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Gonnae Get The Grass Cut!

George and Marie next to the hidden Lochfield Road sign

George and Marie next to the hidden Lochfield Road sign

After receiving numerous complaints from annoyed constituents about Renfrewshire Council’s inability to cut grass, Paisley’s MSP George Adam and Paisley South Councillor Marie McGurk are saying enough is enough, get the grass cut! Since March this year, the issue which George has received the most correspondence about is the lack of grass cutting, coupled with the amount of rubbish strewn all over our town. Cllr McGurk has also seen a rise in the number of complaints she is receiving about the same issues.

Commenting on this on-going situation, George said, “Gonnae just get the grass cut. I’m getting sick of asking and my constituents are getting sick of having to complain. Let’s be honest, many parts of Paisley are a complete mess. The grass which runs along parts of Lochfield Road is an eyesore, with weeds over 4ft growing as well. One of the street signs on Lochfield Road is also hidden by grass and a large thistle. It’s nice to see our national flower growing, currently embodied by the Commonwealth Games mascot Clyde, but this jungle is definitely not a fitting back drop. So my message to Renfrewshire Council is a simple one; take accountability for the mess in many parts of our town and get the grass cut!

Cllr McGurk added, “I have been asking for some time to have this section of grass cut on Lochfield Road and area along Barrhead Road. I had been given assurances that it would be, however this failed to happened and my patience is running thin with the powers at be. I have been inundated with calls from local residents asking, why are the council not cutting the grass. I have asked and been told it’s because of a number of different things, but not once have I been given a good reason why it can’t be done. So like George, I have a simply message, get the grass cut!

George Calls for Action on Litter and Grass Cutting

George next to one of many paths across Paisley covered in grass cuttings

George next to one of many paths across Paisley covered in grass cuttings

With many parts of Paisley attracting an unwanted build-up of litter, coupled with overgrown grass and weeds, Paisley’s MSP George Adam has called upon Renfrewshire Council to take immediate action to deal with these issues.  Driving around Paisley at the moment, you constantly see long grass, often up to your knees, which does not appear to have been cut in months.  This in turn, is proving to be an easy dumping ground for litter and in some cases, fly tipping.

 

After asking a question the Scottish Parliament this week, George commented, “I asked the Scottish Government what it is doing to tackle fly-tipping.  Recently the fixed-penalty for fly-tipping has quadrupled, while the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 will allow the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to impose penalties of up to £40,000.  I was encouraged that in Cabinet Secretary answering my question, Richard Lochhead MSP joined me in calls for Renfrewshire Council to tackle fly-tipping and maintain a presence through the local warden’s service.

 

‘Unfortunately, the Labour administration in Renfrewshire Council has again cut the Street Scene budget, the department responsible for maintaining our streets and parks.  Now we are in a position where many areas of Paisley have grass growing up to your knees, looking as if it has not been cut for months.  This long grass provides the perfect cover for littering and fly-tipping.  Also, I have received numerous complaints that even after grass is cut, it is not collected and removed but often strewn across pavements and roads.

 

‘And I will not hear the same old excuses from Labour on the matter of the budget.  Many people may be unfamiliar with how the local governments are funded.  COSLA, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities agrees the funding formula which decides how much each council is given.  The leader of Renfrewshire Council, and the Labour group leader at COSLA, agreed to this funding formula, so let’s have no more of this nonsense.

Grass almost up to your knees is currently plotting the Paisley landscape

Grass almost up to your knees is currently blotting the Paisley landscape

 

‘The people of Paisley deserve better than dirty streets, uncut grass and weed covered pavements, not more Labour excuses, hiding the £14m a year they have to spend on their ill-conceived PFI school building project.  Let’s not forget as well the millions of pounds the council currently holds in reserve.  So I plead with the powers that be, to walk around Paisley, even the town centre, and ask yourself, it this good enough?

 

Paisley’s MSP Welcomes Bill to Tackle Misuse of Blue Badges

 

George Adam, Stacey, Dennis and Mr QGeorge Adam has welcomed the proposals for a new Bill by Dennis Robertson MSP.  The Bill plans to give local authorities the power to cancel badges which have been reported lost or stolen and confiscate badges that are being misused, as well as provide a review process for applicants when their application is refused on eligibility grounds.

