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.”
AN EVENING of events in the Scottish Parliament will be held to celebrate a Clydebank archaeology project.
Gil Paterson MSP is hosting a debate at 4pm then reception at 6pm for the Faifley Rocks! in Holyrood on Wednesday February 19.
The events will focus on the work surrounding local prehistoric rock art sites like the Cochno Stone.
The Faifley site is a giant smooth slab with more than 100 symbols carved into it, dating back 5,000 years.
It has received significant attention from archaeologists, community and media – and the Faifley Rocks! project has big plans for making the stone more accessible to the public.
The debate in the main chamber will feature speeches on prehistoric rock art in Scotland from various MSPs around Scotland.
A reception after will include words from the cabinet secretary, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP and others, such as University of Glasgow’s Dr Kenny Brophy, who is spearheading Faifley Rocks!.
It will allow participants of the project to including members of the community, school children, teachers, archaeologists and more, to share their experiences.
Various agencies are involved with the project will be attending, including Knowes Housing Association, Faifley Community Council, West Dunbartonshire Council, Visit Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and others.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said:
“The Cochno Stone is some of Europe’s oldest prehistoric rock art, and there has been some outstanding archaeology work being carried out on the site in Faifley.
“Faifley Rocks! and Dr Kenny Brophy’s excavations of the site have been something I am very interested in, so bringing it to the Scottish Parliament is a true privilege.
“The debate will include speeches on subject of the Cochno Stone and prehistoric rock art in Scotland, so I am excited to see what my colleagues have to say.
“After, at the parliamentary reception, we will come together and continue speeches and discussions with archaeologists, volunteers, MSPs, ministers, stakeholders and more.
“It is a hallmark moment for archaeology in Clydebank and one I am very pleased to support. Well done again to Dr Brophy and all involved at the Cochno Stone.”
MSP Gil Paterson has backed a police campaign to enlist new volunteer officers to the force.
Police Scotland is seeking to bolster its special constable ranks, the part-time body with identical powers to official officers.
Applications have opened today (February 3) and are open to all members of the public, including EU and Commonwealth citizens with indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
The MSP told how it would be a great chance to protect communities and help snare criminals across Scotland.
Duties can consist of policing football matches, assisting at road accidents, patrolling streets and criminal investigations.
The number has been falling in recent years, with BBC Scotland revealing there were 517 special constables in 2019, down from 1,391 in 2013. The force pointed out some of this was due to 500 volunteers going full-time.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “Becoming a special constable is a great opportunity for my constituents to get proactive in protecting their communities from the scourge of crime.
“Volunteering in front line policing is both an exciting and rewarding role, and has huge benefits to Police Scotland, which thrives off the new perspectives brought in.
“Anyone can apply to become a special constable, whereby they will be given the same powers as regular offers, to help police at various events and incidents.
“I wish Police Scotland the best of luck in this campaign and urge any of my constituents who think it could be for them, to check out this excellent opportunity.”
More information: https://www.scotland.police.uk/recruitment/special-constables/
MSP Gil Paterson says a shuttle bus will replace services through Old Kilpatrick and Bowling that are to be temporary cancelled.
For a fortnight in February, works on a rail bridge on Roman Road will cause all main services — 1/A/B/E — to bypass the villages.
However, after discussions with transport authorities since October, Mr Paterson today (January 29) welcomed that there will now put on a shuttle bus.
It followed a period of uncertainty whereby authorities said there would be no service to connect the towns to the major bus lines.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “On behalf of my constituents, I have been facilitating communication and pressing for a solution on this matter since it came to my attention.
“As such, I am very pleased we have got to a positive outcome whereby bus services will resume, albeit in a different manner, during the works to the rail bridge at Roman Road.
“Public bodies can take a lot of stick for seeming to not engage with members of the public on important localised matters, so I praise all the parties involved for coming together to get something done.
“The replacement shuttle bus to connect Old Kilpatrick and Bowling to regular bus lines is a necessary measure – especially for the elderly, infirm and vulnerable – so I am delighted we now have a solution.”
This story has been extensively covered by the Clydebank Post, please see some background here: https://www.clydebankpost.co.uk/news/18195575.old-kilpatrick-residents-hit-halt-lifeline-bus-service/
CITIZENS of the EU living in Scotland post-Brexit Day have been invited to a special event where legal advice and settlement assistance will be on hand.
