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.”
SNP MSP, Fulton MacGregor, has welcomed statistics out today which show that approximately 9570 children in North Lanarkshire are in receipt of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Child Payment, set to double to £20 per child per week in April.
The payment was introduced in 2021 to support low-income families with children aged under six by providing regular, additional financial support for families already in receipt of qualifying benefits to assist with the costs of caring for a child.
As of 31 December 2021, it is estimated that 104,000 children across Scotland were in receipt of Scottish Child Payment – equating to £45.2 million worth of payments by the Scottish Government – and that is expected to rise to over 400,000 eligible children by the end 2022 which is when the benefit will be extended to children under the age of 16.
Commenting SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston, Fulton MacGregor said:
“I am delighted that 9670 children across North Lanarkshire are benefitting from the Scottish Child Payment which will double in just a month’s time.
“Come April, this means that 9670 children and families across North Lanarkshire receive £20 per child per week – four times the amount originally demanded by campaigners and illustrating just how focussed the Scottish Government is on meeting Scotland’s Child Poverty targets.
“Once again though, the tale of two governments is striking. While the SNP is doubling the Scottish Child Payment to lift thousands of children out of poverty, this game changing action is being undone by the Tories at Westminster who have cut £20 per week from many of the same families – knowingly pushing thousands of families into poverty.
“The people in North Lanarkshire deserve the chance to escape the damaging policies we get under Westminster control and choose a better path, one with the full powers that an independent Scotland would bring and allow us to build a fairer society.”
SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed the news that North Lanarkshire will receive £233,272 to support care experienced families or children who are on the edges of care.
The SNP Scottish Government will distribute £3.275m of support across Scotland and it will be in addition to the £41m provided through the Winter Support Fund.
Commenting Fulton MacGregor MSP said:
“Many children across Coatbridge & Chryston who are on the edges of care or are care experienced are often in families on low income and will be experiencing a cost of living crisis made worse by a UK Tory government that has cut Universal Credit and failed to address the challenge of rising energy prices.
“As the cost of living crisis starts to spiral this will be welcome funding for these families and ensure that they have immediate resources to ensure they can stay together.
“Later this year families will also receive further support from the Scottish Government with the launch the £500m whole family wellbeing fund.
“However, the SNP Scottish Government continues to support families in Coatbridge & Chryston and across Scotland with one hand tied behind its back. That is why the people of Scotland must be able to choose a better path towards an independent country.”
Local MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed the announcement of a new grant to support local bus services while passenger numbers recover from the COVID pandemic.
The Scottish Government has committed £93.5 million of the 2022-23 Budget to support bus operators, due to the changed travel patterns during pandemic restrictions.
Fulton MacGregor MSP said:
“As passenger numbers recover across Coatbridge and Chryston due to the easing of restrictions, I’m delighted to see the Scottish Government offering significant support for Scotland’s bus services.
“Committing nearly £94 million for 2022-23 offers financial certainty for companies and for passengers and ensures our communities can remain connected by vital local bus links.
“Our travel options play a crucial part in Scotland’s transition to Net Zero – and this grant is an important step in protecting sustainable travel, cutting car kilometres and supporting connected communities across Scotland.”
Local MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed record investment in Scotland’s NHS, including for NHS Lanarkshire.
The Scottish Government Budget confirmed £18 billion for Health and Social Care, including £12.9 billion for health boards through the pandemic and to accelerate the recovery of vital services.
The Budget also supports the creation of a new National Care Service – the single greatest public health reform since the establishment of the NHS.
Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes also outlined:
£1.6 investment in social care, including £846.6 million for local government
£61 million to address the tragedy of drugs deaths
£290 million investment in mental health, including £120 million for our Mental Health Recovery and Renewal Fund
Additional funding of £559 million for NHS Boards
Funding of £232 million to address waiting times and supporting National Treatment Centres
Fulton MacGregor MSP said:
“The Scottish Government’s Budget commits £18 billion for Health and Social Care this year – that’s the highest investment in the history of the Scottish Parliament.
“Prioritising the NHS was a key commitment of the SNP in May’s election, so I’m delighted to see the SNP Scottish Government delivering on this commitment despite a challenging financial outlook.
“In NHS Lanarkshire, the Scottish Government has committed £1,346.8 million to NHS Lanarkshire – an increase of over £60 million on last year’s Budget.
“This year, Scotland’s block grant has no Covid consequentials from the UK government – meaning when Covid spending is included, our budget decreased from last year. Prioritising Health and Social Care is absolutely the right thing to do – but it means difficult decisions elsewhere in Scotland’s budget.
“Scotland doesn’t have the powers to borrow for our pandemic response under Westminster control, so the UK government must now deliver new money to aid Scotland’s fight against Covid.”
FULTON MACGREGOR MSP WELCOMES DOUBLING OF SCOTTISH CHILD PAYMENT
SNP MSP, Fulton MacGregor, has welcomed the First Minister’s announcement that the Scottish Child Payment will be doubled from April 2022.
The announcement will see at least 10,715 eligible families across North Lanarkshire receiving £20 per week per child from spring next year, with more than 106,000 children across Scotland immediately benefitting from the increased payment.
Since the launch of the Scottish Government payment on 15 February 2021, £2,486,360 has been issued in payments to families in North Lanarkshire.