 

The Scottish Government is supporting Dennis Robertson MSP in the development of the Bill to strengthen enforcement of the blue badge scheme.

 

George said;

 

‘The misuse of blue badges is unacceptable.  My wife Stacey has a blue and has personally experienced times when badges have been misused by third parties, preventing her from accessing disabled parking bays.

 

‘The badges must be used in the proper manner allowing access for individuals with disabilities to get on with their day to day lives.  They should only be used by those entitled to them and these proposals will ensure that enforceable sanctions can be carried out on those that deliberately make life more difficult for those with disabilities.’

 

Council Reject Offer to Work Together Over BASF

George has committed to working with everyone for the benefit of the staff at BASF

George has committed to working with everyone for the benefit of the staff at BASF

At today’s Economy and Jobs Board within Renfrewshire Council, an amendment lodged to the Labour Market Update Report called for Renfrewshire Council to intensify its discussion with BASF to secure the future of the plant. This came on the back of George Adam, Paisley’s MSP securing a visit from Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney MSP, to the plant to discuss its future. Unfortunately, the amendment did not receive the required backing from Labour councillors and the amendment was voted down.

Speaking after the board, George commented, “ A couple of weeks ago in my Paisley Daily Express column, I noted that we should all work together, putting party political aside for the benefit of these 141 family’s affected at the plant. It seems that simply because my name was mentioned in the motion, they could not accept it, even though it is calling for Renfrewshire Council to intensify its efforts to help the staff at BASF, in conjunction with my efforts in securing a visit from the Cabinet Secretary. This is very disappointing.

‘From the moment it came to light that the BASF plant was in trouble, I have been committed to working with everyone and anyone who can work to secure the workers’ jobs and or a new use for the plant.

‘Decisions like this being taken by Labour councillors, some with wards in Paisley, you begin to wonder if their statements about working with everyone and anyone on this issue are genuinely sincere.

‘Even at this late stage, I ask the Labour party to put petty party politics aside and work with me for the people of Paisley.”

SNP Council group leader Brian Lawson said “The agenda for this so called Jobs and Economy Board was 62 pages long and the word BASF was not mentioned once. It should had been the first item on the agenda. The next meeting of the Board is not until the end of January. Paisley and Renfrewshire will be hit hard by the potential closure of BASF. The SNP Government is doing its bit but Labour controlled Renfrewshire Council needs to do a whole lot more “.

Amendment text –

“This Board notes the dramatic drop in youth unemployment in Renfrewshire as a consequence of the progressive economic policies of the SNP Government, recognises the efforts of George Adam MSP in securing a visit from the Finance Secretary to discuss the BASF situation, and pending that visit calls on the Economic Development Department of Renfrewshire Council to intensify discussions with BASF to secure the future of the plant”.

15% Pay Increase for MPs – What Planet are they on?

George on Paisley High Street

News that MPs at Westminster are expected to receive a bumper pay day have been criticised by Paisley’s MSP.  It is expected that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will announce that MPs’ pay should be increases from £66,000 to £76,000 an increase of 15%.  The IPSA was established to prevent MPs deciding their own salaries.

Speaking on the news George Adam said;

‘What planet are these people on?  This body was meant to take the decision on pay away from MPs but when everyone else in the public sector has had to deal with pay freezes and recently small 1% increases, this is a slap in the face to every single one of them.

‘This represents an increase of 15% in just one year.

‘Westminster is out of touch.  This is not just unacceptable, it is an act of incitement towards the public sector.

‘One of the major causes of the situation that we find ourselves in regarding the current financial position is the action of MPs.  Who remembers the complacent boast by Gordon Brown that there would be ‘no return to boom and bust’?

‘These MPs are partly responsible, they must play their part and be an example to others.  That is the way to lead.

‘The Westminster ‘bubble’ has no relation to the everyday lives of people.  It is time to give them a bit of a reality check and for all of us to save a fortune by making them redundant by voting for Scotland to be independent next year’.

 

Urgent Attention Needed to Fix Paisley’s Roads

George next to one of Paisley's potholesA recent Audit Scotland report has highlighted the urgent attention needed by Renfrewshire Council to fix local roads. The report, Maintaining Scotland’s Roads, paints the stark reality that at present, many council’s, including Renfrewshire Council, are not doing enough to deliver acceptable and safe roads for drivers.

