A CAMPAIGN to replace a redundant heating system in a popular village hall has been backed by MSP Rona Mackay.
The boiler at Campsie Memorial Hall is in dire need of replacement – and the trust behind it is appealing to the public for their generosity.
A total of £5,000 has to be raised and activists have collected more than £1,100 so far.
In the last seven years, Campsie Memorial Hall Trust has made a number of substantial improvements to the busy hall: roof insulation, new toilets, CCTV, new windows, new furniture, painted walls and much more.
Ms Mackay, the MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, said: “The Campsie Memorial Hall has gone from strength to strength, and is a great asset to the local community.
“The fact that activity in the hall has gone up 300 per cent in the last seven years is amazing, and testament to the dedicated constituents behind it.
“The events the hall has provided, from pantomimes, cinema, band nights and more prove this hall is worthy of this fundraising campaign.”
A spokesperson for Campsie Memorial Trust said: “Clearly there is a need for this facility. This current appeal gives everyone the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to our village life.
“Over the last seven years we have endeavoured to nurse an ailing heating system which had passed its sell by date before the trust became involved. Unfortunately, the system is now defunct.”
STRATHKELVIN and Bearsden’s MSP has condemned the MoD after a recent report suggested it is downplaying the number of nuclear incidents.
Findings by the Nuclear Information Service (NIS) listed 110 major incidents in the last 65 years, compared to the MoD’s 27.
MSPs Rona Mackay has insisted human error could lead to “untold misery” in the central belt of Scotland.
She slammed the British establishment for constant cover-ups and propaganda around the Trident programme.
The report includes eight explosions, 21 security-related incidents and 45 accidents relating to nuclear submarines, ships and aircraft.
The NIS dossier comes not long after it was revealed the UK government failed to disclose a serious malfunction in a Trident test launch just before Westminster voted on its renewal last year.
Ms Mackay has spoken out at every opportunity in the Scottish Parliament, calling for nuclear disarmament.
Rona Mackay, the MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, said: “Lie after lie is exposed relating to the British State’s nuclear weapons programme – and now we have the MoD trying to sugar coat major incident numbers. Earlier in the month, the Jimmy Reid foundation destroyed claims by the pro-Trident politicians who claim thousands of jobs rely on Trident in Scotland. Turns out just 600 civil jobs do. However, this report by NIS just shows what we are up against, a propaganda machine hell bent on covering up the dangerous truth behind nuclear weapons of mass destruction.”
Stuart McDonald MP and Rona Mackay MSP plan to repeat “hugely successful” event designed to support people into work.
The MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East and MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden held the joint event at Hillhead Community Centre on Monday.
Stallholders included a wide range of employers and organisations offering job opportunities, apprenticeships, training, education and employment support. Alongside this, employability workshops were held by New College Lanarkshire and Skills Development Scotland.
Mr McDonald said: “It was great to see such a wide range of organisations taking part, providing a host of opportunities – and to see such an excellent turnout, making the event very worthwhile. I’m grateful to all involved, including St Ninian’s and Kirkintilloch High Schools for allowing pupils to attend, and to staff for their hard work in co-ordinating all this.
“I’m hopeful the event will have resulted in local people finding good jobs or training opportunities, or perhaps given them a good idea of the careers they would like to work towards. It is definitely something we would like to repeat again in future”.
Ms Mackay said: “It is so important as local representatives that we lend a hand to getting our constituents into a stable job. The benefits of working cannot be overstated – income, confidence and progression in the career ladder.
“The event was a great chance to help people, and an incredibly value exercise in learning what it is job-hunters in the town are looking for work wise. I am incredibly happy to be in a position where I am able to host events like these that literally bring people into work.
“I would like to thank all of those who attended the fayre as well as the exhibitors and our great hosts at Hillhead Community Centre, it was hugely successful.”
MSP Rona Mackay has criticised the Tory government as “heartless” after it abandoned plans to resettle child refugees across the United Kingdom.
She backed a move by her colleagues at Westminster, who recently signed a letter calling on Theresa May to reverse the decision to stop receiving unaccompanied refugees children from Europe.
The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP warned the humanitarian crisis shows no signs of ending and called for a upscaling of the refugee programme.
Ms Mackay, an SNP MSP, said: “Theresa May has shown a cold and heartless side of her character in remaining silent on the broken promise to help lone children fleeing war, stuck often in squalor around Europe.
“Of the thousands the UK Government pledged to help, we have taken in a handful. Now, the plan is to abandon the plans to help these poor children all together? It is heartless and I am disgusted.
“I am glad my Westminster colleagues are holding fire to the feet of Tory government on this broken promise. These children and public deserve better.
