More Cash for Local Services Thanks to Progressive Taxation Reforms

Glasgow Council is set to receive a significant funding boost as a result of this year’s SNP Scottish Government budget – with local services in Glasgow benefiting from an extra £27.4m.

The SNP’s progressive reforms – which will see 55% of taxpayers pay less in income tax than if they lived in the rest of the UK – guarantee a £27.4m rise in Glasgow City Council’s resource budget, providing extra funding for schools, roads and housing.

The Scottish Budget also provides additional spending on our NHS – which will see an extra £400 million in funding to help protect our health service from Tory austerity.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“This extra funding for Glasgow council – an additional £27.4m for the coming year – is a great settlement for our communities.

“The SNP’s progressive reforms on income tax, seeing 70% of people pay less than they did last year, and 55% pay less than they would if they lived south of the border, are vital for allowing this funding increase despite continued austerity being imposed by the Tories at Westminster.

“This progressive budget also provides extra funding for our NHS, education and broadband, and more money for our economy, research and our environment too – as well as protecting free university tuition, free personal care for the elderly, free school meals and free prescriptions.

“While the Tories propose cutting over £556 million from public services in order to pay for their tax cuts for the wealthiest – the SNP Government delivers for our councils and protects the vital local services in Glasgow that we all hold dear.”

Glasgow Schools Receive £21.7m Boost From Pupil Equity Fund

INVESTMENT AIMED AT CLOSING THE POVERTY-RELATED ATTAINMENT GAP

A Scottish Government fund aimed at boosting the attainment levels of the most deprived pupils is set to pay out £21,785,160 to schools across Glasgow next year.

More than 2,300 schools across Scotland are set to benefit from the funding – including 191 across Glasgow. The significant investment gives money directly to headteachers, allowing them to spend the money on local initiatives that will close the poverty-related attainment gap.

 Commenting, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin Sandra White, said:

 “The SNP has made closing the attainment gap our priority in this parliament – and the latest investment of £21,785,160 in our schools and our children across Glasgow is a key part of that.

 “Every child should have the best possible start in life, no matter their background – and the role that schools play in giving children the support they need is absolutely vital.

 “That is why it is right that this significant investment to close the poverty-related attainment gap goes straight to headteachers – giving those with the most intimate knowledge of their schools the ability to develop initiatives to benefit children across Glasgow. 

“And with 191 number of schools benefiting from this latest round of funding – following a similar significant investment last year – even more of our children are going to benefit from creative new initiatives that will help to tackle the attainment gap in our schools.”

Sandra White MSP highlights Brexit threat to Scottish festivals.

SNP MSP Sandra White has warned of the looming threat posed by Brexit to Scotland’s world leading festivals during the 25th anniversary of Glasgow’s Celtic Connections, which generates over £7 million for the Scottish economy each year.

In answer to a parliamentary question, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop said:

“We know that the UK’s current visa system already puts in place significant cost and administrative barriers to non-EU artists bringing their work to the festivals. Expanding those barriers to artists from the rest of the EU could have a devastating impact, on both the economic and the cultural impact of the festivals.”

Without EU funding, Celtic Connections Director Donald Shaw warned that “maybe a dozen shows a year in our programme” would not have happened, and the impact of the fall in the pound on the festival’s buying power has already led to a 20% reduction in the number of overseas artists. The Director said he is concerned that new entry visa requirements “would be a big logistical nightmare and financial headache” for the event.

SNP MSP Sandra White for Glasgow Kelvin said:

“The clue is in the name of Celtic Connections – its ethos of connecting and sharing to the benefit of both our economy and our culture reflects that of the EU.

“The Tories’ Brexit is out of tune with Celtic Connections, which generates over £7 million for the Scottish economy each year. It will strip Scottish culture of EU funding, freedom of movement and the general sense of international collaboration that is pertinent to the culture sector.

“Protecting Scotland’s place in the European Union is essential for performers who believe, overwhelmingly, that closing borders will not only damage a touring musician’s livelihood, but will weaken our economy and our culture. EU citizens are not only performers, they are bums on seats in audiences across Scotland throughout the year.

