George Adam MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
George Adam (Paisley) (SNP)

I thank David Stewart for bringing this debate to the chamber.

I wanted to participate in the debate for practical reasons. This is not just about educational psychologists. Mr Stewart made some accurate points, in as much as there are a number of people who have family members with learning difficulties or autism. I have on-going constituency cases in which the education authority in Renfrewshire is letting my constituents down. For example, it is not supporting autistic young people—it is giving them almost empty timetables, because the support is not there. Local authorities should be looking at one another and at themselves to ask how they should be delivering for and supporting those families.

I also have personal reasons for wanting to speak in the debate. My son has learning difficulties. He is now 23, but my family had to go through some of the situations that many families are still going through. The issues in Renfrewshire Council have existed for a long time, and the difficulties that families face now are very similar to the difficulties that we faced. Local authorities have to ask whether they are supporting families and young people enough.

Educational psychologists, who are there to support learners, are extremely important. The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009 enables parents and young people to request that their education authority arrange an assessment for the child or young person. It is then up to the education authority to decide the appropriate person to make that assessment. As a parent and a parliamentary representative of the people of Paisley, I do not care—and the people of Paisley do not care—who makes the decision or who carries out the assessment; we just need to ensure that the family and the child get the opportunity to move forward.

When we talk about this issue, we must also talk about partnership working. The Scottish Government must—and does—work with local authorities to ensure that we deliver. In a lot of constituency cases, I find that families do not seem to be getting support when their children have special needs. That is an on-going issue. We must support affected families.

I am aware of what happens in other local authorities. Let me give an example. In other areas, British Sign Language teachers are able to help in primary schools to ensure that deaf children have the opportunity to engage fully with their classes. Some local authorities, such as the Ayrshire councils, have pooled their resources to ensure that they put those professionals into the areas where they are needed.

When the Education and Culture Committee considered this year’s budget, we looked at delivery of primary and secondary school education. A problem that kept appearing was that joint working and joint services among local authorities were just not happening—local authorities are not working together.

I would have thought that, in the case of educational psychology, the best way forward would be for local authorities to work with one another to find out whether there are areas where there is a higher incidence of children or young people with learning difficulties or additional support needs, so that support can be put into those areas. That is another example of how local authorities could work better and smarter with one another.

Although I welcome the debate, the issue is not quite as simple as the motion suggests. It is complex—a lot is involved. We should work with local authorities to help them, but they must take responsibility for the services that they offer.

12:42  

Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
George Adam (Paisley) (SNP)

Mark Griffin has told us much about his family connection and the Iraqi person whom his mother knew. With that background, does he personally think that the Labour Party was right to support the invasion of Iraq all those years ago?



Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 28, 2015
George Adam (Paisley) (SNP)

Could the cabinet secretary outline how the Scottish Government’s budget for college funding compares with that in England?



Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 28, 2015
16. George Adam (Paisley) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government whether it has met the target for full-time equivalent places at colleges. (S4O-03956)



Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 28, 2015
George Adam

I welcome that increase in full-time equivalent students. Will the cabinet secretary outline how many students from the most deprived areas in Scotland are studying for recognised qualifications at college?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
George Adam (Paisley) (SNP)

I welcome the additional funding from the Scottish Government for the regeneration project, which is important in cultural terms not just to Dundee but to Scotland as a whole. Can the cabinet secretary outline the benefits that she expects the V&A to bring to the local and national economies?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
George Adam (Paisley) (SNP)

I am only too aware of the inequality in my constituency. Like many, I believe that equality and cohesion are good for growth as well as individuals and their families. It is therefore welcome that the Scottish Government’s programme for government focuses on creating a stronger economy and a fairer society. Most of civic Scotland and business organisations have welcomed that.

It is important to keep that balance to ensure that we have a stronger and fairer economy and society. However, as many of my colleagues have mentioned, we do not live in a fair society, because the wealthiest 1 per cent will soon own more than the rest of the world’s population own, according to a study by anti-poverty charity Oxfam, which expects the wealthiest 1 per cent to own 50 per cent of the world’s wealth by 2016.

Kevin Stewart and Ken Macintosh mentioned Oxfam’s seven-point plan on inequality. The Scottish Government has the power to do something about only one of the seven points in that plan; the other six are entirely at Westminster’s behest. We are dealing with that issue at the moment.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
George Adam

That is a rather silly question. The Government is already undertaking a host of initiatives. The problem is the limitations in the devolved settlement. As we examine what comes out of the Smith commission, we have to ensure that the Government gets the powers that it needs to make a difference fully. As I said, out of the seven points that Oxfam mentions, only one is within the Scottish Government’s power. How can we allow that to continue to be the case?

