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Minister Denies Google Maps Jobcentres Bungle

A CABINET minister has denied that the DWP used google maps to identify jobcentres for closure in Glasgow, despite officials admitting it on more than one occasion.
Damian Green, work and Pensions Secretary told MP and MSPs that was not how the department operated and agreed it was not the right way to do business.

Mr Green was giving evidence to a special joint session of the Westminster and Holyrood Social Security committees in the House of Commons.

He was quizzed over the plans to shut half of Glasgow’s jobcentres and was asked about using google maps.

 

Damian Green being presented with a signed I, Daniel Blake book by George

Damian Green being presented with a signed I, Daniel Blake book by George

 

 

George Adam, Paisley SNP MSP asked about DWP officials using google maps to determine which offices should close and which remain open.

He said: “Surely that’s not the right way to do business?”

Mr Green replied: “It’s not and we don’t do it that way.”

 

 

However Denise Horsfall, Scotland work Director for the DWP who is in charge of the process to shut Jobcentres in Glasgow previously admitted they did.
She said in January in an interview with the Evening Times, when asked if the routes between centres had been tested by staff in person, Ms Horsfall said: “I would love to say I sent my team out but they have got other work to do. I did use maps and the traveline website.”

The House of Commons library also records Ms Horsfall and Neil Couling a fellow official in giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament social security committee stating: “In determining travelling distances, DWP had used Traveline and Google Maps.”

 

Mr Green was also challenged on the justifications given by the DWP for closing eight Jobcentres in the Glasgow area.JobCentre_778x436

Pauline McNeill, Glasgow Labour MSP, asked Mr Green about his comments that more people were using services online and told him that the situation in Glasgow was not the same as in other cities.

She said: “Glasgow is one of the poorest cities in the UK with huge pockets of deprivation.

“One in four people do not have access to the internet. You cannot compare Glasgow to cities like Leeds without looking at levels of poverty.”

Rutherglen SNP MP, Margaret Ferrier, had told the Secretary of State, that Glasgow was being treated disproportionately with 50% of centres being closed compared to 20% across the UK.

Mr Green said that there was too much unused space and the tax payer had to get better value for money.”

The plan is for seven of the 14 Glasogw Jobcentres to close and also for Cambuslang to shut and services moved to Rutherglen.

The Evening Times Hands off Our Jobcentres campaign has called for the plans to be halted and Jobcentres to be retained in the communities where they are needed most. the campaign has attracted widespread support across political parties and from churches and trade unions.

 

_92246155_cwvfyd4wiaafwduI, Daniel Blake film director, Ken Loach also supported our call to stop the closures.

Mr Green said that the proposals for Glasgow were still under consideration.

He said: There is a consultation going on. We haven’t yet come to a final conclusion of what we are going to do in Glasgow. I would ask everyone to be patient.”

 

Evening Times – 21/03/17 – Stewart Paterson, Political Correspondent

George at Glasgow Airport Amanda McMillan Alyn Smith MEP

Passengers Numbers will Increase as APD is Cut

A recent report by Edinburgh Airport ‘The impact of reducing APD on Scotland’s airports’ has highlighted the benefits to our airports, economy and tourism sector, a reduction of 50% in Air Passenger Duty (APD) would create. Glasgow Airport alone would be projected to receive 200,000 extra passengers a year, bring along with it countless positives for the local and national economies. This reports comes days before Glasgow Airport released figures showing that they enjoyed their busiest February in 8 years, welcoming 510,000 passengers and boosting 24 months of consecutive growth.George at Glasgow Airport Amanda McMillan Alyn Smith MEP

Speaking recently, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said, “For far too long, our airports have been working wonders but with one hand tied behind their backs. Glasgow Airport has continued to grow it passenger numbers during difficult times, but the UK Government continues to hinder our local airport further by imposing high levels of APD on each passenger that travels. Thankfully, APD looks set to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government has already confirmed that it intends to reduce APD by 50% within the next session of Parliament, with a view to eventually abolishing the tax when public finances allow.

‘Since becoming Paisley’s MSP, I have on a number of occasions spoke with Amanda McMillan, Managing Director of Glasgow Airport and APD is always high on the agenda. If we want to help our economy grow, we can’t impose regressive taxes which not only impact on the airport, but increase the costs to every one of us when travelling in search of sun, sea and sand. The devolution of APD to the Scottish Parliament really can’t come soon enough. Let’s hope whoever is 10 Downing Street after May 7th respects the Scottish people and deals with the APD issue early in their term in office.”

