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
Gil Paterson has congratulated with a parliamentary motion the volunteers of Milngavie in Bloom for winning three awards for the good work they do in keeping the town beautiful.
Motion Number: S5M-08870
Lodged By: Gil Paterson
Date Lodged: 14/11/2017
Title: Hat-trick for Milngavie in Bloom
That the Parliament congratulates volunteers from Milngavie in Bloom’s Clean Sweep Branch on winning three awards; notes that Frankie Livingston was awarded first place in an art competition, for her work depicting drink vessel littering, by Keep Scotland Beautiful; further notes that Tina Richmond won top prize for her bee trail at the Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood awards ceremony in the Albert Halls, Stirling, in October 2017; further notes that Milngavie Community Council awarded the group a Community Champion accolade, and thanks Milngavie in Bloom and all of its members for their efforts in helping to make a difference in the town.
MSP Gil Paterson marked the success of the exhibition the council hosted in the new Bruce Street Baths venue with a parliamentary motion.
Motion Number: S5M-08823
Lodged By: Gil Paterson
Date Lodged: 10/11/2017
Title: Clydebank Lego Exhibition Success
That the Parliament congratulates West Dunbartonshire Council on the success of the Lego Brick History exhibition by the artist Warren Elsmore, which ran from June to September 2017; understands that more than 7,000 people visited the new cultural venue, Bruce Street Baths in Clydebank, generating more than £28,000 in ticket sales; understands that the exhibition contained more than 50 works depicting major historical events, including dinosaurs, Pompeii and local attractions, such as the Titan Crane; welcomes efforts by the council to enhance Clydebank as a stage for top exhibitions and events, and appreciates the cultural boost that the event provided.
Supported by: Fulton MacGregor, Joan McAlpine, Jenny Gilruth, Gail Ross, Sandra White, Ruth Maguire, Ross Greer, David Torrance, Bob Doris, Clare Haughey, Ivan McKee, Stewart Stevenson, Jackson Carlaw, Bill Kidd, Colin Beattie
Gil Paterson MSP: Scotland is a world leader in tackling alcohol abuse with minimum pricing per unit
SCOTLAND is a world leader in the war against damaging booze culture, Clydebank’s MSP Gil Paterson has said.
It follows the announcement that the UK Supreme Court ruling minimum unit pricing for alcohol.
In 2012, the Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly passed the Bill, so now the government can proceed enacting it.
The ruling makes Scotland the first country in the world to introduce minimum pricing per unit of alcohol.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “Once again Scotland has shown itself to be an incredible nation, the first in the world to place a minimum price per unit of alcohol to tackle a very damaging booze culture.
“Minimum pricing is a major step in tackling the endemic abuse of alcohol that kills so many people and destroys families in my constituency, and across the whole of Scotland.
“Our actions will resonate around the world with other nations which suffer similar problems with alcohol abuse in their communities.
“Scotland’s relationship with alcohol is unique in that we purchase 17 per cent more than those in England and Wales do.
“This leads to a greater amount of alcohol abuse per head of capita, with it costing £900 per person in Scotland for our health service to combat.
“I look forward to the implementation of this law which will, alongside all of our other measures in place, help tackle alcohol abuse in my constituency and across the whole of Scotland.”
Background (from the Scottish Government)
• Annual alcohol deaths statistics published in August show there were 1,265 alcohol-related deaths in 2016. This is up from 1,150 in 2015, an increase of 10%.
• On average, alcohol misuse causes about 670 hospital admissions and 24 deaths a week - death rates are almost 1.5 times higher than in the early 1980s.
• Alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion each year – £900 for every adult.
• Scotland's problem is significantly worse than the rest of the UK. In 2016, 17% more alcohol was sold per adult in Scotland than in England & Wales.
• Affordability drives increased consumption - alcohol is now 60 per cent more affordable in the UK than it was in 1980
• Weekly lower-risk drinking guidelines of 14 units can be bought for £2.52 – 18 pence a unit.
• 51% of alcohol sold in off-trade is less than 50 pence per unit.
Modelling from Sheffield University shows a minimum unit price of 50 pence is estimated to result in:
• 121 fewer deaths per annum by year 20 of the policy; and
• A fall in hospital admissions of just over 2,000 per annum by year 20 of the policy
A preferred 50 pence per unit would mean:
• A three litre bottle of strong cider at 7.5% ABV strength would cost £11.25.
• Four 440ml cans of five per cent strength lager would cost at least £4.40.
• A bottle of wine of 12% alcohol strength would cost at least £4.50.
• A 70cl bottle of whisky could not be sold for less than £14.
The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012
Around £500k worth of renovations will see Clydebank Library into the future.
