News

Alison Dowling will stand up for working people at Paisley TUC Hustings Event
23rd May 2017

Alison Dowling for Paisley and Renfrewshire SouthPaisley TUC are holding a hustings event Thursday 25th May, 7pm-10pm in Methodist Halls, Smithhills Street, Paisley.

The event will be attended by parliamentary candidate Alison Dowling, standing for Paisley and Renfrewshire South. A key driver for Alison standing for election is her concern that working people have been left behind by a hardening, right wing Tory agenda for the few, and a Scottish nationalist focus on independence at the expense of doing the day job.

Talking about her personal story, Alison said "My family story is one of the reasons I am standing in this election. My late father was a Clyde shipbuilder who suffered from blacklisting. As a younger man he lost his livelihood for a time, simply for speaking up for the rights of his colleagues. With the help of the trade union movement he made it back into employment and was able to support his family for the rest of his working life."

"Modern trade unions are so important for our changing world, and are key to the success of industrial strategy in countries like Germany. Members come from all industries and walks of life, but they have one thing in common. They all want to get on at work, and to do right by their families and the people who depend on them. I recently supported local EIS lecturers striking to protect the quality of education our college students deserve. I am disappointed, but sadly not surprised that absent MP Mhairi Black has showed no interest in supporting our local college lecturers who have fought long and hard to safeguard further education in Renfrewshire. Perhaps if we had wrapped ourselves up in Saltires and belted out a couple of verses of Caledonia, Mhairi might have been more motivated to lend her support."

"If I am elected MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South on June 8th, I will fight for the issues that matter in Westminster. I plan to convene a Renfrewshire jobs summit working with employers and the national governments to attract quality jobs, paying a salary that people can actually live on, and to support businesses to help grow the local economy. One of the first things the SNP/Tory alliance in Renfrewshire Council have done in office is to abolish the all-important Jobs and Economy Board, so my Labour-led jobs summit plan will be a top priority".


Renfrewshire Labour and Parliamentary Candidates Support WASPI National Day of Action
22nd May 2017


Alison Taylor for Paisley and Renfrewshire NorthRenfrewshire Labour are holding an event in support of the WASPI national day of action, 12.30pm -1.30pm on Friday 26th May at the Bandstand, Houston Square, Johnstone PA5 8DX.

The event is in support of the women against state pension inequality (WASPI) campaign, which demands fair transitional state pension arrangements for all women born in the 1950's affected by the changes to the state pension law (1995/2011 ACTS). This translates into a 'bridging pension' to provide an income until State Pension Age - not means tested - and with compensation for losses for tAlison Dowling for Paisley and Renfrewshire Southhose women who have already reached their SPA. The campaign does not ask for the pension age to revert back to age 60.

The event will also be attended by parliamentary candidates Alison Dowling, standing for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and Alison Taylor, standing for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, where they will sign WASPI Pledge boards, distribute WASPI literature to the public to raise awareness of the issue and a WASPI petition in support of the women affected by the changes.

Alison Dowling said, "The recent Labour-led Renfrewshire Council administration consistently supported the aims of the WASPI campaign and recognised that many women are suffering huge financial difficulties because of the way the changes have been implemented. A large number of WASPI women only received a letter advising them of increases to their State Pension Age when they were 59, within one year of their expected State Pension Age of 60, and many others received only a few years notice. As a result, WASPI women have had no time to put in place alternative financial arrangements to see them through to the new state retirement age.This is an unfair and unacceptable state of affairs. If Alison Taylor and myself are elected as MP's on the 8th June, we fully intend to continue to fight for the wrongs that have been done to the WASPI women to be put right."


Labour protests with local families over the closure of the R.A.H. Children’s Ward as SNP Health Minister, MP and Council Leader hold an invitation only closed door meeting
19th May 2017

Labour protests with local families over the closure of the R.A.H. Children’s Ward as SNP Health Minister, MP and Council Leader hold an invitation only closed door meeting.Labour MSP Neil Bibby, local Labour Councillors and members of the Kids Need Our Ward action group joined together in Paisley yesterday in protest as the Scottish Government Health Minister Shona Robison visited the town for a crunch talks over plans to axe the Children’s Ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

There was anger as the meeting which the KNOW Group has been calling to take place for months was limited to just a few parents, shutting out many of those who have been actively campaigning against the wards closure.

