Around 30,000 households in North Lanarkshire are set to receive the new Scottish Government Winter Heating Payment.
SNP MSP, Fulton MacGregor, for Coatbridge & Chryston has welcomed the support as it replaces the old Cold Weather Payment from the UK government which relied on the temperature dropping to a certain level before payments were triggered.
The Scottish Government’s Winter Heating Payment will pay a flat-rate of £50 in February, no matter the temperature, to people on low-incomes who qualify.
Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:
“The Winter Heating Payment will be the 13th social security benefit set up by the Scottish Government and demonstrates what we can do with limited powers to build a fairer, more equal Scotland.
“It is a welcome step that the new payment will move away from the UK government’s system of issuing support when the temperature drops to a certain level. This will provide a reliable payment for households every winter.
“The new payment is another social security payment that is unique to Scotland and builds on support already available through game-changing benefits such as the Scottish Child Payment – the only payment of its kind in Britain.
“However, the Scottish Government continues to act with one hand tied behind its back by a callous and uncaring UK government.
“That is why it is only with the full powers of independence can we truly provide a system that works for the people of Scotland, not against them.”
26,898 BABY BOXES ALREADY DELIVERED IN LANARKSHIRE
Coatbridge and Chryston SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed the news that Scotland’s Baby Box – 26,898 of which have already been delivered across Lanarkshire – is receiving a makeover for its fifth birthday.
The Scottish Government introduced the Baby Boxes scheme in 2017, entitling every newborn in Scotland to a box containing essential items intended to make sure that every child has the best possible start in life.
Based the latest figures for number of Baby Boxes given out by health boards, 235 622 boxes have been distributed to parents across Scotland since the start of the project.
Commenting MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, Fulton MacGregor, said:
“I am delighted that Scotland’s much cherished Baby Box is being given a makeover in time for its fifth anniversary. Already, 26,898 baby boxes have been delivered across NHS Lanarkshire by the SNP in government since 2017.
“With updated clothing designs, the refreshed baby box also now includes a baby toothbrush to promote oral health from the very beginning of a baby’s life.
“The arrival of a new baby is a wonderful moment for every family in Coatbridge and Chryston but, as every new parent no doubt appreciates, the costs of welcoming a new addition to the family are significant – particularly when household budgets are under increasing pressure with the cost-of-living crisis.
“Regardless of the circumstances of new mums and dads, receiving a baby box as a celebration of their new arrivals – and the essential items needed for the first six months of their child’s life – really is a welcome gift.
“And the addition of a toothbrush in the baby box for the first time will hopefully encourage good dental health from the beginning and all the way through life.
“The baby box is one of many transformative actions the SNP is taking to make a real difference to children and families on low incomes – like the game changing Scottish Child payment, which will soon be £25 per week per child.
“While the SNP government continues to deliver bold policies in government for a fairer Scotland, with the limited powers at its disposal, it is only with the full powers of independence that we can properly build a better future that works for everyone.”
11,055 CHILDREN IN NORTH LANARKSHIRE HAVE BENEFITTED FROM SCOTTISH CHILD PAYMENT
11,055 children have been supported by the Scottish Child Payment since its introduction in North Lanarkshire, according to figures released by the Scottish Government – with £6,670,130 having been paid to families.
The Scottish Child Payment of £20 per week per eligible child under 6 has been hailed ‘an absolute game changer in the fight to end child poverty’ by anti-poverty charities and described as a “lifesaver” by parents.
The payment, unique to Scotland and in place since February 2021, provides regular financial support to parents and carers to help with the costs of caring for a child and latest research has also found that the payment is contributing to reducing child poverty in Scotland.
The Scottish Child Payment is set to increase to £25 per week and be rolled out to all children up to 16 years old by the end of the year.
Commenting SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston Fulton MacGregor said:
“During a Tory-made cost of living crisis, it is great to see the progress being made with the SNP’s Scottish Child Payment – especially knowing the huge difference it has made to 11,055 children in North Lanarkshire since its introduction.
“I know the severe pressures facing household across Coatbridge & Chryston just now and that families are struggling to get by and the £6,670,130 support that the Scottish Child Payment is providing support for low income households is lifesaving.
