MSP Mackay Expresses Concern Over Changes To Electoral Registration Plans

SNP MSP Derek Mackay has today added his own concerns to that expressed by the Electoral Commission over the UK Government’s decision bring forward the end of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER) by a year. A move which could result in people across Renfrewshire having difficulties voting in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.

The date for the end of the transition to IER is currently set out in law as December 2016. However, the UK Government has moved the date forward to December 2015. This is despite warnings from the Electoral Commission that the move will see some voters taken off the register who will be unable to vote in elections in May 2016, unless they re-register.

Commenting, Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay said:

“One of the great successes of the Referendum was the level of voter participation that swept across every community in Renfrewshire in the weeks and months before polling day.

“Never before have so many people in Renfrewshire signed up to have their say in the democratic process. I will never forget the queues of people, of all ages, waiting to register to vote for the first time.

“That interest and political enthusiasm carried into May’s General Election when the turnout in Scotland was higher than the rest of the UK, making Scotland’s people the most politically engaged electorate on these islands.

“It is vitally important that we aim to retain that level of voter participation and engagement and that it is not put at risk by the actions of this UK Government.

“The Electoral Commission is absolutely right to raise real concerns about this move which could disenfranchise as many as 230,000 people in Scotland. For anyone in Renfrewshire and across Scotland to be prevented from voting in the Scottish elections next year due to an order of the UK Government would be completely unacceptable.

“The UK Government needs to abandon these plans immediately – and should do everything they can to increase voter registration and turnout rather than risking disenfranchising thousands of people.”

Mackay Marks Mandela Day

Derek Mackay, SNP MSP for Renfrewshire North & West, is encouraging everyone to mark Mandela Day on Saturday (18th July 2015).

Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated every year on his birthday, 18th July, and has been celebrated the world over since 2009.

It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said that “it is in your hands now”.

On Mandela day in honour of the 67 years of service given by Mr Mandela, people throughout the world are encouraged to give 67 minutes of voluntary service to their community in order to help change to world into a better place for all.

Derek Mackay MSP said:

“Nelson Mandela was an inspiration to me and million of others around the world, a towering statesman and the outstanding political leader of his generation.

“I am therefore delighted to mark Mandela Day again this year, and celebrate Scotland’s links with South Africa, and the sense of service to the community.

“The sense of community is as important today as it has ever been. I would encourage anyone with spare time on their hands to give some of that time to our local community on Mandela Day.

“Whether it is picking up some litter in the local area, helping an elderly neighbour with their gardening or giving up some time to volunteer with a local charity, every little bit helps create a sense of community and help make Renfrewshire a better place for all.”

POLL – SNP MAINTAIN ‘EXTRAORDINARY’ SUPPORT AFTER EIGHT YEARS IN GOVERNMENT

The SNP is today welcoming another excellent poll showing that support for the party remains at an extraordinary level after eight years in government.

Today’s poll for TNS-BMRB shows that SNP support on the constituency vote remains at 60 per cent – a full 40 points ahead of Labour. The SNP also has a majority of support on the regional list vote – which stands at 51 per cent compared to only 21 per cent for Labour.

Since coming to office in 2007, the SNP has frozen council tax, protected free Higher Education, scrapped prescription charges, boosted numbers of Modern Apprentices by almost 60 per cent, protected Free Personal Care, maintained the concessionary travel scheme, increased Scotland’s health budget to over £12 billion for the first time, and invested in childcare to increase entitlement to 16 hours per week for all 3, 4 and looked after 2 year olds.

The SNP has also introduced a Living Wage – which at £7.85 per hour is higher than the National Living Wage proposed by George Osborne – for public sector workers covered by Scottish Government pay policy.

In the face of unprecedented cuts to Scotland’s budget from the Westminster Government, the SNP has also invested to mitigate against Tory welfare cuts – including the Bedroom Tax. And despite a cut of 25 per cent Westminster cut to Scotland’s capital budget, the Scottish Government is also on track to meet its ambitious target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes by the end of this Parliament.

If re-elected in 2016, the SNP will build on this strong record to deliver further improvement.

Commenting, SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay MSP said:

“This is another very encouraging poll for the SNP showing extraordinary levels of support for the party after more than eight years in government – and is a vote of confidence in the strong start that the new SNP MPs have made in standing up for Scotland’s interests at Westminster.

“But we take absolutely nothing for granted, and will work hard every day between now and next year’s Holyrood election to retain the trust of people right across Scotland as we look to build on our record of delivery and success over the last eight years.

“Since coming to office in 2007, we have frozen council tax, protected free Higher Education, scrapped introduced prescription charges, boosted apprenticeship numbers by almost 60 per cent, protected Free Personal Care, maintained the concessionary travel scheme, increased Scotland’s health budget to record levels, and protected those hardest hit by unfair Tory welfare cuts. All this has been in the face of massive Westminster cuts to our budget.

“There is still more to do and if re-elected in 2016, the SNP will build on our strong record and deliver further improvements. As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already outlined, by 2020 we will deliver 30 hours of free childcare – almost doubling the current provision of 16 hours – and continue to protect our NHS.