It is now expected that over 400,000 children could be eligible for the doubled payment by the end 2022, which is when the benefit, which is unique in the UK, will be extended to children under the age of 16.
Commenting SNP MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, Fulton MacGregor said:
“I am delighted that at least 10,715 children across North Lanarkshire will have their Scottish Child Payment doubled in just four months time. This will give £20 per child per week to 10,715 children in North Lanarkshire – four times the amount originally demanded by campaigners.
“Once again, the tale of two governments is striking. While the SNP are doubling the Scottish Child Payment to lift thousands of children out of poverty, the Tories at Westminster have just cut £20 per week from many of the same families – knowingly pushing thousands of families into poverty.”
Fulton MacGregor MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston has said being under Westminster control is threatening the rights of children in North Lanarkshire and across Scotland and only independence can ensure we protect everyone in Scotland from the Tories.
After a legal challenge by the Westminster Tory Government the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Parliament could not enshrine the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law, a bill that was unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament. The judgement laid bare the limitations of the devolution settlement in Scotland.
On the same day, the Tories at Westminster cut Universal Credit by £20 a week, taking away from the most vulnerable at a time when they need it most.
Commenting, Mr MacGregor said:
“The SNP Scottish Government introduced the UNCRC Bill to put the needs of children in Coatbridge & Chryston and across Scotland at the very heart of every decision made by Government and local authorities.
“However, those noble intentions have been scuppered by the Westminster Tories challenge. The court judgment lays bare the limits placed on the Scottish Parliament and within the devolution settlement that we cannot introduce vital protections for our young people – leaving them at the mercy of a callous Tory UK government.
“We cannot trust the Tories to protect future generations in Scotland as they cut Universal Credit this week and plunge 20,000 children into poverty.
“Families in North Lanarkshire will face a decision of whether to heat their homes or feed their children as the cost of living skyrockets with energy bills increasing and food bills going up.
“The only way we can ensure we protect the future of Scotland from an uncaring Tory UK government is with the full powers of independence.”
Local Activist, Ryan McShane, who worked on the Bill was also disappointed. He said;
“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court regarding the UNCRC Bill is deeply regrettable. An important piece of legislation passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament to later be referred to English law officers by UK Government minister yet again goes to show just how Scotland is continually being mistreated by the UK Government.
“The bill sought to remedy any human rights violations children and young people experience by government and/or public bodies in Scotland as well as other reporting mechanisms around children rights violations and how Scotland can best protect its young people and their rights. It seems that no matter how progressive we are in Scotland, the Tory government takes us backwards meaning we in Scotland have to again mitigate the UK Government’s recklessness.
“In challenge poverty week and the week of the devastating Universal Credit cut, the UNCRC bill implementation delay has angered me even more as I was heavily involved in all stages of it’s introduction and passage. I’m genuinely gutted.”
FAMILIES IN NORTH LANARKSHIRE TO RECEIVE £1,135,500 SUPPORT FROM SCOTGOV
Low income families in Coatbridge & Chryston will benefit from a £320 uplift before Christmas as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling child poverty.
Fulton MacGregor MSP welcomed the payments which Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison highlighted during a debate on the commitments in the SNP Scottish Government’s Programme for Government which aim to create a fairer society.
Families eligible will receive payments of £160 per child in October and again in December. Two Bridging Payments of £100 which have already been made takes the total to £520 this year.
The cash is equivalent to the Scottish Child Payment – a £10-a-week benefit to assist with the costs of caring for a child aged under six years old. The Scottish Government will extend the Scottish Child payment to all eligible under-16s by the end of 2022 and are committed to double the payment to £20 per week as quickly as possible.
The Social Justice Secretary highlighted the payments in the Scottish Parliament just a day after the six Tory MPs failed to vote to stop the UK government’s plans to cut the incomes of six million people across the UK by £1040 a year – the biggest cut to welfare since the 1930’s.
Commenting Julie O’Byrne, Founder and Chair Person of Cool School Uniforms in Coatbridge said:
“This will make a huge difference to local families like the ones we see at Cool School Uniforms. Times are tough and this extra payment will give families a boost that will ensure their little ones are at their best for the rest of the school year.”
“This will boost the confidence of children and ensure they have what they need to be able to learn to the best of their abilities. This funding will really help towards closing the attainment gap.”
Commenting SNP MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston Fulton MacGregor said:
“I know that many families in Coatbridge & Chryston are finding it hard just now. The impact that the pandemic has had on household finances is real, and has only been made worse by the cost of Tory’s obsession with Brexit and their unrelenting cruel austerity agenda.
“I am pleased that in Scotland, we have an SNP Scottish Government doing right thing by its citizens with these payments meaning £1,135,500 in the pockets of 11,355 low income families in North Lanarkshire
“The Scottish Child Payment is already the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK and we have committed to doubling it to £20-a-week per child as soon as possible in this parliamentary term.
“It’s clear that building a better future for children in Coatbridge & Chryston, and right across Scotland, is of at the top of the agenda in the SNP’s Programme for Government.
“As the Tories plough on with their indefensible move to cut £20-a-week in Universal Credit from those who need it most, the SNP Government are using the powers we have to provide real, practical help for families in Scotland. It’s crystal clear that the only way to keep Scotland safe from Westminster cuts is to become an independent country.”