“Sadly, we know that the cost of living is only set to increase so I am glad that families will benefit even further from this payment increasing to £25 per week and being extended to under 16 year olds by the end of the year.
“During these difficult times, the SNP Scottish Government is taking the bold action it can to support families with the powers at its disposal but sadly it is battling against a cruel Tory Westminster government refusing to take any meaningful action to help people.
“This level of negligence by Westminster is inexcusable and down right cruel. It illustrates exactly why we need to have the full welfare and tax powers of an independent country so we can build a fairer country.”
Fulton MacGregor MSP has welcomed the introduction of the SNP Scottish Government’s newest social security benefit, the Adult Disability Payment (ADP).
The payment will be rolled out nationwide after a successful pilot in 13 local authorities across Scotland. New applications for the benefit are open.
ADP will replace the UK government’s Personal Independence Payments (PIP). People in Coatbridge & Chryston receiving PIP do not need to re-apply and will be automatically transferred from the DWP to Social Security Scotland, with the process expected to be completed by 2025.
Commenting, Fulton MacGregor said:
“I am delighted to see the Adult Disability Payment being rolled out in Coatbridge & Chryston and across Scotland. This is the 12th and most complex benefit to be introduced by the SNP Scottish Government, building a system of fairness, dignity and respect.
“No longer will those with disabilities need to be subjected to the intrusive and degrading assessments or health examinations as was previous under the DWP system.
“This one of a raft of other social security payments that have been introduced in Scotland, including the ‘game-changing’ Scottish Child Payment, and demonstrates how we are building a system in Scotland that is built for the people that need it.
“Those who are already receiving PIP or DLA do not need to make a new application do be moved on to the Adult Disability Payment and I would encourage anyone who is eligible to apply for this new disability benefit.”
WOMEN IN COATBRIDGE AND CHRYSTON NOW OFFERED MESH REMOVAL SURGERY IN THE US
Coatbridge & Chryston MSP has welcomed the news that women in Scotland who require the surgical removal of mesh implants are to be offered surgery in the US as a potential treatment course.
Women in Scotland now have the option to request for referral to one of two independent providers for mesh removal surgery. The Scottish Government has announced a contract has been agreed between the NHS and Gynaecologic and Reconstructive Surgery Ltd in Missouri, USA, where Dr Veronikis practices. The contract allows NHS Scotland to facilitate arrangements for those who wish to travel to the USA for mesh removal surgery.
This option is in addition to the treatment options currently being offered with Spire Healthcare in Bristol and the Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC). Each of these options will be available free of charge.
Commenting SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston, Fulton MacGregor, said:
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has acted to ensure that women in Coatbridge & Chryston seeking mesh removal surgery can access the surgery they need.
“Many women have suffered an unimaginable amount of pain due to complications as a result of transvaginal mesh implants and it is absolutely right the Scottish Government is doing all it can to ensure they now get the treatment that they want and need. This contract gives women access to Dr Veronikis’ services and adds to the range of free options for treatment including the service already available in NHS Scotland and a specialist NHS centre in England.
“I encourage anyone in Coatbridge & Chryston who would like a referral to any of these services to make their wishes known to their clinical team so they can access the best possible treatment for them as quickly as possible.”
£5,936,978 has been spent this year in North Lanarkshire mitigating cruel Tory cuts including the disgraceful bedroom tax.
In 2021/22 £5,936,978 was provided by the SNP Scottish Government in Discretionary Housing Payments to protect families from cuts, with £5,360,055 spent mitigating the impact of the cruel Tory bedroom tax in North Lanarkshire.
Across Scotland £82million has been used to mitigate Tory cuts, with £71m spent to protect households from the bedroom tax.
Commenting, SNP MSP Coatbridge & Chryston Fulton MacGregor said:
“The introduction of the bedroom tax has been one of the cruellest policies introduced by this UK Tory government as it targets the most vulnerable in our society.
“The SNP Scottish Government has spent millions across Scotland, including in Coatbridge & Chryston to protect households from the most devastating impacts of Tory cuts and policies. This is money that could be invested on pulling people out of poverty but instead the Scottish Government has to mitigate against the Tories pushing people further towards poverty.
