Saturday, 31 January 2009

WASTE FROM NEW NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS SEVEN TIMES MORE HAZARDOUS.

WASTE FROM NEW NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS SEVEN TIMES MORE HAZARDOUS.



SNP Energy spokesperson, Mike Weir MP, has seized on a statement issued by Greenpeace who have uncovered evidence that waste from the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), will be up to seven times more hazardous than waste produced by existing nuclear reactors thus increasing costs and the danger to health and the environment.

The evidence was uncovered in the environmental impact assessment report from Posiva, the company responsible for managing waste at the world's first EPR under construction at Olkiluoto in Finland.

Commenting Mr Weir said:

"This assessment underlines why we must completely reject the development of dangerous, unnecessary and costly new nuclear power stations. It underscores why the SNP is right to oppose a new generation of nuclear power stations and the waste they will produce.

"Instead of taking the route of Labour's obsession with nuclear power it further proves why renewables are the way forward.

"Under the SNP installed capacity of renewables in Scotland already exceeds installed capacity of nuclear power. We can achieve secure, clean, low carbon energy by harnessing Scotland's vast green potential, tackling climate change without adding to the burden of toxic radioactive waste.

"The risks and uncertainties of nuclear power, in terms of waste disposal, decommissioning, security and health concerns, or cost, are now far too great – particularly at this time when we face economic uncertainty.

"Without nuclear power, Scotland has the natural resources to generate clean, green power. Harnessing that potential can meet our future energy demands several times over, while tackling climate change.

"There is more than enough green and renewable potential in Scotland to provide a diverse, low carbon electricity supply, so the argument that we need nuclear is totally redundant."

Friday, 30 January 2009

BROWN "RESPONSIBLE" FOR STATE OF ECONOMY FINDS POLL.


BROWN "RESPONSIBLE" FOR STATE OF ECONOMY FINDS POLL.

‘ONLY CRASH GORDON THINKS HE SAVED THE WORLD’

A BBC / ComRes poll today (Friday) has found that 56% of Scots hold Gordon Brown responsible for the state of the UK economy.

Commenting, SNP Treasury Spokesman Stewart Hosie MP said:

“Despite his boasts, only Crash Gordon believes he saved the UK economy. Everyone else knows Brown's irresponsible attitude is one of the reasons we are in this mess.

“The Prime Minister is in Davos today, calling on other world leaders to ‘have the confidence to act’. This is rather ironic as it seems people across the UK are losing their confidence in Mr Brown.

"Labour took us into recession and, if their irresponsible actions in the Scottish Parliament this week are anything to go by, they are determined to keep us there.

"Labour's party political objections have put £1.8 billion of investment in Scotland at risk - including the increased infrastructure investment Gordon Brown was so keen to promote.

“It is time the Prime Minister stopped strutting around the international stage and took responsible action to help the Scottish economy.

“For a start, he should release the £1bn of Scottish resources being withheld by the Treasury, and rule out the £1bn cuts Labour plans to the Scottish Budget.”

ALEX FERGUSON EXPRESSES DOUBT OVER TEAM GB.


ALEX FERGUSON EXPRESSES DOUBT OVER TEAM GB.

PM SHOULD ABANDON FOOLISH PLAN SAYS WISHART

SNP Culture, Media and Sport Spokesperson, Pete Wishart MP, has welcomed the news Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson will not manage Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics.

Speaking to Inside United Magazine, Mr Ferguson said he planned to retire from international football before the 2012 Olympics and he doubted Team GB would ever be a reality.

Commenting, Mr Wishart said:

“Gordon Brown’s dream of a Team GB is unravelling. Earlier this year, he said Alex Ferguson’s involvement could help “bring the Scots on board”. Today’s rejection is a slap in the face for the Prime Minister.

“Alex Ferguson joins the long list of football experts who do not believe Team GB is a realistic proposition.

“All UK national team fan associations plus the Football Associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have expressed their opposition. In addition, football experts including UEFA General Secretary David Taylor, former FIFA Vice-President David Will and Scotland manager George Burley have cautioned against Team GB, all believing that a UK team at London 2012 could threaten the involvement of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland as individual nations at future World Cups and European Championships.

“There is a clear precedent for allowing all four home nation football teams to participate in the Olympics. It’s time for the Prime Minister to stop playing politics with Scotland’s national side. He should listen to the experts and abandon his foolish plans for Team GB immediately.”


SCOTTISH BUDGET BACK DOWN BY LABOUR AND LIBDEMS MEMBERS CONTINUES.


SCOTTISH BUDGET BACK DOWN BY LABOUR AND LIBDEMS MEMBERS CONTINUES
.


FEAR OF ELECTION PUTS NON SNP PARTIES UNDER PRESSURE.


SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson today pointed to the speed of Labour and Lib Dem u-turns on the budget as a sign they feared the repercussions of their decision at the ballot box.

