PUBLIC GATHERING BEING HELD IN COATBRIDGE AS PART OF SPRING WALK FOR PEACE EVENT

Central Scotland MSP, John Wilson, will be speaking at a public gathering taking place in Coatbridge as part of Scottish CND’s Spring Walk for Peace events.

The walk will be passing through Airdrie and Coatbridge on Thursday 3rd April and following this the public gathering will be taking place at St Augustine’s Church (12 Dundyvan Road) between 7 – 9pm.

The Spring Walk for Peace will be taking place throughout the week of the 1st – 7th April 2014 and will travel from the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to Faslane Nuclear Base. As part of this campaign, several other events will also be taking place in local communities along the route to highlight Scottish CND’s anti-nuclear message. This will include a rally in Glasgow on Saturday 5th April at George Square, where the walk will be leaving at 11am.

Commenting before the event, John Wilson MSP said “I welcome the opportunity to speak at this event and participate in the Scottish CND’s Spring Walk for Peace. I would encourage everyone to come along and listen to the arguments being presented and the issues being raised. Anyone who is interested in taking part in the Spring Walk for Peace is welcome to do so”

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JOHN WILSON MSP HOSTS UNITED NATIONS WORLD DOWN’S SYNDROME DAY EVENT IN THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT

Following his Members debate on Tuesday 18th March, John Wilson MSP welcomed Down’s Syndrome Scotland on Thursday 20th March at the Scottish Parliament who provided an information session for MSPs to highlight Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week (17th to 23rd March 2014) and the United Nations World Down’s Syndrome Day (Friday 21st March).

This event provided MSP’s with the chance to learn more about Down’s syndrome to better support constituents. The event provided an opportunity for MSPs to discuss with Down’s Syndrome Scotland the interests and concerns of people with Down’s syndrome. Kim Scott, who has Down’s syndrome and is a speaker for Down’s Syndrome Scotland, talked about her work with the charity.

John Wilson MSP said: “Down’s Syndrome Scotland supports many families throughout the country and this event is a chance for us all to learn more about their Family Support Service and new projects like the Communication Skills Pilot that started this year. It was also great to hear about the role of Kim and workers like her who are inspiring examples of how people with Down’s syndrome can work and do their job well if given the opportunities to do so.
“While speaking in the Members debate on Tuesday evening, I urged the Scottish Government to look into apprenticeships for those living with Down’s Syndrome to improve their opportunities of securing employment”

“People with Down’s syndrome have a right to be listened to just like any other constituent and I believe that as a society we should do more to engage with people with learning disabilities and their carers. Down’s Syndrome Scotland provides much-needed support to many and I wish them all the best in the future.”

Pandora Summerfield, Chief Executive of Down’s Syndrome Scotland, said: “This information session at the Scottish Parliament is a great opportunity to raise awareness of Down’s syndrome. By informing MSPs about the condition and about our services, we want to ensure that the interests of our members are not forgotten in political debates.

“As a charity, we are committed to helping our members reach their full potential. Through our work, we know that issues like speech therapy, welfare, employment and dementia are major causes of concern to people with Down’s syndrome and their families. These are important topics that need to be discussed. Improving knowledge of Down’s syndrome is key to our mission. We look forward to organising similar events in the future, including hosting the World Down Syndrome Congress 2018 in Glasgow.”

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PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE MARKS DOWN’S SYNDROME AWARENESS WEEK

MSP SEEKS MORE APPRENTICES FOR THOSE WITH DOWN’S SYNDROME

SNP MSP John Wilson led a debate in the Scottish Parliament to mark Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week in which he asked the Scottish Government to consider providing more apprenticeships for those with the condition to improve their chances of full employment.

Mr Wilson’s member’s business debate highlighted the work of the charity Down’s Syndrome Scotland, focusing on the Communication Skills Project which aims to help children from 12 months to improve their communication skills and to help parents of children with Down’s syndrome support their speech and language development. Skills workshops have been set up throughout Scotland, including in East Kilbride, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Down’s Syndrome Scotland offers valuable support to families in Central Scotland. Its branch in Central Scotland, which is based in Falkirk, has organised an open day for members, carers and parents at the Grange Community Centre on Saturday 22nd March.

Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week runs from 17th to 23rd March and the UN World Down’s Syndrome Day is on Friday 21st March.

Commenting, Central Scotland MSP John Wilson said:

“This debate provided excellent opportunity to raise awareness of issues faced by people with Down’s syndrome and to reflect on their value to communities across Scotland. Expanding apprenticeships for those living with Down’s Syndrome would provide better opportunities of full time employment”

“People with Down’s syndrome are valued members of our communities and should be fully accepted and included by wider society – and I am delighted to have this opportunity to promote this message in the Scottish Parliament.”