The event in Clydebank Town Hall on Monday February 17 will provide an opportunity for EU citizens to speak to a legal expert, get general advice and support for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.
EU citizens and their family members will be able to book individual appointments with an ‘OISC Level 1’ trained adviser if they need help with the identity verification and application process.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, will be hosting the event in association with EU Citizens Right Project Scotland, which will last from 6pm to 8pm.
The MSP said: “Now we are out of the European Union, I want to ensure my EU constituents are given as much help as possible in the settlement scheme.
“It has been a turbulent and divisive few years following the EU referendum, and there have been questions asked about the situation EU citizens here will face.
“I am seeking to bring about some clarity to EU citizens, remind them of their rights and that they should not be leaving Scotland because of Brexit.
“The event will offer expert legal advice and assistance with the whole process of applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.”
EU citizens currently living in the UK will have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 if they want to keep living in the UK after this date.
To be eligible to apply to the Settlement Scheme, EU citizens will need to show they are resident in the UK by December 2020.
The event will be held in Clydebank Town Hall, 5 Hall Street, Clydebank, G81 1UB at 6pm to 8pm on Monday February 17 2020.
The Scottish National Investment Bank will put us at the forefront of innovation to tackle environmental issues
PLANS for a £2bn national investment bank have been backed by Clydebank and Milngavie’s MSP.
MSP Gil Paterson voted in favour of establishing the Scottish National Investment Bank in the Scottish Parliament on January 22.
It will see £2bn funds invested across ten years into small businesses and community groups in Scotland focusing on climate change.
It is part of the SNP’s Green new Deal to help kick-start investment and build momentum in tackling climate change and create high quality jobs.
He said: “Supporting the Scottish National Investment Bank is a no brainer – it will mean putting billions into small Scottish business.
“It is excellent that funds that could be supporting innovation, new technologies and ideas to make our country and planet cleaner and healthier place.
“Scotland will be at the forefront of investing in businesses and groups that are pioneering measures to tackle global problems affecting our environment.”
MSP Gil Paterson has thrown his support behind a former provost’s campaign for a written constitution in Scotland.
Denis Agnew, also a councillor at West Dunbartonshire Council, is petitioning the Scottish Parliament for an “enshrined Bill of Rights”.
A written constitution would help protect fundamental rights, the rule of law, minority rights and preserve Scotland as a truly democratic nation, Mr Paterson has added.
A contentious debate on leaving the EU and the subsequent fallout since the vote emphasises the need to secure citizens’ rights in Scotland.
The MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie said: “A written constitution would ensure the fundamental rights of every person in Scotland in a clear and precise manner.
“At a time when turbulent change is being brought upon Scotland against its will - Brexit - it is important we emphasise our rights and the rule of law.
“In implementing a written constitution, we also underpin that minorities are protected for generations to come.
“Due to the clarity a written constitution offers, no ruler or government can exercise powers arbitrarily, upholding Scotland as a democratic nation.
“We would be shielded against the impulses and desires of Westminster politicians who have brought chaos upon Scotland and the rest of the UK recently.
“In light of this, I applaud the efforts of Denis Agnew and fully support the campaign for a written constitution in Scotland.”
FUNDS to run a STEM challenge in Clydebank and Milngavie secondary schools have been welcomed by MSP Gil Paterson.
Glasgow Airport’s Flightpath Fund has awarded £7,000 to three schools to run the 10-week Go4SET programme by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT).
It will see S2 pupils from Bearsden Academy, St Peter the Apostle High School and Clydebank High School run a project on one of three projects relating to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
Mr Paterson also lodged a motion with the Scottish Parliament commending the allocation of funds by Glasgow Aiport Flightpath Fund.
The MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie said: “I would like my constituents – both parents and children – to be aware of the opportunities a career in science, technology, engineering and maths offers.
“It is a great career path, with well-paid and exciting jobs, and there is a high demand for young people, both male and female.
“I thank Glasgow Airport for making these funds available and I am sure the programme will be an inspiring opportunity for my young constituents to learn about STEM.”
