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ABOLITION OF TUITION FEES HELPING DISADVANTAGED INTO UNIVERSITY

George outside UWS

George outside UWS

Statistics showing that record numbers of applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds are applying to university show how important the SNP’s abolition of tuition fees has proved to people in Scotland.

The number of applicants by people from poorer backgrounds has increased by 3% to a record level of 41,080. Eighteen year olds from poorer backgrounds are now twice as likely to apply to university as they were a decade ago.
 

Commenting, SNP MSP George Adam who sits on the Education and Culture Committee said:

“Today’s figures are further demonstration of just how important the abolition of tuition fees has been for young people in Scotland.

“It has helped make going to university an option for more people from disadvantaged backgrounds – in contrast to the disastrous situation south of the border where tuition fees have stopped people making applications.

“Education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay – a principle that should be at the heart of Scotland’s approach to education, but which Labour’s Cuts Commission continues to jeopardise.

“With Labour warning that ‘nothing is off the table’ when it comes to what they might cut, it is clear that only the SNP are looking out for the interests of young people in Scotland.”

George Hits Out at Thieves

George AdamA £12 million electrification project of the Paisley Canal line has been disturbed due to a substantial amount of cable being stolen by thieves according to Network Rail. It is expected that some journeys will be disrupted, Network Rail have stated that the first electric trains to use the line will be on schedule.

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said;

‘This is disappointing. Paisley has benefited from this electrification project and the £9 million investment along the Gilmour Street line.

‘I have contacted Network Rail to confirm that the electrification will be completed on time despite this happening.

‘I use the Paisley Canal station every week to get to Parliament and I have been impressed with the revamp there and the installation of the accompanying electric lines for the trains. This is of benefit to everyone in Paisley, improving transport links not only for people going to work but also businesses who always need improved transport infrastructure.

‘I will be working with Network Rail to ensure that the full implementation of the line is completed on time.

A Network Rail spokesperson said;

‘Our engineers are working as quickly as possible to deliver the new infrastructure, but following the theft of a significant amount of cable from the line we have had no option but to slightly extend our engineering works.

“We remain confident that the project will be completed in time for the commencement of electric train services in December as planned.”

The temporary timetable put in place in September will now continue to apply until Monday, November 19.

This means there will be no services on Saturdays and early service closure Monday to Thursday.

A normal service timetable will operate on Friday, November 16.

ScotRail has arranged replacement bus services in both directions, calling at all stations, departing from Glasgow Central and Paisley Canal as timetabled.’

Supermarkets Target Award Winners (Heading for 90 Years in Paisley!)

Award winning Paisley ice cream manufacturer, Porrelli’s, have been based in the town for almost 90 years. The successful family run company distributes their products throughout the country, as well as supplying many of the large supermarket chains, giving everyone a a chance to taste what the company has to offer.

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, visited the family establishment:

‘I was delighted to visit Enzo, his wife Ines, daughter Serena and the rest of the team that are making the Paisley business a success story.

‘Porrelli’s, based in Lacy Street, is one of the most impressive facilities that I have visited. Enzo was able to show me the results of the huge investment that he has made in to the business, not only showing great commitment to our town, but impressing the large supermarkets who have struck deals to get Porrelli’s ice cream on their shelves.

‘Having been provided with a small sample of their ice cream I can say it is a quality product, but one thing that really caught my eye was the range of flavours that the company has developed. Iron Brew, Scottish Tablet, Raspberry Pavlova, a truly brilliant Scot’s-Italian cross-over.

‘From what I’ve seen this business will continue to collect awards and be a beacon and an ambassador for Paisley.’

Company Director Enzo Durante said:

‘I am delighted that George took the time to come and see our purpose built factory and to meet the team here. Porrelli’s are committed to growing the business, securing employment for local people and then economic benefits that go along with it.’

Porrelli’s was established in Paisley in 1925, almost 90 years ago. The ice cream manufacturer has won numerous trade awards for their products including a Bronze award and a Special Diploma of Merit from the UK National Trade Awards.

George Urges calls to the Home Heat Helpline

George with Christine McGourty from Home Heat HelplineNew figures reveal that in Renfrewshire, 10,300 homes are entitled to some form of assistance with their fuel bills. That help is worth an average of £250 per household and a free helpline is available for more information.

Lending his support to the campaign, George Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, said, “Around 10,300 homes in Renfrewshire are entitled to some form of support. Anyone who is concerned about staying warm should call the Home Heat Helpline and seek advice. I would also ask people to look out for neighbours, friends or relatives who may be in difficulty and make sure that they are aware of the Home Heat Helpline.”

