SCOTTISH BUDGET MEANS £43.2 MILLION BOOST FOR LANARKSHIRE

Health services in Lanarkshire will receive a £43.2m boost next year, the Scottish Government unveiled in the budget.

 

The inflation busting increase will see NHS Lanarkshire funding increase 3.7% year on year.

 

The budget saw SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay increase total health and care funding by £729m, putting the future of the health service at the centre of the Scottish Government’s financial plan.

 

The Finance Secretary did however highlight the risk Brexit plays to this investment, with the potential for the Scottish Government to be forced to review the budget should the UK face a ‘No Deal’ scenario.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“People across Lanarkshire will welcome the significant investment in our local NHS services, with a real-term increase in spending.

 

“The SNP value our NHS and are determined to ensure it stays fit for the future.

 

“In contrast, the budget exposed the Tory proposals as completely hollow – with their plan to hand high earners a tax cut leaving a £1 billion hole in our public spending.

 

“Meanwhile, even Labour insiders have admitted that their plans are a ‘shambles’ with the party failing to cost their spending demands.

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“The SNP budget delivers for our NHS in Lanarkshire.”

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT UNITES AGAINST TORY BREXIT

 

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SNP MSP FULTON MACGREGOR VOTES AGAINST DAMAGING BREXIT DEAL

 

The Scottish Parliament has overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May’s false choice of a bad Brexit or No Deal.

 

The joint motion agreed by the SNP, Labour, Greens and the Lib Dems stated that a better alternative must be found – leaving the Tories isolated in their support for Theresa May’s discredited proposals.

 

Commenting, local SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, but our interests have been ignored by the UK government since day one.

 

“With the Scottish Parliament now overwhelmingly against the false choice of Theresa May’s deal or No Deal, it is time for the UK government to listen.

 

“Theresa May’s deal is at this point little more than a hypothetical exercise, with all sides of the House of Commons determined to defeat it on Tuesday.

 

“The clock is ticking. It’s time for a new approach and to look at the real alternatives which will protect jobs and livelihoods in Coatbridge & Chryston – whether that be a second referendum giving Scotland the opportunity to remain in the EU, or the compromise proposal of staying in the single-market that the Scottish Government unveiled two years ago.”

“I will be holding a surgery this Friday for EU nationals that will seek to make their voices heard at this time. The Brexit talks have worried many of my constituents – especially EU nationals who contribute so much to our communities – they deserve some answers.”

FOODBANK USE IN COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON ON THE RISE – WITH TORY CUTS TO BLAME

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has slammed the UK government’s cuts to welfare, after new figures revealed that foodbank use in North Lanarkshire has risen by 26% since last year.

 

Foodbank use in Scotland has risen by 15% between April and September compared to the same period in 2017. Foodbank providers have said the rise is largely due to the in-built minimum wait of five weeks for a first payment for those migrated to Universal Credit – with many more people forced to wait even longer than five weeks.

 

Britain’s biggest foodbank provider, the Trussell Trust, has called for ‘urgent changes’ to Universal Credit – while the SNP have consistently called for a halt to the roll-out of the scheme.

 

Last week, the United Nationals Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights visited the UK to investigate the impact of austerity.

 

Commenting on the figures, Fulton MacGregor said:

 

“These are truly heart-breaking figures for Coatbridge & Chryston, which bring into sharp focus the devastating impact the Tory government is having on our local community.

 

“The fact that foodbank use is growing across Scotland is a clearly damning indictment of UK government cuts to welfare, and the botched roll-out of Universal Credit.

 

“While sustained Tory cuts have created this problem, we can see that where Universal Credit has rolled out it has made things worse – which is why the roll out of UC must be halted, so the fundamental flaws can be addressed.

 

“I see the impact of Tory benefit cuts on a daily basis in my constituency, and the Tories have shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted with social security in Scotland.

 

“Only with full powers over social security can we begin to mitigate the effects of this disaster of a UK government, in order to make Scotland an equal country with a dignified and fair welfare system.”

COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON MSP: UK GOVERNMENT BUDGET DOES NOT DELIVER FOR SCOTLAND

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has criticised the UK Government for failing the people of Coatbridge & Chryston, following this year’s Budget announcement.

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After promising to end austerity, the UK Government’s budget has in fact failed Scottish people, with Scotland’s resource block grant almost £2 billion lower in real terms next year than it was less than a decade ago.

 

The Budget does not deliver on the promises of a rise in public spending – Scotland’s NHS has been short-changed, the disastrous roll-out of Universal Credit has not been halted, and the richest 10% of the UK population will be the ones who benefit most from Tory tax cuts.

Fulton MacGregor said:

“This Tory Budget falls a long way short of delivering for the people of Scotland.