Speaking on the current roads situation in Paisley, George Adam, MSP for Paisley said, ‘One of the biggest complaints I have received from my constituents over the past year centres on the state of Paisley’s roads. In the Labour party’s manifesto before the council elections last year, they committed to having a 24 hour response team to deal with pothole repairs. Where is it?

‘A record level of cash was spent improving our roads by the previous administration. I believe we now need to see such a commitment from the current Labour administration to improve the roads in Paisley which have deteriorated under their watch.

‘An Audit Scotland report looking at Renfrewshire Council’s roads maintenance performance in 2009-10, notes that ‘there had been significant improvement in the Council’s delivery and through revised management arrangements, greater supervision of front line service delivery and revised maintenance practice and culture. Consequently practice and quality had been improved and the budget has achieved significantly more than in previous years.’

‘Its time for the Labour administration to invest in our roads. No more excuses that the Scottish Government isn’t giving them enough money; this is the same Scottish Government which has recently worked with its partners to spend £9 million upgrading Paisley Gilmour Street and £12 million electrifying the Canal Street line. They now need to use the rest of the money the Scottish Government has given them to sort this.”

Audit Scotland report on Renfrewshire Council’s accounts 2011/12

Audit Scotland report ‘Maintaining Scotland’s Roads’

NHS 24 Calls Now Free

George

People in Scotland will no longer be charged for calling NHS 24 after April 2014 when the existing number will be replaced by 111. 

The current cost to call NHS 24 from a BT landline is the price of a local phone call, with calls from other landline service providers and mobile providers often costing more.

 Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

 “I’m sure everyone in Paisley will be glad to hear this news, continuing the tradition of free at the point of use for those most vulnerable in our society.  A great difference between what is happening here as opposed to the privatisation of the NHS south of the border.

“NHS 24 is designed to help people get the right care, from the right people, at the right time. Staff at NHS 24 have been providing effective telephone support to the people of Scotland for the past decade, taking 1.5million calls every year. 

“It is a fundamental principle of the SNP that our health service should be free at the point of contact – and the introduction of this number will ensure that is the case when people seek advice from NHS 24. 

“The impact of introducing this free number could extend past easing the burden of people having to pay for it, as we could also see fewer people misusing 999 and accident and emergency. 

“This is yet another step the SNP is taking to make our health service more user-friendly. With patient care safer than ever, we must continue this hard work and ensure our health service continues to go from strength to strength.”

Council Challenged on Litter

George on Abbey BridgeGeorge has today written to the Director of Environmental Services at Renfrewshire Council at demand immediate action in the clean of litter from Paisley’s streets and town centre. An alarming amount of George’s constituents have alerted George to this problem over recent weeks.

On the issue, George commented, “I have recently noticed and been made aware of by many of my constituents that there appears to be a decrease in the amount our streets are being tidied and litter picked. I work in the town centre and live in Paisley’s east end and have notice a significant increase in the amount of litter lying about. Constituents from Whitehaugh, Hunterhill, Foxbar and Lochfield have also commented on the lack of cleaning within their areas and within the town centre.

‘I always thought believed that the previous council administration and environmental services in Paisley work well to make sure our streets were clean and tidy. However, recently, I have been dismayed to see the decline in the previous standards which were set.

‘In addition, I have asked the more dog refuse bins are provided within our streets. We all accept that the onus is on the dog owner to dispose of the waste responsibly, however, having more of this bins will make it much easier for them to do so. Action needs to be taken on these issues and I will continue to work with all parties involved to get the job done.”

Paisley Youth Groups can Benefit from £5.6 million Cashback

 

A new announcement by the Scottish Government that will see money retrieved from criminals invested in good causes has been welcomed by Paisley’s MSP, George Adam.

The first tranche of £5.6 million seized by the Crown from Abbot Group Limited under the Proceeds of Crime Act will go to a consortium of six national youth organisations led by Youth Scotland.

The funds will bring the total invested in Scotland’s young people through CashBack for Communities to £50 million on the fifth anniversary of the programme’s launch.

Voluntary youth clubs and youth groups with a total membership of over 171 thousand young people across Scotland will benefit from the £1.5 million funding.

