News in brief: ENABLE Scotland Anniversary, ‘Low Pay Loophole, community relience award

Council Leader Dick Walsh, ENABLE executive director of services Ian Williams, ENABLE regional manager Lesley Gold and Depute Provost Dougie Philand at the afternoon tea celebrating 60 years of ENABLE.
Council Leader Dick Walsh, ENABLE executive director of services Ian Williams, ENABLE regional manager Lesley Gold and Depute Provost Dougie Philand at the afternoon tea celebrating 60 years of ENABLE.

A civic reception to help ENABLE Scotland celebrate 60 years of supporting children and adults with learning disabilities was held by Argyll and Bute Council.

Welcoming 40 members, staff and volunteers from all over the area who attended the afternoon tea at Kilmory, Lochgilphead, Depute Provost Dougie Philand, said: “ENABLE has truly proved itself as an organisation that is a force for good.

“They have successfully changed perceptions of learning disability, developed new services, revolutionised the entitlements of children with disabilities and indeed options open to them as they develop into adulthood for more independent living and employment.

Lesley Gold, regional manager for ENABLE Scotland, said: “ENABLE Scotland has had an established presence in the area for some time, particularly in the areas of Helensburgh, Oban, Dunoon, mid Argyll and Kintyre.

“We are delighted to support people with learning disabilities and their families and look forward to continuing this work in the future.”

The charity has taken delivery of a bolt of tartan it specially commissioned to mark the anniversary. The tartan was produced on the Isle of Bute and will now be turned into ENABLE Scotland tartan scarves and ties.”

MSP Jackie Baillie has demanded the Scottish Government conduct an urgent review of sub-contracted jobs in the public sector, stating rules on public contracts result in a ‘Low Pay Loophole’.

Currently, people directly employed by Scottish Government departments are paid the living wage, however jobs indirectly employed on sub-contracts, such as cleaning, catering and retail, are offered no such protection – due, says the Labour MSP, to the SNP refusing to back Labour calls for a living wage in public contracts.

Jackie, a long time campaigner for the living wage, is concerned that such a loophole will see workers in Dumbarton, Helensburgh and Alexandria miss out on better pay.

“The Living Wage would boost the earnings of a minimum wage worker by over £2,000 a year,” she said.

“But it is also about building a moral economy. Supporting the living wage in the public sector, whilst jobs in its departments are being sub-contracted out simply isn’t good enough. Especially as these jobs are the very ones that would most benefit from the living wage.”

Argyll and Bute has won a national award, thanks to the joint efforts of local communities and organisations including the council and Police Scotland.

The council received the Silver Award, in the category of Strong and Sustainable Communities, in the 2014 COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) Excellence Awards scheme.

Council leader Dick Walsh said: “Following the extremely disruptive weather and power outages of 2012 and 2013, the council, police, voluntary sector, other organisations, and communities across Argyll and Bute have joined forces to develop new ways of working together to benefit anyone affected by emergency situations.

“Community councils across Argyll and Bute are working with us to produce emergency plans for their area. Each plan produced by the community for the community is as unique and diverse as our communities themselves.”

Chief Superintendent, Barry McEwan Divisional Commander of Argyll and West Dunbartonshire, and Chair of the Argyll and Bute Community Planning Partnership said: “Our services respond more effectively to emergency situations, such as extreme weather, when we work in partnership with our local communities.

“The knowledge of local people helps us make the best possible use of our resources within the community and to reach those in most need.

“A great deal of partnership working with our communities has been happening across Argyll and Bute, bringing communities and responders together for the benefit of all, with the majority of communities now having a plan and I would encourage all community councils to continue to work with us on a plan for your area. These plans keep people safe and you never know when we might need it.”

In March 2013, snow, winds and freezing temperatures brought significant disruption to people in Kintyre.

Community councils who would like help in developing an emergency plan should contact or call 01436 658988