Impact of welfare reform to be heard in Glasgow
The impact of welfare reform on people in Glasgow will be discussed when the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee meets in City Halls next week on Tuesday 23 April 2013.
This follows research published by the Committee on 11 April that the reforms will have the biggest impact in Glasgow, losing the equivalent of £650 a year for every working adult when the reforms are fully implemented.
The meeting has been organised by the Committee in partnership with the Poverty Alliance, and will be held in the Recital room, City Halls, Glasgow on 23 April 2013 from 10.00am – 12.00pm.
Committee Convener Michael McMahon MSP said:-“For the past year, we have been asking the people of Scotland affected by welfare reform to tell us their experiences, their hopes and their fears. We’ve already held two evidence sessions at Holyrood that have been both moving and revealing.
“Glaswegians are known for their straight talking and I don’t expect or want the witnesses to pull any punches when we hear from them. It is important to know what is happening on the ground. Unlike Iain Duncan Smith, we are listening and will hear their views. It is important to us that we work out what we might be able to do differently in Scotland to mitigate the impact on our most vulnerable.”
Witnesses at the meeting include:
• People identified by and working with the Poverty Alliance.
• Members of the Glasgow Stronger Together group, a group of people with learning disabilities who meet and talk about some of the political changes that they are interested in.
• People who have responded to the Committee’s ‘Your Say’ appeal.
The meeting follows the publication of a study, undertaken by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University that estimates that when fully implemented, the welfare reforms will take more than £1.6 billion a year out of the Scottish economy. This is equivalent to around £480 a year for every adult of working age in Scotland. In Glasgow, this rises to £650 a year. Whilst the Scottish average is broadly on a par with the British average, this makes Glasgow only second to Birmingham within Britain in terms of financial loss.
Deputy Convener Jamie Hepburn MSP said:-“Our research demonstrated the devastating impact these reforms will have on Glasgow. Seeing the scale in numbers is important but this reform is not happening to statistics. It is impacting on people – our friends, family and neighbours. Our ‘Your Say’ campaign has been vital to helping people see the faces behind the figures and I think those coming to our Glasgow meeting see this very clearly.”
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said:
“As the debate around welfare changes has intensified over the last few weeks, we have seen attempts by some to denigrate and stigmatise those who use our social security system. In this context, the ‘Your Say’ event in Glasgow is all the more important. It is an opportunity to get behind the myths about what living on benefits actually means and to understand the real impact that the changes are having. If we are to find genuine, long-term solutions to the challenges our welfare system face, then it is essential that we listen to those who use the system.”
Members of the public can attend the meeting and book tickets. To book a ticket, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 348 5200 or freephone 0800 092 7600 (Textphone users: 0800 092 7100).
The First Minister has named the date for the Independence referendum next year. It will be 18 September 2014.
Defence expert Prof Michael Clarke to speak on Scottish Independence at University of Glasgow
Director General of the Royal United Services Institute and former Director of the Centre for Defence Studies, Professor Michael Clarke, will be presenting a lecture entitled ‘Scottish Independence and its impact on UK security’ at the University of Glasgow on 26 February 2013.
The lecture is part of the Stevenson Lecture Series which examines the impact of the Scottish independence referendum on Scottish citizens.
Professor Clarke will look beyond the implications of dividing up the British army’s air, naval and nuclear resources, and explore the lesser discussed sides of the argument.
Professor Clarke said: “Most people discussing the defence implications of Scottish independence have concentrated on the implications of splitting the British Army and re-locating air and naval bases – especially the nuclear facilities. These are indeed important matters, but they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to thinking through the full implications for the possible defence of an independent Scotland and for the remainder of the United Kingdom.
“From international alliances to expenditure, equipment, through to policing and intelligence; a series of genuinely challenging questions arise to which the answers, in the event, will be almost entirely political.”
New research centre will investigate copyright in a digital world
A new centre dedicated to examining the changing nature of copyright and the need for new business models in the digital age is being launched today at the University of Glasgow.
The Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology (CREATe) brings together internationally renowned researchers from seven UK universities who will work to address the challenges an increasingly digital world presents to government, business and content creators.
Over the next four years, 40 CREATe projects focused on the intersections between culture, the economy and technology will offer policymakers invaluable analyses for developing new regulatory frameworks. The research will also play into debate about the growth of new and emerging services. CREATe’s projects are led by experts in law, business, economics, technology, psychology and cultural analysis and are funded by a £5m investment from UK research councils. Over the funding period, the University of Glasgow is committing a further £1.7m to research posts and PhDs in the Colleges of Arts and Social Sciences to establish CREATe as an international centre of research excellence.
