With the start of the school summer holidays being accompanied by a spell of fine weather, Gil Paterson MSP is urging everyone not to take risks around open water.
Scottish Water is promoting its social media campaign #ReservoirSafety and has produced a video to highlight the importance of safety around open water. www.scottishwater.co.uk/reservoirvideo
Speaking about the dangers, Mr Paterson said,
“In the Clydebank area we have the river Clyde, The Forth and Clyde canal and numerous reservoirs. On a hot day the water can look inviting but open water can be very cold and conceal hidden dangers.
“Everyone should be aware of the hazards of open water, especially children, so I’m asking parents to watch the Scottish Water video and talk to their children to make sure that they understand swimming in a reservoir or a canal is very different to swimming in a swimming pool.
“Even on hot days open water can be extremely cold and can cause shock and cramps, obstacles may be hidden just beneath the surface of the water as well as weeds and dangerous currents. There is no way to tell how deep the water is and there is no lifeguard on duty if you get into trouble and cannot get out because of steep or slippy banks. Really strong swimmers can still get into difficulty.
“I want everyone to enjoy the summer safely, so make sure that you and your children are aware of the hazards and take a little extra care.”
The latest figures from the National Water Safety Forum show that, in 2017, a total of 255 people lost their lives to unintentional drowning in the UK, 46 of which were in Scotland.
Local MSP Gil Paterson is highlighting the National Autistic Society Scotland’s Moving Forward programme which works with young people who are on the autistic spectrum to help them develop skills for the workplace, gain confidence in social interaction and take positive steps to finding employment.
The programme is funded by the Scottish Government's CashBack for Communities initiative which takes money seized from criminals under the proceeds of crime legislation and uses it to help young people in need across Scotland.
Over the next three years the National Autistic Society Scotland aims to support 300 young people aged between 16 and 24 who have a diagnosis of autism using a flexible, person centred pathway. Mentoring is a key element of that pathway, matching young people who are furthest from employment with Volunteer Mentors.
Speaking about the programme, Mr Paterson said;
"The Moving Forward programme is a fantastic initiative and a great way to use money seized from criminals to make a really positive impact on the lives of young people who have autism.
"Statistics show that finding some kind of paid employment is especially difficult for people with autism so it is right that we offer them extra support. I would urge any young person in Clydebank who has autism and is struggling to find work to get in touch with the National Autistic Society.
"Equally, I would say to employers, if you think you could help a young person with a diagnosis of autism by taking part in the Moving Forward programme, then do contact the NAS Scotland. Your participation could make all the difference to a young person."
The National Autistic Society Scotland aims to close the autism employment gap, the charities research found that just 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid work and only 32% of autistic adults are in some kind of paid work, compared to 47% of disabled people and 80% of the general population. The charity takes a two-pronged approach, supporting autistic people to find work and helping employers to ensure that autistic people succeed in post.
If you, or someone you know, could benefit from the Moving Forward programme or you are a business interested in learning more then please do get in touch by phoning 0141 248 1725 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gil Paterson MSP has voiced his disappointment in the LibDem/Tory leadership of East Dunbartonshire Council following days of disruption for his constituents due to strikes by Council workers.
The strikes follow changes to workers’ terms and conditions introduced by the new council administration. The previous SNP administration stood down in December of last year after the LibDem and Tory opposition councillors joined together in an attempt to force the SNP administration to implement the changes.
The strikes resulted in the closure of all schools and nurseries across East Dunbartonshire for four days meaning that many pupils missed out on end of school events and celebrations and working parents were left struggling to find alternative provision for their children.
Speaking about the council administration, Mr Paterson said:
“LibDem and Tory councillors were warned that they faced a near total breakdown of the relationship between the council and their workers if they forced through these changes to terms and conditions without consultation. My constituents are now suffering the consequences of their failure to heed these warnings.
“While I am in total sympathy with my constituents affected by the strike action we must remember that no-one takes the decision to strike lightly. Many of East Dunbartonshire Council’s workers also live in the area so they are affected too and, most importantly, they will lose pay.
“Council staff have suffered years of below inflation pay rises at a time of rising prices in the shops because of the punishing and needless austerity introduced by the LibDem and Tory coalition government at Westminster and carried on by the present Tory UK Government.
“The Libdem and Tory administration on East Dunbartonshire Council need to sort out this mess, which is of their own making, without delay so that workers can get back to doing their job and my constituents are no longer inconvenienced.
