GEORGE ADAM BACKS INCREASED SUPPORT FOR VITAL LOCAL SERVICES AS SNP BUDGET HANDS RENFREWSHIRE COUNCIL £ 9.3M BOOST

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, has backed draft budget proposals that commit £351.2 million for Renfrewshire Council in 2021/22.

Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes announced this week that the SNP Government will hand the local authority an additional £9.3 million on last year’s spending – an increase of 2.7% – in plans which will provide the council with an increase in day-to-day revenue spending.

£90 million has also been set aside to scrap rises in Council Tax and compensate local authorities who had planned to increase charges by up to 3% – allowing hard-pressed householders to keep more of their money to spend on other essentials.

Across Scotland, councils are set to receive £11.6 billion with £259 million added in one-off funding to support ongoing COVID-19 pressures on local services.

Welcoming the announcement, Paisley’s MSP said:

“In these uncertain and challenging times, the SNP Government has offered stability with a budget that protects vital local services and supports our economy.

“Local council workers have been working around the clock during this pandemic to keep our town moving and ensure essential services continue to operate, so it’s great news that Renfrewshire Council is set to receive a funding boost of nearly £10 million for the coming financial year.

“In these tough times, I know that local residents will also be delighted that the SNP Government has taken the significant step of supporting local authorities to introduce a freeze on Council Tax bills.

“I’ll be backing these draft budget proposals to secure this cash for our town and I urge all other MSPs to follow suit and do the same.”

PAISLEY’S MSP HAILS RECORD HEALTH FUNDING AS SNP BUDGET SET TO GIVE GREATER GLASGOW AND CLYDE HEALTH BOARD £2,398.1 MILLION

George Adam, Paisley’s MSP, has urged politicians to get behind the SNP’s draft budget proposals that commits a record £16 billion for health and care services.

Last week, Scotland’s Finance Secretary announced an additional £800 million was to be injected into the NHS to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the plans, Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board is set to receive a cash boost of £33.4 million against last year’s budget.

The SNP Government also announced an extra £1.1billion being invested in mental health in the coming year and renewed its commitment to tackling drugs and alcohol by providing £145 million to services.

Commenting, George said:

“Against the backdrop of this global pandemic and a Tory Brexit that we didn’t vote for, the SNP Government is investing record amounts in our NHS in its time of need.

“If it was not for the hard work and dedication of our local health and social care staff we would not have been able to get through this pandemic. We’ve recognised this with the £500 thank you bonus for staff and it is absolutely right that services are supported properly too.

“For the first time ever, this budget provides funding of £16 billion for Scotland’s health and care services – and a further £33.4 million for Greater and Glasgow and Clyde.

“That’s why I’m calling on politicians across the West of Scotland to get behind the SNP Government’s plans that will ensure our NHS is fit for the future.”

SNP ANNOUNCES AMBITIOUS BUDGET WITH RECORD HEALTH FUNDING, SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITIES, JOBS, BUSINESSES AND COVID-19 RECOVERY

Paisley’s MSP has welcomed the SNP Government’s ambitious draft budget – which includes record funding of £16 billion for our health and social care services – and urged MSPs from all parties to support it. 

Today, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes announced her budget, which focuses on three key guiding principles – a national mission for new, good, and green jobs; promotion of lifelong health and wellbeing; driving equality, and helping our young people to achieve their potential. 

Ms Forbes announced record funding of over £16 billion for our NHS and social care sector, £3.5 billion for social security and welfare payments, and investment of £2.7 billion in education and skills – with total investment increasing by £3.8 billion.

While welcoming this package of diverse and critical investment, George Adam raised the issue of managing the expenditure within the consequentials that are provided by the UK Government and asked the Cabinet Secretary if the current fiscal levers that are available to the Scottish Government are sufficient to ensure demand can be met in the future.

Paisley’s MSP said: 

“This budget has been delivered in exceptional circumstances as we continue to battle a global pandemic and face the harmful impacts of a Tory Brexit we didn’t vote for.

“Since the start of this crisis, the SNP Government has responded quickly and decisively to tackle the continued threats of the virus, while doing all it can to secure social and economic recovery – and that is definitely something this budget will continue to do. 