“The debate will also allow reflection on the fantastic work carried out by Down’s Syndrome Scotland in supporting their members to achieve their full potential – and in their pioneering project showing the importance of early intervention in ensuring an improved quality of life for people with Down’s syndrome.”

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MSP JOHN WILSON WELCOMES PASSING OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE BILL

John Wilson, MSP for Central Scotland, hailed the passage of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill as a landmark moment for looked after children in Scotland.
During the proceedings John Wilson MSP secured an amendment to the proposed legislation and subsequently 103 MSP’s voted in favour of the legislation in a vote on Wednesday 19th February in the Scottish Parliament.

The Bill will increase nursery provision for around 120,000 children in Scotland from this August and build on support offered to kinship carers across Scotland.

And in moves that have been welcomed by groups such as Barnardo’s Scotland, Aberlour and Who Cares? Scotland, the Bill will also give young people the right to stay in care until the age of 21.

In welcoming the move John Wilson MSP said: “The Children and Young People Bill provides measures that will improve support for children in Scotland from their early years right through to their early adulthood. From August this year, every 3, 4 and looked after 2 year old will benefit from 600 hours of free childcare, benefitting around 120,000 children. By August 2015, this will be extended to include all two year olds from the hardest pressed families, benefitting 15,400 children in their earliest years.

“The proposal to give young people the right to stay in care until the age of 21 will transform lives – as a number of children’s organisations including Barnardo’s Scotland have noted. This change, as well as the commitment to provide better support for care leavers, underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensure all children in Scotland are given the chance to fulfil their potential. It is a landmark moment for Scotland’s looked after children.”

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MSP RAMPS UP THE RED TO FIGHT HEART DISEASE WITH BHF SCOTLAND

John Wilson MSP from Central Scotland is supporting British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland by calling on his constituents to Ramp up the Red on 7 February to help fight heart disease.

Did you know that coronary heart disease is Scotland’s single biggest killer? It kills more than 7,500 people each year. And there are currently around 235,000 people in Scotland living with coronary heart disease.

On Friday 7 February, BHF Scotland is asking people across the nation to Ramp up the Red and raise funds to continue the fight for every heartbeat.

John Wilson MSP, said: “I am pleased to help raise awareness of heart disease by supporting Ramp up the Red. I encourage everyone in Central Scotland to get involved on Friday 7 February, joining the fight and helping to beat a devastating disease that can affect anyone, from babies to grandparents.”

Marjory Burns, BHF Scotland Director, said “We’re very grateful to John Wilson MSP for supporting Ramp up the Red in his community and we hope that many local people will join us. Everyone who organises a fundraising event in February is helping to raise much-needed funds to fight heart disease. All money raised will help us truly fight for every heartbeat.”

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MSP WELCOMES PUBLICATION OF ‘MOODIESBURN LINES’

Central Scotland MSP, John Wilson, has welcomed the publication of ‘Moodiesburn Lines’, in a motion before the Scottish Parliament.

‘Moodiesburn Lines’ is a collection of writing from a local group who go by the name of The 4Ps. The 4Ps, or Pivot Percussion, Pens and Performance, have brought together their work for the book ‘Moodiesburn Lines’ which was launched on Thursday 16th January 2014 at the Auchengeich Miners Club.

The 4Ps regularly meet in Moodiesburn Pivot Community Centre and endeavour to involve people from the local community, particularly those more isolated, in cultural pursuits.

Funding was provided by the organisation Reshaping Care for Older People who supported the project.
John Wilson MSP said “this project is an excellent example of local communities coming together to produce a very interesting and thoughtful piece of work. I look forward to seeing what comes next”

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SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT POLICY TO BENEFIT UP TO 11,700 CHILDREN IN NORTH LANARKSHIRE

John Wilson MSP has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to provide healthy free school meals to all P1 to P3 pupils.

As part of a £114 million package for young people over two years, every one of Scotland’s P1 to P3 children will have the option of a free meal in school from January next year, improving health and wellbeing, increasing attainment and saving families at least £330 a year for each child.

The announcement was warmly welcomed by a coalition of children’s charities who have been campaigning for this policy

Based on the latest available figures, around 11,700 pupils in North Lanarkshire will be eligible to benefit from free school meals.

The First Minister also announced that free childcare provision would also be expanded to every two year-old from a workless household in Scotland – around 8,400 children or 15 per cent of all two year-olds – by August this year.

And by August next year, free childcare provision will be extended further, reaching 15,400 children – 27 per cent of all two year-olds – by widening entitlement to families that received certain welfare benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Commenting, John Wilson MSP said, “Families throughout North Lanarkshire will benefit massively from the introduction of free school meals for P1 to P3 pupils. This will go a long way to removing the stigma often attached to free school meals as well as providing a meaningful way of improving health and wellbeing”

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JOHN WILSON MSP DELIVERS CHRISTMAS CHEER AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO ROYAL MAIL POSTIES AT COATBRIDGE AND MOTHERWELL DELIVERY OFFICES

John Wilson MSP has visited Royal Mail’s Coatbridge and Motherwell delivery offices to pass on Christmas wishes and encouragement to the postmen and women at their busiest time of year.

