Returning Councillor made Labour Group Leader
12th May 2022
the first meeting of the Renfrewshire Council Labour Group,
returning Councillor Iain McMillan was elected as the group’s
Councillor McMillan previously a Councillor from 1995 before
standing down in 2017 was returned to represent Johnstone South
and Elderslie at the election earlier this month and has now won
the backing of his Party’s Council colleagues to lead the group
in challenging the SNP administration.
After the inaugural meeting of the new Labour Group where
Councillor McMillan was elected leader, he said he was
“honoured” to take on the role after being voted in at the
group’s AGM on Monday.
Councillor McMillan said “I am delighted and honoured to be
elected as the new Labour group leader on Renfrewshire Council.
The group which I will lead is full of talent and experience.
Our aim is to bring our Labour values to the council and ensure
the administration of the council is scrutinised and held
accountable for its decisions.”
“There is plenty of work to do – not least the issue of the
cost-of-living crisis, which is having a huge impact on
everybody here in Renfrewshire, particularly hitting hard
vulnerable members of our community. I look forward to working
with the deputy leader, Councillor Alison Ann-Dowling, who was
also elected by Labour members at our AGM.”
“The expanded Labour Group on Renfrewshire Council will have a
relentless focus on facing the many challenges before us and
will face these as a united group.”
Councillor McMillan will be supported in his leadership role by
Councillor Alison Ann-Dowling after she was elected depute
“I look forward to working with the deputy leader, Councillor
Alison Ann-Dowling, who was also elected by Labour members at
The development follows the election of 15 Labour councillors on
this month – two more than at the 2017 council election.
Several other roles within the Labour group were also confirmed
with Councillor Gillian Graham made Chair and Councillor Ben
Smith Vice-Chair. Councillor Kevin Montgomery was appointed
secretary. Councillor Graeme Clark will be treasurer with
Councillor Sam Mullin chief whip and Councillor Janis McDonald
Election sees new and old faces join Labour group of Councillors
6th May 2022
Council Labour group has welcomed some new and returning faces
following the results of this week’s Council elections at the
Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley today.
This week’s elections have seen several new Labour Councillors
elected, some sitting Councillors who were contesting their
seats returned and some former Councillors coming back to join
In total the number of Labour Councillors has increased by two
to 15 and whilst not enough to wrest control of the Council from
the SNP has signified that the voter’s trust in the party is
Speaking at the count, Renfrewshire Labour member Daniel Harris
said, “Whilst of course we would have liked to have been in a
position for our Councillors to have formed an administration,
we recognise that work still needs to be done to build the trust
with the voters and demonstrate our policies and plans will work
to the advantage of local people and be a proper alternative to
current administration. Our campaign detected obvious
frustrations with the SNPs management of Renfrewshire Council
and the Labour Group on the Council will act to robustly hold
the SNP administration to account and push for better quality
John Hood and Iain McMillan pledge to improve local area
2nd May 2022
candidates John Hood and Iain McMillan have pledged to make a
difference in the area if they are re-elected.
The Labour duo who are both standing in the
Johnstone South and Elderslie ward,
are among six candidates vying to win one of the four seats
Councillor Hood said "I am hoping to be re-elected to continue
working for the area I've lived in for most of my life. There is
much work to do and I still have plenty of commitment,
enthusiasm and energy to make a difference to our area."
Iain McMillan was an elected member for 22 years – most recently
representing Johnstone South, Elderslie and Howwood – until he
quit in 2017. Now, after five years out, he is hoping to win a
seat once again after spending the past few years as secretary
of Johnstone Community Council.
Mr McMillan said: "After 22 years on the council, I've spent the
last five years working voluntary for a number of organisations
in the area. I've got a lot of experience both in and out of the
council and I want to put that to good use in working for the
people of Johnstone South and Elderslie. Both John and I
will be working to bring about much needed improvements to the
Renfrewshire Labour Launches 'It's Time for Change' Manifesto
27th April 2022
Labour today launched its manifesto for the May 5th Renfrewshire
Council election, with a promise to “put Renfrewshire first” and
“get the basics right.”
