Councillor Jim SheridanLabour Councillor slams SNP ‘Double Standards’ on public sector pay
29th June 2017

A Labour Councillor has attacked the SNP administration on Renfrewshire Council for their parties damaging double standards on public sector pay.

Speaking after the most recent Council meeting Councillor Jim Sheridan said, “At today’s meeting I raised the double standards of the separatists, with their colleagues at Westminster voting to lift the pay freeze for emergency and public service workers whilst their colleagues in the Scottish Parliament do nothing. Whilst the separatists have no control for the decisions taken in the UK Parliament, they do have total responsibility at Holyrood. My call at today’s meeting was for the separatist’s administration on Renfrewshire Council to seek urgent clarification from the Scottish Government as to whether they will pursue the same policy in Scotland as they have at Westminster. After all what is good for the rest of the UK’s emergency and public sector geese is good for the Scottish gander.”


Council Labour Group slams SNP decision to install a luxury lounge for Councillors
26th June 2017

Councillor Eddie DevinePlans to spend more than £50,000 on new accommodation for Renfrewshire's Councillors including a luxury lounge have been slammed by the Labour opposition.

The move approved by council officials and the SNP minority follows on from the council election result in May. The work is designed to reflect the new make up of the council particularly the need to house the Conservative group and will cause major disruption to councillors and clerical staff over the coming weeks.

The move was condemned by Councillor Eddie Devine Leader of the Labour Group who said, "Previous changes to councillors accommodation in order to create a bigger customer service area arising from an increase in customer welfare referrals as a result of Tory and SNP austerity cuts were misleadingly portrayed by the then SNP opposition as "luxury accommodation " for councillors.  It is completely hypocritical for the SNP to support work that is absolutely unnecessary and is all about the comfort of councillors rather than the needs of the public The work over the next 6 weeks will cause major disruption. The present office arrangements have worked satisfactorily over the last 2 months This is a waste of money and at a time when many people are living hand to mouth this move particularly the provision of a luxury lounge will  not be appreciated by the wider public"

MSPs back campaign to raise awareness of Child Bereavement
23rd June 2017

This week in the Scottish Parliament, over 35 MSPs backed a motion to raise awareness of child bereavement which was lodged by Mary Fee MSP, Scottish Labour MSP for West Scotland. The motion congratulated Renfrewshire based Brightest Star, and the ‘Our Missing Peace’ campaign.

Brightest Star was founded by Arlene Clark in early 2013, after her son Jack Kennedy suddenly passed away aged six in December 2012. Since its foundation, Brightest Star, which is based in Renfrew, has support over 500 families who have experienced child bereavement. The charity has only been able to support so many families’ due to its incredible fundraising efforts, which has resulted in Brightest Star raising over £700,000 since it formed in 2013.

The Our Missing Peace campaign has been working with the Brightest Star, and aims to break the silence around child bereavement. The campaign was established by Nicole Bowles, after her four-month-old son, Ben Bowles, suddenly passed away in November 2012.

Our Missing Peace have created a love-heart-shaped badge, with a missing jigsaw piece, as a symbol that an individual is dealing with the loss of a child, whether miscarriage, still birth, neonatal, accidental, teenager, or an adult. The campaign also promotes the use of the term ‘Vilomah’ which means “against the natural order”, as a title for parents who have suffered child bereavement.

During First Minister’s Questions on Thursday afternoon, many MSPs wore the ‘Our Missing Peace’ campaign badge to show their support for the campaign.

Our Missing Peace founder Nicole Bowles with Mary Fee MSPFounder of the Our Missing Peace campaign, Nicole Bowles, was invited to the Scottish Parliament by Scottish Labour MSP Mary Fee. Nicole attended Thursday’s session of First Minister’s Questions, during which, many MSPs, from all political parties wore the Our Missing Peace badge, to show their support for the campaign and raising awareness of child bereavement.

The Our Missing Peace campaign was endorsed by the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Ken Macintosh; First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson; Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, who all posed for a photo-call with Our Missing Peace campaign founder Nicole Bowles.

