Mhairi Black launches national Youth Ambassador Programme

Mhairi Black, Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, helped launch a national programme to highlight the importance of political engagement for young people. 

The Youth Ambassador programme by anti-poverty organisation ONE sees more than 50 young people from across the country learn how to campaign, lobby and promote issues.

The programme focuses on the Youth Ambassadors working to show how local campaigning is important for international issues, such as fighting extreme poverty.

Speaking after the launch, Mhairi Black MP said: 

“Our democracy is in good hands if young people are as engaged as ONE’s Youth Ambassadors. They were energetic, interested and believe they will change the world – I wish them the best of luck in their campaigning.

“These young people understand that all politics affects them, and they are clear that there is no room for complacency when it comes to getting the policies enacted that you want to see.”

Mhairi Black MP spoke at the 2019 launch of the Youth Ambassadors programme, which took place in Parliament on February27th. 

The programme is in its sixth year, and sees young people receive expert training in political engagement. 

Mhairi Black MP Shows Her Support in the Fight to End Child Abuse

Mhairi Black MP has pledged her support to a campaign to prevent child abuse and neglect in Paisley and Renfrewshire South. The 70/30 Campaign, created by primary prevention charity WAVE Trust, aims to reduce child maltreatment and other ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) by at least 70% by the year 2030.

The charity defines child maltreatment as abuse, neglect or children witnessing domestic violence. The 70-30 campaign is part of a UK wide Initiative established in 2009.

A series of international and UK studies have shown these and other adverse childhood experiences, known collectively as ‘ACEs’, can do lasting harm to children that burdens many throughout their lives – harming their education, health, mental health, job prospects and future relationships.

The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, which commissioned the original ACE studies in the 1990s, identifies 10 specific ACES (the most prevalent ones) damaging to life: physical, emotional and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; growing up in a home with domestic violence or parental substance abuse or mental health problems; losing a parent; and having a member of the household incarcerated.

Over half of Scottish MSPs, and over one third of Westminster MPs now endorse 70/30 and are taking actions in their parliaments to promote a fairer life for our children.

Mhairi Black MP said:

“I support the 70/30 campaign to reduce child abuse, neglect and children witnessing domestic violence by 70% by 2030.

“There is compelling evidence we can prevent harm to thousands of children in Paisley, Renfrewshire South and all over Scotland. We should act on this.

“We need to support vulnerable families. If a mum or dad has mental health issues, or an addiction, this can lead to things going wrong for the whole family. The 70/30 Initiative shows how preventing ACEs could prevent children from being harmed. This would have countless positive knock-on effects: higher productivity, less inequality and of course most importantly those children going on to live healthy lives.”

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100 Days to Save Coats Memorial 

A campaign has been launched to save Coats Memorial Church. The 125 year old building is at risk of falling into disrepair and this campaign hopes to save one of Renfrewshire’s most iconic structures.

The campaign aims to raise funds to facilitate a multi-purpose venue including theatre seating for events, audio/visual rigs for cinema evenings, host weddings, graduation ceremonies and other events. They hope to also be able to install a lift so that the building is accessible for all.

I think this is a fantastic campaign for a really good cause that everyone in Paisley and beyond will be able to benefit from. I was extremely humbled to find out that Renfrewshire Tapestry have created a design for the campaign featuring ‘Paisley Icons’ from past and present and they have decided to feature an image of me on the design.

100 Days to Save Coats Memorial will be open tothe public every Saturday from12pm until 4pm during the 100day campaign. I would urge asmany of you as possible to goalong and have a look foryourself as to why this is such avaluable part of Renfrewshire’sheritage and I would be thrilledif you would join me insupporting the campaign.

Commenting, Mhairi Black MP said:

“Coats Memorial is a part of Paisley’s heritage. It’s certainly one of the most eye catching and iconic buildings we have here in the town.

“I think what this campaign is trying to achieve will benefit everyone in Paisley and beyond.

“I would hate to see such a historic building fall into disrepair. I hope you will join me in supporting this campaign.”

