6865 CARERS IN NORTH LANARKSHIRE DUE TO RECEIVE EXTRA PAYMENT

MSP PRAISES VITAL WORK DONE BY CARERS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

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Around 6865 carers in North Lanarkshire are due to benefit from a one-off payment during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The Scottish Government has revealed plans to invest £19.2million to provide further support to Scottish carers during the Covid-19 crisis.

 

If approved by parliament, around 83,000 eligible carers across Scotland will get an extra £230.10 through a special one-off Coronavirus Carer’s Allowance Supplement in June – with around 6865 in North Lanarkshire benefiting from this additional financial support. 

 

The extra payment will be paid automatically to people in receipt of Carer’s Allowance.

 

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said: 

 

“Carers in North Lanarkshire make an absolutely vital contribution to our society, and it’s only appropriate that their hard work is valued and they are properly supported by the Scottish Government.

 

“This one-off payment will benefit carers who are on low incomes and already have some of the most intense caring roles, providing at least 35 hours unpaid care weekly to a disabled child or adult in receipt of higher level disability benefits.

 

“This additional payment will be an acknowledgement to carers that we know they are providing vital support to family, friends and neighbours, and playing an absolutely crucial role in our collective efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.

 

“I am delighted that carers in North Lanarkshire are being recognised by the SNP Government for the important contribution they make to our communities in these extremely difficult circumstances.”

PUBLIC IN COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON TO HAVE THEIR SAY ON LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS

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SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT PUBLISHES UPDATE ON “LIFE BEYOND LOCKDOWN”

 

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor MSP has urged the public in Coatbridge & Chrystom to have their say as the Scottish Government publishes an update on what life might look like when coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are altered.

 

COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making says the current lockdown is pushing the number of infectious cases down, but concludes that the virus continues to pose a serious threat to public health in Scotland.

 

Fulton MacGregor MSP has also encouraged constituents in Coatbridge & Chyston to read the Scottish Government’s “Test, Trace, Isolate, Support” paper, published yesterday, which will be a “key aspect” of the next phase of the battle against Coronavirus.

 

The testing and tracing strategy will work alongside other virus suppression measures, including physical distancing, hand washing and the use of face coverings. Thousands of contact tracing staff are also to be taken on, and new digital tools including an app are being developed.

 

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“The decisions on how we come out of lockdown will affect all of us – and so it’s important that these decisions are made as openly and collaboratively as possible, with councils, businesses, unions, public services and community groups in Coatbridge & Chryston all forming part of the discussion.

 

“The Scottish Government has today launched an online forum that gives people the opportunity to offer their reflections on lockdown restrictions – and I’d urge everyone in Coatbridge & Chryston to share any ideas they have on how we should move forward.

 

“There are no easy answers – but it is right for the Scottish Government to keep people up-to-date and be clear about the factors that inform decision making, and I’d encourage everyone in Coatbridge & Chryston to continue reading the official guidance and information published.

 

“For now, the advice for people in Coatbridge & Chryston remains the same – staying at home and only making essential journeys is saving lives. Keeping physical distance in the limited circumstances when you have to be around people and continuing to regularly wash your hands are still the best way to reduce your risk of infection.

 

“Everyone in Coatbridge & Chryston has a part to play in combating this virus, and while I understand that these measures are difficult for all of us, they are saving lives and protecting our NHS.”

 

MSP WELCOMES LIFELINE SUPPORT TO HELP BUSINESSES IN COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN FOR NEW SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT SUPPORT SCHEMES

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A £100 million package of additional grant support for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and newly self-employed people in Coatbridge & Chryston is now open for applications.

 

The three Scottish Government funds will be administered by local authorities and Scotland’s enterprise agencies and will begin to pay out grants in early May.

 

They include a £34 million hardship fund for the newly self-employed, a £20 million fund for small and micro enterprises in the creative, tourism and hospitality sectors and £45 million for viable SMEs crucial to the Scottish economy.

 

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“Local businesses and industries here in Coatbridge & Chryston will be understandably concerned about the impact that coronavirus will have on the local economy.

 

“These funds are intended to relieve the hardship of smaller firms in Coatbridge & Chryston that are ineligible for other forms of support – and is just one part of the support the Scottish Government is providing to individuals and businesses in Coatbridge & Chryston to protect jobs and incomes.”

 

“This package of support is welcome, and will help alleviate the hardship some individuals and companies may be facing.

 

“Applications are now open, and applicants can access these funds and more via the www.FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot website.”

HELPFUL INFORMATION FOR CONSTITUENTS 

A £100 million fund have been announced to support the self-employed and SMEs announced last week opened for applications yesterday (30 April).

