MSP Gil Paterson has appealed directly to the President of the USA to lift damaging tariffs to Scotch Whisky – following a massive 32 per cent reduction in exports to America.
Scotch Whisky was included in a list of European exports of which the USA placed a 25 per cent import tax.
The tariff was in response to the EU subsidising Airbus aircraft manufacturing, to the detriment of Boeing, the US’s major manufacturer.
The Scotch Whisky Association has blamed the tariff, as well as impact of COVID-19, for the 23 per cent drop in exports in 2020. The fall in exports to the USA, the industry’s most valuable market, was 32 per cent, £792m.
The total losses for Scotch Whisky are around £500m, of which could affect jobs and the economic wellbeing in Mr Paterson’s constituency, Clydebank and Milngavie.
Auchentoshan Distillery is based in Clydebank. And furthermore, many constituents are employed in nearby Edrington and Chivas distilleries.
With, Scotch Whisky making up some 21 per cent of all of the UK’s food and drink exports, the MSP also wrote to Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for International Trade, appealing for action to remove the tariff in future trade negotiations with the USA.
Mr Paterson, who recently raised the matter in the Scottish Parliament, is calling for action to save the industry.
He said: “I am appealing directly to President Joe Biden to intervene and help resolve this crisis for Scotch Whisky exports, which is to the detriment of Scotland, the UK and our American customers.
“Scotch Whisky is an innocent victim caught in the crossfire of a trade dispute between the EU and USA it is not involved with in any way.
“What is most worrying is the impact it could have on employment here in Clydebank, as hundreds rely on employment at Auchentoshan Distillery, which is in constituency, and in nearby Edrington and Chivas distilleries.
“It is even more painful as Auchentoshan Distillery, for example, has put profits aside to produce and distribute hand sanitiser for the NHS during this coronavirus crisis – especially at the beginning when the product was scarce.
“What we need is the removal of the tariff along with the restoration of the hospitality industry so we may see this great Scottish industry thrive again.
“Now we are fashioning new trade relations with the USA following leaving the European Union, my hope is that President Biden can help remove this damaging tariff.”
'As we look forward to the potential for everyone in Scotland in 2021 which will surely be an improvement on 2020, and is in all of our hands to make happen, wrote Gil Paterson MSP in the Clydebank Post recently.
With the latest mutation of the coronavirus setting us all back to the early days of the pandemic and escalating infection rates in Clydebank. The bigger picture being that, with over 100,000 deaths attributed to covid-19 in the UK since the start of the outbreak which gives the UK the unenviable title of the country with the highest mortality rate per head of population in the world even worse than the USA and Brazil.
Two chinks of light. People are becoming more aware of the need to follow the behavioural restrictions (unfortunately not all) and the vaccination programme is being run out as quickly as we can secure vaccine. So, to enable our earliest lifting of restrictions I urge everybody to continue following the rules and when offered the vaccination to take up the offer.
With the Brexit withdrawal “deal” finally done and dusted the true horrors of leaving the European Union are being exposed. Like most in Scotland I opposed Brexit primarily for what we would loose and the damage it would do to our core industries but never had I imagined how bad it would be.
Because Scotland’s economic base is different from the South East of England it was assumed that during the withdrawal negotiations the UK Government would take account of these different needs and protect Scottish industry. Sadly, despite numerous representations by the Scottish Government they decided to ignore Scottish concerns and in the final days of the negotiations threw the Scottish fishing industry under the bus after years of promising them a better future. Since the fishing industry represented such a small part of the UK economy, they were considered expendable despite the fact they were integral to the Scottish economy and one of our major exporters.
As well as the fishing industry, food and drinks, farming, tourism and hospitality in Scotland are going to suffer disproportionately from the rest of the UK.
As many of you will know since the tragic murder of Paige Docherty and the subsequent delay in the return of her body to the family because of defence lawyers second post-mortem requests I have been working on a Members Bill to time limit this process so that the deceased are returned for internment within a reasonable timeframe.
Stage 1 of the Scottish Parliament's legislative process was heard last week but unfortunately due to time constraints occasioned by coronavirus business proper evidence taking was not possible and the Bill fell.
The one good thing to come out of my campaigning and raising the issue was that the Crown Office have introduced a protocol which will minimise delay in second post-mortems and improve information sharing. Not the result I had hoped for but certainly better than the situation inherited before I introduced my Members Bill.
