Eligible families in Coatbridge & Chryston are being encouraged to apply for the Best Start Foods payment after the SNP Scottish Government delivered on its promise to increase the support within its first 100 days in government.
The payment is increasing to £18 from £17 during pregnancy and for any children between one and three years old. It’s also increasing to £36 from £34 for children under one. Families already receiving the payment will automatically receive an increase.
Since its introduction by the SNP in December 2018, £60.8 million has been paid to 179,575 families across Scotland.
Commenting, Fulton MacGregor said:
“I am delighted that the SNP government is delivering on another one of its commitments to increase the Best Start Foods payment, which is making a difference to the lives of families in Coatbridge and Chryston and across Scotland.
“Whilst the Tories at Westminster prepare to cut support to families at a time when they need it most, the SNP is increasing support to families and ensuring that every child has the best start in life.
“If you have not applied yet I would encourage you to do so immediately or if you have any family or friends who may be eligible to encourage them too.”
Fulton MacGregor, MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston is urging young people in the area to apply for the Job Start Payment if they are starting a new job after a period of unemployment.
The Job Start Payment is available to 16-24-year-olds who have been on certain benefits for six months or more. Eligible young people can apply for the one-off payment worth £252.50, or £404 if they have children.
The payment will help with the costs of starting a job including travel, new clothes or childcare.
Commenting, Fulton MacGregor said:
“The pandemic has been particularly difficult for young people in Coatbridge & Chryston and the Job Start Payment is a fantastic source of support for young people to ensure they can get off to a good start in a new job.
“Starting a new job can be very expensive for young people when you take into consideration the costs of travel, buying clothes and other costs associated with a new job.
“I would encourage all young people who have been unemployed for a long period of time and are starting a new jo or have recently started one to apply for this support.”
SNP MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston Fulton MacGregor has expressed his delight as North Lanarkshire Council is set to receive £1,104,000 from the Scottish Government to encourage children to play and socialise as part of the recovery from the pandemic.
Councils across Scotland will receive a share of £15m to support summer activities that are already in place in certain areas.
The support will specifically target those aged up to 25 from low income households who may otherwise struggle to access such experiences during the holidays.
£5m will also be distributed among prominent Scottish children’s charities such as Barnardo’s and Who Cares Scotland.
Commenting, Fulton MacGregor said:
“I am absolutely delighted at this investment in North Lanarkshire’s children and young people, who have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic as they have not been able to meet up with friends or play the sports they love.
“Coming out of the pandemic young people have told us that their mental health will be a priority and the SNP Scottish Government has listened to them and is investing in summer activities.
“This will have a positive impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of our young people, which will be extremely important when coming out of lockdown and into recovery.”
Fulton MacGregor MSP is urging eligible families in Coatbridge & Chryston to apply for this year’s Best Start Grant School Age Payment, as applications open today.
The payment, which is only available in Scotland, is open to families who get tax credits or certain other benefits and have a child who was born between 1st March 2016 and 28th February 2017.
It is part of five family payments delivered by Social Security Scotland that also include: Best Start Foods, Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment and Scottish Child Payment.
Best Start Foods payments are set to increase to £4.50 per week on 1st August to support low income families to buy healthy food for children under the age of three.
Commenting, Fulton MacGregor said:
“The SNP Scottish Government is working to ensure that every child in Coatbridge & Chryston has the best start in life and these payments – which have been described as ‘game-changing’ – form part of that effort to build a fairer, more equal Scotland.
“As part of that work the Scottish Government is set to increase Best Start Foods payments within its first 100 days in government – the SNP is also committed to doubling the Scottish Child Payment to £20 a week as soon as practicable.
“The Best Start payments have been vital in ensuring children in Coatbridge & Chryston and across Scotland have the best start in life, with around £5,000 of support being provided by the time a child turns six.
“I would urge all families who are eligible to apply to do so as soon as possible.”
LOCAL MSP WELCOMES SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT TAKING OVER SCOTRAIL
Local MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed the announcement that the SNP Scottish Government is taking over the running of the country’s rail franchise.
ScotRail services will move into public sector control when the current franchise with Abellio expires – expected to happen in March 2022.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson announced that rail services will be run by an arm’s length company owned and controlled by the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government’s decision to run our railways through what it known as the ‘Operator of Last Resort’ has been shaped by a number of factors, including faults with the current franchising system, uncertainty from a year-long delay in the UK Government’s rail review and the effects of the Covid pandemic.
Commenting on the announcement Fulton MaGregor, SNP MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston said:
“This bold move by the SNP Scottish Government will bring welcome stability and certainty to those who use our railway for work and leisure, both in North Lanarkshire and across the country.
“And the news that current ScotRail staff will transfer to the new Scottish Government owned company, with their terms and conditions protected, will also provide much-needed security to those who rely on our railways for their livelihoods.
“The SNP have long argued that the future structure of Scottish railways should be in Scotland’s hands. It’s well beyond time that the Tory UK Government listened and devolved rail powers to Holyrood.
“However, this move is both bold and welcome and will ensure Scotland’s rail users are provided with the well-run and reliable and service we rightly expect.”
SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed a report which has found that crime in Scotland has halved under the SNP Scottish Government with violent crime down nearly two-fifths.
The Scottish Crime and Justice Report interviewed people in Scotland and shows people are less likely to be a victim of crime. Since 2008-09, the number of adults experiencing crime has fallen from 20.4% to 11.9%.
The survey also revealed that people in Scotland are less likely to be a victim of crime in Scotland than in England and Wales, with 11% and 13% respectively of those interviewed experiencing crime.
