SNP MSP, Tom Arthur, has backed a bill to protect Scotland’s NHS from
privatisation or increased drug fees as a result of UK trade deals.
Peter Grant MP for Glenrothes will bring the ‘NHS Protection
Bill’ to the House of Commons tomorrow – aiming to prevent future UK
Governments from signing up to trade agreements that could threaten the
foundations of the health service.
The SNP’s bill would also give the Scottish, Welsh and
Northern Irish Parliaments and Assemblies a final say over whether trade deals
impact on their NHS.
The proposal was a key pledge
in the SNP’s manifesto in the recent General Election, which saw the party win
overwhelmingly in Scotland.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Renfrewshire South, Tom Arthur said:
“Each of the four UK Health services are
precious to those who use them and it is our duty, as elected representatives,
to do everything we can to ensure our health services are protected.
“But while the Scottish Parliament has control
of most aspects of health policy, we currently cannot stop Westminster
governments from entering into trade deals that potentially put our NHS here in
Renfrewshire South at a variety of risks.
“That is why I’m backing this proposal to
protect our NHS from US style privatisation.
“If parties are genuine in their commitment to
keep the NHS out of trade deals, then there should be no politician that can’t
back this bill– helping us stop any future Westminster government from trading
away our most cherished public resource.
“Our NHS has been there to care for and protect
us for the last 70 years – now it’s our turn to stand up and protect the NHS.”
LOCAL MSP SAYS SNP MAKING SCHOOLS “FIT FOR THE FUTURE”
SNP MSP Tom Arthur for Renfrewshire South has hailed
attainment improvements in refurbished or replaced schools as the SNP open the
100th School for the Future this week.
A total of 842 jobs have been supported by over £560 million
of work awarded to small and medium enterprises working on projects as part of
the £1.8 billion Schools for the Future programme. By summer 2020, 117 schools
will be replaced or substantially refurbished through the programme.
Under the SNP, the proportion of pupils educated in good or
satisfactory condition schools has risen by nearly a third to 89.6%.
Commenting, SNP MSP Tom Arthur said:
“The SNP’s track record in investing in improving our school
estate is second to none – benefitting pupils in Renfrewshire South and across
“This milestone proves our commitment to giving children the
best possible environment to learn in – but we’re not stopping there with even
more new or refurbished schools set to open over the summer.
“In the local area, we’ve seen the positive impact the
Schools for the Future programme on pupils at Barrhead High & Riverbrae
“While the other parties continue trying to put our
top-class teachers and pupils down the SNP will continue working hard to
improve our school estate and ensure our young people remain top of the class.”
TORY BREXIT TO HIT MOST VULNERABLE IN RENFREWSHIRE SOUTH
A new report has warned that Brexit will hit the most
vulnerable people in Renfrewshire South –
highlighting negative consequences such as the loss
of legal rights, employment protections and healthcare rights.
The report, commissioned by
the Scottish Government, identified 137 potential impacts on those already
facing inequality, discrimination, or social exclusion in society.
It warns that a “hard”
Brexit, along the lines of the deal which is being proposed by Boris Johnson,
could lead to a slowdown in the economy with job losses increased, the cost of living
and food prices pushed up and reductions in public spending.
“Any form of Brexit will be bad for Scotland – and will hit
jobs and household incomes in Renfrewshire South.
“With just days until the UK is due to leave the EU, people and businesses in Renfrewshire South will be understandably concerned with
the complete lack of clarity coming from Boris Johnson’s government.
“Far from delivering
extra cash for the NHS, as was infamously promised by the Leave campaign bus – those on low-incomes face losing access to
public services, the ability to buy daily essentials in the case of price
rises, and access to affordable housing.
“Renfrewshire and East
Renfrewshire voted to remain in the EU – just like every local authority
in Scotland – and yet we’ve been entirely side-lined and ignored by the Tory
government ever since.
“It is clearer than ever that the best future for Scotland is one as an equal, independent European nation.