A recent joint statement issued by the Scottish and Welsh Governments about the Eramus+ programme has confirmed that they will work together to remain in Erasmus.
This is following much support from across Europe, such as around 150 Members of the European Parliament asking the European Commission to explore how Scotland could continue to take part.
The Scottish and Welsh Government have always been united in their views that participation in Erasmus+ is in the best interests for the whole of the UK and the UK Government’s decision not to associate with it is disappointing. It will reduce opportunities for all learners and cut support for the most deprived communities.
Participation in Erasmus+ has helped transform the lives of thousands of students, schoolchildren, teachers, adult learners and young people, from all across the UK. In Scotland proportionally more participants have gone abroad through Erasmus+ than from anywhere else in the UK, while proportionally more visitors from the rest of Europe have visited Scotland in return. Schools in Wales have led the UK in winning Erasmus+ funding for strategic partnership projects on innovative topics such as green energy, artificial intelligence, and promoting inclusivity in the classroom.
The UK Government’s proposed alternative, by comparison, is a lesser imitation of the real thing. The Turing Scheme, funded at £105 million for one year, pales in comparison to Erasmus+, which has now had its budget for the next seven years increased to €26.2 billion. Turing will offer no funding to the international partners that are needed to allow mobilities to take place unlike Erasmus+, where both parties are awarded funding to facilitate the exchange of learners from one country to another. Turing will also fail to support any of the strategic partnerships currently supported by Erasmus+, which help to build relationships with partners in Europe.
Gil Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie said:
“Losing Erasmus is huge blow for students, community groups and adult learners in Milngavie and Bearsden North - from all demographic backgrounds - who can no longer live, study or work in Europe.
“It also closes the door for people to come to Scotland on Erasmus to experience our country and culture and it is heartening to see that loss of opportunity recognised by MEPs from across Europe who want Scotland’s place in Erasmus to continue.
“Withdrawing from Erasmus is highly regrettable and so I welcome this joint commitment from the Scottish and Welsh Governments to explore with the EU how to maximise our continued engagement with the programme.”
Full statement: https://scottishgov-newsroom.prgloo.com/news/erasmus-exchange-programme
From midnight 1 September 2020, because of a spike in covid-19 virus spread it has been necessary to reintroduce two significant restrictions previously eased in West Dunbartonshire including Clydebank.
Commenting on the renewed restrictions Clydebank MSP Gil Paterson said: “It is disappointing that these measures have had to be reintroduced but we have to ensure that the virus is not allowed to spread which could take us back to full lockdown and that would be a social and economic disaster.
To date the people of Clydebank have done a great job in observing and following the guidelines and as a result we have made much progress in containing this disease and reopening the schools and the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors and I thank them for their patience and fortitude.
Make no mistake this virus is still with us and could spread very quickly again if we are not vigilant. So, mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitising measures are absolutely required if we are to return to normal any time soon.”
Mr. Paterson continued: “The National Medical Officer, Professor Jason Leitch recently explained that until we have a vaccine for this insidious disease Scotland has only two tools to fight its spread and to contain the covid-19 virus which are:
"So, we have to ensure that guidelines are observed and everybody participates in the community actions necessary to defeat this coronavirus pandemic.”
"Can I take this opportunity to thank all Bankies again for their patience with the restrictions and their good nature during the pandemic. And can I urge everybody to comply with the guidelines so that we can return to normal life as soon as possible. Stay safe.”
We are a step closer to making the post-mortem system in Scotland fairer for the families of
I am to introduce a parliamentary bill to improve the law around second post-mortem
examinations of people who have been murdered or died in suspicious circumstances.
Currently, when a person has died in suspicious circumstances, a post-mortem examination
(PME) is carried out by the Crown Office. This happens within a few days of the death.
However, if someone is charged in connection with the death, the accused person’s solicitor has
the right to a second PME (defence PME) and can ask the pathologist to carry out a further
PME, of which there is no timeframe in which to make the request.
As a legislator, I am seeking to create a law to introduce a 14-day time limit on defence PMEs to
allow dignity for the victim and their family, reduce the distress felt by family members and to
allow the option of an open casket funeral.
It was influenced by the long and drawn out wait the family of murdered Clydebank teenager
Paige Doherty endured following a lengthy defence PME process.
