MSP Gil Paterson is hosting his first-ever ‘Big Advice Surgery’ in Whitecrook soon.
Stallholders will be on hand with advice in saving money, careers, cancer advice, dealing with local crime and more.
The MSP is calling on those who may need assistance in not just these areas but anything to come along on Monday March 5 between 11am and 2pm in Centre 81.
West Dunbartonshire Carers, Skills Development Scotland, Clydebank Crime Prevention Panel, Working4U, Macmillan Cancer and more will be on hand to help.
Mr Paterson said: “It would be great for members of the public in Clydebank to attend my Big Advice Surgery if they’re in need of some assistance.
“We will have advisers from careers to finance, including my own office, to offer up the best advice to help resolve any difficulties constituents may be going through.
“I want constituents to know there is help available if they need it, and that this will be a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere where they can get confidential support.”
The SNP government is increasing its funding to West Dunbartonshire Council to bolster lifeline public services.
The local authority will receive £189.26 million, which is £4.38 million more than last year, an increase of 2.31 per cent.
A modest tax increase on higher earners and a lowering of taxes on lower earners guarantees extra funding for schools, roads and housing.
More than half of Scots will pay less income tax, 70 per cent will pay no more and 30 per cent will contribute a modest amount more.
The budget will also see additional £400 million into Scotland’s NHS to protect it from years of budget cuts by the UK Tory government.
Schools in West Dunbartonshire will receive £3.4 million as part of the Pupil Equity Fund, which looks to tackle the educational attainment gap.
Mr Paterson said: “I am very glad all this extra funding will be going into the frontline services that we hold so dear in Clydebank and Milngavie and beyond.
“The tax reforms are great news for my constituents, as most of them are lower or average earners. They have been protected in this tax increase and most will actually take home a slightly bigger pay cheque.
“In all the excitement it’s easy to forget all of the amazing advantages of being in Scotland we’re upholding, like: free tuition, free personal care for the elderly, free bus passes, free prescriptions, free school meals and more.
“Elsewhere in the UK, the Tories are squeezing the life out of councils where in Scotland we’re investing – I am very happy with it.”
MORE than half of Scots will receive an income tax cut thanks to the SNP government’s 2018 budget, MSP Gil Paterson has said.
The Clydebank and Milngavie MSP welcomed the tax cut as stage 3 of the Budget (Scotland) (No. 2) Bill was laid before the Scottish Parliament.
Around 70 per cent of taxpayers will pay no moreincome tax than they currently do and high earners will be contributing more to make up for a decade of Tory austerity.
The changes to income tax in Scotland will see a modest increase for those earning more than £33,000 and those under will keep more of their pay – 70 per cent of Scots will see no increase and 55 per cent will pay less than anywhere else in the UK.
The budget will also deliver an additional £400 million for the NHS, an expansion in childcare, more spending on broadband, extra funding for our police and fire services, and a pay rise for hard-working public sector employees.
“A modest increase on income tax for higher earners is absolutely necessary given the constant cuts to Scotland’s budget since Tory austerity started in 2010.
“We hold our public services very dear and to stop them falling apart – like many in the rest of the UK are – we need to invest in them.
“It’s great news for the majority of Scots, who will pay less income tax than last year and less income tax than anywhere else in the UK.
“I think most people in Clydebank and Milngavie will be very much in favour of this budget– the polling certainly indicates two to one Scots back us.”
Draft Budget 2018/19 Information:
MSPs in East Dunbartonshire are “delighted” at the SNP government’s budget that has set aside £2 million for rail improvements.
Gil Paterson and Rona Mackay have said it should be used to re-twin the railway from Westerton to Milngavie and add a rail halt a t Allander.
It is an issue the pair are in on-going correspondence with ScotRail Alliance over – and the latest letter Mr Paterson received is “encouraging”.
Last year, transport minister Humza Yousaf vowed to look into the matter after being pressed by Ms Mackay in the Holyrood chamber.
