All posts by dmackaymsp

Derek Mackay MSP launches new website to help Renfrewshire firms find business support

Derek Mackay MSP is encouraging firms in Renfrewshire and Inverclyde to use a new website which makes it easier for businesses to get information and support.

Derek Mackay MSP is encouraging Renfrewshire firms to use the new Findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website which makes it easier for businesses to get information and support.
Derek Mackay MSP is encouraging Renfrewshire firms to use the Findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website which makes it easier for businesses to get information and support.

Findbusinesssupport.gov.scot, launched today (Wednesday 22 January 2020) by the Renfrewshire North and West MSP as part of the refreshed Economic Action Plan for Scotland, contains hundreds of products, services and events from enterprise and skills agencies, and will be further developed to host content from across the public sector. 

Economy Secretary for the Scottish Government, Derek Mackay MSP said: “A key part of the refreshed Economic Action Plan is the need to make it easier for businesses in Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and across the country to get information, advice and support at the right time.

“That is why Scotland’s enterprise and skills agencies have come together to develop the new Findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website, which is a significant step towards transforming the way businesses are supported.

“I encourage businesses in Renfrewshire and Inverclyde to access the full range of resources such as self-help guides, market research reports, information on development programmes and details about training opportunities which are available on the website.

“I want to ensure that we continue to support local innovation, improve skills and stimulate growth in employment; while also contributing towards Scotland’s ambitious net-zero targets.

“The plan also sets out how Scotland will tackle the climate emergency, grow an inclusive economy, and face up to the challenges of Brexit, changing demographics and shifting global circumstances.”

Derek Mackay MSP welcomes establishment of Scottish National Investment Bank

Derek Mackay MSP has welcomed the unanimous passing of legislation in the Scottish Parliament to establish a Scottish National Investment Bank which will help encourage economic growth in Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and throughout Scotland.

Derek Mackay MSP led the Scottish Government's case for the establishment of the Scottish National Investment Bank which gained backing from cross party politicians.
Derek Mackay MSP led the Scottish Government’s case for the establishment of the Scottish National Investment Bank which gained backing from cross party politicians.

The MSP for Renfrewshire North and West, in his role as Economy Secretary, Derek Mackay successfully led the Scottish Government’s case in the Stage 3 debate of the Scottish National Investment Bank Bill which gained backing from cross party politicians.

The bank, which is expected to be operational before the end of 2020, will have an initial capitalisation of £2 billion over 10 years with the aim that it will ultimately become self-financing.

Derek Mackay MSP said: “The Scottish National Investment Bank has the potential to transform Scotland’s society by powering innovation and building a high-tech, inclusive economy.

“Most importantly, the bank’s primary mission will be to face up to the global climate emergency by accelerating the just transition to net-zero carbon emissions. Harnessing private sector activity to achieve this has never been more important.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy in Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and across Scotland, and the bank will invest in firms and community projects looking to play their part in tackling the global climate emergency.

“We know from the experience of other countries that national investment banks can deliver real change, but this impact will not be delivered overnight. It will require determination, patience and support from partners right across Scotland.”

The new institution will direct investments that deliver economic, environmental and social returns, and help Scotland’s journey towards net-zero carbon emissions. It will aim to increase innovation, give support to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), and build a high-tech and inclusive economy.

Derek Mackay MSP works to protect scheme providing £7 million for Renfrewshire businesses

Derek Mackay MSP is working to protect a Scottish Government scheme which is benefiting almost 2,700 small businesses across Renfrewshire to the tune of £7 million.

Derek Mackay MSP works to protect Scottish Government scheme providing £7 million support for Renfrewshire businesses
Derek Mackay MSP works to protect Scottish Government scheme providing £7 million support for Renfrewshire businesses.

The MSP for Renfrewshire North and West is seeking to persuade Conservative, Labour and Scottish Green parliamentarians to reverse their support for Non-Domestic Rates Bill amendments that would remove the Scottish Government’s ability to set business rates poundage and automatically end Scotland-wide business rates reliefs such as the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

Derek Mackay MSP, who is also Scotland’s Finance Secretary, said: “Almost 2,700 businesses across Renfrewshire benefit from the Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme and this vital support would disappear under the proposals currently being forced through by opposition parties.