 

Mhairi Black MP Calls For Pension Changes Debate

MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black has today applied for a Westminster Hall debate after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced they will introduce changes to the pension age state benefits that will have an impact on couples of different ages.

Currently couples can claim pension credit of £255.25 when one of them reaches the pension age of 65. However the new rules being implemented by the UK Government mean that couples where only one person is over the state pension age will no longer be able to claim pension credit.

These changes to pension age state benefits will be introduced from May 15, 2019 and mean that in some cases people might only be able to claim Universal Credit which could see some of the poorest pensioners around £7,000 per year worse off.

Mhairi Black has also criticised the timing of this announcement from Monday evening. 

Mhairi Black MP said,

“I think the Government had hoped that these scandalous changes would simply go unnoticed by announcing this on the eve of the Brexit deal vote.”

“I have applied for a Westminster Hall debate to let the Minister know these changes are not reasonable. It won’t have legislative power but will be a good opportunity to let the UK Government know that this is unacceptable.”

“If these pension changes go ahead some of our poorest pensioners will be punished simply for having a younger partner. This policy puts couples in the absurd position that they are actually financially better off living apart. Yet again the UK Government have botched a pension policy and targeted those financially worse off.”

Mhairi Black Welcomes Ripoff Overdraft Charges Ban 

Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Mhairi Black has welcomed the news that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have today banned banks from charging “rip-off” unarranged overdraft fees under new proposals. The FCA will ban fixed daily or monthly fees. They will also make banks advertise single interest rate overdrafts. 

Research by Which? Showed that some fees that have been imposed by banks can make this form of debt more expensive than payday loans. Overdrafts costs can reach 10% a day while Payday loans are capped at 0.8%.

It was revealed that in some circumstances, High Street banks were charging ten times more than that of payday loans companies for unarranged overdraft fees, with those in some of the most deprived areas hit hardest. These findings were part of the UK regulator’s high-cost credit review and the impetus for fundamental new reforms on the way banks charge for overdrafts.

Mhairi Black MP had been a supporter of consumer watchdog Which? #EndRipOffOverdrafts campaign demanding that the financial regulator, the FCA, take urgent action to end this unfair practice by restricting unarranged overdraft charges to the same level as arranged overdrafts. 

Mhairi Black MP said 

“This is good news as the research was showing that incredibly some of these overdraft fees had actually been above the cap that has been put in place for payday loans. In many cases these charges had been penalising some of the poorest people, I welcome this decision today by the FCA. 

“I was happy to support this campaign but we need to go further to make sure that banks and lenders are not leaving people in overpriced debt through borrowing especially when it is targeting people who are already struggling to make ends meet.

“This move by the FCA will come as a massive relief to many people in Renfrewshire who find themselves thousands of pounds out of pocket due to rip-off overdrafts every year.”

Mhairi Black Urges People to Support Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank

MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black is asking people to support the Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank this Christmas. The Toy Bank will help provide Christmas presents to children in Renfrewshire who may otherwise not receive any gifts on Christmas day.

Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank has been set-up by local mum Lauren Roy-Sutherland. She has been working with many businesses, charities and organisations around Renfrewshire to act as drop-off points for people to donate toys.

Mhairi Black is the latest supporter to get behind this cause and is now a drop off point for people to donate toys for those who may not have any presents to open this Christmas Day.

 Lauren Roy-Sutherland from Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank said:

“I cannot thank everyone who has already donated enough. The local communities support has been vital in already completing over 200 referrals however we have hundreds more to do.

“If anyone is able to donate gifts or money it would really help ensure all Renfrewshire children enjoy the magic of Christmas.”

“Thank you to Mhairi Black for being our latest supporter and offering her constituency office to be used as a drop off point for Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank”

Mhairi Black MP said:

“It was a pleasure to meet with Lauren and hear about this fantastic cause. It is an unfortunate truth that some families will find themselves struggling this Christmas leaving some children in Renfrewshire with nothing to open on Christmas Day. Every child deserves the joy of opening a gift on Christmas morning and my hope is that the work being done by Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank will make sure that kids have something to be cheerful about this Christmas.”