News of the £2 million feasibility fund for rail improvements was announced in the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald on February 8.
Mr Paterson said:
“I am very hopeful this rail improvement fund provided by the SNP government can be used on the Milngavie re-twinning and rail halt.
“The latest correspondence I have received from ScotRail was encouraging – it shows that no clear decision has been made by Network Rail as of yet on the matter, so everything is still on the table.”
Ms Mackay added:
“This fund could well be used to tackle the stop skipping, cancellations and general poor performance of trains on the Westerton to Milngavie line.
“I am very glad the SNP government has made the decision to side aside this cash in the budget – it shows our campaigning has not been met with deaf ears.”
A PARLIAMENTARY motion has been lodged commending the work of a special recycling initiative in Clydebank.
MSP Gil Paterson visited the Recycle Room as it relaunched in a new venue, the Hub Community Centre on Kilbowie Road.
The Recycle Room receives donations of clothes, toys and various household items which any member of the public can come in and have for free.
Founded in January 2016 by Nichola Mable and Amanda Lancaster, the group has been based in St Stephen’s Church Hall and Onslow Road Community Centre.
Gil Paterson MSP said: “I am so impressed with the amazing work Nichola Mable and Amanda Lancaster are doing with the Recycle Room. They have done a brilliant job and are a true asset to the communities of Clydebank.
“The Recycle Room not only prevents items from being thrown away but helps those who may be facing financial pressures – despite everyone always being welcome, no matter what their income.
“I would like to thank the Recycle Room for the great work being done there on behalf of the constituents I represent.
“I am proud to be sharing this good news story with my MSP colleagues with a parliamentary motion.”
That the Parliament commends the efforts of the Recycling Room in Clydebank which takes donations of clothing and various household items and merchandises them in their venue to hand out to the public completely free of charge; notes the initiative was started by Nichola Mable and Amanda Lancaster in January 2016 and has gone from strength to strength since; understands the community initiative was relaunched on February 7 to open the new venue, The Hub Community Centre in Clydebank; thanks Nichola and Amanda for the work they do in promoting recycling and helping people who may be enduring hardship get clothes and other necessary items.
MSP Gil Paterson is appealed to his constituents to engage with and send in a response to the Glasgow Airport Airspace Consultation.
Mr Paterson said: “It would be very helpful if the public were to make their opinions known and take this rare opportunity to engage in this very important issue.”
Consultation events will be held in the Clydebank and Milngavie constituency.
A consultation drop in will be held in Clydebank Town Hall on Tuesday March 13 from 10am to 7pm.
Another will be held in Bearsden Community Hub at 69 Drymen Road, in Bearsden on Friday March 16 from 10am to 7pm.
CLYDEBANK and Milngavie’s MSP has praised Scottish Government additional options to how Universal Credit (UC) is delivered to claimants.
The new UC Scottish choices, or The Scottish Flexibilities, will give people the choice of twice monthly payments of UC and the housing benefit paid directly to their landlord.
The SNP government is making use of the Scotland Act (2016) administrative powers to change payment arrangements for UC in relation to whom and the time when the benefit is paid.
UC is reserved to the UK Government and delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions. It is a single monthly payment which replaces six other benefits if a person is out of work on or on a low income.
East Dunbartonshire has had UC since November 2016 but the benefit is still being rolled out across Scotland, with full coverage expected by December this year.
Gil Paterson MSP has praised the actions and reiterated their opposition to Universal Credit.
He said: “One of the major complaints about Universal Credit is that it increases difficulties to manage a household budget.
“The new UC Scottish choices allows claimants to return to a benefit delivery similar to their former arrangement.
“I am relieved the new options are available because it will help people from falling into poverty and debt.
“Later this year, UC will arrive in West Dunbartonshire, which makes these SNP government payment options very important.
“Already, we’ve seen success in East Dunbartonshire and nationally with the UC Scottish choices, which has been trialled since October 2017.