“The refugee crisis shows no signs of going away, as war rages across the Middle East. Scotland would gladly take more refugees, for we have the will to make it happen. These children need us so, so much.”
The Scottish Government has so far welcomed approximately 1,300 Syrian refugees under the Syrian Resettlement Programme, 35 unaccompanied children from France via the Dubs amendment, a further 110 unaccompanied children from clandestine routes, and is working with the Home Office and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to welcome further unaccompanied children. Last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called on Theresa May to reverse the decision to close the Dubs scheme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-38937288
MSP Rona Mackay has welcomed the publication of the Child Poverty Bill (Scotland) as a “massive step forward” in tackling the endemic problem.
She cited times in the Children’s Panel when she saw the visible effects of young people living in poverty, and the damage it caused their own lives and their families’.
The Bill, published on Friday February 10, will see Scotland become the only part of the UK with statutory targets to reduce the number of children experiencing the damaging effects of poverty by 2030.
The government will publish a three-year child poverty delivery plan by April 2018, updated every five years, and annual reports to measure the progress.
Ms Mackay, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, said: “This bill is a massive step forward in the wounds child poverty has inflicted upon communities the length and breadth of Scotland. I am particularly pleased this anti-poverty drive’s emphasis is on the children – the reason I am in politics to begin with.
“All too often, as a member of the Children’s Panel, I saw the effects poverty would have upon young people of all ages. Young people falling into antisocial behaviour, alcohol and drug problems – all associated with living in deprivation. It is truly heart-breaking to see so much potential from many children, simply because they have been brought up below the breadline, through no fault of their own.
“Children need and deserve the best start to life as possible to gain their full potential. This is at the heart of the Child Poverty Bill.”
MSP Rona Mackay has told how the number of jobs dependent on Trident has been vastly overstated and renewed calls for nuclear disarmament.
During a nuclear weapons debate in the Scottish Parliament, the Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP highlighted research by the Jimmy Reid Foundation showing just 600 civilian jobs are reliant on Faslane and Coulport.
It debunks the argument made by Jackie Baillie MSP and fellow pro-Trident politicians, that thousands of local jobs are at stake if Trident is removed.
Ms Mackay pointed out the “obscene” £200 billion cost of the upcoming renewal of the nuclear weaponry.
The economic consequences of funnelling money into the renewal would also have a knock-on effect on how many type 26 frigates are being built on the Clyde, she told the chamber.
Ms Mackay said: “The report shows the impact that the Trident successor programme will have on Scotland. It destroys the claims from Labour and Jackie Baillie that not renewing Trident will cost thousands of jobs. In reality, 600 civilian jobs are dependent on Trident at Faslane and Coulport, and the successor programme fails to bring a single new job to the base.
“Of course, those 600 jobs are vital to the community, but if there is no renewal there will still be work at the bases for civilian workers for the next 12 to 15 years.
“By that time, half those workers will have reached retirement age and others will have benefited from redeployment or voluntary exit from the sector.”
Rona Mackay: I thank Bill Kidd for bringing this members’ business debate, and I thank the Jimmy Reid Foundation and the authors of the report for their hard work in putting the case for non-renewal of what is an obscene weapon on Scotland’s shores.
The report shows the impact that the Trident successor programme will have on Scotland. It destroys the claims from Labour and Jackie Baillie that not renewing Trident will cost thousands of jobs. In reality, 600 civilian jobs are dependent on
Trident at Faslane and Coulport, and the successor programme fails to bring a single new job to the base. Of course, those 600 jobs are vital to the community, but if there is no renewal there will still be work at the bases for civilian workers for the next 12 to 15 years. By that time, half those workers will have reached retirement age and others will have benefited from redeployment or voluntary exit from the sector.
Renewing Trident will also have major knock-on consequences for Clyde shipbuilding, with renewal costs meaning fewer orders of new type 26 frigates.
Scrapping Trident renewal is not a risk to jobs, but the astronomical cost of Trident—£200 billion—is costing jobs. We all know that the money could be spent far more productively. It could be used to counteract the continuing decline in armed forces expenditure—a decline that is causing job losses not just on the Clyde but across the country.
However, there is far more to the argument than pound notes. The recent Trident misfire and subsequent cover-up demonstrate the huge risk that those war machines present to us all. If the weapons are not risky enough, we cannot forget that the man who has control over them on our land is President Trump. Can anyone say, hand on heart, that such a prospect does not terrify them?
Then there are the warheads that are transported by road through Scotland’s most populated city. The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament estimates that an accident on the convoys could lead to plutonium and uranium spreading across distances as vast as 17km, covering most of Glasgow and outlying areas, including my constituency in East Dunbartonshire. The risk that the convoys pose to human life is simply unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.