CREATe Director Professor Martin Kretschmer said: “The vast expansion of access to digital technology in recent years has created tremendous opportunities for the UK creative sector, which generates around £60bn each year, or 6% of the UK economy. As the sector increasingly moves towards digital content, copyright issues are becoming more important than ever.
“Studies have shown that between 60% and 70% of young people illegally download music, movies or TV shows, but often those who download most are also the best customers. Producers are being forced to rethink their ways of doing business.
“As a professor at the University of Glasgow’s School of Law, I’m very proud that CREATe will be based here and that our funders have made such a significant investment in a project of real importance.”
At the launch event, which will be held at the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum this evening, attendees will hear presentations from speakers from the UK and Scottish Governments, the creative industries, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), one of CREATe’s primary funders.
Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, said: “The Creative Economy is of the greatest importance to the economic health and the cultural life of our country. We are in the midst of the profound transformations brought about by the digital revolution. Understanding these changes, and the challenges and opportunities they present, is crucial to our future in law, regulation, business, the cultural sphere and other areas. This is why the foundation of CREATe is so important, and why it is equally important that it brings together the different research councils and other agencies to support its work. We have high hopes of its great success.”
Jo Swinson MP, UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs, who will speak at the launch event, said:- “To maintain the success of the UK’s world class creative industries, policy makers need to understand the issues the sector faces. CREATe will bring together academia, government and industry to build a robust evidence base. This will shape policy and ultimately help our creative industries compete in the global market.”
Michael Russell MSP, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, who will also speak at the event, said: “Research of this kind is vital to the Scottish economy and helps to ensure our educational excellence in research continues.
“I am delighted that this innovative new research centre will be based in Glasgow University and I am sure it will offer many benefits to both the university and business communities in Scotland. It further reinforces our reputation as a world leader in education that continues to look at new and diverse ways to grow and improve.”
The official launch will be followed by an intensive one-day working conference on Friday 1 February at the Lighthouse in Glasgow for academics and representatives of the creative industries. The conference will present case studies of transition from analogue to digital (such as music and publishing) contrasting these with ‘born digital’ sectors (such as games or social media). Panel discussion participants include science-fiction writer Charlie Stross, social entrepreneur and publisher Frances Pinter, Google’s UK policy manager Theo Bertram,Stewart Henderson of record label Chemikal Underground, and Tony Clayton of the UK Intellectual Property Office.
CREATe is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Led by the University of Glasgow, CREATe comprises the University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde, University of St Andrews, University of Nottingham’s digital economy hub (Horizon), the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Goldsmiths, University of London. Nesta, the Intellectual Property Office and the Technology Strategy Board, played an advisory role in the setting up of CREATe. This powerful academic consortium is connected to some 80 creative industry partners, comprising individual creators, SMEs and major technology and content firms, the initial base for its further outreach in the creative economy.
Pop sensation Sam Callahan, who is due to release his new single ‘Runaway Train’ at the end of January, was asked to perform the single whilst his biggest fan, Demi Lee from Glasgow, was due give birth.
Unfortunately, Demi Lee’s first child arrive early so Sam never got to perform on the occasion – though he found this out just as he was leaving for the hospital. Demi Lee tweeted Sam about the birth, letting him know that the single was still played.
@samcallahan94 nephew was born just there made sure your song played!”runaway train” #happy#amazing Love you Sam x
— Demi-lee Stewart (@DemileeStewart) November 27, 2012
Sam was originally picked to be in ‘The Wanted’ but they found out he was 5 months too young. Sam attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School at 16 where he was in a mixed band managed by Geri Halliwell and Simon Fuller, other band mates included the boys from District 3 from xfactor! Sam spent two years working with them and some of the best music producers in the business.
Callahan is now working with successful hit producer John McLaughlin who has produced records for The Wanted and Take That, and many more. Sam is forging his own music career and his natural talents are clearly showing through in his first single release.
Watch the video for ‘Runaway Train’ below.
More information on Sam Callahan can be found at his website: http://www.samcallahan.co.uk/
The ambition plans will see a total of 20,000 seats will be available between May and October 2013, doubling the capacity of 2012, and new links between Glasgow and Aberdeen airports and abroad.
The new routes include direct flights from Glasgow to Alicante and the only direct flights from Aberdeen to Alicante and Barcelona. Scotland’s largest independent travel group will charter flights from Glasgow and Aberdeen airports to destinations including Palma, Malaga, Alicante, Barcelona and Venice.
