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.”
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.”
Children and young people aged 12 -15 years old will be offered a dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination from Monday 20 September after Scottish Ministers accepted advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs).
As a result, a single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be offered to all children and young people aged 12-15 who are not already covered by existing advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in a move to reduce the disruption caused to education by COVID-19.
This group will be offered their injections in drop-in clinics and community settings followed by each young person receiving a letter inviting them to attend a community clinic.
Meanwhile, people who received their vaccination during phase one of the national COVID-19 vaccination programme in Scotland will start to receive booster injections from 20 September.
This follows advice from the JCVI which has advised that the booster dose can be given alongside the flu jab and should be offered no earlier than six months after completion of the primary vaccine course.
Frontline health and social care workers will be able to book their appointment online at NHS Inform from 20 September and from that date, residents in care homes for older people will be offered both flu and COVID-19 booster vaccination.
Adults aged 70 years and over and adults aged 16 years and over who are on the highest risk list (previously known as the shielding list) will be contacted soon, either by letter or by their GP.
Fulton MacGregor, MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston said;
“Since schools returned there has been disruption due to track and trace and we are obviously very keen that we do all we can to reduce this so it is promising that the recommendation has been accepted to allow for vaccination in older children.
“I would echo the Health Secretary’s comments that informed consent must be at the heart of decision making. I understand that there will be clear communication with this age group and their parents so they understand the potential benefits, potential side effects and the balance between them.
“I’m pleased that a new leaflet from Public Health Scotland will be circulated to ensure parents, carers and young people have all the information they need and I would urge constituents to look out for this.
“Alongside the booster programme this will be a busy period for our largest ever vaccination programme but work has been underway for some time to plan for this and I am confident our roll-out will continue to be a huge success.”
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 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.”
OVER 275,000 HOUSEHOLDS IN SCOTLAND ACCESS SCOTTISH WELFARE FUND SINCE 2013
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 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.”
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.”