The Clyde naval base was chosen to be home to the UK’s nuclear submarines because of the depth of the Gare Loch. However, that body of water is nowhere near as deep as the splits in the Labour Party on Trident. Labour’s position on Trident has become farcical, with a leader in Scotland who is in favour of nuclear weapons but opposes them, and a UK leader who is opposed to them but leads a party that supports their renewal. Confused? I certainly am.
The Scottish Government has a mandate to get rid of Trident. The Scottish National Party has been elected for an historic third term, and in every one of our manifestos we have said that we do not support Trident. Now is the time for us to start making plans about how we can get rid of it. We cannot wait for permission that we will never get from the UK Government. We have to go ahead and rid our country of that obscene political weapon.
We are the only party that can and will do that. We owe it to our children to support bairns, not bombs. I support the motion.
Rona Mackay, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, spoke at the State Pension Inequality debate in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, February 2.
“First of all, I thank Sandra White for her extensive campaigning on behalf of the WASPI campaign group and for securing the debate.
“As Sandra White said, the Conservative Westminster Government increased women’s retirement age to 65 in 1995 and to 66 in 2011. The UK Government has shamefully admitted that the first time it wrote to women to inform them of the changes was between April 2009 and March 2011—more than 15 years after the Pensions Act 1995. That disgraceful failure has destroyed the retirement plans of thousands of women who were born in the 1950s, leaving them with little time to amend plans for the future that they had regarded as safe.
“With only two years’ notice, many women have lost as much as £36,000 of the pension that they would have had had they been able to retire as planned. That might not matter to the people of inherited wealth who make the decisions or to highly paid civil servants with huge pension funds, but for hundreds of thousands of hard-working women in Scotland and throughout the UK it is devastating. It shows just how out of touch this Westminster Government is. In East Dunbartonshire, where my constituency lies, more than 4,000 women are affected. It is nothing short of daylight robbery by the UK Government. As Sandra White said, pensions are not a privilege.
“WASPI agrees with the equalisation of pensions. However, the core of the campaign’s argument is the unfair and unjust way the changes were implemented, as was so articulately highlighted by my Westminster colleague, Mhairi Black, who has waged a valiant fight on behalf of the women affected.
“SNP MPs have raised the issue at least 44 times in the House of Commons, and the party commissioned independent research by Landman Economics, which WASPI describes as
“‘a useful first step in showing the Government that, despite their statements to the contrary, money is available in the National Insurance Fund for 1950s women’s pensions’.
“WASPI has raised awareness of the injustice and championed the cause of thousands of women born in the 1950s who are affected by the lack of notification and the change to their pension status. Although the financial implications can be measured, the emotional implications of the stress of how to make ends meet are immeasurable. Much needs to be done to slow down the increase, allowing women to access their pension and giving them more time to change their retirement plans, and to alleviate pension poverty.
“There are 140 WASPI local groups, more than 30 local and county councils have passed resolutions supporting the campaign and Unison pledges its support for WASPI at a national level. The UK Government needs to move away from its increasingly isolated stance on the issue and recognise the calls from across parties, local authorities and organisations for it to rectify the injustice.
“Hard-working women deserve respect and access to their own money, on which they had planned their future.”
MSPs in East Dunbartonshire have welcomed the planned launch of a new fair trade shop just weeks after the oldest in Scotland closed in the area.
Gavin’s Mill in Milngavie is currently being transformed into a fair trade shop and café – making use of the disused landmark.
Gil Paterson, the MSP for Milngavie, has welcomed the new community venture in a parliamentary motion.
In a similar move, MSP Rona Mackay in Strathkelvin and Bearsden marked the end of an era for the Balmore Coach House, Scotland’s oldest fair trade shop, which closed in January.
The enterprise will be run by Gavin’s Mill Community Project, a consortium from East Dunbartonshire’s fair trade groups and is set to open on February 27 during Fairtrade Fortnight.
John Riches, former owner of Balmore Coach House, is now helping kick start Gavin’s Mill as a fair trade centre.
He said: “I would like to thank MSPs Gil Paterson and Rona Mackay for their kind words and giving us a shout in the Scottish Parliament. We need all of the promotion we can get for the fair trade cause, and especially for encouraging volunteers to get involved.”
Gil Paterson said: “We are certainly going through a miniature fair trade renaissance in Milngavie with the rejuvenation of Gavin’s Mill for the cause. I am looking forward to attending the launch event when the project is ready to go up and running.”
Rona Mackay said: “John and Nena Riches ran what is said to be Britain’s oldest fair trade shop for more than 37 years, and I thought it right they should be congratulated for their hard work. I am glad they can lend their expertise to help get the Gavin’s Mill project up and running.”