Encouraging young people into STEM
That the Parliament welcomes funds from Glasgow Airport Flightpath Fund to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) industries to young people in secondary schools in Clydebank and Bearsden; notes that Bearsden Academy, St Peter the Apostle High School and Clydebank High School will benefit from the £7,000 issued to run the 10-week Go4SET programme which will see teams of six S2 pupils work with a company mentor to produce a report, model and five-minute presentation on one of the following topics: Fit for the Future, Smart Surroundings and Future Proof or Designing building for Climate Change; understands the programme by Engineering Development Scotland (EDT) hopes to encourage young people into a STEM career due to shortages in recruitment and potentially rewarding futures they could have within it; agrees that a career in STEM is fulfilling for a number of reasons, but especially in terms exciting career opportunities and earnings potential; and finally thanks Glasgow Airport Flightpath for recognising the value in the programme and STEM’s recruitment issues.
FLIGHTPATH PRESS RELEASE:
FLIGHTPATH FUND’S £7000 AWARD ENSURES LOCAL PUPILS JOIN STEM CHALLENGE
- FlightPath Fund award will see pupils from seven schools take part in the Engineering Development Trust’s Go4SET programme -
Pupils from seven local secondary schools will take part in a national Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) competition thanks to a £7000 award from Glasgow Airport’s FlightPath Fund.
The project, run by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), sees teams of six S2 pupils participate in the 10-week regional Go4SET programme. During this time, they will work with a company mentor to produce a report, model and a five-minute presentation on one of three STEM-related projects focusing on sustainability and the environment - Fit for the Future, Smart Surroundings and Future Proof or Designing Building for Climate Change.
As part of the project, the pupils will also take part in a site visit to their mentor’s company to see STEM application in the workplace.
Go4SET gives the pupils the opportunity to develop skills, inform subject choice and change perceptions about STEM by raising awareness of how studying these subjects can lead to a rewarding career. The pupils taking part in the Go4SET programme will gain an SQA Steps to Work Award SCQF Level 4 and a Bronze Industrial Cadet Award.
Support from the airport’s FlightPath Fund has ensured that 42 S2 pupils from the following secondary schools in Renfrewshire, Glasgow, East and West Dunbartonshire participate in Go4SET:
Bearsden Academy Gleniffer High School
Trinity High School Turnbull High School
St Peter the Apostle High School Clydebank High School
Drumchapel High School
Archie Hunter, Chair of the FlightPath Fund, said: “Our science, engineering and technology sectors face significant challenges in terms of skills and people shortages.
“STEM-sector related employment in Scotland is set to grow by 4% by 2027, so projects such as Go4SET are absolutely vital in ensuring these challenges can be met.
“The FlightPath Fund focuses its community investment in a number of areas including education, the environment and employment. Go4SET ticks each of these boxes and the £7000 award from the Fund will ensure that the pupils from the chosen secondary schools in our local communities gain an insight to the exciting STEM-related career opportunities that are out there.”
Research has shown that the exposure of younger age groups to STEM related employers, encourages more students to choose post-16 courses in these subject areas, eventually leading to the study of STEM degrees at university.
A regional section of the Go4SET programme was launched today (Thursday, January 23) at the University of the West of Scotland campus in Paisley.
Flora Lewis-Gotts, Partnership Manager for Scotland at EDT, said: “We are delighted that the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund committee has chosen to support the EDT Go4SET programme this year.
“The programme got underway today with a launch event at the University of West of Scotland, Paisley, where the students met their sponsor and company mentor who will guide them through the project and take them on a site visit.
“We are looking forward to welcoming the students back to UWS in May for the Celebration and Assessment Day, when one team will be crowned regional winner and go through to the National Final at the Glasgow Science Centre in June.”
In 2019, the FlightPath Fund award more than £110,000 to over 70 local clubs, community groups and charities. This amount was also boosted by a record £20,000 donated by Glasgow Airport passengers via six currency collection globes based in the terminal.
To find out more about applying for funding support, visit: www.glasgowairport.com/community,
Notes to editors:
0141 848 4737
The people of Scotland must think on whether they wish to be part of Europe or the United Kingdom, MSP Gil Paterson has warned.
He echoed comments made by Mike Russell MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, when he questioned him in the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Paterson asked for the cabinet secretary’s views on Boris Johnson’s decision not to grant a section 30 order in relation to allowing Scottish independence referendum.
In a follow up question, he asked how Scotland’s interests will be protected following the imminent departure from the European Union (EU).
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “I was glad to raise this matter in parliament with the cabinet secretary because it is evident the people of Scotland want to be given the opportunity to decide its future.