It comprises three separate funds as follows:

– £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund to help newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/coronavirus/newly-self-employed-hardship-fund

£20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, for firms in those sectors not in receipt of business rates relief see: https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/coronavirus/creative-or-tourism-and-hospitality-enterprises-hardship-fund

–  £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund for vulnerable SMEs who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland see: https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/coronavirus/pivotal-enterprise-resilience-fund

From Tuesday May 5th, a second phase of the Business Grants Funding Scheme will commence. This includes measures aimed at ratepayers with more than one property. In addition to a 100% grant on their first eligible property, ratepayers with additional qualifying properties will be eligible to apply for a 75% grant on each additional property. This means that Small Business Grants of £7,500 and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants of £18,750 will be available on any additional qualifying properties that a ratepayer may have, subject to compliance with EU State Aid Rules.

 

Further changes to the Small Business Support Grant of £10,000 extend eligibility to:

 

– Ratepayers that hold one or more properties within retail, hospitality or leisure, with individual rateable values not exceeding £18,000, and a cumulative rateable value between £35,001 and £51,000 will now be eligible for the Small Business Grant Scheme on each of their retail, hospitality or leisure properties

– Small sports clubs which are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme but in receipt of discretionary sports relief

– Small properties in Enterprise Areas which are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme but in receipt of Enterprise Areas relief

 

More information can be accessed via the website: www.findbusinesssupport.gov.scot or North Lanarkshire Council’s website; https://www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=34891

FULTON MACGREGOR MSP; WE MUST PREPARE FOR “NEW NORMAL” AS PLAN TO EASE LOCKDOWN PUBLISHED

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SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has said that the public must prepare for restrictions on normal life to continue for some time.

The comments come as the Scottish Government published a new document outlining how decisions will be taken to control coronavirus (COVID-19) while restoring a degree of normality to everyday life.

 

The paper – COVID-19: A Framework for Decision-Making – sets out the position during this ongoing period of lockdown and outlines the factors that must be considered as we move gradually to ease restrictions.

 

It also recognises that new ways of living – effectively a “new normal” – may have to be in place for some time to come.

 

MacGregor said:

 

“It is welcome that the Scottish Government has published an outline of how and when the lockdown may be lifted and I urge everyone to take the time to read the document.

 

“It is vital that any decision to ease restrictions is based on the best scientific advice possible – but we are in uncharted territory and we must be prepared to adapt. That might mean having to reapply restrictions after they are lifted.

 

“It is only when we are sure the virus is under control that we can even start to ease any of the restrictions because the virus will not have gone away.

 

“There are no easy answers – but it is right for the Scottish Government to be clear about the factors that will inform decision making.

 

“In the coming days and weeks members of the public will be invited to contribute their thoughts and views on the next steps we must make together.

 

“Unfortunately, returning to what we regard as a normal life will not be possible in the near future so we need to prepare for a new normal until treatments and a vaccine offer different solutions.

 

“While these measures are difficult for all of us, they are saving lives and protecting our NHS.”

 

 

 

COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON MSP CALLS FOR BREXIT EXTENSION TO AVOID FURTHER ECONOMIC HARM

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Coatbridge & Chryston MSP Fulton MacGregor has called on the UK government to extend the Brexit negotiation deadline to avoid a further big economic hit on top of the coronavirus crisis, and to ensure that every effort is put towards tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

The UK has formally left the European Union but is currently in a “transition period.” This means it is following EU rules and therefore has full access to the European market – which will be vital for the economy when the coronavirus crisis eases.

 

A two-year extension to this transition period is on offer but the Tory government at Westminster is instead pressing on with complex negotiations, at the height of the crisis, which will mean the UK leaving with either no trade deal in place or a very limited deal at the end of this year.    

 

According to a report by the Chief Economist, the economic impact of the efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic could see GDP fall by around a third.

 

If the UK government continues to pursue its Brexit plans, Scotland’s economy faces further economic damage – a loss, compared with EU membership, of up to £12.7  billion – the equivalent of £2,300 for every person in Scotland by 2030. 

 

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said: 

 

“For the Tory government to pursue its plans to impose a hard Brexit on the country, while we are facing a global health emergency, is reckless in the extreme.

 

“Coatbridge & Chryston voted to remain in the EU – just like every local authority in Scotland – and it’s clear that businesses here simply do not have the capacity to prepare for Brexit when they are fighting to survive the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

 

“People and businesses in Coatbridge & Chryston will be understandably concerned about this, so it’s imperative that the UK government does the responsible thing and requests an extension to the transition period to avoid even more economic and social damage. 

