HOLYROOD PASSES PLAN TO TRANSFORM SOUTH LANARKSHIRE ECONOMY
SNP MSP Christina McKelvie has said the new Scottish National Investment bank will help encourage economic growth across South Lanarkshire, 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 Christina McKelvie said:
“The Scottish National Investment Bank will help us reach our world-leading climate change targets while transforming communities here in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.
“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 South Lanarkshire.”
Christina McKelvie MSP, Angela Crawley MP and Margaret Ferrier MP have joined together to call for more to be done to secure the future of the X1 service.
Immense public pressure had led to the reversal of the decision by First Bus to scrap the service last year, with a petition started by local resident Rebecca Creechan reaching over 4,600 signatures.
Since then, First Bus have been conducting a public awareness campaign to draw attention to the benefits of travelling on the X1 and highlighting the inclusion of their new £3.50 discounted off-peak FirstDay tickets, which also covers travel for two children on Saturdays.
Christina, Angela and Margaret have written to South Lanarkshire Council and SPT to ask what they are currently doing to help secure the future of the route and what more can be done.
They are also calling on more people to use the service to boost the numbers before First Bus review the service at the end of February.
Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said: “The X1 service is an absolutely vital link for so many in our communities. It is why I met with First Bus in September of last year to put pressure on them to reverse their decision to scrap the service.
“The route not only helps people get in to Glasgow for work and study, it also provides a key social link for so many. The X1/X1A routes have a higher than average number of concessionary users relying on it for travel in to Hamilton and Glasgow. Without this link many of these older and more vulnerable residents will find themselves increasingly isolated.
“Margaret Ferrier and I have written to the Council Leader John Ross and SPT to highlight the social aspect of this route and to encourage them to do all they can to promote the X1 service.
Angela Crawley, MP for Lanark and Hamilton East said:
“The X1 is a vital route for so many of my constituents and it is important that it remains in place.
“We all have a responsibility to ensure that people from across Hamilton can continue to benefit from the service.
“I will be doing everything in my power to ensure the X1 remains and working with colleagues from across South Lanarkshire to support this important bus link.”
Margaret Ferrier, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West commented:
“Alongside writing to South Lanarkshire Council and SPT we are also urging as many people as possible to use the X1 service in the coming weeks to help drive up numbers. With the service up for review by First Bus at the end of February it is crucial that we do not see a drop-off of passenger numbers.
“At a time when we are trying to get more people to move to buses rather than cars as part of the fight against climate change it is more crucial than ever that we protect routes like the X1.”
“Together we can secure the X1 for the future.”
Christina McKelvie MSP is urging women to take part in Cervical Cancer Prevention Week by having their smear test.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week takes place between 20th and 26th January and aims to shine a light on the importance of cervical screening. Having a cervical screening, also known as a smear test, can prevent 8 out of 10 cervical cancers from developing.
Women aged between 25 and 64 receive an invite to screening every 3 to 5 years. However despite the benefits of testing less than 80% of women take up their invitation across NHS Lanarkshire's area.
Commenting Christina said:
"Taking part in a screening can pick up problems before symptoms even develop, allowing early treatment to take place before issues start.
"While cervical cancer normally affects women in their 30s and 40s it can affect women of any age, so older women should also take part when they are invited.
"Over 90% of us will get the all-clear from these tests but for others treatment can help prevent cancer from even developing in the first place.
"Don't miss your chance. Accept your invitation when it comes. And don't hesitate to get in touch with your doctor if you see any symptoms in the meantime.
Hello and welcome to all of you in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.
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Back to School, back to costs!
Pupils from across all of South Lanarkshire have been helped out with the price of school uniforms. COSLA confirmed that all 32 local authorities have implemented an increase for school clothing grant.
The £100 minimum grant to all eligible families was put in place for the start of the academic year, relieving the financial pressure for South Lanarkshire families and pupils as they return to school.
Motor Neurone Disease
Some of you already know that I take a close interest in living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), as my own father did for many years before he died.
In June, just before we went off for the summer holidays, we marked MND Awareness Week.
The Scottish Government has invested £2.5 million annually in the Specialist Nursing and Care Fund since 2015, more than doubling the number of MND specialist nurses across Scotland.
The new Health and Social Care Standards, introduced in April, seek to provide better personal outcomes for everyone and to ensure that the basic human rights we are all entitled to are upheld.
Everyone is entitled to care that meets their needs and upholds their rights.
The Euan MacDonald Centre, at Edinburgh University, https://www.euanmacdonaldcentre.org was started up with funds from Euan - just 29 when he was diagnosed - and his father, Donald. It's a fantastic resource, and I was directly involved with Euan on the building of a voicebank for patients to access, allowing them to pick out a voice sound that is closest to their own natural voice.
The Scottish Government recognise that research is essential for the development of new and effective approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of Motor Neurone Disease – investing in both research capacity and in bringing MND studies to Scotland.
Are you being scammed?
Watch out! What do you know about skimming or fake ATMs? The cleverer technology gets, the cleverer online scammers get to keep up. Phishing, harvesting, identity theft, hacked information such as BA's embarrassment last week. British Airways is facing a possible fine of around £500 million over a data breach that compromised 380,000 card payments after regulators said they were "making inquiries" into the incident.
So I took up the cause at Larkhall Trinity Church last week and invited in experts to explain more.
The ‘Scam Awareness Surgery’ was designed to make sure the citizens of Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse are made more aware of the latest scams and frauds.
Research from Citizens Advice Scotland had shown that over 61% of over 65s have been approached by a scammer. Other schemes include computer repair/ phishing scams and home and identity fraud
Scammers can target anyone, but especially older people and anyone who has a vulnerability that makes them an easier target.
I thought it was important to give you the opportunity to ask questions and find out how best to protect yourselves against this ever more sophisticated form of theft.
Thanks especially to Hamilton Citizens Advice Bureau, Trading Standards and Police Scotland for coming along to give east to understand help and guidance that will make sure people here are more protected and secure whether that's at an ATM or purchasing something online.
I'll be back in a couple of weeks with more news.