“I sincerely hope that MSPs from all political parties will back this Budget and join the SNP in committing to investing in jobs and education, resourcing public services for the challenges ahead – with record funding for our health and social care sector – and supporting households at a time of real uncertainty.

“Despite record investment from the Scottish Government, there is a limit to what they can do so long as we remain tethered to Tory, Brexit Britain. That’s why giving the people of Paisley – and wider Scotland – a choice over their future is the only way we can ensure our country comes out of these unprecedented times stronger than ever.”

SNP GOVERNMENT TRIPLES SUPPORT FOR TAXI DRIVERS IN PAISLEY

Paisley’s MSP has expressed his delight that taxi and private hire drivers in Paisley will have access to three times the amount of Scottish Government support than they did last year.

Eligible drivers will be able to claim a £1,500 grant to cover fixed costs, boosting the support available to them by the Scottish Government.

A total fund of £57million has been available to taxi and private hire drivers – three times more than the allocated funding in December.

George Adam, Paisley’s MSP said:

“I am delighted the SNP Scottish Government has increased the funding available to taxi and private hire drivers. Many of these drivers in Paisley have gone above and beyond the call of duty by providing transport for key workers and taking people safely to hospital appointments.

“This substantial increase in support for them is the recognition they deserve in what has been a tough time for the industry due to the lockdown restrictions.

“Despite the restrictions, many fixed costs have still remained for drivers, such as general maintenance, licence plate fees, rental fees and insurance payments and the increase in funding will cover these expensive costs.

“I would urge the local council to contact firms quickly to ensure they can receive the money in their account as soon as possible.”

PAISLEY’S MSP DELIGHTED AS THOUSANDS APPLY EARLY FOR SCOTTISH CHILD PAYMENT

George Adam has shown his delight as thousands of families in Scotland have applied for the ‘game-changing’ Scottish Child Payment early, and is now urging any families in the area who have not yet applied for the scheme to do so to ensure they do not miss out on any money.

So far, Social Security Scotland have had 56,000 applications since the process opened in November. The Scottish Child Payment is set to be rolled out on 15th February.

Paisley’s MSP said:

“It is extremely encouraging to see so many families sign up early to receive their Scottish Child Payment when it is rolled out in February by the SNP Scottish Government.

“When the payment is introduced it will provide a real difference to families across Scotland at a much-needed time.

“This is just the start of the work Social Security Scotland is introducing to make a real difference to the lives of people right here in Paisley, with the Scottish Child Payment described as ‘game-changing’ by anti-poverty charities. 

“I would urge anyone who has not yet applied to the scheme to make sure they do so they do not miss out on any money they are entitled to.”

PAISLEY’S MSP DELIGHTED BY ANNOUNCEMENT OF INCREASED BUS FUNDING

On Tuesday, George Adam asked the Scottish Government whether COVID-19 funding for bus operators will be extended beyond 17 January 2021 in a bid to ensure his constituents have access to suitable public transport during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the question from Paisley’s MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, announced up to £29 million in further funding to support bus operators to maintain bus services between 18 January and 31 March 2021.

This is in addition to the £162.3 million in funding the Scottish Government has been providing since June to support bus services and will cover the expected loss of fare revenue due to carrying capacity constraints as a result of physical distancing and reduced demand.

Bus travel typically accounts for almost three quarters of public transport journeys, so this funding will be vital in keeping public transport running for those who need it while capacity is reduced due to physical distancing.

George Adam said:

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly challenging for most industries, it’s important that our public transport system remains operational despite reduced capacity and the pressures of social distancing.

“Our local bus services are vital in keeping Paisley connected and moving, and it is crucial that operators are able to continue to function as normal so we can safely travel to work, access health services, or visit loved ones when necessary.

“With that in mind, it was important to me to ask what further funding was available so I am delighted to hear of this increased support from the Scottish Government and their continued commitment to our transport network.

“I’d like to highlight here that while the Government remains committed to doing all it can to help the bus industry deliver services; it is vital that the public continues to follow the latest travel guidance and walk, wheel or cycle wherever they can.