When it comes to the second PME, the system is grossly unfair on the families and friends of
those who have been murdered or died in suspicious circumstances in Scotland.
This legislation proposes a reform to help reduce the suffering felt by families where they do not
have any idea when the body of their loved one will be released for a funeral.
Some cultures and traditions prefer an open casket funeral, which can be made impossible if a
body is held too long, causing further upset and distress.
I am proposing to improve the law to allow a 14-day limit to the defence PME in relation to a
suspicious death, with an extension able to be granted if necessary.
The family and friends of Paige Doherty endured an unacceptably long wait for the return of
Paige’s body, which has been massively influential in signposting the need for change.
I look forward to seeing the bill through the Scottish Parliament and contributing to creating a
fairer and more dignified justice system in this country.
MSP Gil Paterson praises Auchentoshan Distillery for hand sanitiser donation to East Dunbartonshire group
A distillery’s good work in helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus in East Dunbartonshire has been welcomed by MSP Gil Paterson.
Auchentoshan Distillery has supplied litres of hand sanitiser to East Dunbartonshire Voluntary Action, which coordinates more than 1,000 volunteers in the area.
The supplies have gone directly to those helping run vital community organisations across East Dunbartonshire – such as shopping and delivering food to the elderly.
The Clydebank-based distillery has received parliamentary praise for changing its production to include hand sanitiser to provide to care homes, hospices, community groups and more on the ‘front line’ of tackling the pandemic.
Mr Paterson’s office assisted in facilitating the donation from the distillery to EDVA.
The MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie said: “Organisations like EDVA are vital to keep communities together during this pandemic crisis – and I am very grateful for Auchentoshan Distillery for providing the goods free of charge. It will help combat the virus and allow volunteers to feel safe as they discharge their important duties across the constituency and beyond. We all owe Auchentoshan Distillery a debt of gratitude for assisting these community organisations.”
Alex Meikle from EDVA said: “Thanks to Gil for helping to facilitate the supply of hand sanitizer from the Distillery which we distributed to local organisations, community groups and volunteers. And thank you to Auchentoshan Distillery - this is an invaluable assistance and support to people providing essential services such as the delivery of food and prescriptions to isolated and vulnerable people or maintaining important front-line services.”
MSP Gil Paterson is urging constituents to report bikers causing chaos on roads with off-road
motorbikes to the police.
They are putting their own and members of the public’s lives at risk with the hazardous stunts and
racing around streets.
Police are relying on more members of the public calling 101 to report incidents, the
identities of the bikers and where they keep their bikes.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said:
“I have been in touch with constituents and the police over the matter of dirt bikers causing chaos
on the streets in Faifley and beyond, and I am seeking to highlight this to the public to help catch
“It is only a matter of time before an innocent member of the public or the bikers themselves are
killed in a horrific accident by their dangerous driving in the streets.
“Not only do they pose a risk to life, but they are causing havoc against residents who have to
endure the noise and disorder this driving causes.
“While I am glad to be aware of the problems, the first port of call should be the police – not housing associations, councillors or parliamentary offices, which has often been the case.”
MSP Gil Paterson has highlighted to residents how to volunteer in their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
A new ‘Scotland Cares’ campaign has been launched to encourage people to volunteer.
While the most important ask for the public remains to stay at home and follow the essential public health guidance, people who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer to provide practical or emotional help to those most in need.
Those wanting to volunteer to support their communities have three options which are signposted from the Ready Scotland website:
“While not everyone will be able to volunteer, this new Scottish Government campaign will help people to make a real difference.
“The Scottish Government is working closely with local government and a range of partners to co-ordinate the volunteering effort across Scotland.
“Through the readyscotland.org website, we can connect people to where their contribution is most needed in their local community.
“For some, that may involve roles responding to specific needs in health and social care. For others, it may be that we draw on their skills, enthusiasm and energy in the weeks and months to come.
“It is important to remember that the most helpful thing many of us can continue to do to help the NHS is to stay at home and follow all COVID-19 guidance.”
MSP Gil Paterson has welcomed the Scottish Government announcement that private and social tenants in Clydebank and Milngavie are to be given increased protection from eviction during the coronavirus pandemic.
Emergency legislation will increase the minimum notice period for private and social tenants to up to six months depending on the grounds used, helping to protect them from eviction.