The report means SNP policies have made streets across Scotland safer and people in North Lanarkshire are less likely to be victims of crime.
Commenting on the Fulton MacGregor said:
“The findings of this report are very much to be welcomed and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our police and community volunteers in North Lanarkshire who have contributed to a phenomenal effort to make our streets safer.
“The SNP Scottish Government has introduced ambitious projects to tackle crime, particularly violent crime, and it is satisfying to see these are paying off.
“Although these figures are encouraging, this report does show there is work to be done to ensure that people feel safe on our streets – especially so that women feel safe walking the streets at night.
“While we will never be complacent when it comes to tackling crime on the streets of North Lanarkshire, these figures show that the SNP continues to have a solid record of progress and, unlike the Tories, a positive vision to make our communities safer.”
Marking Scottish Apprenticeship Week, that runs from 1st to 7th March, the MSP has encouraged employers to make the most of the fund which would provide £5,000 for taking on or upskilling a 16 to 24-year old apprentice for those aged up to 29 years who are disabled, care leavers and minority ethnic and £3,500 for taking on or upskilling an apprentice over 25.
The grant will help increase the number of employers able to take on an apprentice or upskill an existing staff member. The fund closes on 25th March or until funding levels are exceeded.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, Fulton MacGregor, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the jobs and opportunities available for young people and employers have faced incredible challenges due to the pandemic – that’s why the SNP Government has introduced the Apprenticeship Employer Grant.
“To mark Scottish Apprenticeship Week, I am encouraging local businesses in North Lanarkshire to register for the scheme and take on apprentices – creating jobs and teaching our young people new skills.
“Alongside the Young Person’s Guarantee the SNP Scottish Government is taking steps to ensure we build a resilient recovery. To do that we need a resilient workforce and our young people will be at the very heart of that.”
SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment, which is set to make a difference to families across North Lanarkshire at a time when they need it most.
The new SNP Scottish Government benefit will provide families with a much-needed boost as it will give eligible families and carers £40 every four weeks for each child under six.
Payments are due to start at the end of this month and Fulton MacGregor is urging parents who have not applied yet to do so as soon as possible.
Commenting, Fulton Macgregor said:
“The introduction of the Scottish Child Payment will be a welcome boost for families in North Lanarkshire and I would urge anyone who hasn’t applied to do so as soon as they can so they can receive this benefit that is unique to Scotland.
“The Scottish Child Payment has been described as ‘game-changing’ as it will make a difference to the lives of thousands of children across Scotland.
“As the Scottish Government rolls out this new benefit it is in stark contrast to the Tories at Westminster who are planning on taking away the £20 uplift to Universal Credit at a time when families need it most.
“Along with the Best Start Grant and other benefits rolled out by Social Security Scotland, the Scottish Child Payment is forming part of a benefits system built on dignity, fairness and respect, working for the people of Scotland, not against them.”
SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed millions of pounds of funding from the Scottish Government for drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, including those in North Lanarkshire.
Announced by Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, £145.3m will be committed to alcohol and drugs services, including £50m to reduce drugs deaths in Scotland.
Last week, the SNP Government provided £3 million for NHS boards to increase provision of residential drug rehabilitation placements and improve access to treatment and harm reduction services – including £196,779 for North Lanarkshire HSCP.
The Scottish Budget 2021-22 commits £16 billion in total to improving the nation’s health and supporting the NHS in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commenting SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:
“The millions of pounds committed in the Scottish Budget to tackling drugs deaths demonstrates how seriously the SNP Scottish Government is taking the issue,
“Over the past year, the pandemic has presented an incredible challenge for our health and support services and that has been recognised by the Scottish Government with a commitment of £145m into drug and alcohol services.
“We have some fantastic services in North Lanarkshire, some of which are run by volunteers who give up their time to help the recovery of others. I am sure this funding will be a boost to them.
“We know that action is needed now to tackle the drugs death emergency Scotland faces. Along with the appointment of the new Drugs Minister, the SNP Government is making significant steps to tackle Scotland’s drugs crisis.
“The SNP will continue to provide investment for direct interventions to address health inequalities, exacerbated by COVID-19, to create a Scotland where we can all live longer, healthier lives.”
DIRECT INVESTMENT TO INCREASE MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT IN COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON
MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston, Fulton MacGregor has welcomed direct investment in mental health services in the Scottish Budget, which will increase by £139m and take overall spending in mental health to over £1.1 billion.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes confirmed that the Scottish Government will be making £15 million available to support the continued establishment of local mental health services.
An additional £500,000 will also be made available to health boards this financial year to provide dedicated mental health support for health and social care staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Samaritans said they “welcome the recognition by the Scottish Government of the impact of Covid-19 on Scotland’s mental health and wellbeing in today’s Scottish Budget. We are pleased to see this recognition matched with an increase in direct investment in mental health services.”
SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:
“This Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on many people’s mental health – and it’s welcome that the Scottish Government has recognised this and committed to investing over £1.1billion into mental health services.
“Lockdown restrictions, although vital for stopping the spread of the virus, have themselves had a negative impact on many people’s health and wellbeing, with more people experiencing financial insecurity alongside social isolation and the anxiety of living through a pandemic.
“As such, mental health support is an absolute priority for this SNP Government, and this Budget supports overall mental health spending of more than £1.1 billion, which will contribute hugely to our recovery from the pandemic in Coatbridge & Chryston.
“This is a significant step forward in the SNP government’s package of measures to improve the mental health support available for children, young people and adults across Scotland.”