Labour Councillor Carolann Davidson who was a founding member of the KNOW group said “We need to have another meeting because there were people here today to meet with Shona Robison who weren’t allowed in. We had to fight tooth and nail to have Councillor Karen Kennedy to be allowed in as she is a parent who has used ward 15.”

Neil Bibby MSP said, “After months of requests Shona Robison the SNP Health Secretary finally visited Paisley for a private invitation only meeting about the future of the Children's Ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital . Thanks to everyone who came to the protest today and for the thousands of local people who have signed petitions to save the ward. The future of the hospital depends on keeping key services. The Health Secretary can be in no doubt today about the views of local families and strength of opinion on the RAH Kids Ward - the SNP Government MUST reverse the closure decision now not delay it until after the General Election. I believe we can win this fight and will continue to stand up for local families.”


Scrapping of Economy and Jobs Board is a betrayal of Renfrewshire's unemployed and young people
19th May 2017

Councillor Derek BibbyA decision by the newly installed SNP minority administration of Renfrewshire Council to cut the number of Policy Boards from four to six and which will see the Economy and Jobs boards remit merged with the Leadership Board has been met with by outrage from the council's Labour Group.

The decision which was supported by both the Conservatives and the sole Lib Dem Councillor was taken at Thursdays Statutory Council meeting.

Councillor Derek Bibby, the Labour Group's Depute Leader said, "This is an astonishing decision. Since it was set up by the previous Labour administration the Economy and Jobs Board Renfrewshire's Youth Unemployment has been slashed. At the same time Scotland's Economic growth is virtually stagnant and is seriously lagging behind the rest of the UK.  So the very first act of the new SNP/Tory Alliance is to scrap the board. You couldn't make it up."

At the same meeting the Housing Policy Board was downgraded and combined with Planning which means that less time will be spent on addressing both housing needs and planning issues with potential implications for the green belt.

Councillor Bibby said, "Young people in Renfrewshire have twin ambitions of having a job and somewhere to live. Those ambitions have been dashed at a stroke.  These changes are simply designed to reduce transparency and an attempt to conceal the austerity cuts which are coming down the line."


Tartan Tories in Alliance
18th May 2017


Councillor Derek BibbyRenfrewshire Council Labour Group have the slammed the SNP and Conservative groups on Renfrewshire Council for failing to respect the will of the people of Renfrewshire.

The two groups voted together to give the SNP a majority on all council boards and outside committees despite the SNP getting a minority of councillors in the council

Labour Depute Leader Derek Bibby said, "This is a coalition of SNP and the Tories by any other name and it is clear that they have entered into a partnership that will deliver an austerity agenda. The people who were told to vote Conservative at the local elections to limit the power of the SNP and did so will be furious and bewildered by the decision of the Tory group on Renfrewshire Council."

"Those voters will ask if this ludicrous decision was driven by greed or stupidity  The Conservative group could have had the same representation on boards and denied the SNP a majority. Their craven approach at the council meeting means that they will support the austerity cuts that are coming"


Labour candidate says Party’s manifesto offers a real choice for change for people in Paisley and Renfrewshire North
18th May 2017

Alison Taylor for Paisley and Renfrewshire NorthLabour’s Alison Taylor, the party’s candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North has stated her belief that her Party’s General Election Manifesto offers a real alternative to the bleak austerity offered by the Tories and which the SNP administration in Holyrood has merely repackaged and is passing onto Scotland’s communities.

Speaking on the day after the manifesto’s launch Alison Taylor said: “Our manifesto offers a bold programme for government which aims to radically rebalance our society to make it fairer for everyone. I believe it offers a positive change in direction for our country. We have detailed and costed plans which will help grow our economy and get it working for everyone, not just a privileged few. It also makes clear that Labour is on the side of working people, guaranteeing no rises in income tax for those earning below £80,000 a year, and no increases in personal National Insurance Contributions or the rate of VAT.”

Alison has also welcomed the manifesto’s commitment to opposing a second independence referendum.