“The rollout of UC is something I remain strongly opposed to, in particular the six week wait for the first payment, which is causing hardship and rent arrears.
“This is but another example of where the Scottish Government under the SNP is alleviating the damage done to our social security system by the Tory UK Government.”
MSP Gil Paterson has praised the revised budget proposals that will see extra funds go into local authorities in his constituency, Clydebank and Milngavie
West Dunbartonshire will receive an extra £2.8 million funding under the revised budget proposals unveiled by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.
The local authority will be funded to the tune of £184 million in the Scottish budget when it passes through parliament.
The budget boost comes as the Scottish Government confirmed that local government will receive an above inflation increase in resource funding.
And, it does not take into account the extra cash schools are getting to tackle the attainment gap, including £3.4 million for West Dunbartonshire.
The SNP budget will give Scots the best deal in the UK – with investment in public services and a tax cut for lower earners.
Under the progressive tax reforms 70 per cent of taxpayers will pay less than last year, while higher earners will face a modest increase.
These tax changes will allow the Scottish Government to increase health spending by £400 million to £13.6 billion, lift the public sector pay cap and provide a package of investment in the economy.
Gil Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “The draft budget shows that where Scotland has the power, the SNP will take a different, fairer approach – and give Scots the best deal in the UK.
“Thanks to the decisions made by the Scottish Government, local government will see an above inflation rise in their revenue funding – with West Dunbartonshire Council receiving an extra £2.8 million to spend on local services.
“On top of this increase in council funds, the Scottish Government has also delegated another £3.4 million for schools to tackle the attainment gap in West Dunbartonshire.
“That’s a good deal for taxpayers and for public services in Clydebank and Milngavie – and is only possible because of the SNP’s progressive tax reforms, that are backed by the public by 2 to 1.
“In the face of massive Westminster cuts, the Scottish Government is using its powers progressively to invest in our schools and our hospitals – and in communities across Clydebank and West Dunbartonshire.”
On where the extra funds came from, Mr Paterson added: “The Scottish Government has a legal duty to present a balanced budget. The additional funding comes from a combination of changes in taxation and the allocation of underspend, the level of which was not clear when the draft budget was published in December.”
YOUNG carers have been praised by Gil Paterson MSP for their efforts amid “incredibly difficult” family situations.
The Clydebank and Milngavie MSP’s words come on Young Carers Day when their efforts are recognised across Scotland.
Mr Paterson describes the work of young carers as “compassionate” and “self-sacrificing” and backed calls for more support.
He said: “I am very concerned about the struggles young carers in my constituency and across Scotland are going through.
“It is a situation no young person should be in, but the stark reality is that many young people have to endure this vastly different lifestyle to their peers.
“Young carers are so compassionate and self-sacrificing, and I really do commend the work they do.
“In 2016, the SNP passed The Carers (Scotland) Act which, for the first time, enshrined in law the rights of carers.
“We have committed to, when the new Scottish social security agency is formed, to increasing Carer’s Allowance by around £600 a year.
“I am glad that when this time comes the SNP government is also to consider the introduction of a Young Carer’s Allowance to bolster support for young people with significant caring responsibilities.”
MSP Gil Paterson is warning parents and schools of the privacy concerns of an image and video sharing social media app Snapchat.
Users can hone in on areas of a map and view hotspots for people posting pictures and videos on their Our Story feature.
Traditionally, ‘friends’ or contacts of a said Snapchat user could see what was posted on the user’s Your Story, but a later feature Our Story was added as an option alongside it to tick off who to or where the post goes.
Originally, Our Story was not linked to a map, or Snapmap, but since earlier in 2017 the GPS map feature was rolled out.
Now anyone using the app can explore a map of the world and look at posts in areas displayed like heat signatures, relative to how much posting is going on with the Our Story feature.
It is possible to scroll over a school, for example, and check if any posts have been made to Snapchat and view them. It is also possible to search for a location and be drawn to that part of the map to potentially look at snaps.