 

“There is still time for the UK government to change course, listen to the public, and ensure that every effort is put to tackling the Coronavirus pandemic.”

 

MSP CALLS ON COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON RESIDENTS TO VOLUNTEER DURING PANDEMIC

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SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has called on residents to volunteer in their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

A new ‘Scotland Cares’ campaign has been launched to encourage people to volunteer.

While the most important ask for the public remains to stay at home and follow the essential public health guidance, people who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer to provide practical or emotional help to those most in need.

Those wanting to volunteer to support their communities have three options which are signposted from the Ready Scotland website:

  • returning NHS workers will be directed to existing voluntary arrangements in NHS Scotland
  • people wishing to offer their support to our public services, including the NHS and local authorities, will be directed to a site co-ordinated by the British Red Cross
  • those looking for opportunities with other charities or community groups in their area will be directed to Volunteer Scotland for information

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulon MacGregor said:

“In these difficult times, people across Coatbridge & Chryston want to make a difference in their community.

“While not everyone will be able to volunteer, this new Scottish Government campaign will help people to make a real difference.

“The Scottish Government is working closely with local government and a range of partners to co-ordinate the volunteering effort across Scotland.

“Through the readyscotland.org website, we can connect people to where their contribution is most needed in their local community.

“For some, that may involve roles responding to specific needs in health and social care. For others, it may be that we draw on their skills, enthusiasm and energy in the weeks and months to come.

“It is important to remember that the most helpful thing many of us can continue to do to help the NHS is to stay at home and follow all COVID-19 guidance.”

 

Helpful Links

COVID-19 Helpful links

Apprentices

Covid-19 FAQs for Apprentices

https://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/pupils-learners-and-apprentices/

Businesses

Scot Gov Advice for Businesses

Business Gateway advice

Scottish Enterprise advice

Scottish Government Release on Business Helpline

£1bn Business Support Fund opens

£2.2bn for Business

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Help with non-domestic rates in Scotland during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Council Tax

Funding available for councils to meet increase in applications for the existing Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

CAS advice on Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

Creative Sector

Creative Scotland advice

Dentistry

British Dental Association guidance

Domestic abuse

Scotland’s National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline .

Rape Crisis Covid-19 textline and helpline

Scottish Women’s Rights Centre

Education

Guidance for parents and families

Childcare provision for key workers

Update on School Closures and Exams

Energy

Energy Saving Trust advice for home heating and energy use during COVID-19

Emergency Powers

Details of emergency powers

Health

NHS Inform

Advice for professionals and organisations

Housing and Homelessness

General advice

Shelter advice page Homelessness:

Cabinet Secretary Statement Response on Homelessness

Homeowners:

Money Advice Service on mortgage holidays

Tenants

SFHA: No social housing tenant evictions during Covid-19

Insurance

First Minster’s response to FMQ on Business Insurance, 19th March

Statement from Association of British Insurers on Covid-19 insurance

ABI Covid-19 Q+A

Justice

Statement from Chief Constable

Scottish Courts & Tribunals advice on business changes

COPFS advice to those due to attend court

Suspension on prison visiting

Key workers

Criteria provided to local authorities to determine local need

School and ELC closures – guidance for key workers

Local authorities

North Lanarkshire Council 

Nurses and Midwives

RCN guidance

Motorists

UK Government MOT advice

Older People

Age Scotland advice

PPE

First Minister’s FMQ Response on PPE, 19th March

Religious groups

Social distancing advice to “minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations”

Specific announcements :

Church of Scotland

Catholic church in Scotland

Scottish Episcopal Church

Muslim Council of Britain

 

Rural

NFUS advice to farmers

Seafood industry advice from Seafish

Self-employed

Scottish Government’s call for more action to help self-employed

HMRC Helpline for self-employed people and businesses

UK Government release on DWP support, including for the self-employed

Citizens Advice Scotland advice

Small Businesses

Details of support for businesses including “one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses”

FSB advice

Social Security

Universal Credit advice on social security for those with Covid-19

Entitled to Advice

Turn2us advice

Travel

Domestic: Transport Scotland

International: FCO

Testing

COVID-19 testing to get key workers back to work

First Minster’s FMQ response on testing, 25th March

Third Sector

SCVO advice

£20 million allocated to a Third Sector Resilience Fund, to help ensure the health and continued viability of the third sector organisations affected by cash flow and other problems, which have a key role to play in our national response Volunteers:

Volunteering

Health Sector

Information on Ready Scotland website

Third Sector

Chest Heart and Stroke

Workers

Protecting workers during coronavirus outbreak

UK Government Guidance for Employees

House of Commons blog on Employment Rights

 