Mr Gibson said;
“The SNP had warned all parties that the public would not thank those who played politics with people’s jobs and services.

“The SNP remains focussed on tackling the problems of Labour’s recession, and the speed of Thursday’s u-turns from Labour and the Lib Dems shows how scared the opposition are of facing the public after voting to block £1.8 billion of additional expenditure in Scotland.

“Labour’s irresponsibility put Scotland’s economy into this position - this week their irresponsibility has endangered moves to support Scottish families and business.

“With London Labour already withholding £1 billion of Scotland’s funding and threatening £1 billion of funding cuts for the next two years, Labour’s attempt to sacrifice a further £1.8 billion of funding for Scotland’s vital public services as part of a political game was the most extraordinary blunder – as was Iain Gray’s ridiculous remark that we could wait until June before getting a Budget.

“As local authorities, trade unions, voluntary organisations and hard working households know – and as Labour and the Lib Dems have been forced to realise - Scotland needs a Budget passed as quickly as possible. Hopefully, the shock opposition parties got this week has jolted them into common sense."

SCOTLAND OIL STRIKES AT GRANGEMOUTH OIL REFINERY.

SCOTLAND OIL STRIKES AT GRANGEMOUTH OIL REFINERY.

SPEEDY RESOLUTION CALLED FOR IN OIL STRIKES.

Jamie Hepburn, SNP MSP for Central Scotland, has called for a speedy resolution to the dispute which has seen oil workers at Grangemouth and elsewhere in Scotland take part in strike action today [30th January 2009].

The workers have walked-out in protest at the announcement that a contract for work at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire has been given to an Italian firm.

Commenting on the dispute, Jamie Hepburn MSP said:

“I can understand the concerns that the striking workers have and the support those at Grangemouth are showing for their colleagues. However many people will be concerned about the consequences of this strike action and I hope the matter can be resolved as quickly as possible.

"During this time of economic uncertainty, workers in the oil industry and elsewhere will naturally be concerned about the security of their jobs, and wish to seek assurances from employers about their future.

“Whilst workers understand that foreign companies will be awarded contracts, what they, and indeed I, cannot understand is the apparent refusal of such a company to consider employing local workers.

“It is important that any concerns about the location of the companies being awarded contracts does not turn into hostility or grievance towards individual members of staff from these companies and it is incumbent on all parties to come to a speedy resolution of this dispute."

Thursday, 29 January 2009

LIB DEMS BUCKLE UNDER BUDGET PRESSURE.



LIB DEMS BUCKLE UNDER BUDGET PRESSURE.

SNP MSP Keith Brown tonight welcomed the Liberal Democrats decision to abandon political games and join the budget process.

Following Tavish Scott’s statement on BBC Scotland that the Lib Dems “made the assumption that the Greens would ultimately vote for the budget” Ochil MSP Keith Brown said;

“The Lib Dem position was pure gamesmanship.

“As they like Labour desperately try to climb back into the budget discussions they have admitted putting political calculations before people’s jobs.

"No party in this parliament can afford to put party politics before people’s jobs and this conversion to practical politics is long overdue.

“The Lib Dems have joined Labour in realising the error of their ways and have caved in to the demands from across Scotland for Parliament to pass a budget rather than play political games.”

LABOUR CAVE UNDER PRESSURE.



LABOUR CAVE UNDER PRESSURE.

GRAY HAS DUG LABOUR INTO DEEPER HOLE

Labour are now “caving under the pressure” after Iain Gray dug Labour into a deeper hole with his ridiculous claims that a budget agreement could wait until June.

Commenting on Labour's behaviour SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said;

“Labour is clearly cracking under the pressure following their disastrous decision on Wednesday.

“Iain Gray made a budget blunder last year – this week he dug himself a deeper hole and today he has carried on digging with his ridiculous claim that the budget could wait until June.

“Local Authorities have to set their budgets in March at the latest.

“Labour are now trying to climb out of their budget hole as they cave in under the pressure of the phones in their offices ringing red hot with calls from councils, trade unions, voluntary organisations and constituents who know that thanks to Labour they could be losing services, losing funding and losing jobs as a result of Labours actions.”

MARWICK SPEAKS UP FOR GLENROTHES.



MARWICK SPEAKS UP FOR GLENROTHES.

Tricia Marwick MSP for Central Fife, which includes Glenrothes, has today expressed her regret that Glenrothes town centre has been awarded the Carbuncle Award.

Mrs Marwick commented:

“I am sick to death of people doing down Glenrothes. There is no mention of the fact that Glenrothes received the coveted Rosebowl Trophy for the most clean, sustainable and beautiful community in Scotland at the Beautiful Scotland Awards in September last year or that our town has many other attractions worth celebrating.

