Disabled people in North Lanarkshire have successfully appealed against a decision to deny them benefits 1,680 times – prompting calls for a fresh review of the DWP assessment and appeals process.

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws show 1,680 assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) have been successfully challenged by people in North Lanarkshire since April 2013.

There were a total of 2,840 appeals during this period – meaning the success rate for appeals was a shocking 59 per cent.

PIP is being rolled-out across the UK to replace Living Allowance (DLA) as the main benefit for disabled or ill people. To receive this benefit, claimants have to endure controversial assessments, conducted by private companies on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

“Disabled people in Coatbridge and Chryston rely on these financial lifelines to live independently and be part of their community.

“For the DWP to get these cases so consistently wrong suggests a systematic hostility towards people in need.

“The Tory government’s punitive approach to the system simply isn’t working. It’s failing vulnerable people, withdrawing support from those who need it most, and leaving people out of pocket and unable to afford the basic essentials.

“The UK government’s disastrous record on welfare shows why Scotland should have the power to take our own approach – rather than leaving these powers at Westminster.

“In the meantime, it’s vital that these fundamental flaws in the current assessment appeals process are urgently addressed.”



Fulton MacGregor MSP has shown his support for the Hibakusha Appeal. This appeal calls on State Governments to adopt the United Nations nuclear weapons ban on humanitarian grounds. So far, 9.4 million people around the world have signed the petition. Follow this link to sign the petition online. Every SNP MSP in the Scottish Parliament has signed this appeal, following Bill Kidd MSP’s circulation of the petition. This movement runs in parallel with ongoing talks at the United Nations Headquarters where representatives of nuclear power states meet to discuss next year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference.

‘Hibakusha’ is a Japanese word for the group of people that survived atomic bombs. In 1945 at the end of World War II, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima and then, three days later, on the city of Nagasaki. These two atomic nuclear bombs killed tens of thousands instantly. Within the first few months 214,000 people, the majority of whom were women and children, died. Many more passed away in the following months and years due to radiation-related illnesses and poisoning. Second generation Hibakusha are also at higher risk of developing radiation related illnesses, like many forms of cancer. This severe humanitarian cost is why it is so important that we say ‘No’ to nuclear weapons.


Fulton MacGregor MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston said, “This growing support for the Hibakusha Appeal, where there is now over 9.4 million signatures, shows that people from all walks of life are deeply concerned that the atrocities seen in 1945 and subsequent nuclear bomb testing is not repeated. The SNP is committed to removing nuclear weapons from Scotland- we want to ensure a better, brighter future. We often think of nuclear weapons as a potential atrocity, but not as a horror that was lived. The testimonies of the Hibakusha show the dark reality of nuclear weapons. I would encourage all to consider signing this Appeal.”

In March 2016 representatives Yamada Reiko and Yamada Midori, survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, met with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to share their experiences. During this visit, the First Minister signed the Appeal.

Setsuko Thurlow, an initial signatory of the Hibakusha Appeal, has been an active campaigner for the prohibition of nuclear weapons. At the age of 13 Thurlow survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Her testimony highlights the harrowing experiences that thousands have had to live through. Although it may be painful to read or hear about her experience, it brings home the humanitarian cost. In this, she talks of the 7000-8000 school pupils from her year group were outside clearing fire lanes on the day of the bombing. When the atomic bomb was dropped, the schoolchildren were close to what would be the epicentre (the centre of the explosion that was about 1 million degrees Celsius). Nearly all of the children were incinerated and vaporised without a trace. Thurlow was not in the group. Instead, she was trapped in a building that fell due to the explosion. She was helped out of the burning building, but many of her classmates remained trapped in the same room and were burned alive.

Thurlow spoke of finding some of her family: “my sister and her four-year-old old son were crossing a bridge at the moment of the explosion and both were horribly burned, blackened and swollen by recognition. We could later recognise my sister only by her voice and by a unique hairpin in her hair. They lingered for several days without medical care until death at last released them from their agony. The image of my little nephew Eiji, representing the innocent children of the world, compels and drives me to continue to speak of Hiroshima, no matter how painful it may be.” Thurlow was not alone in this grief as her parents did survive the bombing.

Hibakusha Stories, a UN affiliated organisation and Nobel Peace Prize ICAN-partner organisation, shares the testimonies of atomic bomb survivors with the rest of the world. You can read these testimonies at hibakushastories.org. Setsuko Thurlow’s testimony can be read in full on this website.

On 7th July 2017, the United Nations adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This bans nuclear weapons on humanitarian grounds. The Hibakusha Appeal calls on all states, including nuclear powers, to ratify the treaty and disarm any arsenals.