It is no coincidence that the UK Cabinet is full of millionaires. We have a Prime Minister and a chancellor who have personal fortunes of about £4 million but are driving forward policies that target the worst-off in society. I challenge anyone in the UK Government to live in my constituency, receive only hardship payments after having been sanctioned and rely on food banks. I wonder how long they would then think about their welfare reforms. They would look at those reforms from an entirely different perspective.

Most people are not on benefits or living in poverty through choice, just as Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne were not born into privilege through choice. In Scotland, we believe in the getting it right for every child—GIRFEC—principle. No matter where somebody is born in Scotland, they should have the same chances to succeed in life as anyone else and be provided with support and opportunities to ensure that they can achieve all that they can.

The Scottish Government has achieved so much. The opportunities for all initiative will continue to guarantee young people between the ages of 16 and 19 a training or education opportunity—the SNP Government was the first in Scotland to take that action—and the Scottish Government will continue to deliver 25,000 modern apprenticeships per year.

Fee-free higher education for Scottish students ensures that access to university education is based not on the ability to pay but on the ability to learn. Meanwhile, students in England pay fees of up to £9,000 per year. The Scottish Government is protecting the education maintenance allowance for 16 to 19-year-olds and providing record funding for support that is paid to college students. We are working towards a minimum income of £7,000 for the most vulnerable university students. That shows that the Scottish Government has done what it can to help in education.

However, Westminster austerity is making things worse in Scotland. According to the Equality Trust analysis, the UK is the fourth most unequal country in the OECD. The Child Poverty Action Group has estimated that 100,000 more children will be living in poverty in Scotland by 2020 as a direct result of UK Government tax and benefit policies. We have to deal with those issues because our constituents expect us to deal with them.

Families who have access to benefits are only too aware of the dark austerity clouds of the Westminster establishment. Only last week, the Labour Party backed its friends in the Conservative Party on austerity. People in Scotland are now aware of the political games that Labour and the Conservatives play while they are in Westminster. Families in Scotland will be hit by a £6 billion benefit cut in the five years from 2015-16. With nearly 70 per cent of welfare cuts to Scotland still to come, we have not heard the end of that yet.

The Scottish Government mitigates when it can, but why should it have to fix problems that Westminster created? We should be working together to deliver for all our constituents.

When the Labour MPs backed their Tory colleagues on austerity, they left Scotland behind. They left behind 105,000 disabled people, who will each lose at least £1,120 per year because of Westminster welfare cuts, and they left behind the individuals who will be moved from the disability living allowance to the personal independence payment. Disability benefit expenditure in Scotland will be cut by about £310 million. They left all those individuals behind.

When we discuss this issue, we have to look to the future for our people—for the people of Scotland—in order to provide for them, rather than sitting here and continuing to play the typical games that Westminster has played for far too long. Now, thankfully, the Scottish public have become wise to that and are beginning to see that neither of the UK parties has any idea of what it will do in the future.

16:08  

Meeting of the Parliament 15 January 2015 : Thursday, January 15, 2015
2. George Adam (Paisley) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government what impact the recent fan zone at St Mirren Park will have on its policy on banning alcohol at football matches. (S4O-03902)



Meeting of the Parliament 15 January 2015 : Thursday, January 15, 2015
George Adam

The minister will be aware that, in the St Mirren fan zone, adults were allowed to consume alcohol at the ground before the game. The event passed without incident. A family atmosphere was encouraged, with various sections within the zone, including a play area for younger people. It was enjoyed by most of the fans, including me and my wife, Stacey.

Would the minister support the use of St Mirren as a pilot club to examine the reintroduction of alcohol at football stadiums on match days?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12182.1 Alex Fergusson: The Chilcot Inquiry—As an amendment to motion S4M-12182 in the name of N
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NoDefeated

S4M-12182 Nicola Sturgeon: The Chilcot Inquiry—That the Parliament calls for Sir John Chilcot’s offi
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12176 John Swinney: Community Charge Debt (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the gene
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12160.2 Michael Matheson: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Kez
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12160.3 Margaret Mitchell: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Ke
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12160 Kezia Dugdale: Women Offenders—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish G
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YesCarried

S4M-12154.1 Lewis Macdonald: Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) – Supporting Indivi
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by George Adam
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11255.1: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11595: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11469: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11092: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10596: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10556: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10543: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10385: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10260: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10152: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by George Adam
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24094: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00902: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02542: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02541: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24091: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24206: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03956: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03917: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03902: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02512: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Question >>

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