“It is also a bit rich that this award has been made by architects when it is architects that are wholly responsible for the Glenrothes new town.

“I fully agree that we need more civic space in Glenrothes. However the problem, as we all know, is that the Kingdom Shopping Centre and the area surrounding it is privately owned thanks to the decisions taken by previous Glenrothes Development Corporation and Labour Fife Council administrations.

“This has left us with virtually no civic space and a town centre that is surrounded by roads. However, the Kingdom Centre itself is warm, welcoming, disabled friendly and is a safe place for the people of Glenrothes to shop.

"Yesterday's Scottish budget included £60 million for town centre regeneration - I would have hoped to secure some of that funding for Glenrothes - however following Labour's decision to block the budget that money is now in danger.

“I have no doubt that much needs done in Glenrothes and I have campaigned for many years for improvements to take place and I will continue to do so.

"But I do resent residents within Glenrothes and those out with the town combining to talk down Glenrothes and, by association, the people who live here. I am simply not prepared to accept this.”

LABOUR BUDGET SPLITS CONTINUE.



LABOUR BUDGET SPLITS CONTINUE.

Labour splits on the Scottish budget have been revealed as the divisions continue over Iain Gray's plan for a motion of no confidence in the Government.

Lord Foulkes is quoted on Holyrood.com as urging the Labour party to back a motion of no confidence while senior Labour sources claim it is "self-indulgent".

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said;

"It looks like frivolous Lord Foulkes is the one pulling Iain Gray's strings.

"Iain Gray faced backbench revolt over his budget strategy and is now facing splits over his attempt to call a motion of no confidence.

"Labour's vote jeopardises £1.8 billion of investment and 35,000 jobs.

"It seems some in the Labour party may be beginning to realise how damaging that decision could be."

WEIR WELCOMES BROADBAND USO ANNOUNCEMENT.



WEIR WELCOMES BROADBAND USO ANNOUNCEMENT.

SNP Business and Enterprise spokesperson, Mike Weir MP, has welcomed a commitment by the UK Government to introduce a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband.

Mr Weir has been campaigning for such a commitment following problems experienced in his own Angus constituency with access to the service.

Mr Weir said:

”The Scottish Government has done excellent work in bringing broadband to rural communities but there remain several areas which cannot receive services, or only receive it at a very slow rate.

”Broadband is the communications highway for the twenty-first century and this announcement is a step in the right direction.
”Much more has to be done, however, to ensure that every home and business has access to a faster speed and this will require significant investment. Right now, Scotland and the UK is lagging behind in the provision of fibre optics.

“In my view the UK Governments aspiration to connect 40% of homes is not ambitious enough. Every community should have access to this technology so that businesses in rural Scotland can compete with enterprises elsewhere in the UK and indeed throughout Europe.”

SCOTTISH STUDENTS LET DOWN UNDER LABOUR.



SCOTTISH STUDENTS LET DOWN UNDER LABOUR.

OWN GOAL AS BAKER ATTACKS LABOUR EXECUTIVE

Figures on student enrolment show the number of university students fell as a result of the Labour administration.

SNP MSP Aileen Campbell highlighted today’s figures which show that enrolment figures fell for students who applied to university under Labour.

Labour’s education spokeswoman Claire Baker has branded the figures, the result of Labour’s administration “a very worrying development indeed”.

South of Scotland MSP and member of the Education Committee said;

“These figures show that students were increasingly put off university under Labour.

“Claire Baker has scored a spectacular own goal – instead of checking out her facts she has admitted that Labour let down Scotland’s students.

“Students applied for university in 2007 facing the prospect of Labour debts. It is only as a result of the SNP Government’s early action to scrap the graduate endowment that they will no longer face that £2300 graduation fee.

“Ms Baker is right to consider this a worrying development – what students across Scotland can be thankful for is that with the SNP’s victory in 2007 education is once again based on the ability to pay and £30 million will now be invested in student support.”

MACNEIL ROUNDS ON LABOUR OVER BUDGET VOTE.



MACNEIL ROUNDS ON LABOUR OVER BUDGET VOTE.

Speaking at Business Questions in the House of Commons today (Thursday) SNP Shadow Scotland Office spokesperson, Angus MacNeil MP, rounded on Labour recklessness following their failure to back the Scottish Budget.
Mr MacNeil said:

“Labour are playing fast and loose with Scotland’s economy, and their reckless behaviour at a time of recession is unforgivable.
"Yesterday’s no vote threatens £1.8bn in additional expenditure, which supports around 35,000 jobs, investment and action to help households and high streets.
"This recession started with Labour's economic irresponsibility, and by voting against the budget they have gone to new extremes.

“Iain Gray’s ludicrous suggestion that it would be okay to delay a budget until the summer is a monumental blunder and merely underlines Labour’s total irresponsibility on this vital issue.

