Derek Mackay MSP Comments on Remembrance Sunday

Today we remember the fallen. This morning I attended the Remembrance Service at Renfrew Cenotaph, before visiting Erskine Home to also pay my respects.

Wreaths were also laid at Paisley and Bridge of Weir and this afternoon I attended an event in Bishopton.

It is important that we take time to stop and reflect on the losses suffered in conflicts past, and present.

Mackay marks Living Wage Week

Derek Mackay MSP said:

“I marked Living Wage Week by visiting Quarriers in my constituency to celebrate them becoming an accredited Living Wage employer.

We now have over 40 accredited Living Wage employers in Renfrewshire, and in Government we are committed to using our new Fair Work First strategy to make payment of the Living Wage a condition of even more public contracts and government support grants.

As the Scottish Living Wage increases to £9 per hour, I commend all employers who are accredited and encourage other businesses and organisations to follow suit and recognise the benefits of paying the real Living Wage.”

Money seized from crooks up for grabs

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay is encouraging local community youth groups to bid for a share of money seized from criminals.

Applications are now open for a share of the £700,000 from the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities Youth Work Fund.

Cashback takes assets seized from drug dealers and other criminals and puts they money back into local communities.

Priority will be given to projects and activities which address inequalities, particularly in areas of deprivation.

The closing date for applications is 1.00pm on Friday 7th December 2018

More information on the latest round of the CashBack Youth Work Fund, grant criteria and details is available on the YouthLink Scotland website:

SNP MSP Derek Mackay said:

“This money is available to will help fund projects for children and young people across Renfrewshire.

“There is no doubting the link between deprivation, exclusion from education and anti-social behaviour and more serious contacts with the police and the courts.

“I am encouraging projects across Renfrewshire which target these issues to apply for this funding that can benefit our communities and change young lives for the better.”

Mackay urges Constituents to Give Blood

SNP MSP Derek Mackay is encouraging his Renfrewshire constituents to help save a life by donating blood.

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service aim to stock six days’ worth of each blood type at all times.

Blood has a very short shelf life and can’t be stockpiled, so donors are required every day to help maintain stocks of the eight blood types.

The Service is currently reporting low stocks in the O blood groups.

The mobile blood van will be at the Kirklandneuk Community Centre, Ness Road, Renfrew on Thursday 4th October at 2pm until 3.30pm, and 5pm until 7.30pm.

It will also be at Erskine Sports Centre on Monday 8th October between 2pm and 3.30pm and 5pm and 7.30pm

To enquire about donor centre opening hours or the schedule for the mobile blood donation van, please visit or call 0345 90 90 999.

SNP MSP Derek Mackay said:

“The generosity of Renfrewshire’s blood donors over the years has helped ensure that blood stocks have remained at a healthy level and those that require blood – get it.

“We can all help the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service by knowing what blood type we are and by keeping an eye on what particular blood groups are experiencing a shortage of supply.

“As someone who has given blood in the past, I can reassure any first-time donors that the staff are friendly and do a great job in making the process quick and comfortable.

“I’d therefore like to urge both regular donors, and any first-time donors, to give blood. That few minutes out of your day could save someone’s life.”

Make Sure Your Defibrillator is Registered

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay is joining forces with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and the British Heart Foundation to highlight the importance of ensuring defibrillators located in sports centres, schools, community halls and shops across Renfrewshire are registered with the emergency services.

A defibrillator is a life-saving machine that gives the heart an electric shock in some cases of cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping blood around the body. When someone has a cardiac arrest, defibrillation needs to be prompt. For every minute that passes without defibrillation chances of survival decrease by 10 per cent. Research shows that applying a controlled shock within five minutes of collapse provides the best possible chances of survival

It is vitally important that they are registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service in order that during a cardiac arrest emergency call they can signpost the 999 caller to the nearest defibrillator.

At present, not including those located at Glasgow Airport, there are approximately 19 registered public accessible defibrillators with Renfrewshire. However, it is estimated that there is at least the same amount again which are not registered.

As well as calling on any group who has a defibrillator to ensure they are registered, Mr Mackay has also written to Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Leisure to ask them to ensure any machines located in local schools or publicly-run leisure centres are registered.

Mr Mackay said:

“During a cardiac arrest every second counts and having a publicly accessible defibrillator located in our communities, particularly in rural areas, can save lives.

“While it is fantastic that so many Renfrewshire schools, community groups and shops have defibrillators, it is vitally important that they are registered in order that during a cardiac arrest the emergency services can signpost the 999 caller to the nearest machine. To put it simply – if they don’t know you have a defibrillator, they can’t make use of it in an emergency.

“If your business or community group has a defibrillator, check with the Scottish Ambulance Service that it is registered. It could make all the difference.”

David McColgan, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager, BHF Scotland says:

“The announcement of the new National Defibrillator Network is an exciting development in improving out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rates in Scotland and the rest of the UK. 

“We know that defibrillators play a crucial step in the chain of survival and when used alongside bystander CPR a person’s chance of survival increases greatly. 

“Mapping these lifesaving machines will enable Ambulance call handlers to direct bystanders to the nearest device when appropriate. If someone is a guardian of or knows of a public access defibrillator in their area it can be registered through the Scottish Ambulance Service website and you can help play a part in this lifesaving project.”

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said:

“Having a defibrillator close to hand can mean the difference between life and death. The best way to ensure it can save a life is to ensure it is registered with us – that way our 999 call handlers can easily locate it and direct a caller to it in an emergency.

