2nd Monday of the month
16:00 –Moodiesburn Pivot Centre
16:45 – Chryston Cultural Centre
17:30 – Glenboig Community Centre
18:15 – Gartcosh Community Centre
19:00 – Bargeddie Safety Zone
16:00 – Townhead Go-Between
16:45 – Charlotte Toal
17:30 – Kirkshaws Neighbourhood Centre
18:15 – Calder Community Centre
19:00 – Coatbridge Indoor Bowling Club
Saturdays to be confirmed.
Excluding Bank Hols, July and December
Each month we will be travelling around the constituency to get the views of everyone in the Coatbridge and Chryston area. This is our opportunity to talk about important issues on a one to one basis and where I can find out what important issues with the community need addressed.
SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed Scottish Government intervention to protect North Lanarskhire residents from Tory welfare cuts.
New figures show that 7935 Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) were made to those on low incomes in North Lanarkshire between April and September this year.
The total award value spent in North Lanarkshire in this period was £4,379,977 – with an average award value of £522.
The Scottish Government’s DHP scheme is an extra payment to help with housing costs, including cuts to the local housing allowance and covering in full the impact of the bedroom tax.
Mr MacGregor blasted the Tories’ continued defence of the bedroom tax.
The MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston said:
“The bedroom tax was and remains an attack on those on the lowest incomes.
“The Scottish Government spends millions every year shielding Scots from UK Government welfare policy. That our devolved Government should have to protect its citizens from the cruelty of the UK state is unacceptable and unsustainable.
“The SNP has been mitigating the worst impacts of Tory austerity but we would not be in this position if Scotland had full control over its own affairs.
“We can build something better. Social security should be about compassion and dignity but the Tories have shamelessly presided over a callous and calculated dismantling of the welfare system.
“The two child cap, the rape clause, the benefits freeze, in work poverty, record food bank demand and rising child poverty – this is the legacy of the Tories in Government.
“And now, their reckless pursuit of Brexit threatens to push yet more people into poverty – with analysis showing that a no deal Brexit would drive 130,000 Scots into poverty.
“We must escape Brexit, escape the Tories and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands. Only a vote for the SNP can do that.”
Fulton MacGregor MSP has welcomed the announcement that the SNP plans to give new fathers 12 weeks paternity leave to be taken on a “use it or lose it” basis.
The promise, which will be part of the SNP’s General Election manifesto, is part of a package to enable parents to spend more time with their young children.
The plan will ultimately extend shared parental leave to 64 weeks, with the additional 12 weeks to be ring-fenced for the father in order to encourage take-up.
Commenting, Fulton MacGregor MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston said:
“I have campaigned for some time now for extension to paternity leave as research strongly indicates that where there is higher paternity leave, there are reported higher levels of gender equality.”
“As a father of two, I fully support these plans and know what a difference it will make across Scotland in conjunction with the SNP’s other policies to help young families. “
“There is plenty of research that suggests a link between longer paternity leave and greater involvement of fathers in the early lives of their children, but a minority take up their full entitlement.”
“We still have some way to go, especially in terms of societal expectations, but this SNP Government is clearly committed to tackling inequality”
NEW £11.5 MILLION FUND EMPOWERING LOCAL COMMUNITIES
Coatbridge & Chryston community groups are set to benefit from new Scottish Government funding to tackle poverty and inequality.
Around 250 community groups, social enterprises and charities across Scotland will receive a share of £11.5 million in 2019-20 through the Scottish Government’s Investing in Communities Fund.
Projects in Coatbridge and Chryston, such as Glenboig Community Centre and Kirkshaws Neighbourhood Centre, will be supported with the new funding.
Local groups that will benefit from the money operate in areas as diverse as Old Monkland and the Northern Corridor.
Further funding each year, over the next two years, will allow recipient groups to create longer-term plans and this, in turn, will help Coatbridge & Chryston’s most disadvantaged residents.
Local SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:
“It is incumbent upon all of us to challenge inequality wherever it rears its head.
