SNP’S PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT DRIVES PROGRESS IN COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON

This year’s SNP Programme for Government will help contribute to a successful and vibrant Coatbridge & Chryston, driving progress in health, social security, the environment and the economy, the SNP’s Fulton MacGregor has said.

Coatbridge & Chryston will benefit from ambitious action in a wide range of areas throughout 2018-19, including:

  • Empowering head teachers to lead improvements to their schools with more power over their own budgets; developing ways for parents and pupils to ensure their voices are heard in decision-making; giving £10m to schools and councils to work together across regions; continuing to support teacher recruitment; and investing £33 million over three years to help children in care with education.
  • A National Export plan ‘A Trading Nation’, backed by £20m, will boost the value of Scottish exports, help Scottish companies succeed in emerging markets, and provide additional help to those considering overseas trade.
  • The National Infrastructure Mission, the most ambitious infrastructure spending plans yet, will invest £1.5 billion more infrastructure each year by 2025-26, including for faster broadband, improved transport and more low-carbon energy.
  • £250m will be invested to reform the way we treat mental health in children and adults – delivering 430 new school, college and university counsellors, and fast-track specialist treatment systems for those with serious mental illness.
  • A new Scottish Social Security System with dignity and respect at its heart will deliver 11 benefits, including the first Best Start Grant payments for low income families with young children by Christmas, 6 months earlier than planned; a 13% increase in the Carers’ Allowance – an extra £442 per person this year – as well as funeral expense assistance.
  • New legislation to introduce a Scottish National Investment Bank.
  • A major package of reforms in the justice system – with a new support system for victims, witnesses and families of those affected by crime, including a dedicated case worker for families of murder victims, improved information and support about prisoner release, as well as support for engagement between victims and offenders to help the victim and to prevent reoffending.
  • £1bn investment a year including funding for low carbon transport solutions and to phase out new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032 – creating at least 20 electric towns across Scotland by 2025; adding 1500 new charge points in homes, businesses, and in public; investing £20 million to help people switch to electric vehicles; adding more than 1500 new ultra low emission vehicles to public sector fleets; and investing £1.7 million to add over 100 green buses.

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“The SNP’s plan for Scotland signals a major boost for jobs and the economy in Coatbridge & Chryston, including an additional £7 billion infrastructure investment in schools, hospitals, transport and digital connectivity over the next five years.

 

“We are continuing the major reforms in our health, education and justice systems over the course of 2018-19 – with a significant £250 million extra funding for mental health services, increased support for teachers, head teachers, parents and pupils, as well as a major package of reforms for the justice system, increasing support for the victims of crime and their families.

 

“Despite Brexit, we will ensure Scotland remains an attractive place to live and work and provide advice and support for those EU citizens already living in Coatbridge & Chryston that are dealing with the Tory government’s unfair plans to charge them for the right to live and work here.

 

“And our global climate change ambition will continue to be matched by realistic action, with £1billion funding in low carbon and public transport over the next year.

 

“These bold and ambitious plans for the year ahead are just some of the reasons why the SNP is the second biggest party in the whole of the UK.”

SNP MSP plans Day of Action to save Stepps RBS branch

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SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston Fulton MacGregor is planning a national day of action, as part of the latest stage of the campaign to prevent RBS bank branch closures across Scotland.

 

SNP MPs, MSPs, and community campaigners will gather in towns across the country on Saturday 10th March, to collect petition signatures, and pile further pressure on RBS chiefs to halt their “damaging and misguided” plans to shut down 62 Scottish branches.

 

Last week, RBS announced a reprieve for ten of the most remote branches, after direct talks with SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford. The SNP welcomed the move but warned it did not go nearly far enough and pledged the campaign to save the remaining branches would continue.

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

“The Stepps RBS branch truly is integral to the community and can be a lifeline to many.

 

“The impact of the closure will be felt by the most vulnerable and I am concerned that RBS appear to be showing a disloyalty to their customers who they should value.

 

“I am also deeply concerned at the prospective loss of jobs for those employed both at the Stepps branch and the others facing closure, which is why I am planning this day of action.”

SCOTTISH WELFARE FUND SUPPORTS FAMILIES IN NORTH LANARKSHIRE

OVER 275,000 HOUSEHOLDS IN SCOTLAND ACCESS SCOTTISH WELFARE FUND SINCE 2013

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Over £148 million has been granted to hard-up households since 2013 through the Scottish Welfare Fund, according to latest Scottish Government figures – including over £13million in North Lanarkshire.

 

The latest stats show that 275,000 households have benefited from the Scottish Welfare Fund – which provides Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants – with over one third of those helped being families with children.

 

And over 47,705 people in North Lanarkshire have been helped with emergency Crisis Grants – which are most often spent on food and essential heating – with Tory welfare cuts responsible for 14% of applications to the Scottish Welfare Fund.

 

SNP MSP for North Lanarkshire Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“It is encouraging to see so many people across North Lanarkshire accessing the support they need through the Scottish Welfare Fund.

 

“The SNP is committed to continuing to support the people who need it most despite ongoing Tory austerity and callous welfare cuts – which is why this £13million investment in North Lanarkshire is so important.