George said;

‘The continuation of this scheme is welcome.  Criminal activity and criminals being punished by the removal of their assets which are then reinvested in our communities is one way to make sure that those guilty are punished where it hurts, their pockets, benefitting our local communities.  This is how we challenge these individuals.  I know many organisations that can benefit from this new funding to help local groups throughout Paisley and I will be making sure that they get the information they need to take applications forward.

‘The good work of youth groups throughout Paisley benefits the whole of the town.  Providing mentoring for young people, strengthening families and highlighting social responsibility with young people, showing the benefits of volunteering and being good citizens.  This is a important for all of us and I fully back Kenny MacAskill’s announcement that will help such organisations.’

Mr MacAskill said:

“CashBack is helping more young people than ever before. On the fifth anniversary of the launch of this unique programme, Scotland’s communities are getting a £1.5 million Christmas present.

“The latest £5.6 million seizure will bring the total CashBack funding since 2007 to a massive £50 million. This cash has directly benefited over 600,000 young people and generated over 11,000 volunteers from different backgrounds who are now putting something back into their communities across Scotland

“Youth groups in every local authority area in Scotland have already benefited from cash taken from the Proceeds of Crime. Putting ill-gotten gains to good use supporting our young people will always be money well spent and this further £1.5 million funding is a direct investment to provide a positive future of our young people.”

Carol Downie, Chief Executive of Youth Scotland, said:

“The evaluation of the two years of CashBack Small Grants Scheme indicated a strong impact on over 30,000 young people, youth groups and communities across Scotland. We look forward to developing the project over the next three years and reaching even more young people.”

Background

CashBack for Communities is a Scottish Government programme which takes funds recovered from the proceeds of crime and invests them into free activities and programmes for children and young people aged 10 – 25 years across Scotland. CashBack delivers a wide range of projects through Scotland’s leading sporting, arts, business, community and youth associations which range from diversionary sporting activity to early years, mentoring and community activities as well as long-term intervention projects which aim to turn young people’s lives around and provide them with employment, education, or volunteering opportunities. More information is available at

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/cashback or on twitter – @CashBackScot

The national youth organisations will allocate the £1.5 million to its Small Grant Scheme and the new Young People Taking the Lead initiative. Set up in March 2010, the Small Grants Scheme provides start-up grants of up to £1,000 and programme grants of £2,000 to youth organisations. The Young People Taking the Lead Project aims to develop young people as leaders.

The six partners are large voluntary youth organisations active in almost every local community in mainland Scotland and the Islands with a total membership of over 171,000 young people in over 6,500 groups and units supported by over 26,000 volunteers.

The national organisations are:

* Scout Association

* Girlguiding Scotland

* The Boys’ Brigade

* The Girls’ Brigade

* Clubs for Young People

* Youth Scotland, the network of youth clubs and youth groups.

 Details of the £5.6 million to be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act are available at:

http://www.copfs.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/11/Abbot-Group-Limited-pay-%C2%A356-million-after-corruption-report

£12 million for New Paisley Train Line

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, welcomed Keith Brown, Transport Minister for the Scottish Government, to Paisley to officially open the electrification of the Canal Street train line. The project involved a £12 million pound investment to electrify the 8 mile rail line between Paisley and Glasgow. This will ensure that the train system serving the town is now updated allowing new, cleaner more efficient electric trains to run on the line.

 

Speaking on the opening of the new line, George said;

 

‘This is a fantastic development for the transport infrastructure of Paisley, and indeed Renfrewshire. To see the completion of this £12 million project, on budget and on time is being promoted in wider transport circles as a prime example of how to execute such a major train line development.’

 

I was delighted to welcome Keith to my home town, show off the fantastic project and also show him the line that I use to get to the parliament during the week. I must congratulate all those involved in making this investment such a success.’

 

Keith Brown, Transport Secretary said;

 

‘This project is designed to improve efficiency and reliability on the route. Five miles of railway have been electrified between Paisley Canal and Corkerhill, and sections of track altered to allow modern electric trains to run on the line. By working closely with Scot Rail and Network Rail we have significantly reduced the cost of the project, which was originally estimated at £28m”.
 
“The SNP Government is totally committed to modernising and improving Scotland’s railway system”.