“We will also continue to use the powers we have to strengthen and grow the Scottish economy – and push the case at Westminster for the further powers we need to create more and better jobs and to tackle poverty and inequality.”

 

The full details of the poll can be found here: http://www.tns-bmrb.co.uk/news/snp-continues-to-dominate-in-scottish-election-polling

Constituency vote:
SNP 60%
Labour 20%
Tory 14%
Lib Dem 5%

Regional list vote:
SNP 51%
Labour 21%
Tory 13%
Lib Dem 5%
Green 7%

Mackay Welcomes Drop in Unemployment as Scottish Economy Continues to Grow

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed official statistics released today showing the Scottish economy is continuing to grow and that unemployment is down.

The ONS Labour Market Statistics published today for March-May 2015 show Scotland’s overall unemployment rate fell by 0.5% over the quarter to 5.5%. The equivalent figure in the UK rose over the same period to 5.6%, making Scotland the only country of the UK where unemployment has fallen.

The figures release also show a 6 year low in youth unemployment and the highest youth employment level since records began for the March-May period.

The Scottish Government statistics also show the Scottish economy grew by 0.6% in the first three months of this year, slightly above the UK growth rate of 0.4%.

Welcoming SNP MSP Derek Mackay said:

“These figures show a growing economy and falling unemployment are encouraging, and highlight the positive action the SNP Government are taking is helping more people into work in Scotland

“Indeed, Scotland was the only country in the UK where unemployment has actually fallen.

“It is also encouraging to see youth unemployment at a 6 year low. Despite the savage cuts by the UK Tory Government, the SNP Scottish Government has taken action to ensure young people can fulfil their potential. Just this week it was revealed that Modern Apprenticeships have increased by almost 60% since the SNP entered Government in 2007.

“Having further powers over the economy, employment and social security here in Scotland would allow the Scottish Parliament to take further action to grow our economy and create more jobs and opportunities for our youth.”

ENDS

Mackay Reselected as SNP Candidate for Renfrewshire North & West in 2016 Election

Derek Mackay MSP has been unanimously reselected as SNP candidate for the Renfrewshire North & West constituency for next year’s Scottish Parliament election.

The reselection was ratified at a meeting of the Renfrewshire North & West Constituency Association of the SNP last night (Tuesday 14th July). The SNP’s National Executive Committee will now make the final approval.

Mr Mackay is the current MSP for the constituency following victory in the 2011 election. He also serves as Scottish Government Minister for Transport & Islands and is the SNP’s Business Convener.

Speaking Mr Mackay said:

“I am delighted to have been reselected as the SNP candidate for next year’s Holyrood election. I am extremely grateful to the local party members, old and new, for putting their trust in me.

“It has been an honour to represent the people of Renfrewshire North & West in the Scottish Parliament for the last four and a half years – building on the work I started while serving as a Councillor in the twelve years previous. My enthusiasm for this area will never diminish.

“Between now and next May’s Scottish election I will continue to represent my constituents in every way I can, it’s the local matters that make a difference.”

Convener of the Renfrewshire North & West SNP Constituency Association, Cllr Bill Perrie, said:

“The local constituency members have unanimously backed Derek to be our candidate again for next year’s Scottish Parliament election.

“Derek has been an outstanding MSP for Renfrewshire North & West, and has also proven to be an extremely competent Government Minister.

“I look forward to working with Derek and the constituencies 1,400 SNP members to secure his re-election next year.”

Derek Mackay MSP bio can be found at: http://www.derekmackaymsp.org/about-derek/

SNP WELCOME “EXTRAORDINARY” POLL RATINGS AFTER EIGHT YEARS IN GOVERNMENT

The SNP is today welcoming a Survation poll on Holyrood voting intentions showing support for the SNP at 56 per cent – up two points – on the constituency vote and 45 per cent on the regional list vote.

The poll shows a 36 per cent lead over Labour in the constituency vote and a 26 per cent lead in the regional list – a record rating for the SNP in a Survation poll and extraordinary after more than eight years in government.

The poll also highlights that, when don’t knows are removed, support for independence is up three per cent since the vote last September.

Since coming to office in 2007, the SNP has frozen council tax, protected free Higher Education, scrapped prescription charges, protected Free Personal Care, maintained the concessionary travel scheme, increased Scotland’s health budget to over £12 billion for the first time, and invested in childcare to increase entitlement to 16 hours per week for all 3, 4 and looked after 2 year olds.

The SNP has also introduced a Living Wage – which at £7.85 per hour is higher than the National Living Wage proposed by George Osborne – for public sector workers covered by Scottish Government pay policy.

In the face of unprecedented cuts to Scotland’s budget from the Westminster Government, the SNP has also invested to mitigate against Tory welfare cuts – including the Bedroom Tax. And despite a cut of 25 per cent Westminster cut to Scotland’s capital budget, the Scottish Government is also on track to meet its ambitious target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes by the end of this Parliament.