“This new fund will promote community-led solutions to try and get the best possible outcomes for Coatbridge and Chryston’s most vulnerable people.
“The flexible, multi-year structure of the funding is geared towards sustainability. It will give these initiatives confidence that they will have resources they need to succeed.
“It is the tireless dedication and compassion of all the local volunteers that allows these projects to exist. I am confident that this funding will allow these projects to flourish.
NEED FOR FULL POWERS AT HOLYROOD TO TACKLE POVERTY “HEAD-ON”
The Scottish Welfare Fund made 3678 payments to people in North Lanarkshire in the last financial year, new figures show – an increase compared to the same period last year.
A total of 638 Community Care Grants and 3040 Crisis Grants were awarded in North Lanarkshire between April and June 2019 to help people with essentials such as food, heating costs, and household items.
The SNP introduced the Scottish Welfare Fund in 2013 as part of a £125 million annual package to mitigate the impact of UK government austerity.
Since its launch in April 2013, the Fund has paid out more than £200 million to support over 336,000 households across Scotland, with a third of recipients being families with children.
SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:
“The Scottish Welfare Fund is a vital lifeline for many people facing poverty or personal crisis.
“The fact that so many households in North Lanarkshire are in need of emergency financial help is appalling, and a sad indictment of the UK Government’s record on austerity and welfare cuts.
“The Scottish Welfare Fund is an important example of the kind of action the Scottish Government has taken using the powers it currently has to try and mitigate Westminster’s welfare cuts.
“However, we would prefer that these resources were invested directly to tackle poverty head-on, rather than protecting people from Tory austerity.
“As long as welfare decisions remain at Westminster, Scotland’s least well off will remain at the mercy of the Tories’ austerity agenda. Until those decisions are devolved, the SNP will continue to do everything in our power to tackle poverty and support low income families.”
The SNP are working to tackle inequality in Coatbridge & Chryston and “lift people out of poverty” with new commitments to expand childcare into primary school and scrap social care charges.
As announced by Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP conference this week, the SNP will scrap all non-residential social care charges and expand childcare into the school holidays for primary pupils from the poorest backgrounds if re-elected at the 2021 election.
The First Minister pledged the new policies to ensure that everyone in Scotland has access to the support they need without cost – providing high quality care for those in most need, and helping parents continue working over holiday periods.
Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:
“By August next year the SNP in government will have all but doubled the hours children receive. It will give them 30 hours a week of high quality, free care and education – saving families in Coatbridge & Chryston £4,500 per year for each child.
“But we will not stop there. If the SNP is elected after the next Holyrood election, we will expand childcare into the school holidays for primary pupils from the poorest backgrounds – to help ensure that parents can continue working over holiday periods.
“Earlier this year, the SNP Government extended free personal care to everyone who needs it, regardless of age – and over the next parliament, the SNP will scrap non-residential social care charges for all.
“We’re determined to help families with the cost of living throughout their lifetimes – ensuring that fairness and equality are embedded in our society from birth to retirement.
“That progressive, ambitious vision for government is exactly why people in Scotland continue to put their faith in the SNP.”
Fulton MacGregor MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston Constituency is backing the Scottish Powerchair Football Association and Clyde Powerchair football club in their call to give more people across Scotland the chance to play powerchair football. Fulton met with representatives of the SPFA who were visiting the Scottish Parliament to promote the growing sport.
Powerchair football is a growing sport in Scotland with teams competing in the Scottish Powerchair Football Association Leagues. Players can either compete by having special bumpers attached to their own wheelchairs or, for more serious competition, they can use specially modified chairs sports Powerchairs that are faster and more responsive.
Currently, Scotland has 6 powerchair football clubs with 9 teams, all of which are giving disabled people the chance to take part in exciting competition as well as helping to reduce isolation, improve mental wellbeing and build the self-confidence of players. Played by 4-a-side teams on a pitch roughly the size of a basketball court, the sport is open to powered wheelchair users and is currently the only team sport open to disabled athletes who use a powered chair.
