LABOUR MUST “GET ON BOARD” WITH FULL DEVOLUTION OF RAIL

SNP MSP George Adam has called on Labour MSPs to get behind the full devolution of rail services to Scotland, after a former Labour transport minister urged that the Scottish Parliament be given full responsibility over Network Rail.


Tom Harris, a senior adviser to the Rail Review, said that all lines, signals, stations and infrastructure under the control of Network Rail should be transferred to a new body, answerable to the Scottish Government.

At the moment, Network Rail is responsible for railway infrastructure and is accountable to Westminster, not Holyrood.

In November, Labour MSPs were criticised for voting against the full devolution of rail, despite almost 60% of delays on Scotland’s railways over the last year being attributable to Tory government’s shambolic operation of Network Rail.
 
Commenting, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:
 
“The SNP in government has consistently called for the full devolution of rail services, but successive Labour and Conservative governments have repeatedly denied Scotland a full say over how its railways are run – talking a good game while doing absolutely nothing to deliver the powers we need.
“The Rail Review gives us an opportunity for meaningful change. Full devolution of services currently under the control of Network Rail would help to improve performance on the railways and allow for a coherent, joined-up approach to transport.

“It’s time for Labour to get on board with the common sense approach – handing over full control of the rail infrastructure to Scotland to help ensure our railways deliver for all passengers in Paisley.”

EU CITIZENS URGED TO STAY IN PAISLEY

GEORGE ADAM: “YOU WILL ALWAYS REMAIN WELCOME IN SCOTLAND AND IN OUR COMMUNITY”

SNP MSP George Adam has made an impassioned plea to EU citizens living in Paisley to stay in Scotland amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

This week First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, made a commitment to EU citizens that Scotland remains their home – promising to continue making a strong case for their rights to be protected in any EU exit scenario.

The SNP leader has written an open letter to EU citizens to confirm a new ‘Stay in Scotland’ package that will consist of:

• £250,000 for community based support across Scotland

• a support and advice service for EU citizens with more complex needs or particular challenges

• a toolkit for employers, including posters, factsheets, digital content and guide directing EU citizens to further guidance

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“It is important to make clear that EU citizens will always remain welcome here in Paisley, and I will continue to do all I can to help people stay in Scotland.

“It’s wrong for the UK government to oblige EU citizens who have built their lives in Scotland, and who contribute massively to our economy and communities, to apply for the continued right to remain in their own homes.

“With absolutely no clarity from Westminster, this announcement from the First Minister will provide welcome support for EU citizens in across Scotland.

“I’d like to urge anyone who has issues or concerns they would like to discuss with me to please get in touch.”

FREE PRESCRIPTIONS SAVES AVERAGE SCOTS UP TO £171 A YEAR

COST INCREASE IN ENGLAND SHOWS PEOPLE ARE BETTER OFF WITH THE SNP  
 
Scottish patients are saving £171 a year on their prescriptions compared to patients in England – after prescription charges in the Tory-run NHS rose to £9.
 
According to the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe), the average Scot receives 19 prescriptions per year. If these were charged at the new English rate of £9 each, people in Scotland would be out of pocket by £171 annually.
 
Commenting, SNP MSP Emma Harper said:
 
“Healthcare should be free at the point of use for everyone – that’s why the SNP scrapped prescription charges for all patients 2011.
 
“Prescription charges were nothing more than a tax on ill health that Scotland’s families could ill afford. I am proud that an SNP Government took the decision to improve access to prescriptions for all.
 
“In England, the Tories are putting the future of the health service at risk by opening up the NHS to privatisation, continuing to charge families a small fortune for vital medication.
 
“This is further evidence that people are better off with the SNP – and only the SNP will keep Scotland’s NHS safe in public hands.”

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

“These figures demonstrate once again that the SNP can be relied upon to put people first.

“Unlike the Westminster Government, here in Scotland we do not think access to healthcare should come down to financial background. No one should ever feel excluded from healthcare, and families should never have to make the choice between putting food on the table and the live saving medications they desperately need.”