“A majority of Scottish businesses benefit from the lowest poundage anywhere in the UK and incentives that only exist in Scotland.

“With companies in Renfrewshire receiving support amounting to £7 million through the Small Business Bonus Scheme and opposition parties seeking to dismantle this popular and very effective national relief system, it is clear that the SNP is the only party standing up for business locally and across Scotland.

“As we move towards the final stage of the bill, I urge Tory, Labour and Scottish Green MSP to waken up to the severity of the risks facing businesses trying to prepare for the complexities and uncertainties of Brexit and reverse their support for this disastrous move which would require small firms to also come to terms with unpredictable, inconsistent rates across the country and potentially threaten jobs.”

The Stage 3 debate on the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill is expected to take place in the Scottish Parliament in the early weeks of 2020.

Derek Mackay MSP breaks new ground on site of Scottish Trades Union Congress’s new HQ

Renfrewshire North and West MSP and Economy Secretary for the Scottish Government, Derek Mackay, has broken ground on the site of a new building being delivered by Clyde Gateway which is set to become the headquarters of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC).

Renfrewshire North and West MSP and Economy Secretary for the Scottish Government, Derek Mackay, joins Grahame Smith (General Secretary of the STUC) and Alison Thewliss MP (Chair of Clyde Gateway) in breaking ground on the site of the Scottish Trades Union Congress’s new headquarters.
Renfrewshire North and West MSP and Economy Secretary for the Scottish Government, Derek Mackay, joins Grahame Smith (General Secretary of the STUC) and Alison Thewliss MP (Chair of Clyde Gateway) in breaking ground on the site of the Scottish Trades Union Congress’s new headquarters.

Derek Mackay MSP said: “I am delighted that Clyde Gateway has attracted such a high profile organisation to its latest office development.

“The new STUC headquarters is being constructed on a site that had lain vacant and derelict for a number of years and is the latest stage in a truly world-class transformation of the area.

“The various physical improvements are being accompanied by an extensive range of social and economic spin-offs, all of which are ensuring many of the social inequalities which have stymied growth for so long are becoming a thing of the past.”

Grahame Smith, the General Secretary of the STUC said: “Building community power and fighting for economic and social equality is written into the DNA of the STUC. So this is much more than a building for us, it’s an opportunity to be part of something bigger.

“The new building is coming along very nicely and everyone is looking forward to making.” the move here later this year.”

Alison Thewliss MP, Chair of Clyde Gateway, said: “It is highly significant that we have been able to attract such a significant part of civic Scotland to the Clyde Gateway area.

“I want to thank everyone at the STUC for making this commitment to the area.

“I also want to thank Derek Mackay and his colleagues within the Scottish Government for their unstinting support for everything we are seeking to achieve across Clyde Gateway over the past twelve years, and look forward to the continuation of a successful partnership as we make further progress.”

The new STUC offices will offer 6,500 square feet of space, incorporating a significant element of conference and meeting spaces. The £2.1 million costs are being met by Clyde Gateway, with a grant of £730,000 from the Scottish Government.

Derek Mackay MSP announces Scottish budget date to provide vital clarity for Renfrewshire’s public services

Renfrewshire North and West MSP and Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay MSP, today announced that the Scottish Government’s budget will be published on 6 February 2020.

Derek Mackay MSP announces Scottish Budget date
Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay MSP, announces the Scottish Budget date as 6 February 2020 to provide clarity for Renfrewshire’s public services

The announcement comes after the UK Government confirmed their budget would be delayed until 11 March 2020.

Derek Mackay MSP said: “The UK Government’s approach to the Scottish Budget has been completely unacceptable and has shown a disregard for devolution and a lack of fiscal responsibility.

“The timing of the UK Budget made it impossible for us to publish our own budget after the UK Government’s without drastically restricting the time for parliamentary scrutiny.

“In these exceptional circumstances, created by the UK Government, it is vital we give local authorities, including Renfrewshire Council and Inverclyde Council, clarity on their budgets. That is why we have made the decision to publish our budget in February which will allow local authorities to set their budgets and council tax before the legal deadline of 11 March.

“I look forward to publishing a budget that will help tackle the global climate emergency, reduce child poverty and boost the economy.

“We will work closely with the Scottish Parliament to agree a timetable for the Budget Bill to allow for maximum scrutiny while ensuring certainty for vital public services in Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and across Scotland.”