Alison said: “I believe that Scotland’s social and economic future is best served by remaining as part of the United Kingdom. I campaigned on that basis during the independence referendum in 2014 and the majority of Scottish people agreed. I am pleased that our manifesto makes clear that Labour will oppose a second bitter and divisive referendum which current polling show is not wanted by the majority of Scottish people.”

Alison says the manifesto strikes the appropriate balance between ensuring workers’ rights and creating the right conditions for businesses to succeed.

Alison said: “Helping business thrive and growing our economy cannot be achieved without being balanced against ensuring respect for people in the workplace. The Tories have undermined workers by setting exorbitant fees to access Employment Tribunals. The recent pledge of a year’s unpaid leave to care for an ill family member will be unaffordable for many families here in Paisley and Renfrewshire North.”

Alison stated that only Labour offer a real change in direction for Britain.

Alison said: “Labour’s manifesto is a road-map towards a fairer Britain, which puts forward practical proposals to help enhance the lives of people in all parts of the UK and which is not driven by a desperate pursuit of separation or doggedly insisting that a failed programme of austerity can repair our economy.”


Labour’s candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North backs campaign to save Children’s Ward
18th May 2017

Paisley and Renfrewshire North candidate Alison Taylor with Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale at the Kids Need Our Ward campaign event at the R.A.H. in Paisley.Labour’s Alison Taylor, the party’s candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North was joined by Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale along with local people and Labour Party activists to protest against the closure of the children’s ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley on Wednesday (17th May).

Highlighting the result of SNP cuts Alison and Kezia warned that closures and downgrades to local NHS Services would include:

  • The children’s ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

  • Maternity services at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

  • Maternity Services at Inverclyde Royal Hospital.

  • Orthopaedics at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie which have been closed on interim basis with no guarantee of return.

  • Lightburn Hospital in Glasgow.

During the Scottish leaders’ TV debate last year Nicola Sturgeon assured an audience member that there would be no threat to the children’s ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

The local SNP MP, Mhairi Black, failed to make a submission to the consultation on the future of the children’s ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

Speaking at the protest Alison Taylor said: “The SNP claim that their MPs are champions for their communities, leading the opposition against Tory austerity. The truth is the SNP has merely repackaged the austerity, adding their own special touch and passing on cuts which are deeply harmful to our local communities as the threat to children’s ward here at the R.A.H. demonstrates. And where the local SNP MPs like Gavin Newlands should be standing up for our public services their inaction is a damning indictment of their failure to fight for the people who elected them.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “People need local MPs who will fight for their NHS services, not fight for another divisive independence referendum. SNP MPs like Mhairi Black in Paisley have been posted missing when it comes to the threat of cuts to the Royal Alexandra Hospital. That just isn’t good enough. Rather than grandstanding in Westminster, MPs should be standing up for local services. Every Labour MP elected on 8 June will fight for their local services, not fight for another referendum Scotland doesn’t want."


Roadworks investment underway in Linwood
10th March 2017


Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire Council's Environment Board inspects works to improve road safety at a problem junction in Linwood.Labour run Renfrewshire Council have begun a £150,000  programme of roadworks aimed at improving traffic flow and road safety at a busy location in Linwood.

New traffic signals are being installed at the junction of Stirling Drive and Clippens Road in Linwood. Street parking outside the shops will be formalised.  A new Toucan crossing will also be installed near to Kintyre play park. This crossing provides access to the existing national cycle route and also provides a safe crossing point for pedestrians and cyclists.

Council bosses have pledged to minimise disruption at morning and afternoon peak times and the works are being carried out between 9.30am and 3.30pm.  The six-week programme is expected to be completed by the end of the month. Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire Council's Environment Board, said:  "I know that the local community will welcome this significant investment in improving road safety and traffic flow.  We are doing all we can to minimise any inconvenience while the works are carried out and drivers and pedestrians will soon be able to see the benefit.  Recently the council announced its biggest-ever single year roads investment - £6.7million for 2017-18 and we will be developing our programme of further roads upgrades and maintenance over the coming months."


Paisley Town Centre regeneration taking shape
9th March 2017

Council Leader Mark Macmillan outside the Russell InstituteRestoration of the iconic Russell Institute building is nearing completion as part of major moves to revitalise Paisley Town Centre.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan visited the Category A-listed building in the heart of Paisley which is being transformed through a £5 million investment into a Skills & Employability Hub.  The former health centre will re-open its doors this summer, home to Skills Development Scotland and the Council's Invest in Renfrewshire employability team.