Unveiling its plans for a Labour administration in Renfrewshire
over the next five years, the party outlined a raft of policies
in the areas of education, the cost-of-living crisis, the
economy and work, housing, local environment, health and social
care, and transport.
aunching the manifesto, Chair of Renfrewshire Labour’s Local
Government Committee Margaret McCormick said “Renfrewshire has
been going backwards under the current SNP Council. They have
been content to manage decline. They have broken promises, cut
services, and continuously wasted taxpayers’ money. They have
also completely failed to stand up for Renfrewshire against the
cuts being inflicted on our community by both the SNP and Tory
governments. The people of Renfrewshire deserve better."
"Renfrewshire’s election on May 5th isn’t about the constitution
or your position on independence. It’s about local people, local
services, and the local community. Labour has a clear plan for
change and for getting the basics right – with policies targeted
to clean up our streets, fund the frontline, reinvigorate our
town centres and local economy, and work to bring local buses
under public control."
"Renfrewshire Labour isn’t promising the earth. We’re just
promising to run Renfrewshire properly. Plenty of councils
manage to fix the roads and keep the streets clean. The SNP have
had their chance in Renfrewshire and they’ve failed. It’s time
The policies detailed in the manifesto include:
A freeze of all council fees and charges for at least two
years, and a pledge to keep council tax low.
A refreshed strategy to repair our roads and footways and an
end to sub-standard road patching.
Targeting wardens and CCTV in anti-social behaviour hotspots
to make our streets and parks safer.
Zero tolerance for fly-tipping and dog-fouling.
Reducing Renfrewshire’s educational attainment gap and
demanding a renewed emphasis on literacy and numeracy
School swimming lessons for all children by age 10.
Creating a new master plan for town centres to unlock the
potential of our high streets.
Supporting local businesses by using council resources to
Working to create a Strathclyde-wide bus network run for
people not private profit.
Building and enhancing the stock of social housing.
Defending our green belt and giving local communities more
say over planning decisions.
Speaking as the manifesto was launched, Paisley Northwest Labour
candidate Ben Smith commented “The reception on the doors has
been really encouraging. Residents who have historically voted
for all parties and none are expressing enthusiasm for Labour,
and exhaustion with this incompetent SNP Council. Our diverse
and energised team of local champions will provide the fresh
thinking and ideas that Renfrewshire Council needs. The SNP have
had their chance. It’s time for change in Renfrewshire, and a
vote for Scottish Labour is a vote to deliver that change.”
You can read and download Renfrewshire
Political hopefuls call for help over cost of living
27th April 2022
Labour candidates for Johnstone North,
Kilbarchan, Howwood and Lochwinnoch, Gillian Graham and
Chris Gilmour have thrown their weight behind the campaign to
support Renfrewshire residents impacted by the rising cost of
Graham and Chris Gilmour have urged council chiefs in
Renfrewshire to do more to “mitigate the worst effects of the
Former local government officer Gillian said: “This is the worst
cost of living crisis in our lifetime with food and energy bills
soaring. These stretch purse strings to the limit. Both
the UK and Scottish governments need to take immediate action to
address people’s real concerns, however we believe that
Renfrewshire Council can and should do much more to help provide
some financial respite for local people.”
Chris Gilmour added: “Talking to residents and community groups
we know that the costs to hire community halls are prohibitive,
as are the charges for swimming pools and sports centres
operated by One Ren on behalf of the Council. Hundreds of
thousands of pounds of council tax payers money was spent on a
rebranding of One Ren, this would have been much better spent
reducing costs for use of sports centres and pools. The current
charges should be frozen for two years.”
They also told how residents had shared concerns over the cost
of requesting special uplifts for household goods and waste.