“Instructions on registering a device with us are provided on most defibrillators; however, it couldn’t be easier to register one in retrospect – simply go to the Scottish Ambulance PAD registration site online and provide details of the defibrillator’s location.”

No change to free bus pass age

The Scottish Government have confirmed that the age of eligibility will not change for the National Concessionary Travel Scheme and will remain at 60.

A consultation on the scheme closed in November 2017, with nearly 3000 responses received from people and organisations all across Scotland. Two thirds of respondents felt that that the free bus pass should remain available from the age of 60. A similar number of respondents felt that Modern Apprentices should benefit from free bus travel, and an overwhelming number of respondents were in favour of providing companion cards for eligible disabled children aged under five.

Renfrewshire MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the announcement by saying:

“The Scottish Government have listened to those who responded and are not changing the age people receive their free bus pass.

“The concessionary travel scheme enables independence, accessibility and social inclusivity, and I am delighted that we are not only ensuring those over 60 continue to receive this, but that we are also expanding it to include companions of eligible disabled children aged under five.

“The Government will also continue to explore options to provide free bus travel for Modern Apprentices, while keeping the scheme under review and maintaining a balanced budget.”

Local SNP Open Door to New Members

The Renfrewshire SNP opened its doors to new members on Saturday, with a new members fun day. Over 120 attended the day at Renfrew Juniors ground in Renfrew.

The event organised by Renfrewshire MSP and SNP Chairman Derek Mackay allowed local members – old and new – to get to know each other and meet some of Renfrewshire’s Parliamentarians and Councillors.

As well as Derek Mackay, guests heard from a range of speakers including Mhairi Black MP, Tom Arthur MSP, Depute Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Linda Fabiani MSP, Human Rights Lawyer Aamer Anwar and Scottish Government Brexit and Constitution Secretary Michael Russell MSP.

A majority of the SNPs Renfrewshire Councillors were also in attendance and kids who came along enjoyed a face painter, playing football on the pitch and also on the bouncy castle hired in specifically for the event.

In the last month, the Renfrewshire membership of the SNP has increased by 329, and now stands at over 2000.

Mr Mackay told those in attendance:

“The SNP is a family, and everyone – regardless of if you joined yesterday, after the independence referendum, or 30 years ago – is an equal part of that family.

“Since 2014 our local membership has rocketed and everyone who joined did so for similar reasons; they want to see Renfrewshire and Scotland become a fairer and more equal place. 

“I hope today’s event has helped new members feel welcome and get to know everyone, and give those existing members who didn’t know each other before the chance to meet.”

Commenting on the event Mhairi Black MP said:

 “The Tories Brexit power grab on devolution was the breaking point for many people in Scotland. This has seen SNP membership soar across the country and Renfrewshire has been no different with numbers continually rising.

“It was really great to meet so many new faces at our fun day for new members on Saturday. It is important that we hear as many new voices as possible as we look towards what Scotland’s future will be as the Westminster establishment continue to send us down a road to ruin.”

 Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur added:

 “Events like this are a great opportunity for folk to engage directly, and hear local and national representatives talk about the changing political climate.

“We have a fantastic, active membership in Johnstone and the surrounding villages and new members have been warmly welcomed into the fold.

“The membership continues to grow here and across the country, with people keen to engage and volunteer their time.

“I had a fantastic day on Saturday meeting our new members in Renfrewshire, and I’m grateful to Derek Mackay for arranging this.”

Renfrew FC prepare for season back in top flight

Renfrewshire MSP Derek Mackay has spoken of his delight at Renfrew FC’s recent success and his hope for the new season, including a call for locals to show their support.

Following their promotion last season the club will play in Junior Football’s West Region Premiership. This season’s cup matches begin next weekend with the side returning to league action on 4th August with a home match against Pollok.

Derek Mackay said:

“It was great to see the club promoted last season, and as they prepare for the season ahead I hope everyone gets behind Renfrew and gives their support to our local team.

“Being Renfrew born and bred, I was pleased to play my part in helping to ensure the club got its new stadium ‘off the ground’, and after a difficult few years on and off the park it is great to see the team doing well.

“The youth development is growing and I have seen first hand the work they are doing in the community.

“I wish them well for the season ahead and I am confident last year’s promotion is just another stepping stone on the journey to future success and continued stability.”

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 most people believe it is fine 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 joins Renfrewshire Provost in Supporting MND Awareness Week

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has joined Renfrewshire Provost, Cllr Lorraine Cameron, in supporting MND Awareness Week in the Scottish Parliament.

18th– 24th June marked Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Awareness Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness of the condition and its impact on families in Scotland.

MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided. There is currently no cure or effective treatment. Almost 200 people are diagnosed each year in Scotland, 53% will die within one year of diagnosis and 6.5% live more than 5 years. There are over 450 people in Scotland currently living with MND.

Since 2015, the Scottish Government has invested £2.5 million in a specialist nursing and care fund each year, more than doubling the number of MND specialist nurses across the country.

SNP MSP Derek Mackay said:

“I am happy to show my support to the campaign to help raise awareness of this condition in Scotland.

“I was also delighted to welcome the Provost to Parliament for the event.

“Since 2015 the Scottish Government have invested £2.5 million in a specialist care fund each year, helping to double the number of specialist nurses across Scotland.

“We are working to ensure that people living with MND have access to the best possible care, support and research”