Local MSP Gil Paterson has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament highlighting the news that the charity ‘Y sort it’ has been awarded funding from the SNP Government’s Climate Challenge Fund to establish and develop a StreetBikes initiative in West Dunbartonshire.
The aims of the project are to increase levels of active travel throughout the community by creating a hub where young people can learn about safe cycling and bicycle repair and maintenance as well as take part in peer-led cycling trips.The project will also decrease wastefulness by reusing and recycling unwanted bikes that would otherwise have been landfilled. Y sort it will integrate tackling climate change into their everyday activities and work to increase levels of understanding within the community. On top of all that the project will create employment as a full-time Street Bikes Development Coordinator will be appointed.
Commenting on the initiative Mr Paterson said:
“This is a fantastic project which ticks all the right boxes. It encourages people to get more active and so improve their health and well-being, it gets young people to exercise out in the fresh air while socialising with others, it teaches them how to maintain and repair their bicycle giving them new skills at the same time as well as being great for the environment. On top of all that it will provide employment for a Development Coordinator. It is a really exciting project and I would encourage everyone to support it.”
Gil Paterson MSP has highlighted the need for Scotland to control its own immigration policy after the country’s population hit a record 5.42 million. This means that Scotland has equalled the average European population growth which is good news according to the politician:
“Scotland’s population is artificially low by a considerable amount due to years of enforced emigration from the Highland Clearances onward. It’s great to see this vibrancy in the population, we need young workers in order to ensure that we keep opportunities here for future generations.
“The over 75’s are projected to be the fastest growing age-group in Scotland, increasing by 75% over the next 25 years. It is very welcome news that people are living longer and healthier lives but those people will become more likely to need health and social services as they get older. These services need young people to work in them and to generate the money to pay for them by paying taxes. We need to increase our population year on year to meet the demand and the fastest way to do that is through immigration.
“Scotland has its own distinct immigration needs different from other nations on these isles so we must have the ability to implement a distinct migration policy, our economic and cultural prosperity depends on it.
“We have already seen the effect that Brexit is having on our ability to attract workers to come here. Couple that with the scandal of the cruel and heartless Tory Windrush fiasco, recently reported cases like those of the Merry family and the UK no longer looks like a welcoming place for young migrants to live and work.
“So while it’s good to see this increase we need the power to do more.”
Local MSP Gil Paterson has revealed that he is in possession of a letter from the UK Civil Aviation Authority addressed to an official at Glasgow Airport, which, he says, confirms that careful consideration to the proposals for the present Glasgow Airport consultation was given by both the CAA and the airport and that, after this consideration, the CAA gave assurances that the proposals would be assessed against existing guidance and timelines.
Speaking about the letter, Mr Paterson said:
“I was shocked to discover that, as late as December 2017, the Civil Aviation Authority were saying that it would not be feasible or reasonable to expect Glasgow Airport to fully comply with the new process on consultations because of the amount of work and planning that had already been done.
“You have to remember that Glasgow Airport had been planning this for two years, well before the new process came into being. They say that they went beyond the requirements of previous guidelines in order to try to anticipate any new criteria yet to be finalised.
“The letter in my possession backs this up so I would like to know what has changed since December 2017 to warrant such a complete about-turn by the CAA right at the end of the consultation period?
“There may be good reason for the change of heart but I have written to the Civil Aviation Authority asking for answers to a number of questions and the response I received does not make things any clearer.
“The CAA confirmed that they were aware of the timing of the consultation in advance of its implementation and also that they agreed with the process used by Glasgow Airport. They offer no explanation for how this could possibly happen.
“Along with others, I have put in a fair amount of time and resources in order that the public be made aware of this very important consultation. From the numbers who participated it would seem that my constituents engaged enthusiastically and it is unacceptable for them to be inconvenienced by this.
“They turned out at the public meetings, they submitted their views, they made their feelings known and would be justified in feeling anger if their participation were to be devalued in any way because of this 11th hour change of mind.”