 

“Working people will be £1,600 worse off thanks to their mishandling of Brexit, and the changes in this year’s Budget do nothing to alleviate the untold damage this will do.

 

“The reality of this Budget is that the Tories have dug themselves a deeper hole, with no clue how to get out of it. People in Coatbridge & Chryston and across Scotland, are getting a bad deal with the Tories.

 

“The SNP will not support Tory tax cuts for the richest at the expense of the poor.

 

“Instead of ploughing on with more harmful austerity, the UK Government should commit to a realistic plan for investment in public services, to grow the economy and to boost jobs, incomes and living standards.

 

“This budget has exposed in stark terms the democratic deficit of the UK, and why we need full powers over Scotland’s finances to grow our economy and build a fairer country.”

SNP MSP BACKS INCREASE IN PATERNITY LEAVE

The Scottish Parliament will today (Thursday) discuss the advantages of paternity leave in a debate led by Fulton MacGregor MSP.

Mr MacGregor will challenge the presumption that women are primarily responsible for raising children, and argue that paternity leave leads to a range of positive outcomes, including tackling wider societal inequality and a reduction in incidences of post-natal depression.

Mr MacGregor’s speech will call for more employers in Scotland to adopt practices which allow for enhanced paternity leave or pay beyond the two week statutory period.

All Scottish Government employees are entitled to four weeks’ paternity leave, which the Coatbridge and Chryston MSP wants other employers to match.

Speaking in the debate, Mr MacGregor will say;

“Just now in the UK and Scotland fathers get up to 2 weeks that the dad can take from the birth of the child. Some employers, including the Scottish Government, offer a bit more; up to 4 weeks but the general standard is 2 weeks.

“This lack of support and recognition for fathers – which is historical – only reflects and reinforces cultural assumptions about traditional gender roles where the father is the breadwinner and the mother is the primary carer.

“As parliamentarians, we have a duty to challenge that head on. We are way behind many other countries in doing so. For example Iceland, Slovenia, Sweden, Finland and Norway all offer between 10 and 12 weeks of paternity leave.

“We can call on the UK Government, local authorities, health boards, other public bodies and private companies to follow the Scottish Government and introduce 4 weeks paternity leave as a minimum. It’s another small step on the way to the Scotland we want to become.”

COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON MSP WELCOMES ECONOMIC GROWTH EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS IN 2018

POSITIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH AS SCOTLAND MOVES AHEAD OF UK

 

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has praised new figures showing that Scotland’s economy has outperformed the UK’s in the second quarter of this year.

 

According to official figures, announced by Scotland’s Chief Statistician, the economy in Scotland grew by 0.5% in the second quarter of 2018 while growth in the UK was at 0.4%.

 

In the first half of this year, Scottish GDP grew by 0.8% – ahead of the UK at 0.6% over the same period, and already higher than the 0.7% growth forecast by the Scottish Fiscal Committee for 2018 as a whole.

 

The last year has seen the Scottish economy grow by a total of 1.7%, whilst the UK lags behind on 1.3%.

 

This growth in Scotland comes as concerns increase over the handling of Brexit negotiations, with Brexit potentially costing the Scottish economy £12.7billion a year – the equivalent of £2,300 for every person in the country.

 

Fulton MacGregor MSP said:

 

“It is extremely encouraging to see that economic growth in Scotland is exceeding expectations – benefitting people in Coatbridge & Chryston and across the country.

 

“These latest figures show the success of the Scottish Government’s approach, focused on building a strong economy, investing in business and enterprise and supporting the industries of the future.

 

“This success is welcome, but Brexit poses a real threat to Scottish jobs and household incomes – since the European single market is over eight times bigger than the UK market alone.

 

“Single market membership is absolutely crucial to protecting the jobs, incomes, and hard-won rights of millions of people across Scotland and the UK. The Tories must urgently commit to staying in the single market.”

COATBRIDGE & CHRYSTON TO BENEFIT FROM CARER’S ALLOWANCE SUPPLEMENT

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Scotland’s new public service to make first social security payments.

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has welcomed the news that carers in North Lanarkshire will receive the first payments of the new Carer’s Allowance Supplement from mid-September, back-dated to April.

This new benefit will be paid twice a year by Social Security Scotland, the first major new public service to be created since devolution.

Eligible carers will get a supplementary payment of £221, equivalent of an extra £8.50 per week, an increase of 13% on Carer’s Allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions.

The Carer’s Allowance Supplement is worth more than £30 million a year and will benefit 6308 carers in North Lanarkshire.

Carers will receive letters from Social Security Scotland from week beginning 10 September so that they know in advance to expect a payment.

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

“This roll out of the Carer’s Allowance Supplement marks the beginning of a bright new chapter in Scottish public service.