“The Toy Bank have done a fantastic job of making sure many local businesses and organisations in Renfrewshire take part by acting as drop off points for people to donate gifts. My constituency office on Wellmeadow Street in Paisley already welcomes donations for Renfrewshire Food Bank and now it will also be a drop off point for any gifts that you wish to donate to the toy bank.”

The Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank cannot accept second hand gifts and all donations of toys must be new.

You can drop off donations from October 20th to December 17th at the following drop off points –

RENFREWSHIRE LIBRARIES - All libraries across Renfrewshire will collect toys and gifts

PAISLEY

MHAIRI BLACK MP CONSTITUENCY OFFICE, 9 Wellmeadow Street, Paisley, PA1 2EF

RSA CONVENIENCE STORE, 27B Moss Street, Paisley, PA1 1DJ

COMICRAZY CAFE, 45 Old Sneddon Street, Paisley PA3 2AN

C ALLAN AND SON ACCOUNTING FIRM, 102, Embroidery Mill Abbey Mill Business Centre, Seedhill Road, Paisley PA1 1TJ

OLD SWAN INN, 20 Smithhills St, Paisley PA1 1EB

THE GANTRY, New Street, Paisley

JOHNSTONE

BIG KIDS LITTLE LEARNERS CLASSES, Miller Street, Johnstone PA5 8HP

NISA LOCAL, 45 Hazel Avenue, Johnstone, Pa5 0BP

RENFREW

GAVIN NEWLANDS MP CONSTITUENCY OFFICE, 6 Porterfield Road, Renfrew PA4 8HG

OUR PLACE OUR FAMILIES, 234 Paisley Road, Renfrew, PA4 8AA

BRAEHEAD

INTU BRAEHEAD SHOPPING CENTRE, King’s Inch Road, Renfrew (collection point located near the customer service desk in the upper mall) – http://bit.ly/2zh53DV

ELDERSLIE

JIMS FOOD & WINE, 1 Stoddard Square, Elderslie, PA5 9AS

HOUSTON

THE VILLAGE PAPER SHOP, North Street, Houston, PA6 7HF

Gifts the Toy Bank are currently short of -

MAKE UP BAGS

MAKE UP

BATH SETS

MALE BATH SETS

MALE SOCKS

TEENAGERS PJS

AFTERSHAVE

LOL DOLLS

BABY TOYS

BARBIES

DOLLS

ACTION FIGURES

BOARD GAMES

SELECTION BOXES

Mhairi Black MP Helps Open Doors for Guide Dog Owners this Christmas

Mhairi Black MP attended an event in the UK Parliament run by the charity Guide Dogs to raise awareness of discrimination against guide dog owners. The MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South heard from guide dog owners about the impact of being turned away by businesses because of their dog. They also collected a Christmas card with messages highlighting Guide Dogs’ Access All Areas campaign.

It is against the law to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog except in the most exceptional circumstances.  However, a Guide Dogs survey found that three quarters of assistance dog owners reported that they had been refused entry by businesses.  

Businesses that closed their doors to assistance dog owners included shops, supermarkets, gyms, campsites, places of worship, public transport, taxis and minicabs, pubs and hotels.  

Mhairi Black MP said:

“I was shocked to hear about cases of guide dog owners being turned away by businesses. This isn’t just poor customer service; it’s discrimination and it’s unacceptable. Disabled people have the same rights as anyone else to shop, take a taxi or visit their local pub. 

“Guide Dogs’ is a brilliant service that supports so many people. I am happy to support the Access All Areas campaign to open all doors to guide dog owners this Christmas.”

James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said:

“It’s against the law for a business to close their doors to someone because of their assistance dog, but it’s still a daily concern for many guide dog owners going about their lives.

“When you rely on your guide dog to get around, leaving the dog outside is not an option. Businesses shouldn’t be allowed to make guide dog owners feel like second-class citizens. That’s why we’re calling for better enforcement of the law, and better staff training in some sectors to stop this discrimination from happening in the first place.”