Scotland has its own national league with two divisions and two Cup competitions. In addition, a national powerchair football team, formed from players across the country will be hosting a tri-nations tournament against Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at the sportscotland National Centre in Inverclyde.
The SPFA used the opportunity of a stand outside the debating chamber in Holyrood to bring the sport to the attention of more MSPs. To support the continued growth of the game across Scotland and allow more disabled individuals to take part, the SPFA are asking MSPs to write to Sports Minister Joe Fitzpatrick MSP and back their calls for the Scottish Government and sportscotland to provide funding.
After signing a pledge in Holyrood to support powerchair football in Scotland Fulton MacGregor MSP said:
“The SPFA is doing great work in giving power wheelchair users in Scotland the opportunity to play football and to participate in a team sport has so many benefits; allowing players to compete locally, nationally and even internationally. Powerchair football allows people to develop skills, discipline and friendships as well as giving players a focus that benefits them both physically and mentally.
I welcome the decision by the Scottish Government to require Changing Places toilet facilities in all new build Sport Centres, however many existing sports facilities across Scotland are not accessible to Powerchair footballers. By improving disabled facilities and supporting the work of the SPFA, the Scottish Government has the chance to make a real difference to Scottish Para footballers.
I will be writing to the Joe FitzPatrick MSP, the Minister for Sport, and asking him to consider greater funding and support for powerchair football and other sports aimed at disabled individuals in Mid Scotland and Fife”
I would encourage all local authorities and SportScotland to consider their current facilities and ask if they meet the needs of all Scottish Para athletes”
SCOTLAND “GLOBAL LEADER” ON TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE
SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston, Fulton MacGregor has outlined his support for the Scottish Government’s finalised policy of no support for ‘fracking’ in Scotland.
Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse today confirmed that the Scottish Government would not license any fracking development.
This position was confirmed following a comprehensive period of evidence-gathering and consultation, including environmental and business assessments.
SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:
“Scotland has been at the forefront of global action to combat climate change – recently announcing some of the most ambitious statutory targets in the world.
“I’m delighted that the Scottish Government are putting the interests of our communities in Coabridge & Chryston first and maintaining Scotland’s reputation as a global leader on tackling climate change by announcing no support for ‘fracking.’”
“It’s a move which shows we’re serious about protecting communities in Coatbridge & Chryston, meeting our climate change targets and creating a better, greener country for the next generation.
“Meanwhile in England, the Tories are intent on fracking underneath people’s homes, in the face of considerable public opposition, without any concern for the impact on people’s health, the environment or their communities.
“The transformation of the energy system in Scotland has the potential to bring significant economic and social opportunities to individuals, businesses and communities in Coatbridge & Chryston.”
SNP Ministers to legislate to ensure early years funding for all 4-year-olds across Scotland
SNP ministers have confirmed that they will legislate to ensure equality for all children whose start at school is deferred until after they are five-years-old.
Currently, legislation states that any parent can defer entry to school if their child’s fifth birthday falls after the scheduled first day of Primary 1, but only children born in January and February automatically receive a further year’s funding for nursery.
The Give Them Time group has campaigned to ensure all children deferred under legislation are entitled to full funding.
Coatbridge & Chryston MSP Fulton MacGregor has been at the forefront of championing the cause of the campaign, leading a member’s debate in May this year, which saw cross-party consensus that change was needed, and forcing the issue onto the Scottish Government’s agenda.
Commenting on today’s news, Fulton MacGregor said:
‘I am delighted that this SNP Government is taking action to ensure that all children are given an equal right to funding for early years childcare when they are not ready for school.
‘This is an issue that I have been passionate about and have been happy to offer my full support to the amazing Give Them Time campaign. They have already had some success, with North Lanarkshire Council becoming the largest local authority to agree to fund all deferred children following an SNP motion at their last meeting.
‘Unfortunately their efforts haven’t been as successful elsewhere with some local authorities refusing to alter their policy on funding. It is clear that legislation is the only way to bring about equality across Scotland.
‘This news will be greeted with joy by all those who have fought so hard for parents across Scotland and I am so pleased that their efforts have got us to this stage.’