If re-elected in 2016, the SNP will build on this strong record to deliver further improvement.

SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay said:

“This is an encouraging poll, highlighting the SNP’s extraordinary positive ratings after eight years in government – and it is also a vote of confidence in the strong start that the new team of SNP MPs has made in standing up for Scotland’s interests at Westminster.

“But we take absolutely nothing for granted, and will work hard every day between now and next year’s Holyrood election to retain the trust of people right across Scotland.

“Since coming to office in 2007, we have frozen council tax, protected free Higher Education, scrapped introduced prescription charges, protected Free Personal Care, maintained the concessionary travel scheme, increased Scotland’s health budget to record levels, and protected those hardest hit by unfair Tory welfare cuts. All this has been in the face of massive Westminster cuts to our budget.

“The SNP also introduced the Living Wage – which at £7.85 per hour is higher than the con-trick National Living Wage proposed by George Osborne – for public sector workers covered by Scottish Government pay policy.

“There is still more to do and if re-elected in 2016, the SNP will build on our strong record and deliver further improvements. As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already outlined, by 2020 we will deliver 30 hours of free childcare – almost doubling the current provision of 16 hours – and continue to protect our NHS. We will also continue to use the powers we have to strengthen and grow the Scottish economy – and push the case at Westminster for the powers we need to make more progress.”

Mackay Welcomes Glasgow Airport Passenger Growth

SNP MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the recently reported passenger growth at Glasgow Airport, which is in his constituency of Renfrewshire North & West.

Almost 905,689 people travelled through Glasgow Airport in June 2015, an increase of 14.2% compared to the same period last year.

The figures ensured the Airport’s 28th consecutive month of growth.

Mr Mackay, the MSP for Glasgow Airport, said:

“It is encouraging to see passenger numbers continuing to grow at Glasgow Airport.

“In a time of economic pressures, maintaining passenger numbers can be a challenge. This increase in numbers is testament to the hard work of airport staff.

“Glasgow Airport is going from strength to strength which is good news for Renfrewshire.

“The Airport is a vital part of the local economy and any increase in passenger numbers has a positive knock on effect throughout the area.”

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 48% of 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.

As well as the Dogs Trust research, a recent AA-Populus survey has revealed 21% of dog owners have left their dog unattended in a car for longer than 20 minutes, while last year AA patrols attended more than 1,000 call outs due to pets being locked in cars.

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:

“With temperatures rising over the summer it is more important than ever that Renfrewshire’s 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.

“Most owners do not appreciate how quickly a dog can deteriorate or even die in a hot car, or understand that 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.”

Expert Analysis Warns of Big Losses for Low Income Families

Expert analysis is warning that yesterday’s Tory budget will hurt low income families.

Think-tank the Resolution Foundation published the analysis stating that “severe welfare cuts” will mean “big losses for many low-income families” – with a single parent with one child working 20 hours a week at £9.35 an hour ending up £1,000 a year worse off.

It also points out that Tax Credits, the Minimum Wage and the Living Wage currently complement each other and the Living Wage and Minimum Wage would need to rise further to compensate for the cuts announced today.

Resolution Foundation chief executive Gavin Kelly said it will take “many struggling families years before they earn their way back to their current position”.

Commenting on the report, Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay said:

“This expert analysis raises massive concerns, warning that the welfare cuts in George Osborne’s Budget will result in many families facing big financial loses – with a single parent with one child facing loses of up to £1,000 a year.

“The plans to introduce a National Living Wage, which is actually lower than the current Living Wage in Scotland, are a ‘con-trick’ that will actually result in slower growth in wages.

“It is now more important than ever that the Scotland Bill is strengthened to ensure that the powers to support and empower the least well off and most vulnerable people in society are in Scotland’s hands.”

 

The report can be found in full at http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/media/press-releases/welcome-boost-on-low-pay-but-severe-welfare-cuts-will-mean-big-losses-for-many-low-income-working-families/

“Budget Will Hit Renfrewshire’s Hard Working Families and the Poorest Hardest”

Commenting on the UK Budget announcement today by Chancellor George Osborne, Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay said:

“This budget will hit Renfrewshire’s hard working families and the poorest hardest. The Tories have continued with a harsh austerity agenda – particularly the savage cuts in tax credits which currently help 10,500 families in Renfrewshire stay above the breadline.

“With more than 17,000 children in Renfrewshire benefiting from tax credits, and with the majority of expenditure on tax credits going to low-income working families, it is clear to see that cuts to tax credits are going to impact our poorest children first.

“While I would welcome any increase in the living wage, George Osborne is in reality proposing to lower it to £7.20 from £7.85 which it currently is in Scotland.

“The cuts in the living standards of young people are particularly severe, including scrapping student grants. This demonstrates the benefit of having these powers in the Scottish Parliament, where the SNP Government continue to deliver grants for the poorest students in Scotland, rather than in the hands of the Tories in Westminster.

“This Budget reiterates the need to have economic and welfare powers here in Scotland, so that we can build a more dynamic economy to boost tax revenues and a fairer society for all.”