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. “

9,000 people in Renfrewshire to lose free TV licence

8,787 people in Renfrewshire will be hit by the Tory government’s decision to scrap the free TV licence for over-75s, new figures have revealed.

It is estimated that 60% of over-75s people in Renfrewshire will be forced to pay an extra £154.50 in household bills when the free TV licence policy for over-75s is axed.

The SNP has renewed calls on the UK government to ensure the free TV licence is fully funded, and can continue to benefit households and elderly people across Scotland and the UK. 

Commenting, Renfrewshire North & West SNP MSP Derek Mackay said:

“A decade of damaging Tory government cuts has left older people in Scotland worse off – and it’s very concerning to see that the decision to scrap the free TV licence will hit almost 9,000 over-75s in Renfrewshire.

“This is yet another broken Tory manifesto commitment which will take money out of the pockets of older people.

“It is time this Tory government finally made the welfare of our older population a priority – instead of worsening things by axing key benefits.


“The Tories should urgently stop this swindle and ensure that the TV license for over-75s is be properly funded and protected.”

Nearly 2,000 new affordable homes built in last decade

Derek Mackay MSP has welcomed Scottish Government figures which show nearly 2,000 new affordable homes have been built in Renfrewshire over the last decade.

Since the SNP came to power in 2007, 1,877 new affordable homes, including 1,583 for social rent, have been delivered locally.

The figures are part of a £3.3 billion policy to deliver 50,000 new affordable homes across Scotland by 2021.

Welcoming the figures, Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay said:

“Everyone deserves a safe, warm affordable home.

“For too long new social housing was not being built in Renfrewshire, which is why we found ourselves in the position of long waiting lists and families living in unacceptable overcrowded conditions. The situation was ignored by Labour Councillors and Labour Governments.

“The fact they only built six council houses in the whole of Scotland during their last term in office shows how seriously Labour took the situation. We have built more in one street.

“These Scottish Government figures show the priority the SNP has put on delivering new modern social housing and affordable homes in Scotland and Renfrewshire.

“I have been delighted to see first hand the new homes which have been built in Erskine, Renfrew and Gallowhill in my constituency, with more currently being built in Bishopton. “We are on target to deliver 50,000 across Scotland by 2021, and I look forward to continuing to play my part within the Scottish Government and as local MSP.”

SNP WIN EUROPEAN ELECTION IN RENFREWSHIRE

The SNP were tonight celebrating as they topped the poll in Renfrewshire at the European Parliament Election.

Scotland will elect six MEPs, with the SNP on course to win three seats.

In Renfrewshire the SNP gained 41.5% of the vote in first place. Labour, who may not win any of the six seats up for grabs, dropped to 3rd place in Renfrewshire with only 13% of the vote. Brexit Party beat them to second.

The SNP have now won six elections in a row in Renfrewshire.

The final number of MEPs for each party will be known on Monday.

Derek Mackay MSP said:

“Thank you to the voters who have again put their trust in the SNP. After 12 years in Government gaining 41% of the vote locally is simply stunning in what is our sixth election win in a row in Renfrewshire.

“But what a disastrous night this is for the Labour Party locally. To finish third in Renfrewshire with only 13% of the vote is a new low for a party which was the Council administration only 2 years ago.”

New Crossing Patroller Welcomed.

MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the decision to instate a school crossing patroller on a busy Bishopton road.

The location on Greenock Road, at the Lorimers Bar, is a busy spot for children crossing to access Bishopton Primary School.

Following enquires from local parents, Mr Mackay and Cllr Natalie Don have been raising the issue with roads chiefs in Renfrewshire Council. Following a visit to the location, they have now agreed to place a crossing patroller at the site. This should be in place within the next 2 weeks.

Mr Mackay said:

“This is a busy part of the road during school hours, and a number of parents have been continually raising their concerns with me. Following pressure to Renfrewshire Council, including a visit with officials to the site, I am pleased they have now agreed to place a crossing patroller at the busy location.