Business Advice

Advice for employees who are being challenged:

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

ACAS phone number is 0141 280 4626

Scottish Trades Union Congress – STUC

 

 

 

 

Business Rates Support

 

https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/

 

Business Interruption Loan Scheme- British Business Bank

 

https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

 

Information on all business support

 

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/?fbclid=IwAR0gIfqGM3p9VX9cCs97166NUxWlTDXpKOkTcyVYVxnhhMdxYRYkcIfi96g

 

MOT Exemption details

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vehicle-owners-to-be-granted-mot-exemption-in-battle-against-coronavirus

 

For the Self Employed, those with immediate cashflow problems

Universal Credit

 

https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

 

Crisis Grants from Local Authorities

 

North Lanarkshire: https://www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=26378/

 

Council Tax Reduction

 

North Lanarkshire: https://www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=7835

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1232 NEW HOMES BUILT IN NORTH LANARKSHIRE LAST YEAR

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SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed new figures that show 1232 of new build homes were completed in North Lanarkshire last year.

 

The latest statistics from the Scottish Government show that over 9,300 affordable homes were delivered in 2019 across the country, an increase of more than 25% since 2016

 

Meanwhile, the number of homes for social rent in North Lanarkshire hit 630 last year – of which 146 were new council homes and 484 were housing association properties.

 

Welcoming the news, SNP MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“Having a home to call your own really matters – that’s why the SNP Government has made the delivery of thousands of new affordable homes a priority.

 

“Just last year alone, we’ve seen 1232 new homes completed in North Lanarkshire, 630 of which are for social rent.

 

“On top of our commitment to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, we’re helping first-time buyers here in Coatbridge & Chryston get on the property ladder by lending them a chunk of their deposit.

 

“I’m proud that this SNP Government is getting on with the day-job, and is quite literally, building for the future of Scotland.”

MONKLANDS HOSPITAL – PREFERRED SITE TO BE SELECTED

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CURRENT STAGE IN THE PROCESS

On Tuesday 10th March 2020 there will be a scoring event involving 100 people; 51 members of the community and 49 staff from NHS Lanarkshire and health service partners, to rank the three potential sites of Gartcosh, Glenmavis and Wester Moffat for a replacement University Hospital Monklands in line with the agreed benefits criteria. The five benefits criteria are:

  • Travel times by road and public transport – patients
  • Travel times by road and public transport – staff
  • Access/connectivity to regional centres
  • Contamination
  • Impact of cross border flow – impact of Glasgow residents attending the hospital

This event will then ultimately inform NHS Lanarkshire’s decision on a preferred site which will then go to the Cabinet Secretary for Health for approval.

 

YOUR SNP REPRESENTATIVES – WORKING FOR YOU

 

Throughout the process your SNP politicians across the area have worked tirelessly to make sure that your voice is heard. This has been borne out by the work of Alex Neil MSP and Neil Gray MP in Airdrie & Shotts who helped to secure the Independent Review of the consultation. It has also been evident through attendance at the public consultation events. Recently I attended two of the four events; the first in Gartcosh with local SNP councillor, Greg Lennon, and the second in Coatbridge with SNP councillors, Tracy Carragher and Kirsten Larson. This is important because we know that you expect us to work on your behalf and and make representations. That’s exactly what we have all being doing and we are now close to taking a massive step in delivering a brand-new state-of-the-art hospital for our area and for generations to come.

 

 

THREE LOCATIONS – PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT PROCESS

 

As you will be aware the site for the new hospital is to be scored and then selected from a shortlist of three; Gartcosh, Glenmavis and Wester Moffat. All three meet the relevant criteria and the differences in projected costing appear negligible given the scale of the project. At the time of the initial consultation there was a lot of focus on where the current site should be with individual communities, in the main, opting for the site closest to them. The argument made by NHS Lanarkshire at that time was that it was not overly relevant where in the catchment area the new hospital would be due to the changing nature of care. This was an argument that was lost at that point in time. However, I would suggest that this is no longer the case. NHS Lanarkshire have committed to my recommendation and that of the Independent Review team to make use of the current site and this could be a key aspect in everyone moving forward once the location has been selected. It means that we – the people of Monklands – can get the best of both worlds; a new hospital and something on the current site which tackles head on the unique health needs of this area.

 

I am also of the opinion that NHS Lanarkshire have accepted in full the recommendations of the Independent Review and conducted this process fairly and transparently. It is clear that suggestions from the public and elected representatives have been taken on board and all efforts made to facilitate public attendance at events. I believe that this has brought about more confidence in the process and a shared sense of direction in delivering a new hospital for the whole area.