Snapmap also comes with a feature — one users are asked to activate when they open the map — whereby friends can view on the same map where other users are, location is updated in real-time.
Police have encouraged youngsters to use ‘ghost mode’ which hides them from the map because it is very often young people collate vast ‘friends’ lists with scores of contacts they are not trusted friends with.
Scottish Government minister Kevin Stewart has been in touch with Snapchat to raise these concerns and has started a petition to ask the UK Government to look into the matter, as communications is reserved to Westminster.
Mr Paterson said: “The Snapchat map feature allows anyone using the app to tap on the location of a school and see what users have been posting on the Our Story feature.
“It is possible to look around Clydebank and see where posts to Our Story have been made and throughout our research there have been concentrations of posts coming from secondary schools.
“It is often the case that Snapchat users will share images and videos directly with friends, on the Your Story and Our Story feature all at once to maximise exposure.
“However, young people can be naive to the consequences of publicly sharing what they are doing, where they are doing it and when they are doing it.
“School officials, teachers and parents should be aware of this because it adds a new element of invasion of privacy into the pupils’ lives.
“The feature is unlikely to be removed by Snapchat as the app is attempting to become a truly global and open social media platform – making awareness very important.
“Ultimately, parents are responsible for what their children are doing online and I would highly advise they become aware of Snapchat and the newer risks it poses.”
PLASTICS in the River Clyde are contributing towards a worldwide environmental disaster, MSP Gil Paterson has said.
The Clydebank and Milngavie MSP has highlighted the problem at a trouble spot in Clydebank at Queens Quay.
A section of the shore is littered in bottles, container and manufactured debris washed up – and is a stark example of what ends up in the river
Mr Paterson’s call for action ties in with global condemnation of how plastics are polluting the ocean, killing marine life and even getting into food supplies.
He said: “It is estimated only 30 per cent of plastics we use are being recycled – the rest are ending up in landfills and increasingly in our oceans.
“In our oceans, plastics are causing the death of thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals. Some rare species now face extinction due to the scale of the problem.
“The River Clyde itself is awash with plastics and what is not washed up will inevitably end up somewhere in the world’s oceans.
“I think everyone agrees we need to do more to tackle the way in which we dispose of plastics – especially the likes of plastic bottles.
“We need to double down on our efforts to recycle or risk ruining our oceans – the power authorities possess over our seas is simply not enough. We need to encourage a cultural shift, which I think is happening.
“In December, the European Parliament and Council voted through a new plan to recycle 65 per cent of urban waste but I am very saddened to see it has come to light the UK Tory Government opposes this plan despite making big claims about how they want to tackle plastics in our oceans.
“The UK Tory Government cannot grandstand about recycling targets then quietly oppose them when a proper initiative is launched – it’s absolute hypocrisy.”
MSP Gil Paterson has welcomed a rise the number of people registered for the dentist in his health board catchment in the last year.
A total of 95.8 per cent of adults (1.1 million) have registered with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde - up from 94.8 per cent in 2016.
In 2017, 96.1 per cent of children in the NHSGGC area are registered - up from 95 per cent in 2016.
The Clydebank and Milngavie MSP told the national figure how the figure has nearly doubled since the SNP government took over in 2007.
Under the previous administration, the number of people registered in Scotland decreased, from 2.7 million in 2000 to 2.5 million in 2007, including more than 40,000 fewer children.
In contrast, there are now more than 5 million registered for NHS dentists in Scotland.
Mr Paterson said: “The latest dental registration statistics show the continued progress the SNP Scottish Government is making in improving oral health in Clydebank, Milngavie, Bearsden and across Scotland.
“Since the SNP came to power in 2007, the number of people registered with a dentist has nearly doubled across Scotland, sitting at over 5 million, following years of decline under Labour and the Lib Dems.
“And, with nearly one million children now registered with an NHS dentist, it is clear that we are building the right attitudes to improve oral health for the next generation as well.