Gil Paterson MSP said: "Clydebank Library is a stunning, old building which deserves to be kept intact and accessible to the public, so I could not be happier that these restoration works are taking place. The library is a centre of learning, especially for young people, and holds many important records of Clydebank's history. This is great news for the town."
MSP Gil Paterson's comments following the Remembrance Sunday events in Clydebank on Sunday, November 12.
MSP Gil Paterson said: “I was again honoured to attend the Remembrance ceremony in Clydebank. It is so important that we stop and contemplate the lives lost in the trenches of the Western Front, in defending against the evils of fascism and indeed in more modern conflicts where young men have died in action. We must remember the sacrifices they have made.”
MSPs are making the case for simple transformations on the railway between Westerton and Milngavie that will vastly improve the service.
Gil Paterson and Rona Mackay have put forward their vision of re-twinning the track and adding the much-desired rail halt in Allander.
In the latest data published on June 24 for the last 12 month shows, of all 77 stations in the statistics, that Milngavie was listed as the worst performer.
The practice of skipping stations to make up for time is adding even more problems for rail users.
MSPs believe that a major cause for this disruption is the single track.
Mr Paterson has written to Network Rail, ScotRail and Transport Scotland looking for answers to the deplorable rail service to Milngavie, and putting forward the need for infrastructure change.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “The Westerton to Milngavie line needs transformed for the greater good of the public using the line on a daily basis, who are currently facing unacceptable delays.
“At the moment, there is a single line, but we’re calling for the line to be returned to a twinned track to allow trains to move up and down the line faster and with greater ease, and less delays.”
Ms Mackay, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, added: “Commuters and communities along the Westerton-Milngavie line are crying out for this change, and we will be representing these views as strongly as possible.
“When the line is re-twinned we can go ahead with the plan – which has been approved by East Dunbartonshire Council – to build a new rail halt at Allander with a park and ride.
“With such poor results on this line, we need action as soon as possible, and everyone knows what the answer is. It’s time to get the ball rolling, re-twin the track and make the changes the public is demanding.”
From Gil Paterson MSP and Rona Mackay MSP by Alan Ferguson (07342 061722)
WEST Dunbartonshire’s small businesses are benefitting more than ever from a special Scottish Government rate relief scheme.
The Small Business Bonus programme has helped to support 1,359 businesses in the area in 2017/18, up from 1,168 in 2016/17.
A total of £3.3 million has gone to companies in West Dunbartonshire, according to SG statistics.
The figure has risen every year since 2007/8 when the SNP government first introduced the scheme.
Small businesses have received more than £226 million in 2017/18 across the whole of Scotland, more than 103,000 local firms.
Gil Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “It is excellent news that more businesses are making use of the Small Business Bonus Scheme because it shows there is an increase in entrepreneurial flare in West Dunbartonshire.
“The policy itself is one the SNP introduced nearly 10 years and it has been helping to cultivate the small business community not just in West Dunbartonshire, but across the nation.
“I would like to see more vibrant small businesses, because they form the heart of a community, and I feel Clydebank’s regeneration needs these small independent projects to help it thrive and move onward and upward.”
MSP Gil Paterson has backed musicians in Clydebank to get the best possible deal from the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Musicians are concerned the Brexit process may lead to the introduction of individual member state work permits and/or visas for British musicians touring and working across Europe.
As some performers can be working in several different European countries over the course of a few days, the possible introduction of work permissions and/or visas for British musicians touring and working in Europe could be extremely detrimental.
The Musicians’ Union launched its free movement campaign in Spring 2017.
Mr Paterson said: “I strongly believe freedom of movement across Europe should be maintained in a post-Brexit Britain for our touring and performing artists.
“Most professional musicians and performers rely on touring and travelling for their careers and livelihoods and gigs are often organised at short notice.
“It’s integral that we keep the freedom to live and work around Europe, but that may not be the case if the shambolic handling of Brexit results in a ‘no deal’.
“Either way, our touring musicians may face being levied with administrative burdens and hurdles for going into the EU post-Brexit.
“I hope this will not be the case, and I’d like to let touring musicians, performers and artists in Clydebank and Milngavie know I am on their side and support the call of the Musicians Union.”
NOTES TO EDITOR:
The Musicians' Union was established in 1893 and represents over 30,000 musicians working in all genres of music. As well as negotiating on behalf of its members with all the major employers in the industry, the MU offers a range of services tailored for the self-employed by providing assistance for professional and student musicians of all ages. Find out more via www.theMU.org.
Press releases prepared by Alan Ferguson, Gil Paterson MSP's communications manager, who can be contacted at email@example.com or 07342 061722..