“I’m against the expansion of Heathrow as it will throttle direct flights from Scotland while increasing flights to London to feed the Heathrow hub.
“The airplanes used for internal flights are smaller than those used for international flights so it stands to reason that direct international flights, transporting more people in a single airplane, mean less individual flights over Clydebank and the rest of Scotland.
“Conversely feeding the Heathrow Hub with smaller internal airplanes will mean more individual flights.
“In the past, whenever there has been severe weather in London or there is outfall from Icelandic volcanoes, the first flights to be cancelled are those between London and Scotland leaving international travellers to and from Scotland stranded. There is no reason to suppose this will change. This is a lose/lose situation for my constituents in Clydebank and for the whole of Scotland.”
Local MSPs, Gil Paterson and Rona Mackay have welcomed East Dunbartonshire Council’s submission to the Scottish Government’s Rail Development Fund to explore the benefits of twin tracking the full length of the Milngavie rail line.
If successful, the application, which follows an amended Motion put to East Dunbartonshire Council by SNP Councillors, which was unanimously accepted, will provide a robust appraisal of the costs and benefits of re-twinning against other potential transport improvements in the area.
Mr Paterson said:
“We have spent many months lobbying rail operators Abellio ScotRail, Network Rail and Transport Scotland about the unacceptable service provided to travellers on the Milngavie line.
“We wrote to East Dunbartonshire Council, as well as Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, back in April requesting their support for re-twinning the track between Westerton and Milngavie so we are pleased that they have taken steps to have a feasibility study carried out. The fact that this has cross-party support is magnificent.
“After numerous meetings with the rail industry and independent experts, we remain convinced that re-twinning will go a very long way to solving the problems of train cancellations, station skipping and lateness which the travelling public are, quite rightly, sick and tired of.”
For those who support independence things have got that bit more exciting, the Brexit shambles is a perfect illustration of why we need strong politicians to stand up for Scotland and take a different direction.
It also shows why we need to have a conversation now about what we want for the future of Scotland. In the independence referendum the choice was between staying with UK and (so we were told) the EU, or building our own future as a strong independent country. Clydebank was a Yes town and voted overwhelmingly to forge our own future but not everyone agreed and we are now part of a very different UK to the one that the no side promised which will see us dragged out of the EU. Coming out of the most important part of the EU, The Customs Union will mean the loss of an untold number of jobs. So whether you voted for independence or to stay in the UK, we need to be thinking about where we go from here.
The Growth Commission report published recently is the perfect vehicle for stimulating that conversation. It was commissioned by the SNP almost 2 years ago and offers the opportunity to consider what the future aspirations for Scotland should be, where the opportunities are (and there are plenty) but also where constraints might be and what needs to change so that we can boost economic growth and manage our finances to build the country we want for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. Many of the people who voted no to independence tell me they worried about the economics of independence. The growth commission explains how Scotland can thrive economically and is worth a careful read.
I was struck by how outward looking the Growth Commission was. They took their inspiration from the 12 most successful small developed countries in the world. The report argues Scotland has economic potential that far outstrips its current and long-term performance, we have to find ways of turning that around. This is an approach I agree with, there are loads of small countries, with much fewer resources than Scotland, who do better than we do, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, we can look at what these countries are doing and design solutions tailor-made for us.
But the most startling thing that jumped out at me from the Commission’s findings was if we had simply followed the different path they suggest, then austerity and all the abject misery it brought with it, would never have happened.
You can read the report here https://www.sustainablegrowthcommission.scot/
SNP MSP Gil Paterson has hailed Scotland’s Schools for the Future school building programme for investing £10.2 million in East Dunbartonshire, on the same day the SNP Scottish Government has opened a hat-trick of new high school buildings in Largs, Dundee and Edinburgh.
£10.2 million has been spent refurbishing schools in the area under the SNP since 2009, and a total of 750 schools have been built or refurbished since the SNP came to power in Scotland.
The Scottish Government’s school building programme that launched in 2009 will see the construction or refurbishment of 117 schools in total by March 2020, 87 of which are already open.
SNP MSP Gil Paterson said:
“The SNP Scottish Government is investing in building and refurbishing schools in every local authority across the country through Scotland’s £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme, including £10.2 million investment in our area.
“Supporting Milngavie and Bearsden pupils, teachers, parents and wider communities with state of the art school buildings, combined with the £170m Attainment Scotland Funding this year, will help ensure that every child in Scotland gets the best possible start in life, no matter what school they go to.”