“I have also asked if they will continue to monitor the situation, especially at peak hours, with a view to further measures if this does not improve the situation.

Bishopton Councillor Natalie Don said:

“This part of the road has been something parents have been concerned about for a long time, I am pleased we have now managed to do something to help improve it.

“The Councillors who attended the visit with officials last week said they were in full agreement with the plans to install a crossing patroller, and I hope this cross-party support will continue.”

Mackay welcomes action on littering from vehicles

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government that tougher action is to be taken against those littering from vehicles.

Nearly 7 tonnes – over 1,300 bags – of rubbish is gathered form the sides of the M8 and M9 each month.

Action on this is to be introduced as part of the National Litter Strategy.

Derek Mackay said:

“As a former Transport Minister I know the danger roadworkers put themselves in every single day collecting crisp packets, cans and bottles from the sides of our motorways.

“It is not only the obvious dangers to drivers and clean up teams, there is also a significant amount of many spent cleaning the mess made by others, taking valuable resources away from other public services.

“The amount of litter being thrown from cars by drivers and passengers is unacceptable and action must now be taken.

“I am therefore pleased that the Environment Secretary has committed to introduce measures to try and take action.”

Time to give 16-year-olds vote in General Elections

Scottish Youth Parliament Turnout Shows our Youth are engaged

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has expressed his delight at the record turnout in Renfrewshire’s elections to the Scottish Youth Parliament. He has also emphasised his belief that the record turnout shows young people are engaged in politics and deserve the opportunity to vote in General Elections.

Over 6,000 young people in Renfrewshire took part in the election last week, with Renfrewshire returning the highest turnout in the country, while accounting for almost a fifth of the total number of votes cast in the whole of Scotland.

16-year-olds can currently vote in local Council elections and Scottish Parliament elections but are not permitted to vote in UK General Elections.

Mr Mackay said:

“This record turnout is down to the hard work of all the candidates in raising the profile of the election and the Scottish Youth Parliament in general. They should all be very proud of this.

“This also proves that our young people are engaged in politics and care deeply about the matters which affect them, their family, and their friends.

“It is time the voting age in General Elections is lowered to 16, giving all our young people the chance to vote, if they wish, in all elections which affect their lives.

“I am proud that the Scottish Parliament allows 16 to 18 year-olds the opportunity to take part in deciding who represents them in the Scottish Parliament and who forms the Government which makes decisions on their behalf.

“Our young people are engaged and interested in politics, we shouldn’t run the risk of losing that. Let’s finally give them the right to vote in all elections.”

Mackay slams Labour for voting against multi-million-pound investment in Renfrewshire’s roads

Labour propose cut to road spending.

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has today slammed Labour for voting against a £40 million investment in Renfrewshire’s roads.

At last week’s Renfrewshire Council budget meeting Labour Councillors voted against the record funding going to resurfacing, pothole repairs and line re-painting.  Instead Labour’s proposals would have seen spending on local roads and footpaths being cut.

The SNP’s proposals were eventually passed, despite Labour joining the Tories in voting against the investment.

Derek Mackay said:

“Not only did Labour vote against a £40 million investment in our local roads and footpaths, they also revealed that if they were running Renfrewshire Council they would be cutting spending on roads and paths.

“During Labour’s time in charge of Renfrewshire Council they slashed money for roads and footpaths year after year, depriving our highways of the general maintenance they needed, while not fixing pot holes correctly. That is why we are now in a position of having so many roads and footpaths needing major work done to them.

“Over the last year a lot of roads and paths have been resurfaced, but there is still a lot of work to do. For Labour Councillors to vote against putting this record amount of money into bringing our roads up to the standard they should be at is disgraceful, particularly as they caused the mess in the first place.

“Labour neglected our roads when in office, and if they were still in office they would be continuing to cut spending – something their own draft budget confirmed.