Jointly hosted event celebrated the 739 potential lifesavers in Coatbridge & Chryston this Blood Cancer Awareness Month
To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, Fulton MacGregor MSP attended a reception in Holyrood, to celebrate the number of potential stem cell donors in Coatbridge & Chryston on the Anthony Nolan register.
This achievement was marked by Anthony Nolan on Thursday 19 September, as part of its Communities vs Blood Cancer campaign, which shines a spotlight on vital work being done locally to ensure that every patient in need of a stem cell transplant can find a lifesav
In Coatbridge & Chryston 739 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan. 18% of these donors are men aged 16-30, and the average age is 36.
In total, more than 760,000 people in the UK are on the Anthony Nolan register, any of whom could be a match for someone with blood cancer and asked to donate their stem cells to give a patient a second chance of life.
Now, Fulton MacGregor is encouraging more people from Coatbridge & Chryston, particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and ma
ke sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant. While anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer, men aged 16-30 are most likely to be asked to donate. They provide more than 50% of donations yet make up just 18% of the register. There is also a shortage of donors from non-white and mixed-race backgrounds.
Fulton MacGregor MSP also had the chance to meet with representatives of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) including Ally Boyle. Ally initiated a groundbreaking partnership with Anthony Nolan in 2009, while he was Area Commander of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, after being diagnosed with myelodysplasia (a type of bl
ood cancer). They have recruited thousands of lifesavers to the register, predominantly through their innovative SFRS Education Programme, which sees SFRS volunteers deliver inspiring educational presentations about stem cell, blood and organ donation to 16- to 18-year-olds across Scotland.
Fulton MacGregor MSP said: “I am very proud that Coatbridge & Chryston has 739, any one of whom could offer the only chance of giving someone with blood cancer a second chance at life. Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure.
“I would especially like to commend the great work of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in engaging local communities, particularly secondary schools across Sco
tland. They’ve recruited more than fifty people who have gone on to donate. Their steadfast commitment over the past ten years has had a truly lifesaving impact.”
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “In the last year 56 selfless people from Coatbridge & Chryston joined the Anthony Nolan register, each one representing hope for patients with blood cancer, and blood disorders, in need of matching stem cell donors.
“This Blood Cancer Awareness Month residen
ts can be proud of all the lifesavers in your community. To everyone from Coatbridge & Chryston who has taken the decision to join the register, thank you. We rely on young people aged 16-30 joining the register now to save lives in the future. Without you, there is no cure.”
For more information on Anthony Nolan visit anthonynolan.org/join.
Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.
TORIES’ “HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT” THREAT TO PROSPERITY OF COATBRIDGE AND CHRYSTON
Fulton MacGregor MSP has backed calls for a devolved migration policy for Scotland, warning that the UK Government’s “hostile environment” for migrants could cause damage to the economy and public services.
A report on Scotland’s Population Needs and Migration Policy warns that all of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years is projected to come from migration – with more deaths projected than births in every year.
Analysis by the Scottish Government also found that Westminster proposals to cut migration by tens of thousands would cost the Scottish economy up to £10 billion per year by 2040.
Without migration, the whole country could face a demographic crisis that could hammer public services like the NHS – as an ageing population leaves Scotland with fewer working-age taxpayers.
SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:
“We need migrants in Coatbridge & Chryston and it’s vital that we continue to attract people to live and work here – to start businesses, work in our health service and teach in our schools.
“People from all over the world who choose to settle here make valuable contributions to our economy, public services and communities.
“But the Tory government’s anti-immigrant obsession and narrow-minded Brexit rhetoric is currently driving people away from Scotland, and putting vital public services here in on the line.
“The UK government is failing Scotland – hurting industries such as the food and drink sector, and damaging public services such as our NHS – and that’s before we’ve even felt the full impact of Brexit.
“The best solution to all these issues is for the Tories to devolve powers over migration to the Scottish Parliament – and give us the ability to create a migration system that works for Scotland, and secures the future prosperity of Coatbridge & Chryston.