“This demonstrates the tale of two governments facing the people of Scotland as we have one in London implementing cruel policies such as the bedroom tax, whereas we have one in Edinburgh investing in a social security system built on fairness, dignity and respect.
“However, the Scottish Government should not have to clean up the mess left by the Tories. That is why we must have the full powers of independence to build a fairer, more equal Scotland.”
NHS STAFF AT RECORD LEVELS WITH 4.72% INCREASE LAST YEAR
SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has heralded the record health funding allocated to NHS Lanarkshire for the coming year and has said it demonstrates how only the SNP can be trusted to protect Scotland’s NHS.
The local health board has been given a record budget of £1,346.80 million for 2022/23 to recover after the dreadful impact of the pandemic.
To help with that recovery, NHS Lanarkshire also has record numbers of staff under the SNP, with 3170 Whole Time Equivalent staff, an increase of 34.2% compared to the previous year.
Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:
“We always appreciate the hard work and dedication of our NHS staff at NHS Lanarkshire but never more so than over the past two years and the SNP Scottish Government has recognised that by providing them with record funding for 2022/23.
“This will go a long way in ensuring that NHS Lanarkshire is well on its way to recovery from the pandemic.
“In Scotland, we have the most well-funded NHS per person and the highest paid healthcare staff in the UK. The SNP Scottish Government recognised the hard work and effort of NHS workers by giving them the biggest pay rise in the history of devolution.
“It is only the SNP that can be trusted with the future of our health service. On May 5th people of North Lanarkshire can send a message that the future of our NHS cannot be trusted to the Tories.”
As warnings about the Tory cost of living crisis continue to grow, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has issued a fresh call for the UK government not to increase national insurance.
The MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston has said that ‘the Tories have a moral duty to urgently step in as household incomes are on course to collapse by the most since the mid-1970s.’ The fresh calls come after reports that the Russian war in Ukraine is adding to the intense pressures families face, as the price of oil and wholesale gas continues to soar.
Commenting SNP MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, Fulton MacGregor said:
“The Tory cost-of-living crisis is hitting families across Coatbridge and Chryston hard right now and, if reports are right and the UK government refuses to take any proper action to tackle the issue, then it’s only going to get worse.
“Not only are the Tories not providing any measures to support households but they are breaking their own promises not to increase the rate of National Insurance contributions – gravely letting down people in Coatbridge and Chryston, who deserve far better.
“With reports showing that SNP policies are reducing the financial challenges facing families right now, it is ever more clear that the only way to deliver a fairer future for people across Coatbridge and Chryston is to become an independent country.”
Local Community group pleased to see works beginning at Monkland’s Canal site
Local community group Friends of Monklands Canal are pleased to see works finally beginning to the tow path this week after a long campaign. The group, whose volunteers have undertaken extensive work to clean-up and repair the stretch of Monklands Canal in Coatbridge have restored the area to a local beauty spot enjoyed by people all over Coatbridge and further afield.
However, some aspects were beyond their control and by working with Scottish Canals, Sustrans and local MSP Fulton MacGregor, the group are now seeing remedial works beginning on the tow path.
Commenting, group leader Alan McCormack said;
“The group has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and the canal is real beauty spot appreciated by people all over Coatbridge and beyond.”
“However, it was clear that there were some structural issues to the tow path that we couldn’t fix so we have worked with Scottish Canals who have been very supportive of our efforts since day one. It’s great to see this work beginning and is another part of the puzzle completed in our efforts to restore the canal to its best possible condition.”
Co-lead, Stephen McCargo also echoed these sentiments;
“This is great news; It’s been a long time coming now and it feels like our hard work is finally paying off.
“These works will ensure the canal is accessible for everyone to enjoy.”
Local MSP Fulton MacGregor also welcomed the news;
“Everyone at Friends of Monklands canal have worked their socks off and it’s clear from the way the wildlife has flourished and how many people I see regularly using the canal path that the teams hard work is really paying off for the whole community.
“I’ve supported the group’s efforts in lobbying stakeholders to make improvements to the path and I’m glad this had been successful. A massive thanks also to Scottish Canals, Sustrans and all others involved.
“The work to the tow path will really add to accessibility of the canal and I can’t wait to see the finished work on one of my regular jogs down the route.”