Derek Mackay MSP announces initiative to maximise Clyde’s potential for Renfrewshire’s economy

Renfrewshire North and West MSP and Economy Secretary for the Scottish Government, Derek Mackay, has announced that a plan will be developed to maximise the full economic potential along the River Clyde for Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, the city of Glasgow and the wider region.

Derek Mackay MSP speaking at the State of the City Economy conference in Glasgow
Speaking at the State of the City Economy conference in Glasgow, Derek Mackay MSP announces a plan which will be developed to maximise the full economic potential along the River Clyde.

The initiative will be led by the Scottish Government, with input from Scottish Enterprise, other agencies, local authorities including Renfrewshire Council and Inverclyde Council, as well as the private sector. It will focus on:

  •  attracting further investment to the Clyde area to add to the hundreds of millions the Scottish Government is already investing in projects such as the National Manufacturing Institute in Renfrewshire and Queens Quay, Clydebank
  • strengthening industries such as shipping, shipbuilding and marine engineering and create new ones to support more jobs
  • bringing vacant and derelict land back in to productive use
  • improving the river for visitors, local people and communities
  • managing the risk of flooding
  • realising the potential of the river to help address the climate change emergency including the opportunity to use the energy from the Clyde to heat local housing
  • bringing forward investment through the Scottish National Investment Bank and the Green Growth Accelerator model

Derek Mackay MSP made the announcement in a speech at the State of the City Economy conference in Glasgow on Friday (10 January). He said: “The River Clyde has a long history of supporting the economies of Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, the city of Glasgow, the wider region and Scotland. 

“The last 10 to 15 years have has seen significant public and private investment transforming the banks of the river and there is a strong pipeline of future investment, including projects funded through our £500 million commitment to the Glasgow City Region Deal which includes Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.

“This initiative will build on that success and aim to make better use of the river and surrounding land to help deliver our economic, social and environmental ambitions, and to bring benefits to local people and communities.

“There is a fantastic opportunity to not only put the Clyde back at the centre of our economy and communities, but also at the heart of our plans for a net zero future.

“I look forward to working closely with Renfrewshire Council, Inverclyde Council and the other local authorities, public bodies and the private sector to achieve our ambitions for the Clyde.”

Funding for public services is unclear as UK Government’s budget delay ‘disregards devolution’

Derek Mackay MSP speaking in the Scottish Parliament
Derek Mackay MSP responds to an Urgent Question in the Scottish Parliament about the UK Government announcing its budget date as Wednesday 11 March 2020.

Responding to the announcement of the UK Government’s budget date as Wednesday 11 March, Renfrewshire North and West MSP and the Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, said:

“The UK Government gave no prior notice before announcing their budget date, showing complete disrespect for the Scottish Parliament and our budget process. I received no response to our repeated calls for clarity on the budget date, including the most recent letter sent to the Chancellor just two weeks ago.

“The UK Government’s approach to the Scottish budget is completely unacceptable – the delay of over four months since their original planned date cannot be blamed on the general election, and suggests a disregard for devolution and a lack of fiscal responsibility.

“The failure of the UK Government to publish its budget at an earlier time means we do not have clarity on the funding available for our schools, hospitals and other vital public services in Renfrewshire and communities across Scotland. Despite this, we remain focused on introducing a Scottish budget for 2020-21 at the earliest practical opportunity.

“We will continue to engage with the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Fiscal Commission over how best to respond to what are exceptional circumstances, and an announcement on the proposed date for introduction of the new Scottish Budget will be made in due course.”

Getting on with the day job for Renfrewshire and Scotland

It is no secret that I want Scotland to be independent.

I have campaigned for it since I was a teenager and never hidden from my constituents my wish for Scotland to be an independent nation.

Given the mess Westminster currently finds itself in, including the very likely prospect of Boris Johnson being Prime Minister in a matter of days, I fully support the First Minister in her calls for there to be a referendum on Scotland’s future before this Parliament ends in 2021.

However, my commitment to independence has never stopped me, or the SNP Government, from getting on with the day job of representing my constituents and working in the best interests of Scotland.

In the 12 years since taking office, the SNP have done many good things to help people in Renfrewshire.

Just last week we announced a new Scottish Child Payment to help target child poverty.

Eligible families will receive £10 a week for every child under 16.