“The truth is, Boris Johnson fears the Scottish people will vote for independence due to the extreme material changes the UK has now forced upon us against the wishes of the electorate.
“In all latest elections, Scotland has repeatedly backed European Union membership and expressed its will for a referendum. We need the opportunity to decide what path to take – the EU or a materially different UK ruled by a party we never, and are never likely to, support.
“I am sure all sides of this debate can agree Scotland is becoming a pressure cooker over the matter of independence and that a referendum would be the healthy option for this country to put the matter of self-governance to bed.”
In Holyrood, Mr Russell said: “I encourage the people of Scotland to think on that, to continue to support that position — as they are doing in increasing numbers — and to move forward so that they have the right to choose. That is the issue: do they wish to be part of the EU, as they have repeatedly said they do, or do they wish to be part of Boris Johnson’s bonging Brexit?”
Scottish Parliament portfolio questions official report from Wednesday January 22:
7. Gil Paterson (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP):
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Prime Minister’s decision not to grant a section 30 order in relation to a second independence referendum. (S5O-04025)
The Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations (Michael Russell):
The rejection by the United Kingdom Government of the people of Scotland’s right to choose is further demonstration of the need for Scotland’s future to be put in Scotland’s hands. That is an utterly uncontroversial opinion.
We are keeping our options open for how to respond to the UK Government’s refusal to accept the mandate that was given to the Scottish Government by the people who live in Scotland. The First Minister will provide an update on the Government’s next steps shortly.
I am sure that the cabinet secretary will agree with me that the Prime Minister’s undemocratic rejection of Scotland’s right to choose is simply unsustainable. For the avoidance of any doubt, will the cabinet secretary outline what measures the Scottish Government is taking to protect Scotland’s interests ahead of our being dragged out of the European Union next week by a Tory Government that Scotland did not, and is likely never to, vote for?
There will be a range of events and announcements next week that are designed to draw attention to two things. The first is that Scotland did not vote to, and does not wish to, leave the EU. The second is that we wish to remain close to the EU so that we can re-enter it within the shortest period possible.
It is very significant that, from a week on Friday at 11 pm, the only route for regaining our European citizenship will be choosing independence and using that as the means of re-entering the EU. Other routes are blocked. The status quo finishes.
I encourage the people of Scotland to think on that, to continue to support that position—as they are doing in increasing numbers—and to move forward so that they have the right to choose. That is the issue: do they wish to be part of the EU, as they have repeatedly said they do, or do they wish to be part of Boris Johnson’s bonging Brexit?
iScotland’s parliament has formally voted to withhold its consent for Boris Johnson’s Brexit.
Some 92 to 29 MSPs voted against approving The Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
The Scottish Parliament and Scottish people have spoken clearly and consistently on this matter.
We voted against Brexit and continuously returned pro-Europe majorities in elections.
Anti-independence parties were crushed to near extinction in the latest election.
But the control the UK has over Scotland will once again mean we are held back.
The democratic wishes of our people and parliament remain completely restricted.
Despite these massive changes in our material circumstances we are denied our voice.
Scotland is entitled to decide over its future in this increasingly unrecognisable UK.
But a fearful Boris Johnson has again rejected our appeal for a simple independence referendum.
Evidently, he and his party fear Scotland will vote for its own liberation.
Losing control over our nation and its wealth would be an unmitigated disaster for the unionist powers.
This unwillingness to allow us to vote on these vastly changed circumstances is a sign of weakness.
Boris Johnson fears giving the people of Scotland a vote because he knows he would lose.
But he is only delaying the inevitable – that Scotland needs to be able to consider independence sooner rather than later.
Last week’s Scottish Parliament vote to withhold consent to withdrawing from the EU is emblematic of this struggle.
England and Wales are getting their wishes granted to leave the EU and Northern Ireland, a special deal.
Scotland, alone of the four nations, voted to remain but is being forced to leave with no special arrangements.
The Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament is right to withhold its consent on this basis alone.
However, there are more reasons, that the Scottish public rejected this Withdrawal Agreement Bill at the GE.
Additionally, this Bill firmly puts a no-deal Brexit back on the table – something disastrous for our economy.
To protect our economy, we argued the UK should remain in the single market and customs union.
Despite a positive case in our ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe’, it was contemptuously ignored by the UK Government.
A close variant of this was given to Northern Ireland.