 

“Across North Lanarkshire in 2017, 99% of those receiving Crisis Grants were helped within 2 working days – proving how quick and effective this emergency funding is for many.

 

“The Scottish Welfare Fund is one of the important steps the SNP Scottish Government is taking to protect North Lanarkshire from Tory cuts and to make sure more people don’t fall into poverty.”

 

“The SNP Scottish Government continues to offer help through the Scottish Welfare Fund to the individuals and families in North Lanarkshire that Tories in Westminster have abandoned.”

SNP GOVERNMENT SEEKS VIEWS TO SHAPE LONELINESS STRATEGY

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SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor is calling on constituents in Coatbridge & Chryston to contribute to the Scottish Government’s new consultation looking at the causes of social isolation and loneliness and how they can be addressed.

The consultation will run until 30 April and will thereafter feed into a new national strategy, one of the first in the world, to tackle loneliness and isolation. A national strategy to combat loneliness was a key ask of the Jo Cox Commission, which welcomed this announcement.

Views are also being sought on how communities can build on the work of the Scottish Government, and lead on ensuring those at risk of becoming lonely or isolated have access to the right support networks.

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

 

“It’s important that voices from across Coatbridge & Chryston get involved in the Scottish Government’s consultation to help shape the new loneliness and isolation strategy, especially since each and every one of us has a role to play in reducing loneliness in Scotland.

 

“Dealing with loneliness and isolation can be incredibly difficult, and by reaching out to our neighbours or anyone we think may be at risk of becoming isolated or lonely – by taking them out, doing a good deed or simply having a chat – we can all have a hugely positive impact.

 

“Young or old – loneliness doesn’t discriminate and it is linked to both poor physical and mental health, and can have wide-ranging consequences on so many aspects of our lives.

“The SNP Government will be the first country in the UK and one of the first in the world to develop a national strategy to address loneliness and isolation, but this strategy needs our communities and society to lead the way in ensuring those at risk of loneliness get the support they need. I would encourage as many people as possible in Coatbridge & Chryston to have a say on this very important issue by contributing to the consultation.”

The consultation can be found here. 

TORY TAX PLANS COULD MEAN £61.9 MILLION CUT TO LANARKSHIRE NHS

Tory tax proposals could mean cuts of up to £61.9 million in Lanarkshire, according to new Scottish Government analysis.

 

With the Scottish Parliament set to vote on Stage 1 of the budget this month, the Tories are proposing tax cuts for high earners that would leave a £500 million hole in the budget.

 

With health receiving the largest share of devolved spending, a £500 million fall in available spending would see the NHS in the firing line – and Lanarkshire could lose up to £61.9 million.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“Under the SNP, the NHS has record staffing and record funding – and the draft budget would see that funding increased.

 

“But this investment is only possible because of the decisions taken by the Scottish Government, with progressive policies seeing higher earnings paying slightly more to support public services.

 

“The Tory tax plans would blow a £500 million hole in our budget – and that’s on top of a decade of UK government austerity.

 

“That would risk valuable public services in including the NHS – and would be equivalent to cutting 1482 nurses in the region – and the Tories should explain why they’d prefer to give a handout to millionaires than to fund our hospitals.”

2378 BABY BOXES DELIVERED IN LANARKSHIRE IN FIRST SIX MONTHS OF SCHEME

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Latest figures from the Scottish Government have revealed that the transformative Baby Box policy has already benefitted 2378 newborns across NHS Lanarkshire since they were introduced last year – and over 22,000 across Scotland.

 

The Baby Box is a key part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to making Scotland the very best place in the world to grow up – and contains important items for parents and babies alike, such as baby clothes, a digital ear thermometer, a bath towel, a changing mat and books.

 

The box itself also doubles as a bed for a newborn, containing a mattress, mattress protector and fitted sheet – providing a safe and warm place for babies to sleep.

 

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

 

“It is excellent to see so many families across Lanarkshire benefitting from the Baby Box.

 

“The Boxes are a really positive Scottish Government initiative providing parents with many of the essentials they need to care for their child.

 

“From thermometers to towels, changing mats to clothes – the boxes are a fantastic way of giving children in Coatbridge & Chryston the very best start in life.

 

“That 2378 boxes have already been provided to parents across Lanarkshire, part of a total of over 22,000 across Scotland, shows how popular they are proving with parents in every corner of the country – and given how beneficial they are to parents and newborns, long may that continue.”

MSP ENCOURAGES PARENTS IN COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON TO MAKE USE OF FREE FLU VACCINE  

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor is encouraging all parents and guardians of 2-5 year olds in Coatbridge & Chryston to take advantage of the free flu vaccine before Christmas.

In a bid to keep children virus-free this winter, GP practices across Scotland are providing the nasal flu vaccine free of charge.

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

“With not long left until Christmas I am urging all parents or guardians in Coatbridge & Chryston who haven’t yet done so, to take their children between the ages of two and five to their local GP for the free flu vaccine.

“The nasal spray only takes a few minutes, is painless, and does not contain a live virus so will not cause flu in your child and can protect against flu for up to a year.