Fulton MacGregor MSP is backing a charity’s campaign which aims to ensure that local people who are Deaf or have hearing loss are not left out of everyday conversations.


During Deaf Awareness Week (6-12 May), the MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston is urging constituents to get involved in Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s #DontBeADonut #BeDeafAware conversations on Facebook and Twitter at @hearinglossSCO and on Instagram at @actiononhearinglossscotland.


The MSP is also encouraging everyone to take on board the charity’s deaf awareness top tips to help include people who are deaf in chats, discussions or meetings:

  • Before you start speaking with someone who is deaf, get their attention first by waving or tapping them on the arm.
  • Find a suitable place to talk, away from loud noise or distractions.
  • Ask the deaf person if they lipread and, if they do, don’t exaggerate your lip movements or cover your mouth and have the conversation in a well-lit area.
  • Don’t shout as it can be uncomfortable for hearing aid users and look aggressive.
  • Speak clearly and check the person you are speaking to is following the conversation. If they don’t understand, try saying it in a different way.
  • If you’re using communication support, such as a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, always remember to talk directly to the person who is deaf.


Fulton MacGregor MSP said: “I’m delighted to back Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Deaf Awareness Week #DontBeADonut #BeDeafAware campaign calling on everyone in Coatbridge and Chryston to follow the charity’s top communication tips which can make a huge difference in helping local people who are Deaf or have hearing loss have better opportunities to participate in everyday chats and discussions.”


For details about how you can get involved in the charity’s Deaf Awareness Week activities, visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/DAW19, call/text: 07388 227407 or email: scotland@hearingloss.org.uk. Donations of £3 can be made by texting ‘GIFT’ to 70099.



The SNP has urged people in Coatbridge & Chryston to register to vote by 7 May for the upcoming European Parliament elections, warning it’s the only way to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard in Europe.

Research published today revealed that 600,000 Scots who are eligible to vote in this month’s elections have not registered yet. Unlike the Brexit referendum, EU citizens living in the UK can vote in European parliamentary elections.

To be able to vote in the European Parliament elections, people must be registered to vote by midnight on 7 May. The elections will take place on 23 May.

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

“People in Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain in the European Union – but even many of those who voted to leave have real concerns about the extreme Brexit now being pursued.

“We know that Brexit will harm our economy, cost jobs and hit people’s pockets, which is why it’s vital that anyone who has not registered to vote does so as soon as possible.

“Never before have European elections been so important. We need strong SNP voices in Europe to send a clear message that we will not accept a Brexit process which fails to represent Scotland’s interests.

“A vote for the SNP is a vote to make clear that Scotland says no to Brexit.”




805 of families in North Lanarkshire received a payment of £600 on the birth of a first child, and £300 on the birth of any siblings, thanks to the Scottish Government’s Best Start Grant scheme.


Since opening for applications in December, nearly 10,000 low income families across every area of Scotland got help from the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby payment, with the new benefit paying out £3.5 million in the first three months.


This week, the First Minister announced a brand-new benefit as part of the Scottish Government’s new Best Start Grant package, which will build on the success of the Pregnancy and Baby Payment.


Applications are open for the new payment, which will see families paid a further £250 when their children start nursery and school.


The Early Learning Payment is for children aged between two to three and a half and can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys, books or days out.


SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:


“This substantial increase in support for families and new babies shows what can be achieved if we take a different approach to social security – using Scotland’s new powers to support families across the country.


“In just the first two months of the Best Start Grant, the Scottish Government got more money into people’s pockets than the DWP had managed under the old system in an entire year.


“The SNP in government has consistently demonstrated a commitment to increasing financial support for families, bringing equality to Scotland’s children by helping them towards the best possible start in life.


“With full powers over social security, Scotland can be the best place for a child to grow up.”




SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has made an impassioned plea to EU citizens living in Coatbridge & Chryston to stay in Scotland amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty.


This week First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, made a commitment to EU citizens that Scotland remains their home – promising to continue making a strong case for their rights to be protected in any EU exit scenario.


The SNP leader has written an open letter to EU citizens to confirm a new ‘Stay in Scotland’ package that will consist of:


  • £250,000 for community based support across Scotland


  • a support and advice service for EU citizens with more complex needs or particular challenges


  • a toolkit for employers, including posters, factsheets, digital content and guide directing EU citizens to further guidance


Fulton MacGregor has previously written to EU citizens in the area following a successful campaign to push the UK government to scrap the £65 “settled status” fee.


Commenting, Fulton MacGregor said:


“It is important to make clear that EU citizens will always remain welcome in Coatbridge & Chryston, and I will continue to do all I can to help people stay in Scotland.