Speaking yesterday, the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown said, “Over the past four or five years, I have been at meetings with all the major airports in Scotland and most of the major airlines—airlines that in other situations will sometimes be at each other’s throats in a competitive environment—and it is remarkable that they sit together and say the same thing. There would be the same benefits in Glasgow, in Edinburgh, in Aberdeen and throughout the country, and in particular there would be benefits to individuals who currently have to endure one of the highest taxes of its kind in the world.

‘Even better for the Scottish economy, we would have an increase in passengers coming to this country, many of whom, we know, have said, “We’re not going to go to the UK. We’re going to go to France.” People from South America and various other parts of the world will go to France, not least because the visa requirements are less onerous, but especially because the airport tax that is applied to them is much lower there. Let us get the tax devolved and let us get that business back.”

Parliamentary Reception Raises Awareness of Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association in Scotland

George at the RFCA Parliamentary Reception

George at the RFCA Parliamentary Reception

Paisley’s MSP George Adam attended a Parliamentary Reception, hosted by Keith Brown MSP, on Wednesday 9th October 2013 which highlighted the role of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations in Scotland in supporting the Reservists and Cadets as well as the wider Scottish community.

Following the opening address by Keith Brown MSP, Colonel Angus Taverner, Chairman of Highland RFCA spoke about the unique role that the RFCAs play in supporting the Reserve Forces and the Cadets across Scotland, and their overarching role of engaging with the communities from who these citizen volunteers and young people are drawn.

Colonel Taverner welcomed the RFCAs’ challenge of supporting the renewed emphasis being placed on reliance of the Reserve Forces to form an integral and vital part of the UK’s Armed Forces in the future. The RFCAs’ role in supporting both Reservists and their employers is a key element in delivering this force.

Whilst the amount of time that Reservists commit will marginally increase, the expectation is that they will be better trained and more closely integrated with the Regular Force, with increased opportunities to train and serve on operations both at home and abroad.

Colonel Taverner also raised the profile of the Service Cadets that the RFCAs actively promote and support – these are youth movement whose members enjoy an experience that is both challenging and fun, but importantly develops their self-confidence, leadership, respect for others and imbues a sense of responsibility and citizenship amongst young people aged 13-18.

George had the opportunity to meet both Reservists and members of the Cadet Forces from Paisley and talk about their role in the community as well as current issues and challenges.
Keith Brown MSP said “It has been my great pleasure to welcome representatives of both Highland and Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations to Parliament today and to raise awareness of the work of the two RFCAs across the constituencies in Scotland to support the Reserve Forces and Cadets.

We all acknowledge the contribution made by the Reserves towards the defence of the UK – not least in the recent conflicts of Afghanistan and Iraq. In terms of the Cadets, all of us have the opportunity to witness the valuable contribution to Scottish society by the voluntary Service Cadet organisations that thrive in communities large and small across Scotland.”

George said “I was delighted to have the opportunity to find out more about the role of the RFCAs in Scotland in support of the Reserves and Cadets and to meet representatives across all three Services.”

Plan to breathe new life in to the very heart of Paisley

George with Gary Kerr, Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP and Cllr Brian LawsonA local businessman’s plan to breathe new life in to the very heart of Paisley has been backed by a number of individuals representing organisations that see the positive vision of the plan. Gary Kerr, Managing Director of EPM Solutions an asset management company has been working on the idea for some considerable time. The plans were to develop the empty Arnotts’ site in to a niche multi use cinema space with retail facilities.

 Speaking on his idea, Gary said:

 ‘I have been working with others on a number of ideas to help revitalise the centre of Paisley for well over a year now. While I welcome the council’s plans for housing at the site this will not be the key to revitalising the town in isolation.

 ‘Rather than just moving people around the town to new homes we should be encouraging people to come in to the town, spend money on leisure activities, making it a venue for families to visit, have something to eat, do a bit of shopping and see a film. This is how we encourage more people in to the town, increasing footfall and breathing new life in to the High Street.

 ‘I have contacted developers and Regional Screen Scotland to look at the site and they are excited that such a choice site is available and they can see the prospect of a cinema as very real. One developer is currently researching the town to look at the sustainability of such a project.

 ‘I am delighted that so many individuals have looked at this and are willing to give it their full backing. I happy to work with others who may now be willing to take this idea beyond concept and into feasibility stage.’