 

LOCATION OF NEW HOSPITAL

 

Having been involved in the process since it was first brought to the attention of the public my own view is that the selected site of the new hospital is academic in terms of how we address health care needs in the modern day, with more focus on care in the community. Coatbridge & Chryston is fairly uniquely placed in this debate especially around site preference. Each particular site has pros and cons for different areas within my constituency. Very broadly speaking I have had the following representations:

 

  • Constituents in Northern Corridor and other village communities mainly preferring Gartcosh although a significant number being against this due to perceived infrastructure difficulties.
  • Constituents in parts of North and West Coatbridge having a preference towards Gartcosh.
  • Constituents in parts of North and Central Coatbridge having a preference for Glenmavis although concerns have been raised about the road linking Coatbridge to Glenmavis.
  • Constituents in South Coatbridge and parts of West Coatbridge having a preference for Wester Moffat although noted concerns around potential access.
  • Some constituents have told me that none of the three sites are ideally located.
  • Some constituents have told me they are relaxed about any of the sites – a view that has gathered more support since the Independent Review process ruled out the current site as an option.

 

Therefore, given that there is no obvious preference or even preference by a majority, and to represent my constituents wishes fully, it is incumbent on me not to advocate for a preferred site from the three available. Secondly, the more fundamental reason for this approach is that I am persuaded by the argument that the location of the new hospital does not have the same value as it did when the Monklands was first built. There are a number of reasons for this. As a population we are used to having to use Wishaw and Hairmyres for certain treatments and procedures. Also, as previously stated I have helped secure a commitment for health services to go on the current site and I cannot emphasise enough that we now have an amazing opportunity to bring in services that are relevant to the particular geographical area and retain jobs and investment locally. When the new site is selected the most important task for me between then and the site and opening in 2027 will be working to ensure the best transport links are in place for people all across the constituency and also helping to facilitate the debate around what should go on the current site.

 

 

MY COMMITMENTS TO YOU

 

  • I will be accepting the final decision of the Cabinet Secretary in relation to the site of the new hospital. This will be based on the results of the scoring exercise and the recommendations of the board of NHS Lanarkshire. It seems clear that there will be enough information on all of the sites for this decision to be made by government.
  • The hospital will not open until 2027 at the earliest and I will then be working to secure the necessary transport links are in place for all parts of Coatbridge and Chryston to get to the new hospital.
  • I aim to be involved in taking forward the conversation with NHS Lanarkshire, the University of Strathclyde and North Lanarkshire Council to develop plans for the current site. Some suggestions that have already been made include outpatient care and a minor injuries unit (such as Stobhill Hospital), drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, specialist care, etc. I am keen that this conversation starts immediately and we can all work to get the best services on the site.
  • Regardless of where the new hospital goes I will continue to push for a full and modern health facility for the Northern Corridor. Unlike the hospital which will be for all of the Monklands catchment area we desperately need health services that prevents patients in the north of my constituency having to travel to Glasgow. Again there is a commitment in place and I will be working to ensure that this is actioned as quickly as possible.

SNP MSP FULTON MACGREGOR BACKS BUDGET TO DELIVER FOR SCOTLAND

BUDGET SECURES FUNDING BOOST FOR COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON IN FACE OF WESTMINSTER CHAOS

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SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has voted to pass the Scottish Government’s budget for 2020/21– securing a cash boost for NHS Lanarkshire, investment in vital public services in Coatbridge & Chryston, and a more progressive tax system.

 

The amended budget delivers on key issues raised by all parties in the parliament – and will see the SNP Government take the radical step of introducing free bus travel for those aged 18 and under, benefiting an estimated 12,115 young people in Coatbridge & Chryston.

 

The agreement builds on key Scottish Government commitments to invest £15bn in health and care services – with NHS Lanarkshire benefiting from a cash boost of £1268.1 an increase of 68.8% since 2019/20.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“In the face of massive Westminster cuts – the SNP has always taken a different, fairer approach to give people living in Scotland the best deal in the UK.

 

“I’m proud to have voted for a progressive budget which protects our cherished health service, supports our schools and allows us to play our part in tackling the climate emergency.

 

“Despite being set a backdrop of heightened uncertainty and risk, created by the UK government’s decision to delay their own budget – the SNP government’s budget delivers certainty and stability for our economy, industry and businesses in Coatbridge & Chryston.

 

“These figures speak for themselves. This budget is a good deal for Coatbridge & Chryston and a good deal for Scotland – and I’m delighted it has now received the support of the support of the Scottish Parliament.”