Stay in Scotland - stamp - Twitter

“It’s wrong for the UK government to oblige EU citizens who have built their lives in Scotland, and who contribute massively to our economy and communities, to apply for the continued right to remain in their own homes.


“With absolutely no clarity from Westminster, this announcement from the First Minister will provide welcome support for EU citizens in across Scotland.


“I’d like to urge anyone who has issues or concerns they would like to discuss with me to please get in touch.”


bbboxNew figures have revealed that 9032 families in Lanarkshire have benefited from a Baby Box, as the Scottish Government announced a new design in time for Mother’s Day.

Across the country, over 80,000 Baby Boxes have been delivered since April 2017.

The new boxes will also encourage families to become more environmentally friendly, with parents-to-be receiving a voucher for a reusable cloth nappy, and liners.

Scotland’s Baby Box contains a selection of clothes, as well as every day must-haves, like a bath towel, a travel changing mat, muslin cloth squares, a bib, a digital thermometer, and books.

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:


“Every child, regardless of their circumstances, should get the best start in life.


“At the heart of the Baby Box is a message about fairness and opportunity, which is why I’m delighted to see that 9032 of new families have benefitted from it in Lanarkshire.


“96% of expectant parents in Scotland are now requesting a Baby Box – and more than 80,000 have been delivered.  That’s a huge vote of confidence in the Baby Box.


“Given how beneficial they are to parents and newborns, long may that continue.




SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston, Fulton MacGregor, has called on North Lanarkshire Council to make the most of its funding allocation from the Scottish Government’s £50 million Town Centre Fund.


Announced by SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay during his budget statement, the new fund aims to drive local economic growth by helping town centres fund projects such as re-purposing buildings for retail, business and community enterprise, while improving access and infrastructure.


After allocations were announced this week by the Scottish Government, it has now been confirmed that North Lanarkshire will receive a share of £3,250,000 from the new ring-fenced fund.


Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:


“This funding announcement can help transform town centres in Lanarkshire, such as Coatbridge.


“The health of our town centres is vital to the economic and cultural life of our communities – and this new investment can make a real difference.


“NLC must now ensure that the £3,250,000  is spent wisely and ensure our local town centres reap the benefits of this huge investment.


“The SNP’s Town Centre Fund is part of a wider package of business support measures that will help drive economic activity in Lanarkshire helping give our local high streets a welcome boost.”




Families in Coatbridge & Chryston have benefited from £2.7 million paid through the Scottish Government’s new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment scheme since it opened for applications.

best start grant

Since December, Social Security Scotland has made payments to more than 7,000 eligible  households. The support provided to families across Scotland, as of 31 January 2019, totals £2.7 million.


The Best Start Grant, which provides many families with financial support during the early years of a child’s life, sees eligible applicants receive £600 for their first child – £100 more than the UK government’s equivalent in England.


Best Start Grants replace and expand on the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant by providing eligible families with £600 on the birth of their first child, and £300 on the birth of any subsequent children.


Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:


“I am delighted that more Scottish families are receiving help from the Scottish Government’s new social security system, which puts dignity, respect and fairness at its heart.


“£2.7 million worth of payments – more than the DWP paid out in a full year under the previous system – will ensure that all Scottish children get the best possible start in life.


“It’s vital that the SNP government can provide help at a time when many families in Coatbridge & Chryston are seeing UK government social security support drastically reduced, and Universal Credit is causing hardship across Scotland.


“By reversing and mitigating Tory cuts that have been so damaging to families in Coatbridge & Chryston, and ensuring that we support those on the lowest incomes, the SNP is building a social security system which provides a safety net for the most vulnerable in society.”



Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the hugely controversial Settled Status fee for EU citizens will be scrapped, following a successful campaign by the SNP.

Last month in the Scottish Parliament, all parties except the Tories backed calls for the UK government to drop the fee.

The Scottish Government had committed to paying the fees for all public sector workers in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has also funded Scotland’s Citizens Advice network to provide a new advice service to European citizens in Scotland affected by changes to immigration rules as a result of Brexit. This service is set to go live at the beginning of March 2019.

Applications to the Settlement Scheme will open fully on the 30th March 2019 with the deadline to apply set for 30th June 2021.

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

“EU nationals in Coatbridge & Chryston should never have been asked to pay this fee in order to remain in their own homes and maintain the rights they already have.

“Thanks to the SNP’s persistence on this issue, I’m glad the UK government has finally seen sense and dropped these appalling plans.

“This is a major U-turn from a beleaguered Prime Minister, who is desperately trying to cling onto power. But this entire sorry process underlines precisely why Scotland needs the powers to create a fairer immigration system.

“EU citizens will always remain welcome in Coatbridge & Chryston, and across Scotland – they are valued members of all of our communities, our friends, neighbours and colleagues.”