First-time buyers

I feel really sorry for young people wanting to set up their first home. When I was young, good quality socially rented housing was available. For those who wanted to buy, houses could be afforded even though the first few years were tough. Now, the SNP government has failed to meet the demand for socially rented housing and most young people are struggling to buy an overpriced first home. Under the SNP government, there’s been a fall of 15 per cent in the number of people in Scotland aged 34 and younger who have bought their own home with a mortgage. Many young people are having to pay expensive rents when they would prefer to buy their own home. They just need a bit of support. That’s why last week, Scottish Labour promised extra help for first-time buyers. Under Scottish Labour’s plan, a person who currently saves through a first-time buyer ISA up to the value of £3,000 would be entitled to an additional £3,000 from a Scottish Labour government to help towards the cost of a deposit to buy a property. For example, in real terms this would mean that the average couple, each saving £100 a month, would be able to save for a £15,000 deposit within three years. It’s important that our young people see economic security and the possibility of owning a home of their own as a reality and not an unaffordable and unrealistic dream.

Council cuts

This year will be a worrying one for East Renfrewshire Council. Yet again, Nicola Sturgeon is cutting council budgets by more than any cut to her own departments’ budgets. And it’s not faceless bureaucrats who will suffer. It’s services for each and every one of us. The care services for the elderly and the disabled will be squeezed. Education, one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children, will be hit. The environment will be affected along with many of our daily services. Nicola Sturgeon had choices to make. Unfortunately, she has chosen to inflict greater pain on councils than elsewhere. So when you see local services being cut, or charges increased, remember that the Scottish Government is cutting East Renfrewshire Council’s budget.

Bus boost

Thanks to a collaborative effort from East Renfrewshire Council and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, bus services and road safety in Uplawmoor have been given a major boost. New bus stops have been installed, the bus route changed and a road upgraded. This change in route means the whole village is now covered by the bus service, which is good news for my constituents in Uplawmoor and Neilston using the 395/396 service. The new route is also good news for pupils, parents and staff at the primary school as the alternative route means the bus no longer needs to turn outside the school, as requested by parents. I’m glad the new service is now running, well done to all involved.

Can you help?

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) is always looking for new donors to come forward. Right now, their stocks of O Negative (O-) are lower than they’d like. If you’d like to become a donor or find out more, you can call 0345 90 90 999.