“With the public’s help we can provide safe public transport while protecting public health.”

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCE £55 MILLION EMERGENCY FUNDING PACKAGE FOR SPORT

A £55 million emergency sports funding package to tackle lost ticket revenue during the pandemic has been announced today by Sports Minister Joe FitzPatrick.

The funding will comprise grants and low-interest loans, including £30 million for Scottish Football at all levels of the game. Scottish Rugby will benefit from £20 million, alongside funding for basketball, netball, motor sport, horse racing and ice hockey, including support for ice rinks that support Scotland’s world-class curling programmes as well as recreational and professional skating. 

The package comes in addition to Sportscotland’s £1.5 million COVID Recovery Support Fund. In partnership with the Scottish Government, the agency also loosened the criteria for its £32 million planned annual investment for the sports sector during the pandemic, allowing sports organisations to protect 1,600 jobs.

Mr FitzPatrick said:

“I am pleased to announce this substantial funding package, which will help to ensure those sports which have been worst affected by the loss of ticket revenue during the pandemic are able to bridge the gap in revenue until spectators are able to return safely to sports events in larger numbers.

“While restrictions on supporters at events have been vital in stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives, there can be no doubt that they have created real hardships for many sports clubs. These clubs are at the heart of our communities and, without urgent financial support, the survival of some could be in question. I’m delighted that we are able to provide significantly more support than the Barnett consequential funding received from the UK Government Sports Winter Survival package.

“I recognise that for football in particular, governing bodies, clubs and, of course, supporters themselves are desperate to see fans back as soon as possible. Sport brings great enjoyment to the many people who watch and play, and we don’t want supporters to be delayed in returning to stadiums for any longer than is absolutely necessary.”

Sportscotland Chief Executive Stewart Harris said:

“This announcement is very welcome as the funding will help protect the immediate future of many clubs over the coming months.

“We will continue to work with a range of Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport and the Scottish Government to prioritise this funding to ensure the survival of the sports at the heart of our communities.

“With the roll out of the vaccine this week there is real hope that we are beginning to see our way out of this pandemic, and we need to make certain that sport is in a good place and is a prominent part of the overall recovery plan.”

Spectator sports in Paisley will receive a share of the £55million package, and the support will help teams such as St Mirren Football Club cope with a difficult period where they have been unable to welcome fans to matches due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, has long been a fan and supporter of St. Mirren FC and knows the hardship local sports clubs have faced since the beginning of the pandemic, was equally delighted with the announcement of increased funding.

He said:

“As a local football fan myself, I know how challenging this year has been for our clubs and the industry as a whole. It’s vital therefore that we have an industry to go back to, participate in, and enjoy once it’s safe to do so which is why I am delighted by this announcement from Mr FitzPatrick and the Scottish Government.

“Like many of you, I miss wrapping up and going to see a game at the weekend as for me nothing compares to cheering on my team, surrounded by other roaring fans, and enjoying the sense of community and togetherness the game creates – regardless of whether we win or lose. But I will only enjoy it once again if I know myself and my fellow fans aren’t endangering ourselves in the process.

“No one wants to see our beloved teams or clubs suffer which is why the Scottish Government have been working closely with clubs and sporting authorities from the outset of the pandemic to make sure all levels have access to the support and advice they need at this difficult time.

“Things many be challenging right now, but I know this emergency funding will make a massive difference and our collective sacrifices will all be worth it when we return to our stadiums, halls, and sporting events safely in the future.”

BUSINESSES IN PAISLEY TO RECEIVE SHARE OF £185 MILLION SCOTGOV FUNDING

Businesses in Paisley are set to receive their share of a targeted Scottish Government coronavirus fund worth £185million. 

The funding was announced today by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and will benefit a wide range of sectors, such as taxi drivers, arts venues and the hospitality sector. 

The Scottish Government is developing grant schemes for hospitality, the events sector, live music, arts, indoor football centres and the food and drink sector. A further £60 million will also be provided to the tourism sector. 

In addition, there will be additional one-off payments of either of £2,000 or £3,000 available for hospitality businesses in January to help them deal with the traditional post-Christmas dip in demand.