Speaking in Scottish Parliament, after First Minister’s Questions, Mary Fee said  “I would like to commend both Arlene Clark of Brightest Star and Nicole Bowles of Our Missing Peace for their incredible work to offer support to families affected by the bereavement of a child and their efforts to break the silence around child bereavement. Their bravery, courage and dedication is truly remarkable.  I am very pleased to have been able to welcome Nicole Bowles, founder of the Our Missing Peace campaign to the Scottish Parliament to help raise awareness of the campaign.  The loss of a child is the most challenging, upsetting and unjust experience that any person can ever face. It has a profound and long-lasting impact on all members of the family, particularly the child’s parents.   It is vitally important that the appropriate support is available to all family members, especially parents, in the days, weeks and months immediately after the death of a child.   The work of Our Missing Peace to break the silence around child bereavement is vitally important and I am delighted that all the main parties in the Scottish Parliament and the Presiding Officer, have chosen to endorse the campaign.  I would like to thank my fellow MSPs who have endorsed the Our Missing Peace campaign by supporting my motion, as well as wearing the Our Missing Peace badges during First Minister’s Questions.”

The Our Missing Peace badges can be acquired at for a small donation.

Mary Fee MSP Welcomes Bill for Survivors of Childhood Abuse
22nd June 2017

Mary Fee MSPWest Scotland MSP Mary Fee has welcomed the passing of the Limitations (Childhood Abuse) Scotland Bill which removes the time bar that prevents survivors of childhood abuse from raising civil actions if they were abused more than 3 years prior.

Speaking after the unanimous passing of the Bill, Mary Fee, Scottish Labour’s Deputy Justice Spokesperson and member of the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee, welcomed the legislation and repeated her admiration for the survivors of childhood abuse who provided evidence to the Justice Committee.

The passing of the Bill is a significant step for survivors of childhood abuse in accessing justice for historical acts. During evidence sessions, the Committee heard from a range of stakeholders of the potential positive and negative consequences of the Limitations Bill, however the Parliament voted in favour of the Bill by 115 votes in favour and zero against, with no abstentions.

Mary Fee MSP said “The Limitations (Childhood Abuse) Bill is a welcome piece of legislation for survivors of childhood abuse who were previously denied access to justice with the time bar of three years. By removing the 3-year period we widen the options for survivors to access justice, access that many have been denied.  While it may not be the best option for every survivor to take civil action, the passing of this Bill is a significant step and one that is welcomed by groups representing survivors.  Throughout the evidence sessions I was stunned by the bravery of survivors who told us openly and in private, why we need to remove the time bar in recalling the abuse they suffered. The bravery was admirable and shows the Scottish Parliament has made the right decision to support this Bill.”

Lazy Councillor caught out
21st June 2017

Councillor Jim SharkeyConfusion reigned at today's emergency Finance, Resources and Customer Services meeting regarding the rationale and the need for the emergency meeting.

When challenged, SNP convenor John Shaw said he had called the meeting because SNP policy was to no longer let the council's paid officers decide on awarding public contracts and decisions would in the future be taken by elected members only. Having made this commitment to the policy Councillor Shaw proposed that two contracts which fell into the summer period would be delegated to Council Officers for approval.

Labour Councillor Jim Sharkey said, “I asked why Councillor Shaw was contradicting himself and offered the chance of another emergency meeting during the summer break to decide on the two other items. Councillor Shaw's reply was to declare it was his decision and that the suggestion that the committee should reconvene during the recess was dismissed. It is clear the electoral slogan of "Standing up for Scotland" doesn't include the holiday periods! It is surprising that SNP policy is not to trust the experienced and trained workers to make the right decisions for the council, and also that they think they can make the decisions without putting in the proper amount of time and work. I know he is a new and inexperienced councillor but this is a very poor show."

Councillor Jim SheridanCouncillor hits out at Council Leadership’s lack of commitment to their workers.
20th June 2017

At a recent meeting of Renfrewshire Council Leadership Board, Councillor Jim Sheridan challenged the Leader of the SNP to repudiate his predecessor’s statement that his party would be replacing council work by outsourcing services to the private sector.

Councillor Jim Sheridan said, “If you treat your workforce well then you get the best out of them and job security is crucial. Therefore I was concerned by press reports in the run-up to the election that the separatists former leader Kenny MacLaren, was proposing to out-source council jobs. I am left even more concerned by the denials of the current administrations Leader of any knowledge of his predecessors comments and that he was unable to contradict the press report. This is not good enough. The people of Renfrewshire deserve to know how their council workers are to be treated over the lifetime of this administration. That is the day-job that they were elected to do and if they cannot be honest about the future of jobs in Renfrewshire then it is time for them to go.”

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."


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