The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill, which contains substantial further powers and measures to ensure essential public services can continue throughout the coronavirus outbreak, will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday).
Mr Paterson said:
“We must all work together to meet this challenge, which is why measures to prevent evictions and relieve some of the financial pressure people in my constituency and beyond may be facing due to the coronavirus crisis are welcome.
“The Scottish Government has also encouraged all landlords to be as flexible as possible during this unprecedented time, and I would urge them to also seek assistance if necessary by speaking to their lenders about mortgage breaks.
“No-one should face losing their home as a result of this coronavirus pandemic. The move to ban evictions during this crisis will bring security to people's lives when they need it most.”
New dedicated Community Assessment Centres (CACs) are this week opening across Greater Glasgow and Clyde to help combat COVID-19 by providing a more streamlined service to assess people presenting symptoms.
The appointment only hubs form part of a new pathway which will maximise the number of COVID-19 symptomatic people who can be cared for within the community, while also ensuring hospital capacity is used for those with the most serious illnesses. The pathway will also reduce the exposure of patients at GP surgeries and allow GPs to focus on providing care to patients with other complex health issues.
As part of the new pathway, patients should no longer phone their GPs if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms but refer to NHS Inform, or contact NHS 24 (111) if their symptoms worsen.
If further clinical advice is required, NHS 24 will refer patients onto a clinician who will provide a full telephone assessment and if necessary, an appointment at the patient’s nearest CAC. Patients may still be referred directly to acute services, depending on their symptoms.
A central CAC has opened on Barr Street in Glasgow – operational from 8am-10pm with a view to moving to 24/7 when necessary. Additional centres in Greenock (Greenock Health Centre) and Clydebank (Clydebank Health Centre) will soon follow alongside other areas within Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Opened solely to assess patients presenting symptoms, the centres are staffed by GPs and Advanced Nurse Practitioners. Patients attending will receive treatment plans, including medication, and/or prescription, and be told to self-isolate. If they need to go to hospital, this will be arranged at the centre. Patient transport and a Home Visiting service are also being developed to support those with difficulties travelling.
The CACs will not provide testing facilities.
Additionally, the community pharmacy Minor Ailment Service has been extended to allow anyone registered with a GP practice, who has a minor illness or a common condition, to speak to a member of the pharmacy team for advice and treatment, without the need to see their GP. It is important that people do not stockpile their prescribed medication and just order as needed from their GP Practices and Community Pharmacies. Some Community Pharmacies have altered their opening hours.
Dr Kerri Neylon, Deputy Medical Director for Primary Care at NHSGGC, said: “The creation of the CACs will provide important protection for vulnerable patients who require non- COVID-19 related care and will support our 235 GP Practices to provide this, by ensuring those who can be treated within the community receive the appropriate care as efficiently as possible.
“In anticipation of increasing case numbers, we now have a pathway which can be effectively scaled up to manage growing demand on services across Greater Glasgow and Clyde. I'd like to thank all staff across primary, community, and acute services, for their efforts in rapidly implementing this new pathway and for readily staffing the centres.
“We remind patients they should only phone NHS 24 if their symptoms worsen, and that the centres are strictly appointment only. If NHS 24 believes you need further treatment, you will get an appointment with one of our clinicians.”
MSP Gil Paterson has warned constituents to adhere to social distancing rules or risk spreading the Coronavirus to loved ones.
The greater the social distancing effort, the more people who will survive the pandemic, the Clydebank and Milngavie MSP said.
Closures to schools, pubs, cafes, clubs, restaurants and more were backed by the MSP, who says life will be “turned upside down” for all Scots throughout the struggle against the Covid-19 virus.
Echoing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Paterson called on constituents to be considerate when shopping, and to avoid panic buying.
The Age Scotland helpline is also available for older people who need advice from a friendly voice amid the tightening virus measures. It can be called free on 0800 124 4222.
Gil Paterson said: “This is a dark time for Scotland and the rest of the world as we ramp up efforts to counter this rapidly spreading coronavirus.
“As the First Minister said, life should not feel normal right now, and we will need to drastically change the way we live if we wish to minimise deaths.
“I urge constituents of mine to take the social distancing rules very seriously, as they are key to defeating this pandemic, and require us all working together.
“I am glad to see schools close and measures put in place to allow key workers to maintain their vital roles, such as those in the NHS and vital public services, to continue working throughout this storm.
