29 Oct 2014

My recent press articles

Thank you to Councillors Derek Bibby and Chris Gilmour for helping to achieve a new safety crossing at Kilbarchan Primary School. The parents had rightly raised safety concerns. The councillors took on board concerns from local activists, worried mums and dads and the headteacher about the dangers facing children as they crossed the road at busy times on their way to classes. They were calling for new safety measures. Councillor Bibby organised a number of site visits with representatives from the parent council, police, staff, council officers and other ward councillors. New ideas were explored which have led to a successful outcome. Children’s safety is paramount and I congratulate all those who worked so hard to get this result.

Glasgow Airport

Change can often bring uncertainty. The sale of Glasgow Airport to new owners however, opens up a new and exciting chapter for this major local employer. The economic downturn was difficult for Glasgow Airport, but led by Amanda McMillan and her management team the Airport has come through with flying colours. Passenger numbers are now growing steadily once more, with new routes opening up. The new ownership will hopefully lead to even more new investment on top of the considerable investment already made. I look forward to even more local people finding jobs at Glasgow Airport and I look forward to Glasgow Airport helping to boost the local economy. 

Gone with the wind 

'I’ve got mine'. Hugh picks up his bag for life from
Diane Allan at Asda
We’ve all seen plastic bags blowing in the wind, hanging from tree tops, lying in the gutter and on our lochs and ponds. Hopefully the new legislation which requires retailers in Scotland to charge a minimum of 5p for each new single-use carrier bag given out to customers will change all that as consumers opt for more sustainable alternatives like canvass bags or bags for life. I’ve got mine and will try to use it whenever I can in a bid to lower litter pollution and the threat to the environment and our wildlife. The Scottish Government estimated that 800 million single-use bags are given out by supermarkets in Scotland every year. Already 160 retailers have signed up to Zero Waste Scotland’s “Carrier Bag Commitment” meaning that they have agreed to donate the proceeds from this charge to good causes. Both Wales and Northern Ireland have already successfully introduced carrier bag charges, lowering their usage by 75% - 80%. Let’s do our bit.

On song

I would love to be able to help out the excellent Kilbarchan Singers Choir in their bid to recruit new members – especially men – but I’m afraid I would not be a welcome addition to their ranks. However I can assist by highlighting their latest appeal and hope talented readers of this column might be the answer to their prayers. The choir meets on Monday evenings in the East Church, Kilbarchan and welcomes new members from all over Renfrewshire. If you are interested just call Malcolm MacAskill on 01505 346749.

Flu fears

It’s that time of year again when the weather takes a turn for the worse and the flu rears its ugly head. This month sees the return of the flu immunisation campaign. Several constituents have told me they have already taken advantage of the free vaccination to ensure their families are getting the best protection and to help stop the spread of the virus which can be dangerous in the vulnerable. Those most at risk from the flu include people aged over-65, those with underlying health conditions and pregnant women. Although the vaccine is available until the end of March, the NHS says that it’s best to get the vaccine sooner rather than later so make an appointment with your GP practice as soon as possible. 

Big Lottery boost

The Big Lottery fund is a valuable source of funds for local groups in Renfrewshire. I was delighted to learn that the latest round of sports funding from the Big Lottery is right on target to help local schoolchildren in my Renfrewshire South constituency get more active. A total award of £5,685 is being shared amongst Howwood Primary School, Kilbarchan Primary and Gryffe High School. Howwood’s share will be used to buy goalposts and help start up a new after school football club while Kilbarchan will use their award for football coaching and equipment, as well as basketball lunchtime clubs. At Gryffe High School the lottery funding will pay for transport costs and t-shirts for pupils from 11 nearby secondary schools to form one super athletics team for Renfrewshire. I’m looking forward to tracking their progress and hope the children will enjoy their new equipment and clubs. Well done to everyone involved in securing the funding.