It is expected to house around 120 employees including careers and employability staff helping unemployed people across Renfrewshire and working closely with local businesses to create further jobs and grow the local economy.  Main contractors CBC Ltd have been charged with ensuring the distinctive features of the Institute are retained, from its ornate sculptures on the outside of the building, to its stunning staircase and balcony inside.  The Institute celebrates its 90th anniversary this month and a campaign will launch next week calling for the people of Renfrewshire to share their stories and photographs of this iconic local landmark.

Councillor Macmillan said: "It is fantastic to see first-hand the progress being made as the restoration of the iconic Russell Institute building nears completion. "It is a stunning building and the revamp is being carried out to preserve its architectural features. I know that the building means much more to the people of Paisley than bricks and mortar and I am pleased future generations will be able to appreciate its splendour. It is remembered fondly as a health centre and in its new role as a Skills and Employability Hub, it will provide an excellent environment in a central location to help generate new jobs and opportunities for the people of Renfrewshire."

The work at the Institute was sparked by the passion of local volunteers in the Paisley Development Trust and is funded by the Council, Scottish Government and Historic Environment Scotland. It is a key part of a range of projects and initiatives to bolster business and drive people back to the town centre, including the town's bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley is one of three Renfrewshire town centres benefiting from the installation of free public access Wi-Fi.  The former Arnotts department store is being converted into apartments and a restaurant whilst the second major shopfront improvement scheme has opened around High Street following its success on Causeyside Street. Work is under way on a new publicly-accessible museum store in a previously-empty unit on Paisley High St and plans are advanced for a new £5m library and £49m revamp of Paisley Museum.

Visitors to the town centre will also have noticed the giant gable end mural on Johnston Street, the first of several pieces of artwork led by business group Paisley First, tapping into the creative potential of Renfrewshire and part-funded through the Council's Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

Councillor Macmillan added: "Changes in the way people shop have changed the role of the high street - but here in Paisley we are showing how investment in heritage, culture and events can be used to breathe new life into a town centre and bring in footfall which traders can benefit from.  We have implemented a multi-million pound regeneration plan and made major investment to create a high quality environment which people are proud of, one which attracts visitors and drives economic growth.  Paisley town centre is home to 122 listed buildings - the second highest concentration in Scotland. These outstanding architectural, heritage and cultural assets are key to driving regeneration and transforming the area's future."


Public access wi-fi boost for Renfrewshire town centres
8th March 2017

Scott McEwan (chief executive of of Boston Networks), Claudette Jones (chief information officer of UWS), Heather Armstrong (senior student representative of SAUWS) and Council Leader Mark Macmillan welcome free Wifi Boost for Renfrewshire towns.Labour run Renfrewshire Council commissions system to help town centres thrive, tackle digital exclusion and cement Paisley's place as a home of education.

The Labour administration on Renfrewshire Council is delivering free public access wi-fi which will make the area's the town centres places to be. The £1 million system will give free internet access to anyone in Johnstone, Paisley and Renfrew town centres, drawing in visitors and delivering more customers for local businesses.

It will allow visitors to stay in touch through email and messaging apps, access their digital banking and use the many other web-based systems people increasingly rely on while out-and-about. The system will also help tackle the problem of digital exclusion and cement the area's reputation as a place for learning.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: "We are committed to ensuring our towns have the infrastructure they need to thrive.  Johnstone, Paisley and Renfrew town centres provide jobs and vital services for people throughout Renfrewshire, and we know around a quarter of people are likely to spend more time in a town centre that offers free public wi-fi.  By providing this facility we will draw in more visitors, get them to stay longer and so help boost local trade.  This is an exciting development that reflects our determination to take action that helps our town centres succeed, delivers meaningful support to local businesses and encourages employers to create jobs in our communities.  It will also help more people to get online and access the benefits the internet has to offer, as well as furthering Paisley's status as a leading centre of higher and further education."

Renfrewshire's free public wi-fi system is currently being installed in Johnstone town centre, before being rolled-out in Paisley and Renfrew town centres.