“As we move on, I also plead to constituents of mine to be considerate when shopping at the supermarkets, we need to ensure everyone has access to food and resources through the coming months.
“Please be safe and think of others, whether that is through social distance, shopping or changing habits to battle the spread of the virus.”
MSP Gil Paterson has warned constituents of the severity of the escalating Coronavirus pandemic spreading in Scotland.
The Clydebank and Milngavie MSP urged members of the public to take assist in the battle against the virus.
As of Monday March 16, gatherings of more than 500 will be banned to ease the burden on emergency services.
Some 60 have been infected though zero deaths are recorded so far, and 2,892 people in Scotland have been tested.
A helpline has been set up to both help businesses and identify problems facing business for the Scottish Government.
Mr Paterson also questioned cabinet secretary for health, Jeane Freeman MSP, in the Scottish Parliament yesterday on surveillance testing of the virus continuing into the “delay” phase.
Ms Freeman clarified testing would continue, saying: “First, through our sentinel group of GP practices, of which there are 41 in Scotland; secondly, through the swabbing of individuals currently in our intensive care units; and thirdly, through testing those individuals who are admitted to hospital for a respiratory condition.”
Mr Paterson urged constituents to help in the national effort to stop coronavirus.
He said: “I am urging my constituents to take the coronavirus very seriously and exercise personal responsibility to prevent its spread.
“If constituents believe they have the virus, or suffer similar symptoms, they should be staying at home and self-isolating.
“Obviously, we cannot prevent all transmissions of this disease due to its highly contagious nature, but we must take great care.
“In Scotland, we can expect a lot of people to become sick, so we must brace ourselves for this terrible event.
“I am glad to see the Scottish Government acting on the guidelines of health professionals and urge the public to keep up to date with the latest instructions which can benefit themselves, their families and indeed the wider community.”
Transcript from the Urgent Statement: Novel coronavirus COVID-19 update - 12 March 2020:
· Gil Paterson (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP):
Can the cabinet secretary advise whether moving to the delay phase will mean that there is no longer surveillance testing for Covid-19?
· Jeane Freeman:
No, surveillance testing will continue in the three ways that I mentioned earlier. First, through our sentinel group of GP practices, of which there are 41 in Scotland; secondly, through the swabbing of individuals currently in our intensive care units; and thirdly, through testing those individuals who are admitted to hospital for a respiratory condition.
MSP Gil Paterson has visited a construction company transforming the townscape of Clydebank to mark Apprenticeship Week.
CCG Scotland has been tasked the on-going housing development at the former St Andrew’s School site off Glasgow Road.
Other ongoing and upcoming projects include a care home and units at Queens Quay and the Clydebank East flats, currently being demolished.
Mr Paterson praised the unique approach taken by CCG, which builds homes mostly prefabricated in its Cambuslang factory.
On Monday February 2, the MSP visited the factory before being given a closer look at the St Andrew’s development and to meet apprentices.
Mr Paterson said: “I was thrilled to meet CCG director Calum Murray and his team at their huge factory in Cambuslang before heading out to the building site in Clydebank.
“The factory is an incredible production line of modern, efficient and innovative house building – where one wall module can be completed in an hour.
“The site at Clydebank, where CCG is building terrific looking social housing, was an excellent opportunity to meet some of the apprentices at work.
“I would like to thank Calum Murray and CCG for having me along to see their work, I was left very impressed with their efforts in helping to reshape Clydebank.”
MSP Gil Paterson has welcomed a massive funding boost for Clydebank Can on the Canal.
The Scottish Government is giving £747,000 to the regeneration canal Forth and Clyde Canal project.
The funds have been made available from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
It will support 25 development projects to tackle inequalities and deliver inclusive growth in some of the most deprived and remote communities in Scotland.
Clydebank Can on the Canal is a project aimed at involving residents, businesses and organisations in shaping the future of Clydebank town centre and the canal area.
It is a partnership between West Dunbartonshire Council and Scottish Canals funded by the Scottish Government.
It looks to create an active canal, make more of the town centre, create more civic space, boost culture, increase jobs, promote biodiversity and to grow the population of the town centre.
Gil Paterson said: “To have such an amazing and historical waterfront going through Clydebank is a blessing – but unfortunately it is underused.