“People across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are benefitting from this improvement, with 95.8 per cent of people now registered with a dentist, including 96.1 per cent of children.
“The new oral health improvement plan will show how we intend to keep this good work going, and ensure that people are not only registering with a dentist, but also getting regular check-ups.
“Our oral health is vital for our wider health and wellbeing – and it is great to see people taking steps to ensure that they are able to access an NHS dentist in communities across Clydebank and Milngavie and throughout Scotland.”
MSP Gil Paterson has praised new investments and the continuation of older hallmark policies in the 2018 Scots budget.
The 2018-19 Draft Budget will see increased funding for the NHS, an income tax rise to pay for Tory cuts, an increase in the police’s budget, rises in investments to colleges and universities, even more money going into closing the attainment gap, a higher pay rise than RUK for public sector workers and even more.
Additionally, it will continue to provide for key SNP policies, from free tuition fees to free personal care for the elderly.
Mr Paterson said: “What is good about this budget is that it increases funding to our vital services, like the NHS, police, schools and such, but also maintains the hallmark policies of the SNP government.
“For example, free university and college tuition, free and increasing childcare, the abolition of prescription charges, free personal care for the elderly, free bus passes, paying the Bedroom Tax and more will be maintained – which in itself is a very impressive feat.
“Scotland still remains the lowest taxed part of the UK for most Scots, when all taxes are considered, despite a small rise in income tax to cope with the Tory budget cuts that have been forced through since 2011. And as suggested in recent polling, most Scots support it.
“Another aspect of the budget I like is the increased investment in Scotland’s culture and heritage sector between 2018 and 2019, which will help fund all sorts of projects from Historic Environments Scotland to the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.
“There are a whole range of policies we are putting through in this budget that are tailor made to make Scotland a more prosperous place to live and do business. I urge constituents who want to delve deeper into what we’re doing to read over the draft budget.”
INCOME TAX RISE SUPPORT: https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/poll-most-scots-back-snp-s-tax-rise-plan-1-4664721
DRAFT BUDGET: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/12/8959/17
MSP Gil Paterson has called the Liberal Democrats an “absolute disgrace” after the party was fined £18,000 for breaching expenses rules during the EU referendum.
In late 2017, the Electoral Commission reported the Liberal Democrats failed to provide acceptable invoices or receipts for 80 payments worth more than £80,000.
It comes as East Dunbartonshire’s MP Jo Swinson, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, is being investigated by the police for alleged inconsistencies in her election expenses.
In 2016, the Liberal Democrats were also fined £20,000 as a result of the Electoral Commission’s investigation into the party’s 2015 UK Parliamentary General Election campaign spending return.
Mr Paterson said: “Very strict rules about election expenses exist to uphold the democratic system and prevent it from being thwarted by those seeking to become legislators.
“This fine from the Electoral Commission shows the Liberal Democrats have cheated the system, and in many cases could have an unfair advantage over opponents.
“The public will be rightly concerned given the party’s deputy leader Jo Swinson MP just here in East Dunbartonshire is under police investigation for her election expenses.
“This is not the first time the Liberal Democrats have been fined. Elections are no longer a level playing field as they have had the advantage many times.
“The Liberal Democrats cannot go on undermining the fabric of democracy, their behaviour has been an absolute disgrace. The public deserve so much better.”
More info: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-donations/liberal-democrats-fined-18,000-for-breaches-of-campaign-finance-rules
MSP Gil Paterson is encouraging constituents looking to save money on energy to attend a special Citizens Advice Bureau event this month.
West Dunbartonshire CAB is launching Local Energy Awareness Project on Saturday January 20 in Clydebank Town Hall.
From 10.30am to 1.30pm, representatives from Scottish Power, SSE, NPower, Home Energy Scotland and more will be on hand to assist the public.
The event also coincides with the start of Big Energy Saving Week that will a number of events take place around West Dunbartonshire.
A full range of CAB services will be accessible and tea and coffee available to all in attendance.