When fully delivered by 2022, it is estimated it will lift 30,000 children out of poverty and help thousands more who are living just above the breadline.

For a family with two children this new payment would mean additional support of more than £1,000 a year.

This is a benefit which will make a massive difference to thousands of local kids.

When anyone tells me the SNP aren’t getting on with the day job I also remind them about;

  • Free prescriptions, saving patients an average of £171 a year
  • Removing tuition fees for students, which are now over £9k a year in England.
  • 10,000 modern apprenticeship starts in Renfrewshire over the last decade, helping to provide youngsters who don’t necessarily want to go to University with training and opportunities.
  • 1,900 new affordable homes in Renfrewshire since 2007. I have seen for myself the impact that has had on families who have waited decades on council waiting lists while Labour sat on their hands and didn’t build a thing. There is more to do, I will admit that, so we are investing millions of pounds into building even more.
  • Scottish Carers Allowances, helping 2,000 carers across Renfrewshire, implementing free personal care and mitigating the Bedroom Tax, at a cost of £1.9m in Renfrewshire.

These aren’t just gimmicks or slogans, this is real money, being spent helping to support those that need it the most.

For these policies to be paid for, we need the economy to be growing, to help support this we have given £52million in relief from business rates in Renfrewshire and are currently investing in the world leading multi-million-pound Manufacturing Institute for Scotland, based here beside Glasgow Airport.

Jobs, investment, increase in local footfall, all positive things to bring growth to Renfrewshire.

I’m getting on with the day job, but I also believe Scotland could be an even better and fairer nation, investing more in our people and services, with the full powers of independence.

*First published in the Paisley Daily Express, Thursday 11th July 2019

Mackay Urges Constituents Not to Leave Dogs in Hot Cars This Summer

SNP MSP Derek Mackay is urging Renfrewshire’s dog owners not to leave their pets in hot cars this summer.

Mr Mackay is highlighting research undertaken by Dogs Trust which shows that almost people believe it is ok to leave a dog in a car if counter-measures are taken, such as leaving a window open or parking under a tree.

Under 20 minutes in a hot car can prove fatal to a dog, should its body exceed 41°C. Within a matter of minutes, as the temperature rises in your car, your dog’s suffering will become evident through excessive panting, whimpering or barking. This will then develop into a loss of muscle control and ultimately their kidneys will cease to function, the brain will become damaged and their heart will stop.

The Renfrewshire North & West MSP is warning constituents that on even wet or cooler days, leaving their pet in the car even for a few minutes can be dangerous.

Mr Mackay said:

“Many people don’t know that dogs take a lot longer than humans to cool down and with temperatures rising over the summer it is more important than ever that dog owners are warned of the dangers of leaving their pets unattended in cars. Even on cooler or very wet days, cars can become very hot, very quickly, and be fatal for dogs.

“You just need to touch the dashboard or seat of a car to see how hot it can get. And parking in the shade or leaving the window down will not make it any safer.

“If you are carrying your dog in the car over the summer carry plenty of drinking water for it, use sun blinds on the windows and do not leave the dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes.

“If you do see a dog in distress in a parked car call the police or the SSPCA immediately.”

Mackay welcomes new Scottish Child Poverty Benefit

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the announcement of a new benefit to target child poverty.

Eligible families will receive £10 a week for every child under 16, with introduction for under sixes starting by early 2021.

The Scottish Child Payment will give more immediate support to eligible families who need it most, as almost 60% of all children in poverty live in a family with a child under the age of six.

It will be delivered to all remaining eligible families with children under 16 by the end of 2022, with no cap on the number of children in families.

When delivered in full, 410,000 children could be eligible for the income supplement – over a third of all children. It is estimated it will lift 30,000 children out of relative poverty by 2023/24.

For a family with two children under the age of 16 this new payment would mean additional support of more than £1,000 a year.

Derek Mackay MSP said:

“The SNP will not stand by and simply watch the spike in child poverty as a result of continued UK Government austerity. Instead we will take action.

“This benefit can make a massive difference to thousands of children across Renfrewshire.

“Almost 60% of all children in poverty live in a family where a child is under six years old, which is why we will deliver the payment for this group first. “This benefit will not only help raise children out of poverty but is also designed to help prevent those just above the poverty threshold. “