Local MSPs Gil Paterson and Rona Mackay have welcomed the SNP Group’s motion to East Dunbartonshire Council which calls on the Council to commission a feasibility study into re-twin tracking the Milngavie rail line.
The study would also look into providing new rail halts with park and ride facilities at the Allander in Bearsden, Westerhill in Bishopbriggs and Woodilee in Kirkintilloch.
The funding to undertake the feasibility study would come from the Rail Pipeline Fund, recently initiated by the Scottish Government.
Gil Paterson said: “It is gratifying that after many months of work lobbying the rail operators Abellio ScotRail, Network Rail and Transport Scotland about measures to resolve the unacceptable train performance on the Milngavie rail line East Dunbartonshire Council can now make application to the new Rail Pipeline Fund established recently by the Scottish Government to tackle local problems with the rail infrastructure.
“Rona and I have written jointly to the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and East Dunbartonshire Council requesting their support for the re-twin tracking of the Rail line from Westerton to Milngavie which we believe is the first action necessary if we are to improve rail services in East Dunbartonshire. We hope to meet with both organisations soon to outline our concerns and highlight potential solutions suggested to us by rail professionals.”
Rona Mackay commented: “The travelling public are rightly sick and tired of unannounced train cancellations, station skipping and late arrivals. The Milngavie rail line was recently reported as the worst performing line in Scotland so something has to be done to resolve these unacceptable problems. The re-twinning of the track between Westerton and Milngavie will be biggest, least expensive and easiest change for improvement in East Dunbartonshire.
“Once this urgent twin tracking work is completed it will enable the three new rail halts with park and ride facilities which will resolve much of our congestion problems and reduce the bad air quality experienced in East Dunbartonshire.”
She added: “I hope when Cllr Gordan Low’s motion is decided on 26 April the debate does not descend into a party political points scoring argument and all councillors see the merit in the potential improvement this action will achieve for the local communities of Bearsden and Milngavie.”
MSP Gil Paterson is backing calls from SNP MP Alison Thewliss for Scottish Tories to re-think their position on the abhorrent rape clause.
The campaigning MP has renewed her calls for the Tory Government to scrap its two child policy and rape clause for child tax credits, one year since the policy was fully implemented by the UK Government.
Since the two child policy and rape clause came into force on 6th April 2017, Ms Thewliss has repeatedly challenged DWP Ministers on the impact of the policy on vulnerable women across the UK. She will be joining campaigners in Edinburgh on 19th April to call for an immediate end to the rape clause.
Figures from the Child Poverty Action Group estimate that the rape clause and two child policy will put an additional 250,000 children into poverty by the end of the decade. CPAG have mounted a judicial review of the two child policy and rape clause and a judgement on the case is expected imminently.
Mr Paterson commented saying:
“Now is the time for the Tory UK government to call a halt to this evil nonsense. It’s a sickening policy which forces women to relive some of the worst experiences imaginable.
“I spent 11 years on the board of Rape Crisis, an organisation that provides help and support to victims of sexual violence and I am horrified at the callous attitude of Tory MPs.
“And what of the child labelled the product of rape? What effect would this have on a vulnerable child if this kind of information got out?
“The two child policy is a ludicrous policy in the first place so it is no surprise that the rape clause stemmed from it. Why on earth should a child be penalised for the order that they were conceived in? We now have the situation where a loving parent who falls on difficult circumstances, and let’s face it that could happen to any of us, can be plunged into poverty because they have a third child who they could well provide for before they hit hard times.”
Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“The new Scottish Tory MPs have been in Westminster for almost a year and it’s time they had a re-think about their position on the abhorrent rape clause policy.
"The policy not only plunges children in to poverty, but forcing women to disclose one of the worst experiences of their lives, just in order to make a claim for a benefit, has to be one of the most abhorrent polices to have come out of this heartless Tory Government.
"What is the position of the new Scottish Tory MPs? In light of the research carried out by Child Poverty Action Group, and the public outcry - do they still believe the policy is justified?