Tackling digital exclusion

The installation of free wi-fi in the three town centres and in public buildings across Renfrewshire will tackle digital exclusion, which mainly affects those on low incomes who do not have an internet connection at home.  This leaves people further disadvantaged due to being unable to access opportunities and services most take for granted. 

Council Leader Macmillan explained: "Sadly, digital exclusion is most likely to impact those who would benefit most from the internet.  For people on low incomes the chance to get better deals on things like household gas and electricity bills or their car insurance would make a massive difference.  There are also other benefits that people may not realise", he continued.  If someone is vulnerable or isolated the value of face-to-face contact with their loved ones is hard to overstate.  Internet access would allow them to use things like free video calls to stay in touch with friends and family who have moved away from the area, overcoming isolation and loneliness.  Free public access wi-fi will help to tackle the issue of digital exclusion and this is a central element of Renfrewshire Council's Tackling Poverty Strategy."

System to cement Paisley as a centre of higher and further education

Renfrewshire's new public access wi-fi system will enhance the reputation of Paisley as a centre of education.  The town is home to the campuses of both the renowned University of the West of Scotland and the leading West College Scotland.  Students, researchers and staff will be able to use the public access wi-fi system to access Eduroam, which allows universities and colleges around the world to give instant remote access to materials stored securely on their internal networks.  Professor Craig Mahoney, the principal and vice-chancellor of University of the West of Scotland (UWS), said: "This is a fantastic development for the town.  Being able to stay connected is increasingly important in today's fast moving world and this development is welcomed by UWS.  It will benefit not only those working and studying at UWS but also those who visit the university."

Heather Armstrong, senior student representative of the Students Association of the University of the West of Scotland, added: "It's great that Paisley town centre will have free wi-fi.  Having a fast, reliable and secure internet connection on our phones is becoming ever more important. If people can't get online while they're in town it makes life difficult, as everyday tasks from banking to checking public transport times are all now done through the internet. With students increasingly having less money in their pockets, mobile phone contracts with unlimited data are a luxury not everyone can afford.  Being able to log-on to Renfrewshire Council's free public wi-fi will make a real difference to students who would otherwise be at a significant disadvantage."

Award winning Renfrewshire firm to install area's public access wi-fi system and create new jobs for local people  The free public access wi-fi system is being installed by Braehead-based company Boston Networks, who won Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce's Employer of the Year award in November.  As part of the £1 million contract with Renfrewshire Council the firm is providing a number of community benefits throughout the area.  It will hire four new members of staff, including a project management graduate from UWS and two wireless engineer modern apprentices identified with the help of the council's employability service Invest in Renfrewshire.  The modern apprentices will work side-by-side with a team of experienced engineers to learn and develop on-the-job skills and gain a formal qualification.  Boston Networks will also recruit at least one additional member of staff and will work with Invest in Renfrewshire to encourage local school leavers and unemployed young people to apply.  Scott McEwan, the company's chief executive, said: "Boston Networks is both excited and proud to be working with Renfrewshire Council to support their digital transformation strategy through the delivery of an enterprise grade public wi-fi service. Our experienced team will fully utilise their local and technical knowledge to design and deliver a leading-edge public wi-fi provision to support the council's key strategic priorities, such as improving digital inclusion and participation.  Renfrewshire Council is setting the standard high, their model will serve as an excellent example to other councils, who like Renfrewshire, will adopt digital transformation as a solution to deliver economic growth and enhance productivity through the provision of digital public services."

Paisley 2021 UK City of Culture bid helped by improved internet access

Delivering free public access wi-fi adds weight to Paisley's campaign to be named the UK City of Culture 2021.  The bid is part of wider push to re-energise the town centre and offering visitors free internet access supports efforts to make Paisley a destination of choice for people across the region and much further afield.  Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan explained: "The City of Culture bid is raising Paisley's profile by putting the town and its assets in the international spotlight.  This bid is part of a wider long-term plan to use Paisley's outstanding heritage, architectural and cultural assets to drive regeneration and transform the area's future.  People now expect to be able to use their smartphones to get online wherever they go. Installing free public access wi-fi makes sure they can do just that.  This will significantly improve visitors' experience and support our efforts to establish the town as a key destination for cultural and heritage tourism within Scotland and the UK."


   

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