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2018 SURGERIES (TO MARCH)

Please come along to one of my surgeries if I can be of any assistance. No appointment necessary.

Here are the upcoming dates and times:

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HMRC UPDATE AS FIGHT TO RETAIN CUMBERNAULD OFFICE CONTINUES

After months of uncertainty, HMRC has today told Cumbernauld staff that it wants to site its proposed new regional centre in Glasgow, scheduled to open in 2021. My colleague Stuart McDonald MP and I have received a letter from the Chief Executive of HMRC stating that the originally proposed timescale for closure in 2019/20 is being reviewed "in light of the later opening date of the regional centre and we will updat...e you after we have informed staff".

Once again workers in Cumbernauld are being shoddily treated by the UK Government and its austerity agenda. The entire "Building our Future project" was poorly thought out from the start and, given the additional workload created by Brexit, must be completely overhauled.

As the local MSP I will work with the PCS and local trade unions on the implications of this announcement for HMRC jobs and the impact on the local community, but we will continue the fight to keep HMRC jobs in Cumbernauld.

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PROPOSED CLOSURE OF KILBOWIE OUTDOOR CENTRE

I have been contacted by a number of people regarding their concerns about the Council's proposed closure of Kilbowie Outdoor Centre.

A Facebook page has been set up detailing how you can get involved in the Council's budget consultation process for this specific proposal. You can find a link to that below.

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My SNP Councillor colleagues have already made clear that they will oppose the sell-off of Kilbowie and I have also written to the Council to express the concerns of those who have been in contact with me about this matter.

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EMPLOYMENT FAYRE - TODAY

One last reminder, today Stuart McDonald MP and I are holding an employment fayre and financial advice surgery at the Muirfield Centre, just next to Cumbernauld police station. We have a range of organisations in attendance offering advice about employment and training, as well as some employers offering vacancies. It runs from 10am until 12.30pm. ALL WELCOME.

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Jamie Hepburn MSP

EMPLOYMENT FAYRE AND FINANCIAL ADVICE SURGERY
If you're looking for new career opportunities come along to our Employment Fayre in the Muirfield Centre, tomorro...w from 10am-12.30pm, hosted by myself and Stuart McDonald MP in partnership with SDS North Lanarkshire and New College Lanarkshire.

We'll be joined by a number of employers, including BT CMS Windows, Cruden Building and Renewals Ltd, First Glasgow, Robinson Medical Recruitment, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in the Main Hall. We'll also be joined by representatives from Business Gateway Lanarkshire, Capability Scotland, ENABLE Scotland, SCVO and other organisations who you can talk to about jobs, training and more.

Skills Development Scotland and New College Lanarkshire will also be holding workshops focusing on employability, interview skills and CV writing, taking place both in the morning and again at 1pm.

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EMPLOYMENT FAYRE AND FINANCIAL ADVICE SURGERY
If you're looking for new career opportunities come along to our Employment Fayre in the Muirfield Centre, tomorrow from 10am-12.30pm, hosted by myself and Stuart McDonald MP in partnership with SDS North Lanarkshire and New College Lanarkshire.

We'll be joined by a number of employers, including BT CMS Windows, Cruden Building and Renewals Ltd, First Glasgow, Robinson Medical Recruitment, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in the M...ain Hall. We'll also be joined by representatives from Business Gateway Lanarkshire, Capability Scotland, ENABLE Scotland, SCVO and other organisations who you can talk to about jobs, training and more.

Skills Development Scotland and New College Lanarkshire will also be holding workshops focusing on employability, interview skills and CV writing, taking place both in the morning and again at 1pm.

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EMPLOYMENT FAYRE AND FINANCIAL ADVICE SURGERY
If you want to find out more about college or university courses available then come along to our Employment Fayre on Monday at the Muirfield Centre.

We'll be joined by representatives from City of Glasgow College, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow Kelvin College, New College Lanarkshire and University of Strathclyde who'll be in the Main Hall between 10am and 12.30pm to answer your questions.

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Advisers from SDS North Lanarkshire will also be available to give a range of advice, including tips on applying for courses and funding.