HOLYROOD PASSES PLAN TO TRANSFORM RENFREWSHIRE SOUTH’S ECONOMY
SNP MSP Tom Arthur has said the new Scottish
National Investment bank will help encourage economic growth across
Renfrewshire South after the bill to introduce the body was
formally agreed to in Holyrood today.
MSPs from all parties gave their backing to the Scottish
Government’s blueprint for the investment bank that will begin investing in
businesses and communities later this year – committing to invest at least £2
billion in its first ten years.
The bank will have an important role in helping Scotland meet
its ambitious climate change targets – forming part of the SNP’s Green New Deal
to kick-start investment and build the momentum needed to reduce emissions and
create high quality jobs in the process.
Commenting, SNP MSP Tom Arthur said:
“The Scottish National Investment Bank will help us reach our
world-leading climate change targets while transforming communities here in
“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, that’s
why the bank will invest in firms and community projects that are looking to
play their part in tackling the global climate emergency.
“Individuals, and small local businesses, the length and breadth
of Scotland are set to benefit from this historic move as we move towards a low
carbon economy fit for the future. I look forward to seeing the bank’s impact
in Renfrewshire South.”
Residents in Renfrewshire South have been urged to avoid
scams by following advice from Scotland’s new consumer advice service.
Tom Arthur met with Advice Direct Scotland, which runs
the consumeradvice.scot service, in the Scottish Parliament to discuss how to
protect residents in Renfrewshire South.
Common scams include bogus callers who are offering
services such as landscape gardening or maintenance work in a bid to gain
access to properties; online marketplace traders selling fake goods; and fake
emails claiming to be from companies including Amazon, banks, or government
departments. Scams cost the UK economy up to £10billion a year, and 53 per cent
of people over 65 have been targeted by scams. However, only 5 per cent of
scams are reported.
If more potential scams are reported to
consumeradvice.scot, the organisation can work with Trading Standards and
Police Scotland to raise awareness and prevent more people being scammed.
consumeradvice.scot was launched in April this year
with financial support from the Scottish Government following the devolution of
consumer powers, and is operated by the charity Advice Direct Scotland. It
provides free, impartial and practical advice directly to consumers in
Tom Arthur MSP said:
“Hundreds of people in Renfrewshire South fall
victims to scams every year.
“By following advice from Scotland’s new consumer
advice service, people can spot the tell-tale signs and avoid being left out of
“But there is no shame in being conned as
scammers use sophisticated techniques to trick people, so it’s important to
report any suspicions to consumeradvice.scot so that action can be taken.’
Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of
“Realising that you may have been the victim
of a scam can be extremely upsetting and worrying.
“As Scotland’s new consumer advice service, we are
working hard to make people more aware of scams, and advise those who are
‘It’s very important that any potential scams are reported to us as soon as possible so that we can raise awareness with Trading Standards and the public.”
Advice for residents in Renfrewshire South on how to avoid
genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for
your PIN, full password or to move money to another account.
an uninvited trader knocks on your door and tells you that urgent work needs
carried out, don’t take their word for it. Always get at least three quotes
from trusted companies and look up reviews of the cold caller’s company online.
give your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given
your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
you have made a payment, some scammers will continue to contact you to try and
talk you into making further payments. As soon as you realise that it’s a scam
you should stop all contact with the scammer.
you’ve paid on a credit or debit card, then you can ask your card provider if
they’ll refund the payment. If you paid through PayPal then you can raise a
dispute and ask if they will claim the money back.
very important that you report any potential scams as soon as possible to
consumeradvice.scot, as this helps the organisation to work with others such as
Trading Standards and the police.
consumeradvice.scot is the country’s national consumer advice
service, and was launched in April 2019 with Scottish Government funding
following the devolution of further powers to Holyrood. It provides free and
impartial advice to people on any consumer issues. Experts advise people of
their legal rights and can also refer complaints to Trading Standards Scotland
for investigation, but cannot carry out legal action on a consumer’s behalf.
The service is operated by the charity Advice Direct Scotland.