“The SNP is committed to delivering a fairer system for social security:  one that affords carers the dignity and respect they are due as a result of their selfless dedication.

“We appreciate the contribution carers make to our society and we have always advocated that Carer’s Allowance should be the same rate as Jobseeker’s Allowance.

“It follows that the new powers over social security mean that we can make this a reality and put more money into the pockets of carers as a thank you for their tireless efforts.”

9% pay rise for NHS workers

Scottish health service staff get UK’s most generous pay deal.

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NHS employees and unions in Scotland have formally accepted a pay rise of at least 9% over the next three years.

The increase, which is the most generous health pay uplift anywhere in the UK, will benefit 147,000 ‘Agenda for Change’ employees including all nurses, paramedics and allied health professionals.

It has been agreed as part of a package in which the pay rise is linked to a commitment to  reform four areas of terms and conditions. The package will ensure that NHS staff will continue to receive a fair wage, and that the NHS will be able to deliver the flexible services needed for the future.

Employees earning up to £80,000 will receive a minimum cumulative uplift of 9% while those on £80,000 or more will get a flat rate increase of £1,600 a year. Staff not at the top of their pay bands will also receive any incremental progression they are due.

The offer was agreed between the Scottish Government, NHS employers and unions in June. A consultative ballot closed on Wednesday and was formally accepted today.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Scotland’s NHS is founded on the hard work and dedication of its staff. This agreement is a recognition of that hard work.

“I’m delighted that NHS ‘Agenda for Change’ staff have voted to accept our offer of a pay rise of at least 9% over the next three years. This rise – which is linked to a commitment to reform some terms and conditions – will be up to 27% for some staff. That is the highest health uplift in the UK.

“This pay rise can help recruitment and retention and ensure that our NHS remains an attractive employment option for many.

FULTON MACGREGOR MSP CALLS ON CONSTITUENTS TO HAVE SAY ON BOTTLE DEPOSIT RETURN PLANS

ZERO WASTE SCOTLAND HOLDING EVENTS TO GATHER PUBLIC VIEWS

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SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor has called on people across Coatbridge & Chryston to get involved with the latest series of events to gather views on the proposed bottle deposit return scheme.

 

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the scope of a deposit return scheme, to boost recycling and cut plastic waste – with the proposal being that customers would pay a deposit when they purchase a product, which would be refunded when the item is recycled. The scheme already operates in many other parts of Europe.

 

Zero Waste Scotland is now hosting a series of events across the country, including in Coatbridge & Chryston, to give people across Scotland the chance to put forward their views on the scheme.

 

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

 

“A deposit return scheme has huge potential to help us meet our recycling goals, as well as tackling the scourge of plastic litter and waste on our landscape.

 

“The issue of plastic pollution, particularly in our water, has become well known in recent months, as the impact of the problem was brought to light by Blue Planet last year.

 

“And it is of course an issue that affects us right here in Coatbridge & Chryston – and the deposit return scheme can make a real difference.

 

“Zero Waste Scotland’s events across the country give us all a chance to give our views on the scheme, how it could work and how it can be implemented.

 

“We all have a stake in protecting and preserving our planet – and the bottle deposit return scheme is one small step we can take in the fight against plastic pollution.”

SHARP FALL IN WEAPONS OFFENCES SINCE 2007

SNP KNIFE CRIME APPROACH WORKING IN NORTH LANARKSHIRE

Cases of handling of offensive weapons across North Lanarkshire have fallen sharply since the SNP came to power in 2007, latest figures have revealed – proving that the SNP’s approach to crime and justice in the community is working.

In 2007/08, there were 20 cases of handling offensive weapons per 10,000 of the population in North Lanarkshire – which has fallen sharply to 7 by 2016/17, a drop of 65%.

The latest figures back up Tory Justice Minister Rory Stewart’s comments that the rest of the UK “has a lot to learn from Scotland” – and are a further indication that SNP efforts to tackle issues such as knife crime have worked.

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

“This is welcome news – and proves that the SNP’s approach to issues such as knife crime is paying dividends for our communities across North Lanarkshire.

“Thanks to our approach to justice and well-supported police in our communities there has been a marked drop in the number of weapons offences across Coatbridge & Chryston – meaning everyone can enjoy living here more safely.

“Given this sharp drop in weapons offences – 65% since 2007, contrasting sharply with the trend south of the border – it is no wonder that the Tory UK government are looking to Scotland for answers on how to tackle crime, acknowledging that they have ‘a lot to learn from Scotland’.

“The SNP has made justice one of its top priorities since coming to power in 2007 – putting more police on the streets and taking decisive action to reduce reoffending, meaning crime is at its lowest level in over 40 years and our communities are as safe as ever before.”