Mr Paterson said: “I am encouraging constituents who are struggling through the winter months with bills to go to this launch and get first rate advice from CAB and the energy providers.
“The wide range of organisations at the event will ensure all bases are covered, including general problems that CAB can help members of the public out with in their time of need.
“I would like to commend West Dunbartonshire CAB for pulling the Local Energy Awareness Project together, it is an important matter as I know many constituents of mine find this time of year to be much more expensive.
“This is one solution to fuel poverty that should not be ignored – do not struggle, seek support and advice.”
Local Energy Awareness Project launch:
ELIGABLE constituents are being encouraged to take up the offer of a free flu vaccination by MSP Gil Paterson.
Everyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people at most risk of serious illness are offered the flu vaccination on the NHS.
Flu rates in Scotland doubled in December with the most recent figures from Health Protection Scotland showing around 46 Scots in every 100,000 were suffering from the virus, comparing to 22 in every 100,000 for the same week in 2016.
Mr Paterson, SNP MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “It’s not too late to get the flu jab – and if constituents are eligible for vaccination on the NHS it’s important they take up that offer.
“Cases of flu were at double the rate in December as the previous year, and can be a serious illness that can make even healthy people very unwell.
“NHS staff in Clydebank, Milngavie and Bearsden are doing a tremendous job at a tough time of year, and we should all do our bit to not add unnecessary pressure on the health service.
“If you’re eligible, please make getting the vaccination a priority and book an appointment with your GP practice or health board as soon as possible.”
For more information on the flu jab visit: http://www.healthscotland.com/flu
MSP Gil Paterson has backed West College Scotland’s campaign to reach out to Clydebank’s business community.
The college is looking for survey participants to share commercial needs, including skills, training and business support.
Results will help inform the college, particularly around curriculum planning and employer engagement.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, has welcomed the West of Scotland Skills Survey, launched on January 8, 2018.
He said: “The West of Scotland Skills Survey is a very industrious move by West College Scotland which will help create opportunities for both those in further education and the business community.
“I encourage as many local businesses as possible to help the College shape its curriculum by feeding back to them what skills they are needing in their industry.
“The mutual benefits of strong communication between colleges and the business sector cannot be stressed enough – it is vital to growing our economy and making Scotland a more competitive place to study and run businesses.
“I fully support the survey and will be assisting to promote it via my social media and through word of mouth, for West College Scotland is an invaluable asset to the people and businesses of my constituency.”
The survey can be found here: http://www.westcollegescotland.ac.uk/skills-survey
COUNCIL gyms in West Dunbartonshire have been praised by MSP Gil Paterson after a surge in membership in recent years.
West Dunbartonshire Leisure membership since 2012/13 has risen from 740 to 1,914 in 2016/17, according to information collated by the Scottish Government.
The biggest leap was recorded in 2016/17, from 1,120 to 1,914 – a rise of around 71 per cent.
Mr Paterson has praised West Dunbartonshire Council for running the service and highlighted the opening of Clydebank Leisure Centre as a milestone in creating a healthier community.
The Clydebank and Milngavie MSP said: “West Dunbartonshire Council must be praised for this encouraging uptake in its gyms – it is so important that we get more and more people exercising and living an active life to confront Scotland’s obesity epidemic.
“In 2016, 65 per cent of adults in Scotland aged 16 and up were overweight, including 29 per cent who were obese. This is due to lack of activity and having a poor diet, according to the Scottish Health Survey. Being overweight or obese causes a plethora of life-ending diseases and huge damage to mental health.
“It simply cannot go on and government, both local and national, need to be at the forefront of providing people with the tools to lose weight.
“For example, we have the new Clydebank Leisure Centre, which I believe is a strong reason for the uptake of gym subscribers in 2017 in West Dunbartonshire.
“I am also glad the SNP government’s investments at a school, community and national level to promote healthy living seems to be having an effect.
