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Keeping up with you

Hello and welcome to all of you in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.

Thank you for taking a moment to look at this email. I want to keep everyone in touch with what’s going on in the constituency and what it might mean for you.

My door is open to anyone who seeks advice and support, so you can  phone or email me at any time.

You also have the option of visiting constituency surgeries on Mondays. You don't need to make an appointment.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to receive your personalised copy of this newsletter, which we are sending out every two weeks, then please do  sign up here.

International Day of Peace


Not in living memory have we ever needed world peace more. From Donald Trump in the USA, to India, Kashmir and Pakistan, the threat to peace in Northern Ireland and the many other implications of a no deal Brexit as set out in the Government’s own Yellow Hammer paper.
We’ll be celebrating at the Scottish Parliament on Saturday 21 September, marking all the desires and aspirations we have. The main theme, appropriately, is a focus on Climate Action for Peace which draws on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13.
The impetus set off by 16 year old Greta Thurnberg has brought a huge jump in awareness and action to tackle the climate crisis.
This International Day of Peace is a space for all of us to rethink assumptions and to ask ourselves what more we can do as small components in a great world movement, and how peace is the guiding light for progress.

Car parking in Hamilton
 Myself and the team at #HamiltonBID have been talking with the South Lanarkshire Council about car parking in the town and now the Council has commissioned a survey to ask you - customers and businesses - to feed in your opinions. This is your opportunity. Click on the link below to complete the short survey.
Chair of South Lanarkshire Council’s Community and Enterprise Resources Committee, Councillor John Anderson, said: “We want to hear from as many people as possible that use council parking facilities in Hamilton, whether for business, leisure, shopping or as part of their commute.

“The survey will look at a number of issues,” he explained, “including the reasons for people’s trips to the town centre, how often they make them, what type of payment system is most appropriate and what their priorities are in terms of balancing the needs of everyone who visits Hamilton.
“As well as the set questions, there will also be an opportunity at the end of the survey for people to add their own comments.
“All responses are anonymous and will be considered in the development of an appropriate strategy for parking in the Town Centre.”
I am delighted to see action being taken to gauge public opinion on parking in the Town Centre. In 2016 myself and Angela Crawley MP launched the “Our Town, Your Voice” consultation which helped kickstart Hamilton’s Town Centre regeneration.

Parking was one of the key issues which shone through in the responses to this and it is one of the key issues we need to fix to drive more shoppers back in to Hamilton’s Town Centre.
The survey will be open from today (Monday, 9 September) until Monday, 7 October 2019.

Fairhill Fun Day
Last Saturday I joined the joy at the Fairhill Fund Day and it was great. Wonderful to see people of all ages enjoying themselves doing everything from bouncing on the castle to chatting to Police Scotland’s Lanarkshire Division.

These pictures tell the story:


Supporting our Communities

 I began off this week with a visit to Supporting Our Communities (SOC). SOC is  a tremendous group who took over the old exodus hall in Hillhouse and have transformed it in to a brand new community hub.
The group is dedicated to:
1.       Create a social hub for the local community.
2.       Run new activities and programmes for family and children.
3.       Create new well-being and mental health services for our local area.
With activities ranging from coffee mornings, to crochet and guitar lessons SOC offers an absolutely amazing service to the community and I would urge those living nearby to go and visit when they can.

The Scottish Household Survey 2018 Annual Report
 High satisfaction with childcare and a sharp increase in concern about climate change are two of the key findings in this year’s Scottish Household Survey.

Of households with a child aged two to five, 86% said they are either very or fairly satisfied with the overall quality of funded early learning and childcare they received.

Meanwhile, concern about climate change has soared to a record high. Almost two thirds of adults viewed climate change as an immediate and urgent problem. The greatest increase in concern is among adults aged 16-24, rising from 38% in 2013 to 67% in 2018.

Scotland’s communities and housing also fared well in the survey. Findings include:

  • nine in ten households are very or fairly satisfied with their housing
  • more than 8 out of 10 people who have used their local schools or health service are satisfied with them
  • the number of households managing well financially has risen from 42% to 55% in the 19 years to 2018
  • home ownership among young people aged 16- 34 has increased since 2014
  • internet access in homes is high, and continuing to increase, and the gap in connectivity is narrowing between lower and higher income households
  • 83% of adults living in Scotland believe their neighbourhood is one where people are kind to each other

Responding to the findings, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The Scottish Household Survey is a unique opportunity for people to share their views and experiences and help the government understand how people feel about life in Scotland.

“This survey shows that parents are ready to benefit from the Scottish Government’s £2 billion investment in the expansion of early learning and childcare, with the increase in flexibility and choice that this will bring, including options like year-round provision. We know the transformative impact that a high quality, nurturing, early learning and childcare experience can have, and from August 2020 children will be able to access almost twice as many funded hours.

“We want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up, and that means that every child, regardless of their circumstances, should be given the opportunity to realise their full potential so it is great to see parents are satisfied with their early learning and childcare.

“I am pleased to see the positive trend in the number of households managing well financially in recent years and that the majority are happy with their housing and neighbourhoods. It was also interesting to see those who use our local services report to be more satisfied than non-users.   

“The gap in home internet access is also decreasing and work is ongoing to ensure this continues so that all citizens can benefit from the advantages access to the internet brings.

“Climate change remains a concern and people are clearly worried about the negative impacts it will have. It is one of the Scottish Government’s top priorities and this year’s Programme for Government committed Scotland to lead the way in tackling this global emergency.”

Scottish Household Survey 2018 Annual report 
Scottish Household Survey 2018 Key Findings report 
All childcare data presented is from households with children aged two- to five-years-old who have not yet started school.
The Scottish Household Survey is the largest social survey of people across Scotland, giving them an opportunity to provide information to government on their experiences, views, attitudes and behaviours. 

The survey has run since the outset of devolution in 1999.  It provides robust data on a wide range of different topics, including housing, neighbourhoods, sport and physical activity, internet use/digital engagement, views on local services, culture, the environment, and volunteering, at both national and local authority level.