SNP ONLY PARTY STANDING UP
FOR BUSINESSES IN RENFREWSHIRE SOUTH
South MSP Tom Arthur has challenged opposition
MSPs to oppose proposals that introduce risks and uncertainties for
businesses – after 27 business organisations signed a letter raising
concerns over an opposition amendment to the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland)
The SNP was the only party which
opposed the amendment to the Bill – which would mean that rates would no longer
be set nationally and business rates reliefs, including the Small Business
Bonus and rates relief for nurseries – would automatically end.
If the Small Business Bonus scheme
was abolished, some smaller businesses in Renfrewshire South could face
a business rate hike of more than £7000.
Tom Arthur is now calling on
politicians from all parties to reverse amendment 9 to the Bill that seeks to
end nationwide-rates reliefs and introduce local rates multipliers.
SNP MSP Tom Arthur said:
“The move to scrap over £308
million of relief – which is strongly opposed by the SNP – could impact more
than 100,000 businesses across Scotland, and cost smaller
“Abolishing the Universal Business
Rate is bad for all businesses. These plans would deliver a blow to businesses
in Renfrewshire South and could risk the delivery of vital local
services, the work of charities and third-sector organisations.
“Experts and business
organisations have now raised concerns over the impact of the proposed changes,
warning it could create added costs and deter investment in Renfrewshire
South and across Scotland.
“Opposition parties must heed
those warnings, and backtrack on this disastrous move at the final stage of the
Bill – in order to support our economy and make Renfrewshire
South the best place for business to invest.”
MSP for Renfrewshire South, celebrated the work of Levern Valley Defibrillator
Partnership in a debate in Holyrood this week.
vote of thanks was made to Douglas Yates who established the life-saving
partnership in 2018 and who worked to bring on board organisations such as East
Renfrewshire Council, Barrhead, Rotary, Barrhead Housing Association and Field
Electrics from Neilston.
The work of
the partnership has seen the installation of 18 life-saving Public Access
Defibrillators across the area to date.
after the debate, Tom said:
community-based initiative will save lives in the Levern Valley. For someone
who is in cardiac arrest, it is essential that a defibrillator is found as
quickly as possible, as the chances of survival reduce by up to 10% for each
“I am pleased
to see the collaborative work that has taken place to ensure these easy to use
devices are made available, and it is great to see work taken to publicise
represents the best of my home town Barrhead and I want to recognise the hard
work and commitment of the Partnership, and Douglas Yates in particular, for
making this happen.”
“The partnership was developed by the
motivation to protect people in Barrhead and provide the opportunity for people
to survive cardiac arrest.
“Too many people die because
life-saving equipment can’t get to them quickly enough and we aim to keep
expanding the project until we are satisfied that there are a sufficient number
of devices to help people wherever they are in the town.
“Barrhead has become a much
safer place and the community are responding positively to our work and looking
after this essential equipment, and we hope this support will continue as we
seek sponsorship to maintain our defibrillators.”
Tom Arthur, MSP for Renfrewshire South, has today slammed
the UK Tory Government for its shambolic and disrespectful decision to deliver
their budget on 11th March.
With the Scottish budget dependent on forecasts from the
Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) as well as figures from the block grant,
this leaves the Scottish Government having to look at emergency measures.
Local councils are also due to set their budgets on this date – throwing up serious issues on funding for vital public services.
Commenting on the plans, Tom stated:
“The Tories in Westminster cancelled their pre-Christmas
budget to call an election, and have chosen to delay their new budget in a move
to frustrate devolved nations.
“In saying that they would provide ‘approximate figures’ for
any settlement, they are showing the greatest disregard for our public services
here which rely on detailed analysis and spending clarity.
“A Scottish budget cannot be set without knowing tax rates
and thresholds for the rest of the UK along with detailed forecast analysis.
“This is a deeply worrying development that shows the Tory
desire to undermine devolution and erode the power of the Scottish Parliament.
“It is clear that this concerted attempt to frustrate
devolution shows that Scotland faces a choice: a diminished role in a Brexit
Britain or as an independent country.”