“The Scottish Government supported this festival that does so much to promote our global reputation for cultural excellence with over half a million pounds this year. And the SNP Government will continue striving to ensure that Scotland remains an outward-looking, welcoming nation, which is underpinned by our world class international festivals.”

ENDS

Notes to the editors

Parliamentary Questions answered by the Culture Secretary:
http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&MSPId=1865&SearchFor=AllQuestions&DateChoice=3&SortBy=DateSubmitted

Traditional music festival Celtic Connections suffers cancellation of US acts thanks to Brexit-caused weak pound: http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/14829171.Brexit_sounds_a_sour_note_as_Celtic_Connections_hit/

Celtic Connections fears Brexit will cut global ties: https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/celtic-connections-fears-brexit-will-cut-global-ties-1-4650675

Sandra White MSP highlights need for progress on University access.

Commenting on student outcomes inequality highlighted in the latest Fair Access Commissioner paper, Sandra White MSP highlights the need to do more access and retention.

Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

“This Scottish Government’s commitment to providing education and opportunity to all is transforming this country, and now we have more people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds than ever at University.

“The SNP’s free education and widening access agenda has helped Scotland achieve some of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe and is helping Scottish students to achieve their dreams and shape their lives.

“However latest findings show us that there is much work to do, especially on access to our ancient universities, attainment, and retention across the sector. In subject fields across Scotland we see a closer balance between the backgrounds of students yet the disparity is still pronounced at our old and ancient universities, as well as in the continuation and completion of classified degrees.

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government recognises the need to continue the pace of change in University access and I hope that our institutions will also continue to work towards meeting the challenge.”

Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP said:

“This report brings in to sharp focus the extent and the range of the barriers which result in students from the most deprived backgrounds experiencing inequality at every step of their journey through university and into adult life.

“The Commissioner sets out a timely challenge to us all to do more to address this shocking inequality. Certainly I accept that challenge on behalf of the Government and would encourage universities to do likewise.

“It is an issue that I have raised consistently with university principals and intend to do so again through the next Widening Access Delivery Group. I have already asked the Scottish Funding Council to consider changes to the university outcome agreements. If more needs to be done to improve their effectiveness, then I will not hesitate to act.

“We must all be focused on picking up the pace of change. I am absolutely determined to ensure that more young people from our poorest communities don’t just make it to fresher’s fair, but to graduation day and beyond.”

Sandra White MSP welcomes Scottish employment rise

Sandra White MSP has welcomed news from the Scottish Government that the employment number in Scotland has risen.

Figures report that the number of people in employment increased by 7,000 over the quarter with 2,662,000 people in employment in Scotland.

 

Labour Market Statistics released by the ONS for September to November 2017 show:

  • Scotland’s employment rate increased over the year to 75.0% but decreased by 0.2 percentage points over the quarter
  • 112,000 people were unemployed, with the unemployment rate at 4.0% below the UK rate of 4.3%,
  • Over the quarter the inactivity rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 21.7%
  • Over the year Scotland’s female employment rate increased to 72% higher than the UK rate of 70.8%
  • Over the year youth unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 9.7% lower than the UK rate of 12.6%

 

MSP for Glasgow Kelvin Sandra White said:

“Despite the challenges of Britain’s imposed austerity and Brexit agenda, Scotland’s employment rate continues to rise as the Scottish Government prioritises skills development, education and training, and opportunities for employment – resulting in the one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe.”

“Whilst the British Government decides whether it will rip Scotland out of the single market at great peril to our economy, this SNP Scottish Government is taking all the action we can to increase economic development with funding to boost house building and the creation of a National Investment Bank for Scotland to support the development of our nation’s infrastructure.”

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said:

“These latest figures show 97,000 more people in employment compared to the pre-recession peak in Scotland’s economy and labour market, with rises in the numbers of people in work over the quarter and the year.

“It is also encouraging to see youth unemployment and female employment rates continuing to outperform the rest of the UK.

“The 2018/19 Draft Budget includes an extra £270 million of support for Scotland’s economy, including a new £150 million Building Scotland Fund to increase house building, commercial property and research and development, and £340 million to capitalise a Scottish National Investment Bank.

“These results come despite the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit. We have been absolutely clear that the best option for Scotland’s economy and labour market is the one people voted for – remaining within the EU.”

Background

Labour market statistics available.