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.”

~Please see Scottish Canals website for diversion routes when applicable




A Scottish Government fund aimed at boosting the attainment levels of the most deprived pupils is set to pay out £8,834,880 to schools across North Lanarkshire next year.


More than 2,300 schools across Scotland are set to benefit from the funding – including 156 across North Lanarkshire. The significant investment gives money directly to headteachers, allowing them to spend the money on local initiatives that will close the poverty-related attainment gap.


Commenting, SNP MSP for North Lanarkshire Fulton MacGregor said:


“The SNP has made closing the attainment gap our priority in this parliament – and the latest investment of £8,834,880 in our schools and our children across North Lanarkshire is a key part of that.


“Every child should have the best possible start in life, no matter their background – and the role that schools play in giving children the support they need is absolutely vital.


“That is why it is right that this significant investment to close the poverty-related attainment gap goes straight to headteachers – giving those with the most intimate knowledge of their schools the ability to develop initiatives to benefit children across Coatbridge & Chryston.


“And with 156 schools benefiting from this latest round of funding – following a similar significant investment last year – even more of our children are going to benefit from creative new initiatives that will help to tackle the attainment gap in our schools.”

Celebrating Living Wage Week (5-11th Nov 2017) with LESL and Poverty Alliance

living wage

This week marks Living Wage Week (5-11th Nov 2017), which is the annual celebration of the Living Wage movement in the UK.


The movement is made up of Employers, Experts, Organisations and People who all believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. Monday 6th November 2017 saw the new Living Wage rates announced in Scotland which adequately reflect the cost of living. The ‘real Living Wage’ is currently £8.75 per hour.


Commenting, SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston Fulton MacGregor said:


“Low pay can negatively affect both home and work life, so this is good news for individuals, families, businesses and society as a whole”.


The Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative was established in April 2014 with the aim of increasing the number of employers in Scotland who are recognised for paying their staff the Living Wage. Hosted by The Poverty Alliance, the initiative works in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation and is funded by the Scottish Government. They award the Living Wage employer mark to Scottish employers – a symbol of responsible business practice.


SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston Fulton MacGregor further comments:


“I was delighted to visit the Chief Executive Ronnie Smith of LESL, an accredited Living Wage employer in my constituency of Coatbridge and Chryston on the 6th of November. LESL is a not for profit distributing enterprise that has operated in the field of economic and business development for over 20 years in Lanarkshire. As well as it’s invaluable contribution to the community it is now leading by example to other businesses by paying a real living wage to all their employees”.


Chief Executive Ronnie Smith of LESL said:


“The Living Wage is so important if we’re truly driving for a high wage, low unemployment Scottish economy.”


Lynn Anderson – Living Wage Accreditation Officer (Scotland) for Poverty Alliance, who also attended the meeting said:

“Thank you LESL for their continued commitment as an accredited Living Wage employer. Their support for the real Living Wage demonstrates leadership to small businesses in Lanarkshire and beyond that paying the Living Wage is not only the right thing to do, but makes good business sense”.


Schools in North Lanarkshire will receive £7,774,966 in 2017/18 to help close the poverty-related attainment gap, the Scottish Government announced this week.

More than £45 million of dedicated funding will be provided to primary and secondary schools across Scotland in 2017/18 to help pupils from low-income backgrounds succeed at school.

The Scottish Attainment Challenge is providing £750 million during the course of this Parliament to tackle the poverty related attainment gap. It prioritises improvements in literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing of children adversely affected by poverty in Scotland’s Primary and Secondary schools. This funding takes the Challenge Authorities and Schools Programme into its third successive year.

Nine local authorities and an additional 72 individual schools have been allocated funding from the Scottish Attainment Challenge, for education initiatives and projects targeting Scotland’s most deprived children.

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

“Improving the education and life chances of our children and young people is the defining mission of the SNP in government.

“The Scottish Government are providing £750 million during the course of this Parliament to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap – and schools in North Lanarkshire will benefit to the tune of £7,774,966 this year through our Attainment Challenge.

“This latest round of funding will ensure that schools where the need is greatest have substantial additional funding for the coming year to improve literacy, numeracy and health and well-being.

“I’m delighted that schools in Coatbridge & Chryston are benefitting from this funding, which is targeted to improve the life chances of children and young people in Scotland.”


SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor is encouraging all expectant mothers in Coatbridge & Chryston, whose babies are due on or after 15 August 2017, to register for a baby box at their next midwife appointment.

baby box

These boxes, containing various essential items for a child’s first weeks and months, signal the SNP Government’s commitment to ensuring that every child in Scotland, regardless of their circumstances, should get the best start in life.

This comes on top of the SNP Government using new powers to create new Maternity and Early Years’ Allowances, the Best Start Grant, which provides expectant mothers on low incomes with £600 for their first child, £300 for second and subsequent children and a further £250 grant when their child starts nursery, and £250 again when they start school.

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

“The Scottish Government is proudly gifting a Baby Box to every child in Scotland to help tackle deprivation, improve health and support parents – just one part of our determination to ensure that every child has an equal start in life.

“For mothers in Coatbridge & Chryston looking forward to welcoming a new born into the world on or after 15th August this summer, all they need to do to be gifted a Baby Box is apply through their midwife in advance, supplying their preferred delivery address.

“The Baby Boxes are full of useful items such as books, clothes, blankets, a bath towel, a changing mat, a bib and a thermometer, while also providing a safe space for babies to sleep near their parents, to promote bonding and early attachment, and send a signal that every child, regardless their background, matters.

“And with the new powers coming to Scotland, the SNP Government will also provide targeted support of a significantly higher level than elsewhere in the UK, to help low income families via our new Maternity and Early Years’ Allowances- replacing the UK Sure Start grant with our Best Start Grant.

“The new Best Start Grant will be introduced in 2019.”