Mr Wilson was given a tour of the offices and was introduced to the postmen and women who are working hard sorting and delivering all cards and parcels in the Coatbridge and Motherwell areas in the run-up to Christmas.

John Wilson MSP said: “It was great to meet the dedicated, hard-working Royal Mail postmen and women at both Coatbridge and Motherwell delivery offices and to see first-hand just how much effort they put into delivering for people at this time of year.

“Postmen and women do such an important job at this time of year. I like to thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best over the busy festive period.”

Gary Miller, Royal Mail Delivery Office Manager at Coatbridge, said: “Christmas is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail. Our people pull out all the stops throughout the year to ensure mail is delivered quickly, but even more so over the busy festive period. We are grateful that John Wilson MSP came along to see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.”

“Our people do a fantastic job at this time of year to ensure that friends and families stay in touch through their Christmas greetings and gifts. We’d like to remind our customers to post early so that friends and family have longer to enjoy their Christmas greetings!”

The recommended last posting dates for mail are:
• Friday 20 December for 1st Class items
• Wednesday 18 December for 2nd Class items
• Monday 23 December for Special Delivery items

The recommended International posting dates for 2013 are:
• Wednesday 4 December for airmail to Asia, Far East (including Japan ),and New Zealand
• Thursday 5 December for airmail to Australia
• Friday 6 December for airmail to South & Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East
• Monday 9 December for airmail to Cyprus and Eastern Europe
• Tuesday 10 December for airmail to Canada, France, Greece, Poland
• Friday 13 December for airmail to USA
• Saturday 14 December for airmail items to Western Europe (excluding France, Greece, Poland)

Customers can also help Royal Mail ensure that all their letters, cards and parcels are delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible by taking a few easy steps:
• Use a 1st Class stamp! – Post 1st Class for just 60p and have your Christmas card delivered the next day – anywhere in the UK.
• Post early! – Avoid disappointment by posting your cards and parcels early. The last posting dates this Christmas are: December 18 for 2nd Class mail; December 20 for 1st Class mail; December 23 for Special Delivery.
• Use a postcode! – A clearly addressed card or parcel, with a postcode, and return address on the back of the envelope, will ensure quick and efficient delivery.
• Use Special Delivery!– For valuable packages and parcels guarantee delivery with Royal Mail’s Special Delivery, which means your gift is tracked, traced and insured against loss.
For more information about Christmas with Royal Mail visit: www.royalmail.com or call 08457 740 740.

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JOHN WILSON MSP CHALLENGES CABINET SECRETARY ON LACK OF GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARMS LENGTH BODIES

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance last week made a commitment to look into the code of conduct practices for arms-length bodies after John Wilson MSP highlighted the current lack of formal accountability arrangements.

At the meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee on Wednesday 27th November 2013, Mr Wilson challenged the Cabinet Secretary for Finance on the lack of governance for board members of arms-length organisations. These bodies are neither public bodies nor local elected members and are therefore not currently covered within existing code of conduct guidelines, despite acting as agents of public bodies.

Speaking after the Committee John Wilson MSP said ‘this is an important issue about bringing arms-length organisations into line with others and ensuring that they adhere to a code of practice and conduct which outlines their responsibilities to conduct themselves in an open and accountable manner’

‘Arms-length organisations are appearing more frequently so I welcome the news that the Cabinet Secretary will be looking into this matter’.

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JOHN WILSON MSP QUESTIONS FIRST MINISTER ON SCOTTISH FUEL POVERTY LEVELS

Central Scotland MSP John Wilson has questioned the First Minister during First Ministers’ Question Time about what the Scottish Government is doing to offset the recent energy price increases.

Mr Wilson posed the question to the First Minister after the recent price increases by the Big Six energy companies, which averages at around 10% across the main suppliers. Mr Wilson claims that this will plunge many people, including households currently living in fuel poverty throughout Central Scotland, into further financial hardship, while energy suppliers continue to reap huge financial profits.

The First Minister assured Mr Wilson that since 2009, the Scottish Government have invested over £220 million in fuel poverty and energy efficiency programmes which has saved household incomes more than £1 billion. He went on to assert that about £0.25 billion will be spent on energy efficiency and fuel poverty measures in the coming three years.

Speaking after First Ministers Question Time, John Wilson MSP said “Energy companies cannot continue to increase fuel prices at an unaffordable rate for consumers.
“Scottish Government figures show that around 30% of households in Scotland are currently living in fuel poverty. This will only worsen with these new price increases.These worries become all the more pressing as we enter the winter months and fuel bills inevitably get bigger.”

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