“I totally support the regeneration works being done by Clydebank Can on the Canal to improve our town centre.
“I would like to thank the Scottish Government for funding the project, as I believe it will have very positive economic and social effects on the town.
“In Clydebank, we seem to be going in the right direction with these regeneration plans and all the transformative developments happening.
“I look forward to this future and for seeing how Clydebank Can on the Canal comes up with to help improve the town centre and canal areas.
“It is also a big contributor to the health agenda by using the very well kept foot paths for outdoor activity, right in the heart of the community.”
MSP Gil Paterson has secured a visit from Scotland’s culture cabinet secretary to the Cochno Stone site in Faifley.
Fiona Hyslop MSP was poised the question in the Scottish Parliament chamber by MSP Gil Paterson on Wednesday February 27.
It follows keen interest in speeches from Ms Hyslop during a parliamentary debate and reception last week.
In response to Mr Paterson’s invitation, Ms Hyslop said: “I had a very enjoyable evening last week with the community from Faifley.
“Faifley most certainly rocks, with regard to community-engaged archaeology.
“It was fantastic to see how the archaeologists from the University of Glasgow had engaged the local community.
“The community council and primary schools that were represented there have a tremendous sense of place about their community.
“They are discovering and understanding Scotland’s place historically over many thousands of years of the art.”
Mr Paterson said: “I would like to thank Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop for accepting my invitation to visit the Cochno Stone.
“Ms Hyslop, on behalf of the Scottish Government, has been overwhelmingly positive towards the events I have put on in the parliament for the Cochno Stone
“I look forward to showing her the site in person with Dr Brophy and members of the community involved with the project.”
Full exchange in Scottish Parliament: http://parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12540&i=113325#ScotParlOR
MSP Gil Paterson has urged constituents to be vigilant the Scotland braces for the coronavirus.
Doctors’ surgeries are being supplied with facemasks and hospitals stocked full of protective equipment.
Two coronavirus testing centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been established to identify new cases.
The Scottish Government says it is “well prepared” for an outbreak of the coronavirus.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said:
“Seeing the coronavirus spread into Europe is of great concern to myself and the Scottish Government, but I am informed we are well prepared.
“It is more than likely we will see positive cases in Scotland, I am told by the health secretary, so we must do all we can to avoid an outbreak.
“I am glad to see the First Minister acting proactively to hopefully prevent this virus causing major disruption as it has done in other countries.
“To my constituents, I urge vigilance and to exercise personal responsibility should there be cases in Scotland, to help protect your fellow citizens.
“Hopefully, we can weather this storm with as little affect as possible, and avoid any escalations as we have observed abroad.”
Nearly 12,000 youngsters in Clydebank and Milngavie constituency could benefit from the free bus travel policy from the SNP government.
MSP Gil Paterson has praised free bus travel for under 19s in Scotland, announced in the latest Scottish Government budget.
In Clydebank and Milngavie constituency, an estimated 11,486 could be eligible.
In the relevant local authorities, there are around 13,862 in West Dunbartonshire and 17,193 in East Dunbartonshire eligible.
The Scottish Government is preparing to launch the scheme in January 2021.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “Free bus travel for those 18 and under is a ground-breaking policy that will help keep money in the pockets of our young people. The minimum wage is shockingly low for young people – with under 18s getting just £4.55 an hour,18 to 20s £6.45 an hour and apprentices, £4.15.
“The free bus travel for under 19s will assist in improving their opportunities to work, study and socialise across the constituency and beyond.
“Getting more citizens using public transport in general is something I am keen to promote as we tackle pollution.
“Free bus travel for over 60s has been enormously beneficial, so I am very pleased we can soon roll it out for our younger generations.”
Figures are estimates based on 2018 figures of the National Records of Scotland for those age five to 18.
MSP praises rail engineers at Old Kilpatrick as they battle through storms to replace vital infrastructure
MSP Gil Paterson has praised rail engineers in Old Kilpatrick for their efforts amid terrible weather.
The MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie visited Network Rail’s construction site at Roman Road on Friday February 21.
The rail infrastructure body is replacing the road bridge over the railway – a huge operation involving a 1,500 tonne crane lifting four tonne blocks.
Workers have been enduring Storm Ciara and Dennis while carrying out the vital works.