Gillian commented: “Slashing these would have a beneficial
effect financially for thousands of households and would help to
discourage fly tipping which is an increasing problem in our
area. These measures added to our previous commitment to support
families by increasing the school clothing grant, fighting for
free school meals for all children, providing more affordable
child care and continued free parking in our town centres, will
provide much needed help.”
Chris said “The recent council budget was based on longer term
investment and growth. In normal times this would be welcomed
however we are not living in normal times and the current
unprecedented financial challenge cannot be ignored. Gain in the
long term is important but easing the pain for residents now and
in the short term is a responsibility the council needs to
recognise and act upon. Any plan to help people cope with the
present crisis will require all those elected to the new council
to stand up for Renfrewshire and secure the necessary funding
from the Scottish and Westminster Governments to provide this
much needed help.”
Council Candidate pledges to fight for better
rural bus services in Renfrewshire
18th April 2022
of Labour’s candidates at the forthcoming election on 5th May
has pledged to help boost rural bus services in Renfrewshire if
she scores an election victory next month.
Gillian Graham will stand in the Johnstone
North, Kilbarchan, Howwood and Lochwinnoch ward and the
candidate wants to pile on the pressure to have bus services
brought back into public ownership, which she says will allow
greater connectivity between Renfrewshire's outlying villages
and improve rural services.
Ms Graham hopes to see Renfrewshire Council working with
neighbouring local authorities to create a publicly-owned
transport outfit under new legislation which from July will
allow councils to run their own services.
The new legislation was passed in 2019 but its roll out was
delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but the Scottish
Government hopes the change will give councils greater
flexibility in finding solutions to transport challenges in
Ms Graham said, "Rural bus services have been decimated as a
result of de-regulation almost 40 years ago. For too long
decisions on bus services have been driven purely by profit and
not the needs of the local community and passengers. Cuts and
changes to services have made life more difficult for passengers
and currently you cannot get a bus between the villages of
Kilbarchan and Bridge of Weir."
She added: "Passengers from Lochwinnoch, many of whom are older
people, have to get two buses to get to Kilbarchan and since
last summer weekday daytime passengers from Kilbarchan have had
to get two buses to Johnstone Railway Station. Rural passengers,
whether using buses for shopping, GP visits or commuting, are
telling me the current service isn’t fit for purpose. There has
never been a more critical time for improving and protecting bus
services. The rocketing price of fuel and the need to reduce
carbon emissions post COP 26 mean that every encouragement for
people to transfer to buses must be given."
Additional problems have been thrown up for communities since
transport changes in the wake of the pandemic and amidst rising
fuel costs as operators are hit in the pocket.
Earlier this month Gibson, a Renfrew based coach firm was forced
out of business blaming the impact of the outbreak on business.
Ms Graham believes communities want to see improved links,
saying: "Every public consultation has seen overwhelming support
for buses to be brought back into public ownership, with
services that are tailor-made for local communities. In order to
achieve this the council needs to have far more influence on
routes timetables and particularly fares, providing a service
for which they are accountable. I will work towards that aim
urging Renfrewshire Council to work with neighbouring
authorities to provide such a service The message from
passengers I have spoken with is the sooner this happens the
The Council Candidate is being supported in her bid by fellow
candidate for the ward and former sitting councillor, Chris
Margaret Thatcher's Tory government commissioned a transport
white paper in the 1980s, which led to the 1986 de-regulation of
the bus industry in Scotland, England and Wales.
The move, enshrined in the Transport Act 1985, saw the transfer
of large-scale bus operations from public bodies such as
municipal operators who were not subject to competition, opening
up the industry to private operators, sparking stiff competition
on profitable routes.
Union bosses issued warnings at the time about the impact of
Labour candidates want to restore 'civic
9th April 2022
candidates for Johnstone North,
Kilbarchan, Howwood and Lochwinnoch ward in the local
elections on Thursday 5th May have have pledged to restore
“civic pride” to the streets of Johnstone if backed by voters.
Chris Gilmour and Gillian Graham believe the town centre and
areas around the three main road entrances to Johnstone require
major improvements to their appearance.