The number for the Home Heat Helpline is 0800 33 66 99 or you can visit www.homeheathelpline.org.uk. It is a free service that provides independent advice to people on low incomes on how to get help with their gas and electricity bills as well as other help such as grants for insulation or a new boiler.

As well as supporting the campaign locally, George recently attended a briefing in the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of the helpline.

Christine McGourty from the Home Heat Helpline also advises people to think about what they can do around the home to reduce their energy consumption:
“As well as calling the Home Heat Helpline to find out what financial assistance is available there are some other simple steps people can take. For example:
• turn radiators down in rooms which you only use occasionally
• switch your lights off when you’re not using them
• turn appliances like TVs and phone chargers off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby when they’re not being used
• replace normal light bulbs with energy efficient ones
• regularly defrost your freezer to make sure it’s operating at full efficiency
• draw curtains over windows at night to provide insulation for the room
• move furniture away from radiators and heaters to allow heat to circulate around the room
• open internal doors of any rooms which get more sun than others and let the warm air travel around your home”
Home Heat Helpline: 0800 33 66 99 or www.homeheathelpline.org.uk

Note:

The Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99) is a free, not-for-profit phone line to help people who are struggling to pay their energy bills and keep warm. People can also access the service online by visiting www.homeheathelpline.org.uk.

The Helpline is managed by the Energy Retail Association and paid for by contributions from Britain’s major energy suppliers (British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, RWE npower, SSE and ScottishPower). The service is backed by a range of organisations including Age UK; Citizens Advice; National Energy Action; Energy Saving Trust; Counsel and Care and Gingerbread.

The Helpline’s trained advisers can provide eligible callers with advice on:
• free or discounted home insulation
• discounts and rebate schemes
• the Priority Service Register, which can provide extra services for people who are elderly or disabled (including bills in large text or Braille, security passwords and an annual gas safety check)
• flexible payment options
• benefits entitlement checks

The Energy Retail Association set up a Safety Net procedure in 2004 to make sure that no vulnerable customer in Britain is knowingly disconnected from their electricity or gas supply at any time of year.

The New Policy Institute (NPI) was commissioned by the Home Heat Helpline to estimate the number of vulnerable households who are eligible for free CERT home insulation grants and other free help from their energy supplier in November 2011.

Paisley’s MSP Welcomes Local Structure for Police and Fire Services

George outside Paisley AbbeyGeorge Adam, Paisley’s MSP, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill which will put local knowledge at the heart of delivering services in communities across Scotland.

The Bill will mean that Renfrewshire will have its own local commander and local authorities will agree local policing plans with the commander. Moving to a single police force will ensure the future of the force and the additional 1000 officers on the beat since the SNP came to power.

The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill will see the establishing of “The Police Service of Scotland”. The current functions of fire and rescue authorities will transfer to the “Scottish Fire and Rescue Service” which will employ all staff from the current eight fire and rescue authorities to the new service.

George said:

“This announcement will see Scotland’s police continue to make our country’s communities, streets and neighbourhoods safer.

“Through a range of measures, including delivering on our election promise of 1000 extra police on Scotland’s streets, crime is at its lowest level since 1976.

“These necessary changes come on the back of potentially devastating Westminster cuts, however, we can and will do more with less, by focussing on a stronger connection between communities and their local police and fire and rescue services.

“The new structure of policing and fire services will see a local commander for every local authority area giving a real local point of contact and ensuring local priorities are decided by police and councillors working together.

“A single force is not unusual, countries including Denmark, Norway and New Zealand take this approach for a similar sized population. When the Tories and Lib Dems are slashing police numbers in England this approach will ensure that in Scotland we can continue to protect our communities properly.

“I welcome the proposals and hope now they have seen the proposals opposition parties will recognise that their fears and smears were ill placed. Scotland’s police force will be independent and answerable to local communities as well as to local MSPs.”

Notes:
These new bodies will have a commitment and focus on local knowledge by enabling greater powers for local authorities including:

POLICE
• Chief Constable must ensure adequate arrangements for the policing of each local authority area.
• Designated local commander for each local authority area.
• Local commanders subject to direction and control of the Chief Constable.
• Local authority can request reports and information on policing in the local area.
• Local Plan, agreed between local commander and local authority, setting out priorities, objectives and arrangement for policing in the local authority area.

FIRE and RESCUE
• Scottish Fire Rescue Services must ensure adequate arrangements for SFRS functions in each local authority area.
• Local Senior Officer to involve the local authority in setting priorities and objectives for that area and prepare a local fire and rescue plan for the authority’s agreement.
• Local authority powers to request reports and information on SFRS functions in the local area.

Full details can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/01/12135101