“Hopefully, this upward trend of gym use continues, because self-improvement and living an active lifestyle not only changes the life of the individual but rubs off on family, friends and other members of the community. And importantly, exercise has an incredible effect on improving mental health, in improving confidence and self-esteem.”
Obesity statistics in Scotland: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Health/TrendObesity
West Dunbartonshire Leisure membership figures:
MSP Gil Paterson has penned a letter to Lloyds Banking Group about the planned closure of the Dalmuir Bank of Scotland branch.
The Clydebank MSP is asking the bank to reverse the decision, saying the local branch is a “vital resource” to local people and businesses.
Following the latter on November 30, Mr Paterson said: “I have asked Lloyds Banking Group to reconsider the planned closure of the Bank of Scotland in Dalmuir.
“This bank is an important local amenity for my constituents, many of whom still rely on the face-to-face service.
“This is especially the case for elderly, disabled or generally vulnerable constituents who do not access online banking.
“The closest bank would be more than two miles away, so the closure of this branch would have a major impact.
“The nature of banking is indeed changing but as we progress we cannot leave anyone behind, there is still a huge role face-to-face banking plays for many of my constituents.
“I hope Lloyds Banking Group can reconsider closing its Dalmuir branch."
MSP Gil Paterson has condemned the Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors on East Dunbartonshire Council who voted in private to reduce terms and conditions for council workers.
The Council is the biggest employer in East Dunbartonshire and these changes will be forced through without any engagement with the workforce.
Mr Paterson said: “To treat the workers at East Dunbartonshire Council with such contempt is shameful and all the more galling as this is being done by the Liberal Democrats in cahoots with the Tories. These are the self-same Parties who inflicted such brutal cuts in spending as part of their austerity agenda when they formed a coalition government at Westminster.
“You have to remember that LibDem MP Jo Swinson was a Minister in that government so it is the height of hypocrisy for East Dunbartonshire LibDems to complain about budgetary constraints now and to suggest that the best way of dealing with austerity is to punish council workers.
“Imposing this on employees will hardly create an atmosphere of industrial harmony and will not generate any budget savings. What it will do is alienate staff and result in forced redundancies being the only means of making savings in future budgets. That is bad news for all of us who rely on council services.”
The decision to cut redundancy provision was voted through in a private session of East Dunbartonshire Council on the November 9. The result was 12 votes to 10, with the Liberal Democrats and the Tories voting to support the move.
MSP Gil Paterson has welcomed news that West Dunbartonshire is the second-most connected area to superfast broadband.
Scottish Government statistics released on November 29 show the 97.9 per cent of houses and buildings across the local authority area are now capable of accessing top internet speeds. Only Dundee City beats West Dunbartonshire, with 98.2 per cent connectivity.
In 2012, only 91.5 per cent had access, and since the SNP Scottish Government took over with its Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, the area is well on its way to being fully connected.
The SNP government has vowed to have every premises in Scotland capable of accessing superfast broadband by 2021.
Mr Paterson said: “This is absolutely fantastic news, West Dunbartonshire is one of Scotland’s most accessible areas in connecting to the best broadband speeds.
“On the whole, the SNP government has done a great job in improving Scotland’s digital infrastructure, and I am delighted to see we’re on track for 100 per cent by 2021.
“Improving our broadband speeds makes life easier for constituents as the internet becomes a bigger and bigger part of our lives every day.
“It is also brilliant for our private sector, it makes West Dunbartonshire a much more competitive place to do business in Scotland, as a strong internet presence is vital for almost every business nowadays.”
View the data: https://news.gov.scot/resources/broadband-la
More on Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme: https://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/
MSP Gil Paterson has backed a consultation being carried out to redevelop a retail site in Milngavie.
Town Centre Securities (TCS) owns the site where Waitrose and Homebase is located, and the latter is to shut down soon.
With 40 jobs going, TSC plans to bring a new business to the area, which will add an estimated 80 jobs to the area.
The company has been consulting with retail experts and potential tenants about bringing business back to the site.