“One year on from its introduction, serious problems remain about the impact of the two child policy and rape clause on vulnerable women and children. I’ve continued to ask questions, but Ministers haven’t given me any answers, or reassurance or justification that this policy is either workable or necessary.
“The UK Government has made U-turns at short notice, even after holding out on its position for a long time. This despicable policy should be the next one to be axed.”
MSP Gil Paterson was pleased to receive confirmation from the Chief Inspector of East Dunbartonshire Police that the abhorrent so-called “Punish a Muslim Day” went off without incident in East Dunbartonshire.
Recently the Milngavie & Bearsden Herald reported on a young Muslim girl who was too scared to go outside because of the vile letters which were circulated in some parts of the UK last month. The letters received a significant amount of attention both in the press and on social media.
Mr Paterson said;
“This vile hatred has no place in our society and should be condemned by all right-thinking people which is why I was so pleased to hear from Chief Inspector Corrigan that the day passed without incident in East Dunbartonshire.
“As I understand it, UK North West Counter Terrorism Police are investigating the source of the original hardcopy letters, all of which had a Sheffield postmark and none of which were received by anyone in East Dunbartonshire or indeed in Scotland.
“I am assured that hate crime is treated very seriously and investigated robustly by our Police force who visited both of East Dunbartonshire’s Mosques last week to provide advice and reassurance as well as performing extra patrols in these areas.
“While we can never become complacent, it is important that we do not sensationalise the actions of these hateful individuals as that would play right into their hands. I look forward to a speedy conclusion to North West Counter Terrorism Police’s enquiry and trust that those responsible will feel the full force of the law.
“When highlighting and quoting matters that are happening in England we need to be careful not to alarm people in Scotland. It’s important to set the record straight and to point out hate crime is on the rise in England and most commentators have put it down to connecting immigration with Brexit. On the other hand I’m pleased to say hate crime in Scotland is already low and still falling.
“I hope that all Muslims who have made their home in East Dunbartonshire feel confident that they are welcome and valued citizens of our community.”
Gil Paterson MSP is highlighting a £250K fund which is available to support locally produced food and drink.
Grants of around £5000 will be available for local food and drink producers, and regional food and drink networks, from May.
The fund, targeted at producers who can traditionally find it difficult to attract funding, will be overseen by Scotland Food and Drink.
Mr Paterson said;
“Scotland has been particularly successful in exporting food and drink with more than £6 million worth of Scottish food and drink consumed worldwide in the last year.
“The Scottish Government is committed to promoting locally sourced and locally produced food and beverages.
“Brexit is looming and the future position with regard to our international trading partners is very uncertain so it is essential that we plan ahead to ensure a robust market at home for our regional producers.
“Any local producers who think they might benefit from this investment should keep an eye on www.scotlandfoodanddrink.org for more details.”
Gil Paterson MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie has highlighted calculations from The Scottish Parliament Information Centre showing that Scottish taxpayers are saving an average of over £160 a year on their prescriptions compared to patients south of the border.
On average, Scots take out 19 prescriptions per year. If these were charged at the English rate of £8.60 each, people in Scotland would be out of pocket by an average of £1,143.80 since prescription charges were abolished in 2011.
Commenting, Mr Paterson said:
“People who are unfortunate enough to suffer ill health and those who have long-term conditions requiring medication should not have the added stress of worrying about how to pay for the medication they need.
“There is little point in GPs, consultants, dentists and all the other health professionals caring for the people who need their help if those people cannot then afford to take the medication prescribed. It makes sense for healthcare free at the point of need to include prescriptions.
“£160 is a substantial amount of money for people who may be struggling to get by and when you also take account of ending parking charges at NHS-run hospital car parks, free eye tests, free school meals for P1 to P3, care for the elderly and free bus passes for the elderly, free university education and investment in childcare, it all adds up.
“The Tories at Westminster are intent on inflicting their austerity agenda while the Scottish Government are getting on with delivering services for all of the people of Scotland.”
