10 Feb 2012

Paisley Daily Express - 13 February 2012

Winter Dangers

The winter isn’t over yet and the recent cold snap is a sharp reminder of the dangers which cold weather can bring. We have seen in recent days the loss of lives across Europe because of the plummeting temperatures.  Weather is now more unpredictable than ever and the elderly and the house bound are at particular risk. The most important thing people can do across Renfrewshire is to look out for those who may be unprepared or can’t afford to heat their homes properly. I would urge you to be observant and vigilant. Keep an eye out for those close by who are not opening or closing their curtains. As a neighbour or friend you could visit to make sure they are OK or to see if they need anything.

Living Wage

A recent report from the Scottish Parliament’s local government committee into a living wage is stark reminder that many working people are not being fairly paid. The report estimates that around half a million people in Scotland are currently earning less than the living wage, which is set at £7.20 an hour. Scottish Labour is currently pushing forward a Member’s Bill on the living wage which will benefit thousands of workers across the whole of Scotland.  When we see the obscene salaries and bonuses being paid to financers and bankers then £7.20 is a reasonable and modest wage for hard working people.

Care Homes

New findings have shown a disturbing insight into the care of some of our most vulnerable citizens. Scotland’s older people deserve better but are being let down by a system that is supposed to look after them. Older people who are loved by family and friends alike and who have worked all their days deserve to be looked after properly. It is shameful to be denied even the most basic standards of care and dignity.
These findings could be the tip of the iceberg. They will not be helped one bit by SNP cuts to the Care Inspectorate. Scotland’s older people deserve the highest standards of care. The SNP government must ensure the Care Inspectorate has the resources and the support to do its job properly.

Double Standards

Alex Salmond and the SNP yet again display double standards. The SNP demanded action when  a Labour MP posted a mocked up video based on a film about the “Downfall of Hitler”. Similar spoofs of this film had been done before lampooning others, including football managers, twitter, the IPAD , Star Trek, to name but a few.  The righteous indignation of the SNP was palpable. Now Alex Salmond has used the Nazi term “Gauleiter” to describe the BBC’s most senior political adviser. This was the name used for a high ranking official in the Nazi Party. A leading political commentator in Germany said that if a politician of Alex Salmond’s standing was to use this word in Germany in this way, he wouldn’t be able to survive the political fall out.  Last week his Education Minister branded anyone who disagreed with the SNP as being “anti Scottish”. It seems no one is allowed to disagree with Alex Salmond or the SNP without being insulted or abused.

Carers Centre

Renfrewshire Carers recently launched their new website. The Carers Centre does a fantastic job in supporting carers across Renfrewshire and highlighting the issues faced by them. There are more than 20,000 unpaid carers in Renfrewshire alone, many of them young carers. Over the years Renfrewshire Carers Centre has provided fantastic support and training for carers throughout Renfrewshire.
Work colleagues, friends and school friends often do not realise the effort and hard work that carers do and how important a role carers do in our society.  Carers undertake an important job but sometimes they need respite so that they can do the things we take for granted. Family occasions, going on holiday, spending time with friends or even having a free evening to relax can be a major problem for carers. Carers need all the support they can get and as one person has said “we are not invisible”. Remember Renfrewshire Carers is there for any carer who needs support or advice. Check out their new website on www.renfrewshirecarers.org.uk or phone them on 0141 887 3643.