total. This includes overnight stays and a household can meet up to 4 other households per day in total.

Children aged 11 or under no longer need to physically distance indoors and all non-cohabiting partners (and any children under 18 in the household) can form extended households without physical distancing.

From Monday 13th July, non-essential shops inside shopping centres can re-open (following guidance and with physical distancing) and all dental practices may begin to see registered patients for non-aerosol routine care with urgent care centres continuing to provide aerosol generating procedures when necessary.

Organised outdoor contact sports, play and physical activity can resume for children and young people under 18 and face-to-face youth work can resume outdoors so long as the relevant guidance is followed.

From Wednesday 15th July, places of worship can re-open for congregational services, communal prayer and contemplation with physical distancing and limited numbers in place, while restrictions on attendance at funerals, marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations will also be eased.

Indoor hospitality, hairdressers and barbers, and various leisure and entertainment venues such as museums, cinemas, and libraries have also been given the green light to reopen on the 15th, subject to all physical distancing and enhance hygiene rules and guidance.

Following this announcement, Paisley’s MSP George Adam, said:

“I am sure this will be wonderful news to many industries across Scotland, and will certainly be welcomed by everyone here in Paisley who has been experiencing the isolation and loneliness that has unfortunately gone hand in hand with the last few months of lockdown.

“I am especially pleased to see places of worship reopening next week along with the easing of restrictions on funeral attendance as I know this has been something that has been particularly difficult for families and friends of those who have passed away during these unprecedented circumstances. While the changes coming into effect next week will not allow full scale gatherings, I am hopeful they will allow more people to find solace and peace at a time of grief.

“As we move into Phase 3, it’s important that we all recognise the virus has not gone away. As we have seen in other parts of the world, when given the chance, it can re-establish itself quickly no matter how carefully we open up so we must all continue to act with the upmost care and caution.

“Our continued, positive progress has allowed us to get to this point safely and efficiently so it is important we don’t abuse these new freedoms and all do our bit in making sure we keep moving forward together.”