Local SNP MSP Tom Arthur has welcomed news that the
democratic case for Scotland having the ability to choose its own
constitutional future has been published today in a new document.
The paper – entitled “Scotland’s Right to Choose: Putting
Scotland’s Future in Scotland’s Hands” – lays out the detailed case for how and
why the country should be able to have the choice of independence in a
The document includes a specific call on the UK Government to
“enter discussions about the Scottish Government’s mandate for giving the
people of Scotland a choice, and to agree legislation with the Scottish
Government that would put beyond doubt the Scottish Parliament’s right to
legislate for a referendum on independence.”
Launching the document at Bute House in Edinburgh, First
Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“It is a fundamental
democratic principle that decisions on Scotland’s constitutional future should
rest with the people who live here.
“As this document lays
out, the Scottish Government has a clear democratic mandate to offer people a
choice on that future in an independence referendum, and the UK Government has
a democratic duty to recognise that. Last week’s General Election has only
strengthened that mandate […]
“Of course, I
anticipate that in the short term we will simply hear a restatement of the UK
Government’s opposition. But they should be under no illusion that this will be
an end of the matter […]
“It is for the Prime Minister to defend why he
believes the UK is not a voluntary union of equal nations. It is for him to set
out why he does not believe people in Scotland have the right to
“And it is for the
Prime Minister to explain why he believes it is acceptable to ignore election
after election in Scotland and to over-ride a democratic mandate stronger than
the one he claims for his Brexit deal.”
Renfrewshire South’s MSP said:
“This document marks
an important step in Scotland’s journey towards choosing its own future, and
supports an argument that I hope an increasing number of people will now unite
“The people of East
Renfrewshire voted overwhelmingly to reject Brexit, first in the EU referendum
in 2016 and again in last week’s General Election, and it is only right that
this decision be respected going forward. As the First Minister said this
morning, we live in a democracy, and ultimately democracy must and will
Kirsten Oswald, MSP for East Renfrewshire added:
overwhelmingly rejected Boris Johnson at the ballot box, and we did not choose
Brexit. It is right that the people in Scotland should decide on the kind of
future they want. Boris Johnson must not stand in the way of their ability to
Local SNP MSP Tom Arthur has praised the work and dedication
of local community group, Auchenback Active.
On Wednesday (18 December), he asked Cabinet Secretary for
Communities and Local Government how the Scottish Government supports
communities in tackling inequality, as well as to join him in commending the
work of Auchenback Active, based at the Auchenback resource centre in Barrhead.
In her answer, the Cabinet Secretary highlighted various
measures from the Scottish Government to tackle inequality. For example, in
2018, the Scottish Government invested over £1.4 billion on support directed at
low-income families, including investment to deliver more affordable homes,
tackle fuel poverty and support the Attainment Scotland Fund, as well as more
than £100 million to mitigate the worst impacts of the UK Government’s welfare
In addition, the new £11.5 million Investing in Communities
fund will provide vital support and investment to around 250 organisations to
enable them to tackle poverty, inequality and rural disadvanted across our
Going on to join Mr Arthur in commending Auchenback Active,
the Cabinet Secretary said:
“Like Tom Arthur, I
pay tribute to Auchenback Active for the work that it is clearly doing across
its community and for its effort and endeavour. I wish that it did not have to
make some of that effort; if only severe welfare cuts had not been imposed in
too many of our communities, such work would not be necessary.
“The work of
community-led organisations such as Auchenback Active is truly inspiring. They
deliver tangible positive outcomes for local people, and I am happy to commend
the good work that they do.”
Commenting, Renfrewshire South’s MSP said:
“The Auchenback Active
group is a vital local resource that does a power of work to tackle inequality
in our local community, including distributing Christmas presents so that
children from across the area receive a gift over the festive period.
“I’d like to thank
them for all the work they do all year round. I’m also delighted that the
Cabinet Secretary has also accepted my invitation to visit the Auchenback Resource
Centre next year to see the brilliant work first hand, and look forward to
getting this arranged soon.”