Mr Gilmour, who served as a councillor in the area between 2012
and 2017 and who has lived in Johnstone all his life said, “Many
people have spoken to me and are disgusted by the state of our
town. Some people who used to live here and now visit are
absolutely appalled at the way it has deteriorated over the last
few years. It is true to say that one never gets a second chance
to make a first impression and sadly, whether it be the
dilapidated and derelict appearance of Millbrae or the state of
the flower beds in Kilbarchan Road, people are left with a
negative view of our fine and proud town.”
“There are also concerns expressed by local people at the
eyesore that is Johnstone arcade and the lack of attention given
to the Ludovic gardens in the centre of town. I have no doubt
from speaking to voters that these issues are a priority for the
people of Johnstone. We need to listen to their concerns.”
Gillian Graham insists towns such as Johnstone have suffered
while the SNP has been in power at Renfrewshire House and said,
“You only have to take a walk around the town to conclude that
things are worse than five years ago. I am committed to bringing
about the necessary improvements to restore Johnstone to its
former glory and a town that both residents and visitors from
local villages and beyond can be proud of once again.”
Council candidate blasts local authority bosses over "derelict"
1st April 2022
McGuire, one of Labour's Candidates for the
Renfrew North and
Braehead ward in the forthcoming
Council elections in May has criticised the SNP administration
in Renfrewshire Council for failing to include a Renfrew
playpark in it's playpark refurbishment programme.
The Labour candidate blasted council bosses over the condition
of an "eyesore" Renfrew park and has asked why when the
Renfrewshire authority ploughs £1.25 million into a scheme to
upgrade several sites throughout the area it has ignored the
"derelict" Alexandra Park which he says appears to have been
"forgotten" by council chiefs as they embark on upgrades of
similar sites across Renfrewshire.
Jamie McGuire said, "The park is basically derelict, it's just
been lying there. There are frames but there are no swings on
them, there's broken glass strewn around, no bins, the concrete
has come up in parts as well so even if you were trying to take
a wheelchair or a pram through it could be a major problem. The
park is smack in the middle of Renfrew, it's the first thing you
see when you come into the town and it's an eyesore, not to
mention health and safety. There's a play park fund there
to repair parks but this has been left out. They have done other
parks in Renfrew but they have left Alexandra Park out, maybe
they think it's too far gone but I don't, I think it needs
rejuvenated. There's a lot that could be done and I think the
fact it's right in the centre of town, it's the first thing you
see when you drive in on the main road, it's literally right in
the centre and it should surely be a priority to fix it."
Labour Councillor blast's Council bosses over
16th March 2022
Councillor Alison Ann-Dowling has made a stinging criticism of
Council bosses for refusing to reveal the cost of repairing
Renfrewshire's crumbling road network.
Scottish Labour approached all Scottish local authorities with
almost all admitting that the cost to make proper repairs would
total £1.7 billion. However, bosses at Renfrewshire
Council have refused the Freedom of Information request and now
Scottish Labour Councillor Alison Ann-Dowling has called on the
SNP run Renfrewshire Council to come clean.
Cllr Alison Ann-Dowling, who represents Houston, Crosslee and
Linwood and her colleague Councillor Colin McCulloch for Bridge
of Weir, Bishopton and Langbank recently passed a motion at
Renfrewshire Council calling for a fresh strategy to improve the
state of local roads and pavements.
Councillor Ann-Dowling said “Many people know Renfrewshire’s
roads are in a terrible state after years of SNP neglect.
But it is shocking the Council have failed to publish the true
extent of their failure. It’s not acceptable for people not to
know how much is needed to repair the roads - the SNP
administration should come clean and tell us what the road
repair backlog is. Either the SNP won’t tell people how
badly they have managed our roads or they simply don’t know.
Which is it?”
The councillor is calling for a new strategy for Renfrewshire’s
roads and more cash to go into proper re-surfacing rather than
pothole repair. East Renfrewshire, which has a much
smaller road network, has £25 million of repairs outstanding.