Gary has a number of Backers including Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, Piero Pierraccini – Paisley Development Trust, Jaki McDougall – Chief Executive of the GFT and Glasgow Film Festival, Ron Inglis – Chief Executive of Regional Screen Scotland and Garry Quigley President of the Students’ Association of the University of the West of Scotland.

 George Adam stated:

 ‘I have been encouraging and backing Gary for a substantial amount of time with this project. He is right that there needs to be a reason for people in Renfrewshire to come to Paisley, spend cash and help the economic development of the town. We need people with ideas willing to put their head above the parapet to look at how town centres will look in the future. Gary’s plan is timely, particularly with Scottish Government money being put in to the council’s proposed housing. We need to make sure that all investment is looked at carefully and should be spent in ways that will give the most benefit to the people of the town.’

 Regional Screen Scotland’s Chief Executive said this on Gary’s idea:

 ‘Regional Screen Scotland’s role is to support and develop cinema provision in Scotland. We are particularly interested in supporting opportunities where there is strong local support and a clear opportunity to create a vibrant, modern cinema facility. The proposal to include a multi-screen modern digital cinema within the redevelopment of the Arnotts site in central Paisley is an excellent example of the type of cinema facility we encourage. It could be an impressive and well used addition to the social, cultural and economic life of Paisley. We therefore fully support the proposal to include cinema in the redevelopment of the Arnotts site. While full feasibility studies would be required in order to investigate exactly what is developed, it is important at this early stage to retain cinema as a core element in the proposals.

 Jaki McDougall, Chief Executive of the GFT and Glasgow Film Festival has met with Gary to discuss the plans. She said:

 ‘Gary is someone who is totally dedicated to his home town. Having met him I can see the vision and passion he has to help make Paisley a great destination. I have looked at his ideas to bring a cinema right in to the heart of Paisley next to amenities, the historic abbey and the town hall. The work currently being undertaken should show how popular the idea of the cinema would be for the town and I hope before too long Paisley will once again have its own cinema.’

 Piero Pierraccini from the Paisley development Trust said:

 ‘The creation of a leisure led development is definitely the way forward as with more and more students living in the town centre we must provide and incentive for them to spend their leisure pounds in the town and not take the train to Glasgow.

 ‘As I am also in the leisure and entertainment sector and after my recent move to the High Street I am more acutely aware of how many students and local folk feel that they are starved of entertainment venues in Paisley. Further with a bus station close by, the development would attract visitors from within Renfrewshire to come to Paisley more often.

 ‘Paisley needs to kick start its regeneration and I can see no better way to assist in the process than the development as proposed.’

 President of the Students’ Association in Paisley said:

 “There is over 9,000 students who study in our Paisley Campus and for too long these students have chosen to spend their leisure time in Glasgow, due to the attractive services that the city offers. This masterplan would reverse that and keep more of our students in the town; enjoying what the proposed cinema and theatre complex would offer them.”

 The plans for the cinema may include a multi-screen mixed use venue which can be used as a conference centre, theatre space, an arts area and for digital computer competitions where computer games can be played on the screens.

Bus station plans gather momentum

George with Gary Kerr, Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP and Cllr Brian LawsonMar 14 2013 by Chris Taylor, Paisley Daily Express

Ambitious plans to open a new bus station in Paisley were handed a boost when Transport Minister Keith Brown came to town.

Blueprints for the transport hub – on a site in Incle Street, behind the former Arnotts store – have been drawn up by Paisley businessman Gary Kerr and are being supported by the town’s MSP George Adam.

They were both on hand to welcome Mr Brown as he ran the rule over the designs and was given a tour of the proposed site.

Mr Kerr, 47, said: “Anyone who knows me knows my commitment to Paisley.

“These are serious plans to make the town a major transport hub, with Gilmour Street train station, the M8 motorway and Glasgow Airport right on our doorstep.

“It is time to join these up, as well as encouraging people to shop and take advantage of the retail and leisure activities that will open up with this development.”

Mr Kerr, who runs engineering consultancy firm EPM Solutions, produced the plans for a proposed bus station free of charge and in his own time.

And Paisley MSP Mr Adam took up the cause after meeting Mr Kerr and realising they shared the same goals.

Mr Adam believes the meeting with Mr Brown was successful but has called for more support from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, which is the organisation responsible for implementing bus services in the area.