MSP Gil Paterson has highlighted the news that 68% of gross electricity consumption in Scotland was met by renewables last year.
The figure represents an increase of 26% on last year’s figures making 2017 a record year for renewable generation and for the first time ever Scotland has more than 10GW of installed renewable capacity.
Speaking about the figures, Mr Paterson said;
“These are fantastic figures showing that our renewables industry is stronger than ever and reflecting the Scottish Government’s commitment to clean, green energy.
“The future for renewables is bright which is good news as a low carbon economy makes both practical and economic sense, and renewable production has a role to play in securing our energy supply in these uncertain times.
“Clydebank is well on course to provide a significant contribution to the effort with work on the District heating network at Queen’s Quay now well under way.
“Renewable energy is set to play a significant role in Scotland's future and we need to take the right decisions to support this sector of our economy as it goes from strength to strength.
“Of course this is despite the background of damaging policies put in place by UK Government at Westminster which have resulted in a 56% drop in investment in green energy UK wide throughout 2017 – the biggest fall of any country. It’s gratifying to see that Scotland is bucking the trend.”
West Dunbartonshire pupils snared with weapons in schools - Article from the Clydebank Post published 23rd March 2018
EIGHT West Dunbartonshire pupils – four of them as young as 12 years old – have been caught carrying lethal weapons within school in the past four years.
In a special exclusive investigation by the Post, we can reveal that the oldest of the eight armed kids was just 14 years of age.
The figures show that in the past four years schoolchildren in the area have armed themselves at school with a steak knife, a belt, a metal bar, two pen knives, scissors, another type of knife and an unnamed weapon.
The insights come just a year after Daniel Stroud was jailed for the culpable homicide of 16-year-old schoolboy Bailey Gwynne at Cults Academy in Aberdeenshire.
The fifth-year pupils squared up in March 2016 when someone called Bailey’s mum “fat” and, as they wrestled, Stroud pulled a knife and plunged it into Bailey’s heart.
MSP Gil Paterson called for adults to set a good example of not carrying weapons and for parents to talk to their children about the dangers.
Five of the eight offences in West Dunbartonshire happened in 2016, according to the details released under Freedom of Information legislation. Individual schools were not named as it wasn’t in the public interest, said police.
A police spokesman said: “Keeping people safe is at the heart of everything that we do but this is entirely reliant on building good relationships with the communities we serve and encouraging schools to make us aware of the issues in their area.
“As such, a higher number of incidents at one school cannot necessarily be taken to mean that the location is any way less safe than that of another school.
“It could simply mean that the management team and staff at one location are far more willing to engage with the police to attempt to deal with criminal behaviour and other matters of concern whereas at other schools, the same issues may be present but the staff are less inclined for whatever reason to contact the police.
“What we simply cannot afford to do is discourage people from reporting incidents to the police for fear that the resulting information will be used to create a negative impression of that location or a ‘league table’ of sorts offering up comparisons.”
Police Scotland told the Post that four 12-year-olds, three 13-year-olds and one child aged 14, were all caught in the past four years carrying weapons within their school. Their figures were from 2014 until February 16, 2018.
From April 1, 2017, a set of new codes was introduced to record cases of using an offensive weapon in a public setting to commit other criminal activity.
A Police Scotland spokesman revealed that four of the offenders were dealt with by “early and effective intervention” and three were reported to the Children’s Panel.
The other as a result of joint consultation, merited the attention of the procurator fiscal in Dumbarton, as well as the Children’s Panel.
In 2014, 2015, and 2017 there was just one offender in each of those three years, with the other five offences all happening in 2016.
A spokesman for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “We work closely with police to protect and educate pupils about the potentially devastating consequences of carrying a knife, and have dedicated youth engagement officers working across our secondary schools.
“We have over 12,000 pupils in our schools and while the number of reports is low by comparison, we view any incident as serious and will take appropriate action against anyone who brings a weapon into any of our schools.”
“We have a policy and guidance for head teachers which is implemented across our schools and was prepared in conjunction with Police Scotland.”