The UK securing a free trade deal with the EU will be an extremely complex and unique activity.
Doing so in under a year is totally unrealistic and will drive the UK towards a hard Brexit when it fails to achieve it.
This is unless they give an extension to the one-year limit placed upon these negations.
While everyone’s views in Scotland matter, we have a duty to respect the clear and consistent majority.
No matter how you voted, Brexit will affect you, and you should have the right to consider a different path.
ENDS (459 words)
Nearly 100 per cent of homes and premises in the Clydebank and Milngavie constituency can connect to superfast broadband.
The information was revealed following a question by MSP Gil Paterson at General Questions at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday January 9.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the Secretary for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, told how 98 per cent of premises are hooked up.
He said: “Through a combination of commercial and DSSB investment, latest Ofcom figures show that 98 per cent of premises in Clydebank and Milngavie now have access to superfast broadband.
“Despite telecoms being reserved to Westminster, the Scottish government as committed to build on the success of the £400 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme by committing to our £600 million Reaching 100% programme.”
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, was delighted at the news and praised the Scottish Government’s efforts.
He said: “Given how much my constituents rely on internet now for accessing vital services, streaming multiple devices, entertainment, shopping, learning and more, it is essential all homes and business premises can access superfast broadband if they so wish.
“We have all experienced the frustration of a slow and unreliable internet connection – so I am very pleased we are moving towards 100 per cent superfast broadband coverage not just in Clydebank and Milngavie, but across the nation.
“Superfast internet is the bedrock of a modern economy and thanks to the Scottish Government’s efforts are well ahead of other countries in preparing for the future.
“I’m hoping these will allow some of the final gaps of connectivity to superfast broadband be filled in the not so distant future.”
Answer from the Scottish Government:
9 January 2020
Index Heading: Organisational Development and Operations
Gil Paterson (Clydebank and Milngavie) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the development of the broadband infrastructure in the Clydebank and Milngavie constituency.
Paul Wheelhouse: Through a combination of commercial and DSSB investment, latest Ofcom figures show that 98% of premises in Clydebank and Milngavie now have access to superfast broadband.
Despite telecoms being reserved to Westminster, the Scottish Government has committed to build on the success of the £400 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme by committing to our £600 million Reaching 100% programme. As the member may be aware, I will be making a statement later today on the R100 procurement and will be able to say more at that point.
MSP Gil Paterson's comments have appeared in the Clydebank Post following a press release breaking the below story:
MSP Gil Paterson has condemned plans to leave part of his constituency marooned from “lifeline” bus services for nearly two weeks.
Old Kilpatrick and Bowling will be cut off from all bus services for around 12 days in February for works at a rail bridge north of Roman Road.
Network Rail has refused to fund a replacement shuttle bus service following correspondence with Gil Paterson MSP, SPT and First Bus since October.
Services 1/A/B/E will be affected and will leave Old Kilpatrick and Bowling without any bus services for the duration of the works.
The works are scheduled for February, but an exact date has yet to be announced.
Mr Paterson, SNP MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “I condemn Network Rail’s refusal to fund a replacement bus service while it disrupts lifeline bus services in my constituency.
“Members of the public in Old Kilpatrick and Bowling are right to be angered as they will be marooned from services they rely on in their day to day lives.
“It is especially damaging in these cold and dark wintry days for elderly people, the disabled and other vulnerable members of the public.
“Local businesses will also be negatively affected from this withdrawal of customers traversing this busy bus route.
“I renew my call for Network Rail to fund the shuttle bus and show some accountability for the lengthy disruption it will cause.”
My question to the Cabinet Secretary for Education - Comparison of pupil/teacher ratios between UK countries
The Golden Jubilee National Hospital has a world-class reputation. Many thousands of lives have been saved as a result of the excellent care and ground-breaking research carried out there. Those who would impugn the reputation of this fine medical establishment for political purposes should be ashamed.
Local MSP Gil Paterson says he is delighted that West Dunbartonshire Council have agreed to light-up the Titan Crane for St Andrew’s Fair Saturday.
Last year saw the biggest ever national celebration of St Andrew’s Day in Scotland. It was also the first time St Andrew’s Day celebrations were combined with the global Fair Saturday movement.
The Fair Saturday movement started in Bilbao in northern Spain in 2015 as a reaction to the rampant consumerism of Black Friday. It is a non-profit organisation aimed at raising money for social causes through the arts.