96% OF NEW PARENTS BENEFITTING FROM BABY BOXES

New figures have revealed that 20244 families in Renfrewshire have benefitted from a Baby Box, as the Scottish Government announced a new design in time for Mother’s Day.

Across the country, over 80,000 Baby Boxes have been delivered since April 2017.  

The new Baby Box was created by a team of young people from schools across the country.

The new boxes will also encourage families to become more environmentally friendly, with parents-to-be receiving a voucher for a reusable cloth nappy, and liners.

Scotland’s Baby Box contains a selection of clothes, as well as every day must-haves, like a bath towel, a travel changing mat, muslin cloth squares, a bib, a digital thermometer, and books.

Commenting, MSP George Adam said:

“Every child, regardless of their circumstances, should get the best start in life.

“At the heart of the Baby Box is a message about fairness and opportunity, which is why I’m delighted to see that numerous new families have benefitted from it.

“96% of expectant parents in Scotland are now requesting a Baby Box – and more than 80,000 have been delivered.  That’s a huge vote of confidence in the Baby Box.

“Given how beneficial they are to parents and newborns, long may that continue.

Health Board Boxes Delivered
NHS Ayrshire and Arran 4825
NHS Borders 1521
NHS Dumfries and Galloway 1916
NHS Fife 5212
NHS Forth Valley 4173
NHS Grampian 9153
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde 20244
NHS Highland 3916
NHS Lanarkshire 9032
NHS Lothian 14193
NHS Orkney 280
NHS Shetland 335
NHS Tayside 5778
NHS Western Isles 295
Total 80873

The winning design was created by:

  • Demi Burnett, 12, from Banff Academy in Macduff.
  • Edith Macdonald, 13, from the Community School of Auchterader in Gleneagles.
  • Emily Wilson, 15, from St Luke’s High School in Barrhead.
  • Holly Henry, 16, from St Columba’s in Kilmacolm.
  • Sonny Robertson, 17, from Trinity Academy in Edinburgh.

PAISLEY’S MSP CALLS ON PM TO RULE OUT NO DEAL AND COMMIT TO SECOND EU REFERENDUM

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam has joined with colleagues from across the party divide to oppose Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal and call for the threat of No-Deal to be taken off the table.

Speaking in the chamber during a Scottish Government debate on EU withdrawal negotiations, MSPs from the SNP, Scottish Labour, Green Party and the Liberal Democrats highlighted the growing support across Scotland for an extension to the Article 50 process to avoid a No-Deal scenario on 29th March.

In a historic move, politicians at the Welsh Assembly joined forces with Holyrood to debate the same motion simultaneously. Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell said the unprecedented event sent a “strong message to the UK government that it must stop pursing such a disastrous course of action”.

Political commentators have suggested there is currently no prospect of the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal being passed by MPs at Westminster at the second attempt scheduled for 12th March – just 17 days before the UK is set to crash out of the EU.

Research has shown that Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal would lead to a 6% fall in GDP by 2031, costing each person in Scotland £1,600.

Speaking in the debate, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“No-Deal should be definitively ruled out – and today, from Edinburgh and Cardiff, we demand that it is.

“The deal on the table guarantees more years of uncertainty during which Scotland’s interests will be at the mercy of a vicious, and seemingly never-ending, Tory civil war – one where the extreme Brexiteers are currently in the ascendancy.

“The preferable alternative option, in my view, is now a second EU referendum. After all, nobody voting to leave the EU knew precisely what they were voting for – the leave campaign was deliberately vague, some may say deceitful, about the form Brexit would take.”

Last month, a report from the Chief Economic Advisor to Scotland warned that a No-Deal Brexit would expose up to [X%] of [Area’s] workforce to economic shock and possible job losses.

George Adam MSP said:

“The current Withdrawal Agreement means Scotland faces being taken out of the EU against our democratic wishes, taken out of the Single Market against our economic interests, and cut off from our European friends and neighbours against our will.

“This is something the SNP are not okay with, and we have made that fact blatantly clear since the day and hour the Brexit process began. Nevertheless, we have repeatedly been ignored and sidelined.

“The Westminster Government have handled the Brexit process deplorably since the moment the referendum result was announced, and just when you begin to think enough is surely enough; the cycle of broken promises, disappointment and confusion only continues to spin out of control.