Gil Paterson MSP told the Post: “Children copy older generations so there is a responsibility on older generations to set a positive example when it comes to knife carrying.
“It is my view that the only way to get to zero tolerance is through giving the police the power to stop and search those they suspect of carrying weapons. We must be vigilant otherwise knife crime will start to creep up.
"In saying that, it is my experience that teaching staff and community police are doing a very good job in terms of educating young people about the grave consequences that can stem from that initial decision to pick up a knife and conceal it, and I would encourage them to carry-on doing so.
“Parents too must be vigilant and speak to their children about the dangers of knife crime.”
Local MSP Gil Paterson praised social enterprise, Inclusive Images, following his recent visit to their base in Old Kilpatrick.
Inclusive Images help local groups and organisations to tell their story through photography giving them imaginative and creative ways of highlighting issues within the community. Then they work with the groups to turn their photos into campaign and promotional materials.
“It was great to have a chat with Charlie, Inclusive Images have a great set-up and they provide a really valuable service to local groups. Sometimes pictures really can say so much more than words – look at iconic photos throughout history like the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki, the little girl running from napalm in the Vietnam war or Ed Miliband’s bacon sandwich. Photography can be such a powerful medium for folk to get their point across directly to funders, partners and to politicians. All with the added bonus that photography is fun!”
Make sure you have your say on airport noise.
The Glasgow Airport consultations on a Noise Action Plan and proposals to modernise the use of airspace are now well underway. With just under 6 weeks left before the consultations close it is time to make sure that you help shape the future policies of the airport by submitting your views.
As many of you will already know, I have been working on a solution to the problem of aircraft noise for a very long time now. I’ve held numerous meetings with the management of the airport, local community representatives and local authority officers over the years.
It’s an important issue as aircraft noise has significant repercussions for the sleep patterns, health and educational achievement of those people worse effected. World Health Organisation standards state that 50dBA of noise constitutes “annoyance” with “serious annoyance” kicking in at 55dBA.
That’s why I commissioned research and contracted experts to retro fit noise reduction measures to a house in Clydebank. Special roof-space insulation was installed which, as well as having noise dampening properties has the added advantage of high thermal properties so cuts down on heat loss thus reduces heating bills. Triple glazed windows were installed in a bedroom and that completed the project. I’m pleased to say that this experiment was an overwhelming success, reducing the noise penetration in a bedroom from 63dBA before installation to 45dBA (well within World Health Organisation standards) after installation.
When I presented my research to the Airport they agreed with my findings and I am delighted that they have voluntarily agreed to set up a retro fit scheme for the worst affected communities. Details of the scheme will be developed over the next few months.
The voluntary nature of the scheme is important as all control and legislation relating to aircraft rests with the UK Government in Westminster. The only power which our Government has is in ensuring that a Noise Action Plan consultation takes place every 5 years. This year’s consultation includes the potential for reducing the threshold to qualify for an insulation package from 66dBA to 63dBA. That’s why it is really important that as many people as possible take part. You can find the consultation document here www.glasgowairport.com/community/noise.
The other consultation taking place is entitled “Glasgow Airport Modernising Our Flightpaths is about proposals to upgrade navigational infrastructure technology in a bid to make better use of airspace. The document for this consultation can be found here www.glasgowairport.com/airspace
I appreciate that not everyone has access to email so if you would like to take part in the consultation in a more traditional form you can do so by writing to Airspace/Noise Consultation, Glasgow Airport Limited, Erskine Court, St Andrews Drive, Paisley, PA3 2SW
Make sure you indicate that you are responding to the consultation.
Congratulations to West Dunbartonshire Council for Voluntary Services on their successful application to the Big Lottery Fund Scotland.
The group secured £123.060 which they will use to establish a bespoke befriending service for adults with complex needs. Through consultation with volunteers and service users of their generic befriending service they have identified a need for a more intensive form of support for some users. The grant will allow them to train and manage sixty volunteers to provide this enhanced support for sixty people.