During the road disruption, Network Rail has organised a replacement shuttle bus for services that were to be cancelled.
Mr Paterson said: “I would like to thank Network Rail for all the great work they have been doing in Old Kilpatrick to improve this infrastructure.
“A huge credit must go to the engineers on the ground who have been battling through some horrendous weather to get this job done.
“On behalf of the community, I am grateful for the shuttle bus put on to replace would-be cancelled services amid these works.
“Up close, you can see this is a massive job with some colossal machinery and materials involved – so I left very impressed with the works.”
DOZENS of EU citizens aired concerns about their future at a Clydebank public meeting.
MSP Gil Paterson hosted the event to help EU citizens sign up with the EU Settlement Scheme, funded by the Scottish Government.
On Monday February 17, many in attendance aired their concerns and questions about the process following Brexit Day.
Pawel Kopec from the EU Citizen’s Project, held a presentation and Q&A on the practicalities of gaining settlement.
Also on hand, Sadia Khan from Citizens Advice Scotland, who told how she and her colleagues are on hand to help with the process.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “It was clear from this event that many of my EU constituents have anxieties about their future within the UK.
“I was very glad to have Pawel and Sadia at the meeting to provide such useful information for EU citizens looking for settled status and to answer their many concerns.
“It is important at this time that we reach out to EU citizens and reassure them they are welcome in Scotland, and always will be.
“In this growing anti-immigrant climate pushed by Boris Johnson’s government, we have to do our best to reach out to these affected communities.”
MORE than a hundred people attended a parliamentary reception to hear about works going on at the Cochno Stone and prehistoric rock art in Scotland.
MSP Gil Paterson hosted a debate followed by a reception in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday February 19.
The community archaeology at Faifley with the Cochno Stone and Scotland’s prehistoric rock art heritage was the subject of several speeches by MSPs in the chamber.
Opening the debate, Mr Paterson called for greater efforts to showcase the Cochno Stone to the public permanently, rather than keeping it buried.
Dr Kenny Brophy of the University of Glasgow and Faifley Rocks! chaired the reception after, and updated attendees on the progress at the Cochno Stone.
A series of speeches kicked off with the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP.
The night included many, from archaeologists, members of the community, community organisations, and schools, both local and, across Scotland explaining their role in the Cochno Stone and rock art projects in Faifley and beyond.
Speakers from the constituency included: Sandra Love from Knowes Housing Association, Donald Petrie from West Dunbartonshire Council, Trisha Lorimer from Faifley Community Council, acting head teacher John McDonald from Edinbarnet Primary School, Rachel of Clydebank High Archaeology Club.
Mr Paterson said: “I would like to thank everyone from Faifley and the constituency who attended the parliamentary debate and reception for the Cochno Stone and prehistoric rock art in Scotland.
“It was great to see a packed public gallery and then committee room where we held the reception – the attendance truly was unprecedented for an evening debate and reception.
“The Cochno Stone and the work being carried out by Dr Brophy and Faifley Rocks! has been truly tremendous, so I was delighted to bring it to the parliament to share with my MSP colleagues.”
PENSIONERS are being encouraged to check if they are eligible for extra benefits from the government.
MSP Gil Paterson is supporting a campaign by the Department for Work and Pensions to reach out to those eligible for Pensioner Credit.
From 10 February 2020 we’re running a 12-week national campaign targeted at people over State Pension age, and also reaching those who support them.
The aim is to raise awareness of Pension Credit and challenge some common misconceptions by highlighting that:
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “There may be pensioners out there struggling to get by, who could be eligible for the Pension Credit entitlement.
“I fully support the campaign by the DWP to reach out to pensioners across Clydebank/Milngavie and Bearsden, to remind my constituents above the state pension age or their carers that this benefit is available.
“Anyone who is unsure can call the helpline, but also visit their local Citizens Advice Bureau if they would like some assistance.”
More Information: https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit
Pension Service helpline
Telephone: 0800 731 0469
Textphone: 0800 169 0133
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0469
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Nearly 2,000 families in West Dunbartonshire have benefited from a Scottish grant boost children’s early years.
The Scottish Government’s Best Start Grant has paid out £532,825 to 1,940 families since December 2018 in the council catchment. In East Dunbartonshire, the figures were £211,433 to 730 families since December 2018 in the council catchment.
The payments are broken down into pregnancy and baby payment, early learning payment and school age payment.