“It’s very important that children receive the vaccine, which the best defence against flu for your children and also helps reduce the spread of infectious flu.”

SNP CAMPAIGN WIN FOR COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON AS CHANCELLOR U-TURNS ON POLICE AND FIRE VAT

BUT TORIES STILL OWE SCOTLAND £140 MILLION

 

Intense SNP pressure on the UK government has paid off for Scotland’s emergency services after the Chancellor finally backed down to allow Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue to reclaim VAT after years of unfairness.

 

Scotland’s emergency services had been the only territorial forces in the UK unable to reclaim VAT – which costs the forces £35 million annually. While the overdue reversal is welcomed by the SNP, the refusal to repay the £140 million already paid by Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue means the Tories continue to short-change North Lanarkshire’s emergency services.

 

SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston Fulton MacGregor who is a member of the Justice Committee has criticised the UK government for this betrayal of Scottish Fire and Rescue and Police Scotland – and is calling on them to give Scotland the £140 million we are owed to help bolster police and fire services in Coatbridge & Chryston.

 

Commenting, Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“We of course welcome the news that the UK government will no longer unfairly take £35 million from our Police and Fire budgets every year – and constant pressure from the SNP on this issue has made this win possible.

 

“However, the Chancellor does not go nearly far enough – and his refusal to refund the money Scotland has already paid shows how little the Tories care about Coatbridge & Chryston’s emergency services.

 

“If they finally agree that it is unfair for Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue to pay VAT, how can they possibly justify keeping the money they have already taken?

 

“The £140 million owed to Scotland’s emergency services is a drop in the ocean compared to the £1 billion the Tories threw to the DUP to prop up a weak and wobbly Prime Minister and government.

 

“The Chancellor has come up short in his commitment to Coatbridge & Chryston’s police and fire services. The refusal to repay the £140 million we are owed is simply yet another Tory betrayal of Scotland – and proves just how useless the band of Scottish Tory MPs really are.”

FULTON MACGREGOR WELCOMES SUPREME COURT MINIMUM PRICE RULING

POLICY WILL HELP IMPROVE SCOTLAND’S RELATIONSHIP WITH ALCOHOL

 

SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston Fulton MacGregor has welcomed the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that the Scottish Government’s minimum unit pricing policy is legal, allowing the legislation to proceed as part of efforts to improve Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol.

 

The policy was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, but has been delayed due to a long-running legal challenge. Today’s ruling allows it to go ahead, setting a minimum unit price on alcohol of 50 pence.

 

Minimum unit pricing is backed by academic research, which suggests that the policy will cut alcohol-related deaths and reduce hospital admissions linked to alcohol misuse, which costs Scotland £3.6 billion every year.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“This is excellent news, and a clear vindication of the Scottish Government’s policy.

 

“This ruling now allows us to go ahead with the policy that was overwhelmingly backed by the Scottish Parliament five years ago and take the action that is needed to cut alcohol-related deaths and reduce hospital admissions

 

“The health and wellbeing of people across Scotland is absolutely paramount – and the fact that alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion every year shows how damaging our relationship with alcohol is.

 

“Given the clear and proven link between consumption and harm, minimum pricing is the most effective and efficient way to tackle the cheap, high strength alcohol that causes so much damage to so many families.

 

“We will continue to support the whisky industry and work alongside them to ensure their economic success, while maintaining our commitment to promote safe and responsible alcohol consumption.

 

“Scotland is the first country in the world to implement such a policy – and we should be proud of our pioneering approach that will benefit North Lanarkshire and Scotland for generations.”

SNP TAKES THE LEAD ON INCOME TAX DISCUSSION

TAX MUST “PROTECT LOW EARNERS, BE PROGRESSIVE AND PROPORTIONATE”

SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston Fulton MacGregor has welcomed the publication of a discussion paper on the role of income tax in Scotland and praised the Scottish Government for taking the initiative to discuss the issue in an open and honest manner.

The Scottish Government’s paper includes proposals from all of Scotland’s political parties – with progressive parties backing varied measures in order to support public services, and Tory proposals supporting tax cuts for highest earners at the expense of public services.

The First Minister also outlined that any changes to income tax in Scotland must pass four key tests – including supporting public services, ensuring the lowest earners don’t see their taxes increase, making the system more progressive, and supporting the economy.

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

“This discussion paper outlines the various proposals of Scotland’s political parties and where we stand heading towards the budget.

“It is perfectly clear that the Tories are isolated on taxation, as they are on so many other issues – with their proposals only offering a tax cut for the wealthiest and continued austerity for the rest of us.

“People in Coatbridge & Chryston and across Scotland have the right to an open and honest discussion about the income tax that they will pay – and this is exactly what the Scottish Government is delivering.

“We need to be prepared to ask these difficult questions and to work with other parties to find an answer that means individuals and businesses are treated fairly and pay the right amount for the services that they receive in return.

“And as we work towards delivering a budget that works for Coatbridge & Chryston and all of Scotland, we can rest assured that the Scottish Government will bring forward policy proposals that are in the interests of everyone, protecting the lowest earners and our public services in Coatbridge & Chryston as opposed to just standing up for a wealthy few and putting our education and health services on the bonfire.”