'Horrendous' potholes across Linwood and Houston must be
permanently fixed, insists Labour Councillor
19th February 2022
Labour Councillor Alison Ann-Dowling has called for urgent
action to tackle the horrendous potholes across Linwood and
Houston which are causing damage to local residents cars and
potentially risking serious accidents.
Councillor Ann-Dowling has said a string of roads across her
ward need urgent attention after a pile of complaints from
residents. One driver who got in touch with her this week
had allegedly blown two tyres because of a pothole on Lyon Road
in Linwood. Potholes have also appeared on roads such as Bridge
Street, Melrose Avenue, Barochan Road, Kintyre Avenue, Cotton
Avenue and Clippens Road in Linwood.
Meanwhile, large road surface damage is causing problems in
Houston on Main Street and on Barochan Road between the
Deafhillock Roundabout and Magnus Road.
Councillor Ann-Dowling has stressed many of these areas need
proper, permanent resurfacing rather than just being temporarily
patched up and said, "I have got a huge amount of complaints
from across my ward about potholes. The issue seems to be that
the council are working hard trying to make repairs but they are
all temporary. They do not last and the original problem
resurfaces. We need to see significant investment in the roads
and proper permanent repairs because I've had people who have
"One constituent blew two tyres the other day on Lyon Road on
the way to WH Malcolm. The whole of Barochan Road needs
resurfacing really and Cotton Avenue has some horrendous
potholes. Kintyre Avenue is also in terrible condition.
Some roads are due to be resurfaced later on this year but this
situation is emblematic of an inadequate maintenance schedule.
These roads should not have been allowed to deteriorate so
Some of the streets are included in the council's capital roads
programme but Clippens Road is only down for patching repairs as
opposed to a more thorough resurfacing.
The council has invested £8 million in 2021/22 in upgrading
roads and footpaths.
Barochan Road in Houston and Cotton Avenue in Linwood are both
down for resurfacing, but Councillor Ann-Dowling said there have
been no precise dates set out for this work.
John Hood calls for action to tackle high number of
pest control callouts
3rd February 2022
Councillor John Hood has asked Council bosses to take urgent
action after pest control staff were called out over 1300 times
last year to deal with issues from rodent problems to wasp
and Bishopton were the top 10 areas for rat problems with staff
called out nearly 900 times to address residents concerns about
residents in Maple Drive, Greenend Avenue, Dimity Street,
Macdowall Street and Floorsburn Crescent all had multiple rodent
incidents with 60 visits recorded.
Councillor Hood who
represents Johnstone South and Elderslie said "Greenend
Avenue is beside a number of old school sites and I’ve been
getting complaints about rats in nearby streets such as
Craigview Avenue, Duncraig Crescent and Craigenfeoch Avenue.
There are also empty buildings in Maple Drive and I believe rats
were coming up through the toilets. It was an absolute
nightmare. I’d like to see these hotspots given a massive
clean out and then kept clean.”
Labour backs campaign calling for an unsafe cycle lane to be
1st January 2022
Councillor John Hood has joined local campaigners in applying
pressure on the SNP Council administration to
remove a controversial cycle lane from a busy Johnstone road.
There are increasing
safety as a result of the lane being installed at Beith Road
earlier this year as part of a trial cycle route from Howwood to
Paisley, funded by Sustrans Scotland after a teenager was
injured when he collided with a car on Beith Road, near its
junction with Rannoch Road.
Police and ambulances
attended an incident on 22nd December where an 18-year-old was
taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for treatment.
Over 600 local residents have signed a petition asking the
Council administration rethink the new layout.
Labour Councillor John Hood said, “Myself and others have warned
that this new cycle lane is an accident waiting to happen. We
want to see it removed and more safety features put into the
area. One of the reasons a speed camera was installed at
that junction was because people have been killed there before.
I’m getting told about near misses on Beith Road almost every
day now from residents.”
There have been complaints that the new layout is confusing for
drivers to navigate and keeps customers away from nearby shops.