Commenting on the announcement Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said: 

“This Scottish Government funding, which is designed to support firms and ensure that our economy is on the best possible footing when we get through this health crisis, is very welcome here in Paisley.

“There is now light at the end of the tunnel, but we are coming into a notoriously difficult period for businesses as we head into the winter months, and this package should help support local businesses struggling to get by and support the sectors worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Local businesses and industries here in our town are understandably concerned about the impact that coronavirus will have on our economy, but the Scottish Government will continue to listen to the needs of business and review and refine the Covid-19 support on offer.

“I’d encourage all businesses here in Paisley to continue to ensure they are receiving all the support they’re entitled to.”

PAISLEY AND RENFREWSHIRE MOVED BACK DOWN TO LEVEL 3

Following the First Minister’s address on the 8th December, Renfrewshire will move down into Level 3 from Friday 11th December at 6pm.

The past 3 weeks of severe Level 4 restrictions has seen the prevalence of positive cases reduce to levels where a move to Level 3 has been deemed safe and appropriate, and although the number of positive tests fluctuates on a daily basis, the national average for test positivity in the week up to Friday 4th December was back under 5% – the threshold that the WHO uses to determine if an outbreak is under control. This progress is also reflected in hospital and intensive care statistics and has put the country in a much better position to cope with the inevitable difficulties of winter.

Despite the progress that has been made, the First Minister advised that a move back down to Level 3 does not remove the need for a cautious and careful approach moving forward as the risks and challenges of the next few months are clear.

Under Level 3 anyone living in Renfrewshire must not travel outside the local authority area unless travelling for essential reasons such as work, healthcare, or caring responsibilities, and indoor visits to any household outside your own or extended household is still prohibited. However Level 3 does permit the reopening of non-essential retail businesses, along with the hospitality, beauty and leisure industries – albeit under the same restrictions as previously.

George Adam, Paisley’s MSP, said:

“I know this will be very welcomed news by most of us here in Paisley and I’m delighted that our local businesses who have been closed for the past 3 weeks will be allowed to reopen and trade again.

“However like the First Minister stressed, this reduction in levels does not by any stretch of the imagination mean we are out of the woods yet – and if the increase of positive cases we saw last month has taught us anything, it’s that COVID can rapidly spread throughout our community again if we’re not careful.

“This week has been a very positive one with the first doses of the vaccine now administered to some of the most vulnerable in our communities, and I know many people will be looking forward to being able to see friends and loved ones under the temporary restrictions for over the festive period – but above all I would urge everyone living and working in Paisley right now to really question whether their journeys are essential so we can keep making progress against this horrible illness.”

SNP ANNOUNCE FREE SCHOOL MEALS FOR ALL PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS IN PROGRESSIVE VISION TO TACKLE POVERTY IN THE FACE OF TORY CUTS

George Adam, Paisley’s MSP, has welcomed the announcement that every primary school pupil in Paisley will be eligible for free school meals, all year around, if the SNP is re-elected in May. 

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, set out this latest step in the drive to tackle child poverty and make Scotland the first nation in the UK to offer universal free primary school meals at the SNP annual conference this weekend.

The SNP previously extended eligibility for a free school lunch to all P1 to P3 pupils while P4 to P7 pupils are eligible based on a range of income and benefits criteria.

Now, in the face of predictions that Westminster cuts will drive child poverty rates even higher, the expansion – estimated to cost around £230 million per year in additional expenditure – will introduce a free year-round breakfast and lunch for all primary school pupils from August 2022. 

George Adam said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has put real financial pressure on families, and it’s right that the Scottish Government ensured that children in our townwould continue to receive free school meals over the holidays.

“But we will not stop there. If the SNP is re-elected in May, every single primary school pupil in Paisley will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch, all year round.

“And unlike the Tories, we didn’t have to be publicly shamed and condemned into choosing to feed hungry children – that is the basic duty of any government.

“This ambitious expansion of the free school meals scheme is the next step in our battle to stop the Tories forcing more and more kids into poverty, support families, and make Scotland the best place to grow up.

“That progressive vision, underpinned by human rights, equality and wellbeing, is exactly why people in Scotland continue to put their faith in the SNP.”