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EMPLOYMENT FAYRE AND FINANCIAL ADVICE SURGERY
Looking for an apprenticeship or training opportunities? Come along to our Employment Fayre this Monday hosted by myself and Stuart McDonald MP this Monday in the Muirfield Centre.

Representatives from GTG Training, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Apprenticeship Programme, SDS North Lanarkshire, Routes to Work, Stafffinders and more will be there to give advice between 10am and 12.30pm in the Main Hall.

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TRANSPORT TO THE EMPLOYMENT FAYRE
Skills Development Scotland will be running a bus from Kilsyth, via Croy, to the Muirfield Centre on Monday for those wishing to attend the Employment Fayre and Financial Advice Surgery.

The bus will leave Kilsyth at 9.40am and stop in Croy at approximately 9.50am.

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Places are limited so if you would like to book a free place on the bus you can contact me via this page for full details.

There will also be a return service leaving the Muirfield Centre at 11.30am.

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SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT BUDGET DELIVERING FOR PEOPLE OF CUMBERNAULD AND KILSYTH

I’m very pleased that the Scottish Government’s draft budget was passed yesterday at its first stage by the Scottish Parliament.

This budget includes proposals for additional funding for the NHS, increased investment in our schools, along with progressive tax reforms, which will result in 70% of taxpayers paying no more or less than they currently do. The progressive tax proposals that have been put i...n place see an additional £420 million for public expenditure in the face of massive cuts from Westminster.

This budget will also deliver additional funding for local authorities, including North Lanarkshire Council, which is receiving an above inflation increase in resource funding of £10.180 million. The Council had been talking of the need to cut expenditure in the region of £8 million. This funding settlement shows they cannot justify that position.

I believe this budget is a good deal for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth and a good deal for Scotland.

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EMPLOYMENT FAYRE AND FINANCIAL ADVICE SURGERY

Looking for help with a financial issue? Come along to our Financial Advice Surgery on Monday in the Muirfield Centre from 10am-12.30pm.

Representatives from Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Citizens Advice Bureau, Cumbernauld & Kilsyth Unemployed Workers Centre, North Lanarkshire Council's Welfare Rights Team and Home Energy Scotland - Strathclyde & Central will be there to answer your questions in General Purpose Rooms 2 and 3.

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Staff will be on hand to help you find your way and refreshments will be provided in the main hall by Communitea Cumbernauld.

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EMPLOYMENT FAYRE AND FINANCIAL ADVICE SURGERY
As part of the upcoming Employment Fayre I'm holding at the Muirfield Community Centre with Stuart McDonald MP on Monday 5th February our partner organisations are running FREE WORKSHOPS on the day.

The focus of these workshops will be guidance on getting a job, including where there are opportunities and key skills, such as writing an effective CV.

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These workshops will take place at the following times and rooms within the Muirfield Centre:

10.15am - 11.00am: Conference Room - New College Lanarkshire

11.00am - 11.45am: Conference Room - Skills Development Scotland

1.00pm - 1.45pm: GP2 - New College Lanarkshire

1.00pm - 1.45pm: GP3 - Skills Development Scotland

To book these workshops simply visit their stalls at the Employment Fayre to sign up on the day. Staff will also be available to point you in the right direction.

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£1,573,080 FUNDING FOR LOCAL SCHOOLS DEPENDENT ON BUDGET VOTE

The Scottish Government's proposed budget for 2018/19 includes £1,573,080 for schools across Cumbernauld and Kilsyth. The money forms part of the £120m Pupil Equity Fund which aims to reduce the poverty-related attainment gap. The money is spent at the discretion of head teachers and school leaders on local initiatives to tackle the attainment gap.

The vote at Holyrood this afternoon will determine whether the prin...ciples of the budget are agreed, with the £120 million Pupil Equity Fund forming part of the Scottish Government's Draft Budget for 2018/19.

This fund is an essential part of ensuring that the educational attainment gap in Scotland is closed, which is why it is so important that all MSPs support the draft budget today.