“I was informed almost 10 months ago that SPT were imminently producing a report on a bus station for Paisley,” said Mr Adam. “We are still waiting for that report, which is a disappointment.

“SPT is the organisation which would be responsible for the creation of any transport hub like this but waiting almost a year for a first ‘imminent’ report is too long and Renfrewshire Council is paying £3million a year to SPT.

“Eventually, we must look at getting value for money for the payments or, at the very least, being open to improvements to the transport system.

“These are just proposals from someone who wants the best for the town but it shows what can be done if vision and passion are what drive you.”

Mr Brown said he looks forward to hearing more about the bus station plans as they are developed.

He added: “The Scottish Government is always keen to listen to suggestions for improvements that will encourage people to get out of their cars and use public transport.

“This visit has enabled me to see at first hand the local community’s early aspirations for this bus station.”

Link to the story of the Paisley Daily Express website.

 

Minister to Visit Paisley for Bus Station Proposals

Gary and George across from proposed entrance to the Paisley Bus StationThe proposals for a new bus station for Paisley are continuing to move forward with the announcement that Keith Brown MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and Veterans, will visit the proposed site.  The visit was instigated by Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, detailing the work that had gone on to develop plans for a bus station for Scotland’s largest town.  George has been working closely with interested parties to ensure that the town has a bus station in the future, not least one of the town’s leading businessmen Gary Kerr, Managing Director of EPM Solutions, an asset management and engineering consultancy. 

Speaking on the news, George said:

 ‘I took time during a session of parliament to explain the idea that has been driven by Gary.  I have known Gary for a number of years now and he has the interests of the town at his heart.  I have met few people that are so driven to help their town in a truly altruistic manner.

 ‘Using his own time, expertise and resources Gary produced concept plans for the bus station at the empty site behind the empty Arnotts’ store.  This would leave potential development around the site for shopping and leisure as well as delivering customers right to the doorstep of Paisley, and the Piazza.

 ‘We have been in contact with a number of parties to move the project forward, including delivering the site blue print to the council over six months ago.  We are determined to move forward with this project in partnership, with others now needing to buy in to the development in the town, including SPT whose role is delivering plans and transport solutions for the west of Scotland.

 ‘I have listened too to many constituents desiring the establishment of a bus station, and with the vision of Gary and his determination things are moving forward.  In order to make progress it is up to all of us to put a bit of effort in.  I call on everyone who wants the town to move forward to back the plan.’

 Commenting, Gary Kerr said:

 ‘Anyone that knows me knows my commitment to Paisley.  I have been working on a number of projects, the bus station concept is just one of them.  I’ve drawn up plans intended to transform Paisley once more into a transport destination and hub with Gilmour Street train station, the M8 motorway and the airport right on our doorstep.  It is time to join this up as well as encouraging people to shop and take advantage of the retail and leisure activities that will open up with this development.  I appreciate George’s backing for my plans and I am delighted that he has been able to secure some time with the Transport Minister to see the positive vision that we have for Paisley.’

Paisley’s MSP Meets with Transport Minister with Positive Outcome for Gilmour Street

George and Transport MInister, Keith Brown MSPGeorge Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, this morning had a very productive meeting with the Minister for Transport, Keith Brown MSP. The meeting centred on Paisley Gilmour Street and what can be done to improve services to and from Scotland’s fourth busiest station, busier that Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh Haymarket.

Speaking after the meeting, George said, “I had a very positive meeting with the Transport Minister this morning, where he agreed to carry out an assessment to evaluate demand for the services at Paisley Gilmour Street. This assessment, I believe, will highlight the great demand for services to and from Gilmour Street, which should translate into improved services from our town’s main train station.

‘I was also delighted that Mr Brown was able to meet with me so we could discuss Paisley Gilmour Street in a clear and frank manner, getting many points across to him face to face, instead of resorting to making demands in the media and forcing the government into a response, which may not have been as positive.

‘In light of this commitment from Mr Brown, I believe real progress has been made to ensuring Paisley Gilmour Street operates to full capacity and offers a good service to everyone who uses the station. I will continue to keep in regular contact with the Minister for Transport and keep asking the questions of the government to ensure Paisley Gilmour Street offers the best service possible. It is my job to represent Paisley and promote our town whenever I can. For me this type of positive dialogue ensures that everyone understands our position in Paisley. I believe it is better to engage with the Minister for Transport and operators of the rail service.