Speaking to the Clydebank Post Mr Paterson said;
“I am delighted that, following my letter to them, West Dunbartonshire Council have agreed to support St Andrew’s Fair Saturday by lighting the Titan Crane Blue.
“This year St Andrew’s Day and the Fair Saturday celebrations fall on the same day. Fair Saturday is a new initiative and it is expanding rapidly.
“The idea behind Fair Saturday sits very well with St Andrew’s Day. It presents a unique opportunity to highlight the kindness of Scotland’s people and the inclusive, outward-looking and compassionate spirit of our nation, as well as making our national day unique in global terms.
“Clydebank’s famous landmark can act as a beacon for celebrations in communities across Scotland as well as enhance our international profile through our association with Fair Saturday, so I thank West Dunbartonshire Council for their enthusiastic support.
“I hope Bankies will share photos of the Crane, lit up in all its glory, on their social media – I certainly will.”
Last year 84 St Andrew’s Fair events raised an impressive £38,682 for social causes across the country.
Local MSP Gil Paterson says he was horrified to hear Jo Swinson say she would be prepared to press the Nuclear button if she became Prime Minister.
Ms Swinson made the statement during her enthusiastic performance at the launch of the Liberal Democrat election campaign in London yesterday.
Speaking to the Milngavie Herald Mr Paterson, who has always held a principled stance against nuclear weapons, said;
“I was horrified to hear Jo Swinson say she would be prepared to press the button in a nuclear conflict which would incinerate her entire constituency but not her own family as she lives and works 400 miles away.
“Having these weapons of mass destruction on our doorstep puts us in the target zone. Ms Swinson may think that her willingness to indiscriminately kill innocent people at the same time as endangering her constituents makes her strong. I have another word for it and I’m sure the people of Milngavie and Bearsden will too.
“One of the things people who are in favour of nuclear weapons don’t consider is the potential for an accident to take place at the nuclear base on the Clyde, either as a result of technological failure or human error. It’s one of my main objections and the chances of it happening are equal to that of nuclear conflict. The nuclear industry, and the Faslane Base in particular, do not have a good safety record and I wonder if Jo Swinson would be so blasé if this danger was on her doorstep, 400 miles away, where she lives with her children.”
Mr Paterson continued saying;
“Scotland has consistently shown itself to be utterly opposed to nuclear weapons - a position taken by the vast majority of Scottish people in survey after survey over many, many years, the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament, Scottish MPs and a majority of Scotland’s political parties and trade unions.”
Local MSP, Gil Paterson, has submitted a motion seeking a debate in the Scottish Parliament about reported plans to exclude Allander Indoor Bowling Club from the new Allander Leisure Centre.
In the motion submitted on 03/10/2019 Mr Paterson calls on the Parliament to condemn the Liberal Democrat and Conservative administration of East Dunbartonshire Council for deciding to renege on the 10-year commitment that bowling facilities would be included in the new Allander Leisure Centre.
Speaking to the Herald, Mr Paterson said:
“There have been bowling facilities at the Allander Leisure Centre for the last 40 years, the bowling club has 300 members. It’s the only indoor bowling facility in East Dunbartonshire and it serves a much wider area than Bearsden and Milngavie.
“East Dunbartonshire Council has an obligation to provide facilities and services in East Dunbartonshire to enhance the health and wellbeing of its older citizens. This retrograde step should be reversed.”
Motion Number: S5M-19256
Lodged By: Gil Paterson
Date Lodged: 03/10/2019
Title: East Dunbartonshire Council Excludes Bowlers
That the Parliament condemns the Liberal Democrat and Conservative administration of East Dunbartonshire Council on its reported decision to exclude Allander Indoor Bowling Club from the new Allander Leisure Centre, which is currently being designed; understands that the club, which has over 300 members, had a 10-year commitment from the council to be included in the new facility on a “like for like” basis only for it to be excluded at the last minute; notes that it has been located in the original Allander Leisure Centre for over 40 years, which it believes is the only such indoor facility serving most of East Dunbartonshire; believes that this decision is a retrograde step that goes against fulfilling the council’s obligation to provide facilities and services in East Dunbartonshire to enhance the health and wellbeing of its older citizens; considers that, for close to half a century, such an approach has kept the older generation hale and hearty, and notes calls for the council to reverse its decision.