Barrhead Travel is chartering British Airways aircraft for the flights which will give passengers more leg room and a greater luggage allowance than other ‘bargain’ airlines. The flights will also depart on weekends at convenient times.
The company said that operating its own flights and holidays would give Barrhead Travel customers more cost effective holiday solutions.
Sharon Munro, Chief Executive, said: “We strive to give our customers greater choice and value and chartering more flights during the summer months to some of our most popular destinations and cruise ships enables us to give them the best prices possible.
Barrhead Travel, which was founded in 1975 by Bill Munro, has won many rewards over recent years. It’s accolades include Top UK Travel Agency and Best Travel Agency in Scotland for the past 12 years. More recently, the company was named Employer of the Year by The Sunday Times.
Amanda McMillan, Managing Director of Glasgow Airport, said: “Barrhead Travel has always proved a popular choice for Scottish holidaymakers and we have worked closely with them over the last three summers to ensure their flight programme from Glasgow Airport has been successful.
“It is great news for Scottish holidaymakers that Barrhead has expanded its Glasgow Airport programme every year since it began in 2010. With five popular destinations in 2013, we are confident that our partnership is on course for another successful summer.”
For more information visit www.barrheadtravel.co.uk.
His announcement followed the news that the stadium and other facilities are being built on-budget and on-time, including the Emmirates Arena containing the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. The creation of these facilities will help to regenerate Glasgow’s east end, it is hoped. 80% of the Commonwealth Games are being funded by the Scottish Government.
After the games, local residents will be able to use the facilities as part of the government project Glasgow Life. 300 homes from the Athletes Village will also be handed over to the city’s housing council in an attempt to alleviate local housing problems.
Commenting on the forthcoming games, Mr Mason said: “The Games represent a unique opportunity for us to showcase our city to the rest of the world and I have every confidence that we will do that well. The 2014 Commonwealth Games will be a real boost to the economy of Glasgow and will provide a lasting legacy for the people of my constituency and across this great city. There have already been jobs for local people in construction and there will be more jobs in the longer term actually operating the facilities. In addition local residents can obviously use the facilities just as they do other places operated by Glasgow Life.
He went on to say: “It’s an exciting time to live in Glasgow and that excitement will only continue to grow as we approach 2014. Not only are we seeing the upgrade to the Tollcross Leisure Centre but there will be useful new complexes built such as the recently opened Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow Green.”
MSP John Mason, backed by the Scottish Government, has assured those made redundant by the closure of Freshlink in Glasgow will receive “a tailored package of skills development”.
The closure of the factory, which was announced last week, will lead to 145 employees losing their jobs. Mr Mason has confirmed that the promises of support to the employees will be met. A PACE team has been created by the government in order to do this.
Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing is set to visit the factory on Friday to discuss the specifically tailored package of support that will be provided to employees.
Staff at Freshlink have complained about uncertainty over finish dates, hindering their ability to look for new work without compromising their redundancy pay.
Mr Mason, who had campaigned to keep the factory open and has expressed disappointment over the closure announcement, is helping to focus on providing the best support for Freshlink employees.
He said: “I welcome the fact that the Scottish Government has confirmed that a PACE team is drawing up a tailored package of skills development for workers and that it will continue to offer every support possible.
“The information on when the factory will close that has been given to workers by the company so far has been totally inadequate, so the assurance that the Enterprise Minister will press for more answers is a positive one.
“It is an extremely difficult situation when anyone loses their job, but that is made so much worse when workers are facing unnecessary uncertainty over when they personally will finish working there. After the way they have been treated, the workers at Freshlink deserve far, far better.”
A report released by the Scottish Government has announced a significant drop in the number of homicides in Glasgow in the past 10 years.
There has been a 28% decrease in homicide cases in Scotland as a whole, with Glasgow demonstrating the greatest improvement. There were 40 cases in 2002-03 in Glasgow, compared to just 15 cases 2011-12.
Sandra White, Justice Committee member and MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, believes these much improved rates show a “positive trend”.
She said: “One murder in Glasgow and Scotland is of course one too many, but these new figures do at least show a positive trend. But it is vital that we remember behind each of these figures are victims and grieving families.”
The report follows announcements earlier this year that proclaimed a 37-year low for crime rates more generally.
Ms White went on to say these figures will help improve Glasgow’s reputation as a dangerous city, though much work still needs to be done.
She continued: “I will continue to work tirelessly with the police and community organisations so we can make Glasgow a city with a reputation other European cities are envious of.”