“Potholes and footpath conditions is something which affects everyone across Renfrewshire and is one of the biggest issues I am contacted about as a local MSP. I am therefore pleased this record investment is happening, despite Labour’s attempts to stop it.”

Renfrewshire to receive £1.4million to support town centres.

Renfrewshire is set to receive over £1.4million as part of a new Scottish Government £50million fund to help boost town centres.

The Town Centre Fund, which has been set up in partnership with COSLA, is supporting councils to ensure their high streets are more diverse, sustainable and successful in the face of changing and evolving retail patterns.

It will be for local authorities to allocate this fund against the themes of the Town Centre Action Plan.

The money will fund a wide range of investments which will make town centres more vibrant, enterprising, and accessible.

This could include the re-purposing of empty buildings for housing or social and community enterprises.

Speaking as he announced the launch of the fund in Renfrew Town Centre, Renfrewshire MSP and Economy Secretary Derek Mackay said:

“Town centres are facing challenges across Scotland in adapting to a changing retail climate, and it is important that we help them to diversify and adjust to overcome these challenges.

“I want to make sure we can keep life in our high streets, and ensure they continue to be thriving places for communities to live, work and enjoy.

“This fund, which Renfrewshire will receive £1.4 million from, will enable local authorities to stimulate and support a wide range of investments which will encourage town centres to diversify and flourish, and create an increase in footfall through local improvements and partnerships.

“It is part of a wider boost to the economy through providing more than £5 billion of capital investment to grow and modernise Scotland’s infrastructure, and a wider package of support to businesses, including maintaining a competitive business rates package and providing the most generous package of non-domestic rates reliefs anywhere in the UK.”

MSP Supports Charities’ Services for Older Veterans who have Hearing Loss

Derek Mackay MSP is backing a charity’s call for Renfrewshire residents to volunteer for a service supporting older veterans whose lives have been affected by hearing loss.

The MSP for Renfrewshire North and West found out about the local Hearing Forces service when speaking with veterans and Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Angela Paton and Caroline McDonald during a visit to a hearing aid support session in the Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre, Bishopton.

George Sharp said:

“Hearing Forces provides a friendly service which helps us to hear our friends and family much better through the maintenance and cleaning of our hearing aids, and the provision of batteries to keep them working. When I see people at the centre struggling with hearing loss, I always encourage them to visit the support sessions.”

The MSP was also advised that Hearing Forces, which is part of the Unforgotten Forces consortium led by Poppyscotland, also informs veterans aged 65 or over about assistive equipment, such as amplified telephones or personal listeners, that can make life easier.

Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Angela Paton said:

“We thank Derek Mackay MSP for visiting our Hearing Forces session to see how our one-to-one support is transforming the everyday lives of older veterans by enabling them to follow conversations, listen to their favourite television programmes or hear sounds such as birdsong which they haven’t experienced, in some cases, for many years.

“We’d love to speak with people in Renfrewshire who are interested in volunteering for our service so that we can run sessions more frequently to reach more veterans and help them to hear their comrades and relatives through using hearing aids or assistive technology.”

Derek Mackay MSP said:

“I was delighted to speak with several veterans at the Hearing Forces session who have hearing loss and are being supported by Erskine and Action on Hearing Loss Scotland to live independently and develop their IT or art skills as well as access mindfulness and holistic therapies.

“It’s great to see the charities working together in the Unforgotten Forces partnership to help those who served the country to overcome issues relating to their hearing loss and become both socially and physically active.

“I encourage residents in Renfrewshire to come forward to volunteer and provide life-enhancing support which can be appreciate by many more older veterans in our communities who have lost their hearing.”

Action on Hearing Loss Scotland is looking for volunteers to give a few hours of their time every month. Training about deaf awareness, communication tips and assistive equipment will be provided by the charity and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s audiology department will show the volunteers how to carry out basic hearing aid maintenance.

For more details, email: hearing.forces@hearingloss.org.uk or telephone/text 07388 227407.