A planning application will be submitted to East Dunbartonshire Council to transform the former Homebase into two units.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said:
“I would firstly like to commend TCS for such a public-spirited move, to include the wider population in deciding the future of the site.
“While I am saddened at the loss of Homebase in Milngavie, it is very good to see TCS acting so proactively to return jobs to the area.
“The plans to attract two new businesses into the unit, with all the refurbishments, with what could be a round 80 new jobs, is wonderful news.
“I hope as many constituents as possible can make their views heard by taking part in the consultation TCS is running with households and businesses across the town.”
From Gil Paterson MSP by Alan Ferguson (email@example.com)
MSP Gil Paterson has called the dropping of VAT charges to Scotland’s police and fire services “the SNP’s victory”.
In the budget today, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced the charge would be dropped for Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Centre.
Previously, they had been the only two forces in the United Kingdom to be charged VAT — an anomaly caused by the creation of two national forces.
Ownership had transferred from local government to the Scottish Government, the latter of which does not get refunded on VAT.
Mr Paterson said:
“Well done to all of those in the SNP who have been raising awareness of the scandalous singling out of Scotland’s police and fire services when it comes to VAT.
“Clearly, the UK Government has been left with no other option, thanks to the massive public profile SNP MPs and MSPs have given this important issue.
“It’s all very well to cancel this incredibly damaging policy but to make up for it, the chancellor should have returned the £140 million to the two forces that they have paid so far.
“You have to laugh at the Scottish Tory politicians trying to claim credit for this despite either ignoring the issue or telling us in every debate in recent years that it will never change. This is the SNP’s victory.”
MSP Gil Paterson is continuing to put pressure on rail authorities over the re-twinning of the railway between Westerton and Milngavie.
Writing to ScotRail’s Head of Operations Delivery West, John Lone, the Clydebank and Milngavie MSP has asked for the franchise’s views on re-twinning the line and adding a rail halt at Allander
Mr Paterson made the case for the changes to the railway line, which was, in the latest data, named the worst-performing in the whole of Scotland, and conveyed constituents’ outrage over the poor service.
The MSP said: “Complaints from my constituents about poor performance on the Westerton to Milngavie line are just getting louder and louder – something needs to be done.
“In writing to ScotRail, I hope the franchise can provide some sort of reaction to what Rona Mackay MSP and I have been appealing for – the line re-twinning and new rail halt.
“I told ScotRail I believe addressing the single track issue would be a win-win situation: that it would improve service for the customers and sell more tickets for the operators, and it would pay for itself. It would also have a major impact to improve the environment by getting more cars off the road.
“In conveying constituents’ frustration with the service, I highlighted the skipping of stops and the cancellation of trains, as well as the need for re-twinning and rail halt.”
From Gil Paterson MSP by Alan Ferguson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MSP Gil Paterson has called on European Union education funding to be replaced when Brexit takes place.
Erasmus+ has just granted €3,677 to Bearsden Academy for language training and €2,005 to Douglas Academy for Spanish development.
The scheme is sharing out €21 million for education, training, youth and sport to 159 Scottish colleges, schools, universities and more.
Mr Paterson has conveyed his concerns about the loss in funding when Scotland leaves the EU, and called on the UK Government to find ways to replace it.
He said: “I would like to thank Erasmus+ for awarding funds to Bearsden Academy and Douglas Academy, two first rate schools which I am very proud to represent.
“Erasmus+ funding in Bearsden and Milngavie goes directly into enriching the lives of young people. It promotes international collaboration and friendship across for creative, education and vocational subjects. Its importance cannot be understated.
“This additional funding and the scheme in general will be dearly missed when Scotland is taken out of the European Union — it must be replaced by the UK Government.
“School pupils, college and university students must not be deprived of such brilliant opportunities because the UK is leaving the European Union.”
Further information about Erasmus+ can be found at https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/about-erasmus
Press releases prepared by Alan Ferguson, Gil Paterson MSP's communications manager, who can be contacted at email@example.com or 07342 061722..