“Scotland deserves better than this.”

FIRMS IN RENFREWSHIRE BENEFIT FROM £6.75m IN BUSINESS RATES SUPPORT

George Adam MSP

The Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme provided £6.75m of support for businesses across Renfrewshire in 2017/18 – a 16.9% rise on the previous year.

The Small Business Bonus Scheme, delivered by the SNP in 2008/09, supports local firms by reducing their rates liability or taking firms out of business rates altogether.

With businesses across Scotland receiving a total support relief of £6.75m last year, SNP MSP George Adam has said the Scottish Government’s commitment to local jobs and communities across Paisley is clear.

Commenting, local SNP MSP George Adam said:

“These figures prove the success of the Small Business Bonus Scheme for firms across Paisley.

“Businesses in Renfrewshire have benefitted from a massive amount of money in rates support, providing stability for local jobs and communities and giving firms that valuable headroom to grow and thrive.

“While Labour and the Tories have no credible plans between them, the SNP is getting on with the job – creating a better business environment in our town, boosting employment and creating a business environment where local companies can flourish.”

BUDGET FOR A FAIRER SCOTLAND GIVEN HOLYROOD BACKING

SNP MSP for Paisley, George Adam, has this afternoon voted to back the Scottish Government’s budget for the coming financial year – securing a cash boost for the NHS while offering economic stability in the face of Tory Brexit chaos.

Despite Westminster cuts of almost £2 billion over the last decade to Scotland’s block resource grant, the SNP has committed £729 million extra for health and care services – with spending on NHS frontline boards rising by £430 million. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde alone is set to receive a 76.7m rise in spending.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay also announced an £8 billion investment in Scotland’s education system, including £120 million delivered directly to head teachers – helping schools address the poverty related attainment gap. Scotland’s colleges will benefit from a £606 million investment over 2019-20, while universities will receive more than £1 billion.

As part of the Scottish Government’s plan to almost double the paid-for provision of childcare to 1,140 hours from August 2020 for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds, the budget also commits £500 million to support the expansion of early learning services and facilities across Scotland.

The SNP’s plans also ensure local councils receive a fair funding settlement, delivering a total local government settlement of £11.1 billion next year – that includes an additional £90 million to the core spending grant.

This budget will ensure Scotland remains the lowest taxed part of the UK – keeping council tax increases below the 5% cap in England while ensuring 55% of income taxpayers will pay less in Scotland than they would elsewhere in the UK.

Commenting, SNP MSP George Adam said:

“With Westminster in complete chaos, the SNP has delivered certainty and stability for Scotland’s economy with a budget that protects our cherished health service and supports our schools here in Paisley.

“I am delighted that Holyrood has given its backing to a progressive budget that will help create a more prosperous and equal society for all.

“This budget confirms Scotland as the fairest taxed part of the UK, with most income tax payers paying less than they would elsewhere.

“Brexit remains the biggest threat to Scotland’s economy, which is why the Tories should rule out a no-deal outcome before it’s too late. “This Brexit shambles simply reinforces the case for an independent Scotland, where we could take real control of our own future, continuing to build one of the world’s most successful economies on a firm foundation of strong and dependable public services.”

NO-DEAL BREXIT WILL HAVE DRAMATIC IMPACT ON PAISLEY

The Scottish Government has warned that a no-deal Brexit would hammer Scotland’s economy, with national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) predicted to fall by up to 7%.

Geroge Adam MSP

The Chief Economic Advisor to Scotland reports that a no-deal Brexit has the potential to push the Scottish economy into recession, with unemployment rising and trade and investment disrupted. If prolonged, the shock of Scotland’s departure from the EU could lead to significant structural change in the economy.

The report warns that Renfrewshire will face economic shock and possible job losses, noting that 20-24% of the workforce in Renfrewshire will be exposed to economic damage from a no-deal Brexit.  

Previous research has already shown the damage of the Tories’ proposed Brexit deal, which would see a 6% fall in GDP by 2031, costing each person in Paisley £1,600.