Respectively, £231,000, £177,000 and £104,000 — a total of £532,825 — was granted to parents or carers in receipt of certain benefits. In East Dunbartonshire, the figures were: £90,000, £68,500 and £44,250.
Gil Paterson, SNP MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “We in the SNP are determined to use our powers to build a social security system built on dignity and respect.
“The Best Start Grant provides crucial financial support to families at key stages of their children’s lives, and I’m delighted that nearly 2,000 families in West Dunbartonshire have already benefited.
“This is just one of the ways the SNP in government is working to tackle child poverty – with the first payments of our innovative new Scottish Child Payment set to be made this year.
“Sadly, the need to mitigate aggressive austerity imposed by the UK Government leaves us working with one hand tied behind our back.
“Scotland should have full control of all social security powers so we can tailor benefits to what people truly need in our communities.”
The Best Start Grant is an expanded replacement for the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant.
Social Security Scotland began taking applications on Monday 10 December 2018.
The Pregnancy and Baby Payment replaces and expands on the UK Government's Sure Start Maternity Grant by:
MSP Gil Paterson has praised a foundation for bringing tennis to a disadvantaged community in Clydebank.
The Judy Murray Foundation is bringing a session to introduce residents to the sport in Whitecrook.
The foundation was established by top tennis player Andy Murray’s mother, Judy Murray OBE. It seeks to get more people into the sport by running community based sessions.
The free introduction tennis session will take place at Centre 81 on Thursday February 20 from 10.30am to noon and include lunch after.
Mr Paterson, SNP MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “Tennis is a sport for everyone, and this is a great opportunity for people across Clydebank to take the first steps in learning a new activity.
“I applaud the work of the Judy Murray Foundation, because disadvantaged communities may not have had access or the opportunities to take up tennis like this.
“Getting more young people and adults active is something I really support, as we have a historic trend of unhealthy living in Scotland and are battling an obesity crisis.
“I encourage my constituents who think they might be interested in getting healthier, more active and learning something new to go along to the free event.”
FAIFLEY residents interested in the Cochno Stone are being encouraged to attend a public meeting by MSP Gil Paterson.
Archaeology group Faifley Rocks! will give an overview of latest developments and future plans for the site.
The group is in the process of bidding for money from The Lottery Heritage Funding to improve Auchnacraig Park, create a rock art walking trail, run workshops and more.
The meeting will take place on Thursday February 13 at 6.30pm to 8pm at Skypoint Centre, Faifley.
The MSP said: “The public meeting to be held by Faifley Rocks! is an excellent opportunity for local people to come along and hear the latest developments at this very significant and important archaeological site.
“The work being done by project director Dr Kenny Brophy is outstanding, and the vision for 2020 and beyond looks incredible.
“I fully support the work he is doing, which is why I am also very excited to be hosting parliamentary events to mark these advancements at the Cochno Stone later this month.”
The Cochno Stone is a large slab decorated with inscriptions and symbols dating back more than 5,000 years. It is considered to be some of Scotland’s oldest rock art.
Mr Paterson is also hosting a parliamentary debate and reception in honour of Faifley Rocks! this month, on Wednesday February 19.
MSP Gil Paterson has praised the “vision and leadership” of the Scottish budget announced this week – which contains record investment for health and social care.
The budget also contains a package of measures to support the Scottish Government’s world-leading ambitions to tackle climate change, support families and tackle poverty.
For the first time, the budget provides funding of over £15 billion for health and care services, including the capital for elective care centres and investment in mental health.
Scotland continues to have the fairest and most progressive income tax system in the UK, with more than half of taxpayers paying less income tax in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK.
The budget also includes:
“Many of the aspects of this budget will have a positive impact on Clydebank.
“This budget is set against the backdrop of heightened uncertainty and risk, created by the UK Government following their decision to delay the UK Budget until March – as well as the complete uncertainty over our future relationship with Europe.
“Despite this, we’re seeing record investment in our NHS and more money for police, rail services and low carbon infrastructure.
“Most taxpayers will continue to pay less than they would elsewhere in the UK, and no taxpayer will pay more on their current income.
“This means that Scots will continue to get a better deal under the SNP.
“People across Clydebank and Milngavie will welcome this package of investment and our focus on fairness – and I look forward to it passing through the parliamentary process.”