I’m really pleased that they have secured funding to expand this very worthwhile service and will now be able to offer intensive support for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
MSP Gil Paterson has backed calls for the Scottish Secretary to either deliver on his pledge to fully protect the powers of the Scottish Parliament or consider his position.
David Mundell has been accused of making promises he can’t keep over the powers which would return to Holyrood when the UK leaves the EU.
Mr Mundell told the House of Commons he wants to ensure the Scottish Parliament has more powers and responsibilities than it does today, and that “any frameworks should not be imposed.”
However the current proposals in the Brexit Bill would see all powers from Brussels initially return to Westminster, before some are passed on to the devolved legislatures in full and others are incorporated into UK-wide frameworks.
The SNP has said that if the UK government’s amendment does not give the Scottish Parliament the right to consent to any changes to its powers - and would see frameworks imposed - then the Scottish Secretary must stick to his position, or step down.
According to reports in the Herald, Whitehall sources say the UK Government will go “no further” in the power grab negotiations. The source said: “I don’t sense us moving from our position. We have already moved a hell of a long way and we can’t move any further in the way the Scottish Government want us to” and “We’re still talking and officials are working hard to find a way through, but I don’t know whether we can now bridge that gap.”
The Scottish Secretary has faced ongoing criticism for failing to stand up for Scotland in Westminster. The Scottish Tories failed to bring forward amendments to the Brexit Bill to protect Scottish devolution, despite all their promises, and the Scottish Secretary was missing from Chequers last week when Theresa May gathered her Cabinet for crucial Brexit talks.
Mr Paterson joined SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford MP, in criticising David Mundell’s “deafening silence” over the UK government’s leaked Brexit papers saying “the Scottish Secretary must come clean about what he knew about the analysis which shows that a no-deal scenario could hit Scotland’s GDP by around 9%.
“David Mundell made a pledge to fully protect the powers of the Scottish Parliament. He is meant to be Scotland’s man in Westminster but when there are major decisions to be made he is not even invited to the table leaving Scotland without a voice. Whenever decisions go against the interests of the people of Scotland he’s no-where to be seen.
“Mr Mundell simply cannot be trusted to when it comes to fight for the best deal for Scotland and the Scottish Tory MPs are increasingly side-lined.
“Once again it falls to the SNP to stand up for Scotland.”
SCHOOLS in East Dunbartonshire have been congratulated for having the most school leavers going to positive destinations.
MSPs Rona Mackay and Gil Paterson have applauded schools in the local authority after 98.3 per cent of leavers went onto college, university, work or training.
In 2015/16, the figure stood at an impressive 97.5 per cent and in 2011/12 it was 95 per cent – showing a clear upward trend in recent years.
Out of all local authority areas in Scotland, East Dunbartonshire’s school leavers have left for the most positive destinations, it was announced on Tuesday February 27.
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “To be able to go onto a positive destination after leaving school is a great boost for young people across East Dunbartonshire.
“The effort put into education by our schools in my constituency like Douglas Academy and Bearsden Academy really is showing through.
“Well done to all of those pupils and teachers who made this happen. The SNP government also deserves credit for its work in education and in running an economy to provide many of these positive destinations.”
The Scottish Government announced 93.1 per cent of leavers went onto college, university, work or training in 2016/17 in West Dunbartonshire.
The total across Scotland has risen from 93.3 per cent last year to 93.7 per cent this year – showing that even more young people are finding fulfilling opportunities after leaving school.
The Clydebank and Milngavie MSP said: “Well done to the hard working teachers, pupils and parents in West Dunbartonshire who have caused this improvement in leavers going to positive destinations.
“Clearly, a lot of effort has gone into this in both Clydebank High School and St Peter the Apostle High School – so I thank them for their devotion to preparing school pupils for the wider world.
“The SNP government also deserves credit for its work in education and in running an economy to provide many of these positive destinations.”
Full Scottish Government press release and publication is available here: https://news.gov.scot/news/initial-destinations-of-senior-phase-school-leavers-1
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.”