SNP MSP George Adam said:

“These new figures are yet another warning that a no-deal Brexit would be devastating for communities in Paisley.

“A no-deal Brexit is not inevitable – but we know that Theresa May’s deal is dead in the water, with even her own party refusing to accept it. The SNP has fought tooth and nail to seek an extension to the Article 50 process, and find compromise to protect Scotland’s interests.

“But Scotland is being ignored by Westminster and it’s no wonder people have completely lost trust in the UK Government.

“As Tory and Labour politicians ignore Scotland’s interests and stand in the way of us making decisions over our future, more and more people are drawn to the opportunities and hope for the future that independence offers.

“We need to stop the clock on Brexit, rule out No Deal, which would cause economic damage to our town, and prevent the Tories dragging Scotland out of the EU against our will.”

FAMILIES IN PAISLEY BENEFIT FROM SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

Families in Paisley have benefitted from £2.7 million paid through the Scottish Government’s new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment scheme since it opened for applications.

Since December, Social Security Scotland has made payments to more than 7,000 low income households. The support provided to families across Scotland, as of 31 January 2019, totals £2.7 million.

The Best Start Grant, which provides low-income families with financial support during the early years of a child’s life, sees eligible applicants receive £600 for their first child – £100 more than the UK government’s equivalent in England.

Best Start Grants replace and expand on the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant by providing eligible families with £600 on the birth of their first child, and £300 on the birth of any subsequent children.

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“I am delighted that more Scottish families are receiving help from the Scottish Government’s new social security system, which puts dignity, respect and fairness at its heart.

“£2.7 million worth of payments – more than the DWP paid out in a full year under the previous system – will ensure that all Scottish children get the best possible start in life.

“It’s vital that the SNP government can provide help at a time when many families in Paisley are seeing UK government social security support drastically reduced, and Universal Credit is causing hardship across Scotland.

“By reversing and mitigating Tory cuts that have been so damaging to families in Paisley and ensuring that we support those on the lowest incomes, the SNP is building a social security system which provides a safety net for the most vulnerable in society.”

HOLYROOD COMMITTEE CALLS FOR URGENT WELFARE REFORM

Geroge Adam MSP

A report published this week by the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee has called for the urgent reversal of UK government welfare cuts that have caused “significant damage” to the income of working Scots.

Introduced by the Tories in 2016, the working-age benefit freeze gives a real-terms cut to households claiming benefits such as Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Child tax credits, and Tax Credits – forcing families to bear the brunt of what will be an estimated £3.7 billion in cuts by 2020.

The report found that, “the benefits freeze has a disproportionate impact on the poorest and those in most need.”

While the SNP has pledged almost £100 million for the coming year to continue mitigation of the Bedroom Tax and the UK government’s reserved welfare cuts, the committee has said it should not be left for only the Scottish Government to ensure the income of claimants north of the border does not drop in real terms.

The report, ‘Social Security and In-Work Poverty’, has also urged the UK government to re-think its controversial Universal Credit system, backing calls to end the five week waiting period for first-time claimants to receive a payment – suggesting a maximum of two weeks would be more appropriate.

The report continued, stating that “Universal Credit is a significant cause of the rise in demand for food bank services.”

The Trussell Trust, Britain’s largest foodbank charity, recently came forward with figures that show a 52% increase in demand at local foodbanks in the 12 months after the roll-out reaches an area.

Neither the Work and Pensions Secretary nor the UK Employment Minister accepted the committee’s invitation to give evidence during this inquiry.

Commenting SNP MSP for Paisley, George Adam said:

“Here in Paisley and across Scotland, families are falling behind on rent payments and daily living costs thanks to the Tories’ damaging welfare policies.

“In Paisley alone, I have seen numerous families plunged into poverty after waiting months for their first payment, only to come up against a brick wall when attempting to contact the DWP for help. This is simply not acceptable.

“More and more households simply can’t get by – forcing many of those on Universal Credit to rely on emergency welfare support and foodbanks to feed themselves.

“The UK government cannot continue to stick their heads in the sand – it’s time to listen to the pleas from claimants, campaigners and charity groups for fundamental reform of Universal Credit and an end to the benefits freeze.”