You can find details of the Scottish Government’s budget at the following link.

https://beta.gov.scot/budget/

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Details of the Scottish Government's draft spending plans for 2018-19
beta.gov.scot

WARM HOME DISCOUNT SCHEME ELIGIBILITY

It has been brought to my attention that some residents across Cumbernauld and Kilsyth may still be eligible for Warm Home Discount this winter.

The Warm Home Discount Scheme can result in a rebate of £140 off your electricity bill.

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Applications for this scheme are still open and you may be eligible if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or if you are on a low income and meet Scottish Gas’ criteria for the scheme. You can still qualify if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter. However, please check with your provider.

I've been advised that Scottish Gas only provide Warm Home Discount to a certain number of people. Therefore I would urge you to enquire your eligibility by following the link below or by telephoning 0800 072 8625, or 0800 294 8604 if you're a Pay As You Go Energy customer, to ensure that you don't miss out.

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britishgas.co.uk

WALKING FOOTBALL
If you're over 50 and looking for a fun way to keep fit and meet new people Cumbernauld Colts Community Football Club are offering walking football, a slower paced version of the beautiful game.

In my previous capacity as Minister for Sport I helped launch the SFA's walking football initiative so I'm delighted that this will be available in Cumbernauld.

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If you're interested, contact details for Cumbernauld Colts are listed on the poster.

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BROADWOOD LOCH POLLUTION

I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents who raised concerns with me after Broadwood Loch was polluted in October and asking how the mitigation of the pollution in the loch was progressing. Attached is a copy of a response I have received from Terry A’ Hearn, Chief Executive of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) which confirms that they are taking this situation seriously.

From this response from Mr A’ Hearn it appe...ars that the mitigation measures which took place have succeeded in reducing the impact of the oil with only a relatively small residual amount remaining. It is also my understanding that SEPA recently inspected the loch and the wildlife appeared healthy.

Finally, they are aware of how this pollution entered the loch and a decision on whether to take any enforcement action against the company responsible will be taken once SEPA’s investigation concludes.

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NLC RESPONSE TO WINTRY CONDITIONS 2017/18
Following on from the complaints raised by many local residents I have raised the adequacy of North Lanarkshire Council's response to wintry conditions with their Chief Executive.

None of us underestimate the logistical difficulties caused by the cold weather, particularly the amounts of snow we have had this week. However, there are specific areas where I believe the council can improve and I have highlighted these in my letter to them.

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WOODLANDS REZONING MEETING CANCELLED - 18TH JAN

The meeting to discuss rezoning of part of the Woodlands Primary School catchment area into Abronhill Primary School tomorrow night has been cancelled.

Interested parents can still attend the following two meetings for more information:

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St Margaret’s of Scotland Primary School on Monday 22nd January 2018 at 7pm

St Lucy’s Primary School on Thursday 25th January 2018 at 7pm

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MASSIVE PUBLIC OPPOSITION TO SCHOOL TRANSPORT CHANGES

The figures that my colleague Councillor Alan Masterton, Cumbernauld North - SNP has shared show that the overwhelming majority of those who responded to the Council's consultation on their proposals to reduce school transport entitlement were opposed. Indeed, less than 1% of the combined number who responded to the consultations were in favour.

As I have shared previously, barring a spectacular second u-turn by the Labour councillors, the proposals have now thankfully been ditched. The strength of feeling demonstrated in response to the consultation shows why there was such a vigorous campaign led by parents against the plans.

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Councillor Alan Masterton, Cumbernauld North - SNP

SCHOOL BUSES CONSULTATION

According to papers being tabled at North Lanarkshire Council’s Policy and Resources Committee this week there were 1346 responses to ...the Primary School Transport Consultation and 1730 responses to the Secondary School Transport Consultation, which finished on Tuesday last week.

On the primary school consultation there were 15 responses in favour of the proposals, 1316 against and 15 undecided. On the secondary school consultation there were 11 responses in favour, 1693 against and 26 undecided.

Although I am pleased that the response from parents and others was so overwhelmingly against these proposals it does raise the question as to why North Lanarkshire Council spent a significant sum of money on a consultation which it was clear was going to draw significant opposition, and which will not be going forward in any case now.

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