“By choosing to play politics with much needed investment - money that would have secured many thousands of jobs - they have shown that they care nothing about the people of Scotland.

"The Scottish Budget would have secured funding for another year's council tax freeze. Instead, public service providers including health boards and local authorities and all who rely upon them face uncertainty and confusion.”

INTERNET BROADBAND CONNECTION FOR ALL SCOTTISH HOMES.

INTERNET BROADBAND CONNECTION FOR ALL SCOTTISH HOMES.



Lord Carter's Digital Britain report proposed to scrap BT's obligation to ensure every home has access to a telephone line and replace it with a requirement to provide broadband at up to two megabits per second.

The universal service commitment would aim to ensure everyone had quick enough web access to watch videos online.

The report also proposed the creation of a new body to deal with the problem of people illegally copying and sharing music and films over the internet.

Around 60 per cent of the country uses broadband at the moment, while 99 per cent has access to it, but not always at the required speed of 2 mb/sec.

Prime Minister Brown said;

"Our digital networks will be the backbone of our economy in the decades ahead. It is as essential to our future prosperity in the 21st Century as roads, bridges, trains and electricity were in the 20th Century."

OPPOSITION HAVE “HEADS IN SAND” ON FORESTRY COMMITMENT.



OPPOSITION HAVE “HEADS IN SAND” ON FORESTRY COMMITMENT.

LONDON LABOUR PLANNING PRIVATISATION

SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands Rob Gibson today blasted Labour over their opposition to the government’s proposals to lease forestry commission land in order to increase tree planting across Scotland and capture the equivalent of 43.7% of road transport emissions in Scotland in 2006.

The UK Labour government is currently considering privatising the Forestry Commission in England and Wales to pay for the recent bank bail outs.

Proposals for leasing forestry commission land were first put forward in the 2006 Forest strategy under Labour MSP Rhona Brankin.

Mr Gibson said;

“This ridiculous scaremongering from Labour and the Lib Dems is utterly irresponsible.

“They have stuck their “heads in the sand” and are refusing to acknowledge the need to expand our woodlands and to generate the income to do that.

“Where the SNP are making responsible proposals that retain ownership of Scotland’s forests Labour in London are threatening to sell their forests for the highest bid.

“This is a valuable proposal that will help Scotland meet our ambitious climate change targets and put Scotland at the forefront of tackling climate change.

“Michael Russell has also made perfectly clear that no leases will be signed that do not ensure the highest standards of biodiversity and access, and these decisions will be made in discussion with the trade unions.

"Instead of campaigning against something which is not happening and taking the public for fools what Labour need to do is tell the public what alternatives they propose – and why leasing Forestry Commission land was ok when they were in power?”

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

SURVEY SHOWS CONFUSION OVER HOW SCOTLAND IS GOVERNED.



SURVEY SHOWS CONFUSION OVER HOW SCOTLAND IS GOVERNED.

PETE WISHART COMMENTS ON BRITISH SOCIAL ATTITUDES REPORT

Commenting on the British Social Attitude Report published today (Wednesday) that shows a third of people in England thought that Scotland receives more than its fair share of cash, and that a majority favour excluding Scottish MPs from voting on English only matters, the SNP’s Westminster Constitutional Affairs Spokesperson Pete Wishart MP said:

“This British Social Attitudes Survey shows a great deal of confusion exists in England about how Scotland is governed.

“The perception that Scotland receives more than its fair share bares no relation to the fiscal reality and is more about the distorted, selected facts of the metropolitan press and backbench Conservative MPs.

“The reality is that Scotland more than pays its own way in the UK. That is proved by the most recent analysis in the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) report, which shows that Scotland had a budget surplus of £837 million in 2006-07, compared to a UK deficit of £4.3 billion.

“However, the belief that Scottish MPs should not vote on English only issues is just common sense and I share the frustration of English voters who have legislation imposed on them on the strength of Scottish Labour votes.

“What is required is a modern 21st century relationship between our two nations that is based on equality, self respect and mutual co-operation.

AFTER TWELVE YEARS IN POWER, LABOUR FAIL TO REFORM LORDS.



AFTER TWELVE YEARS IN POWER, LABOUR FAIL TO REFORM LORDS.

‘PARLIAMENT NO PLACE FOR THOSE IN THE KNOW AND ON THE MAKE’

SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP today (Wednesday) challenged Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Prime Minister's Questions as to why, after twelve years in power, Labour had failed to reform the House of Lords.

Commenting immediately after Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Robertson said:

“Labour have been in power for twelve years yet we still have an unaccountable, opaque second chamber with no mechanism for removing Lords who flagrantly break the rules.

“The ongoing cash for laws debacle – centring on Labour peers - has further discredited the House of Lords. Parliament is no place for members in the know and on the make.

“Now, more than ever, this long overdue reform is needed.”

ISOLATION WARNING FOR LABOUR ON BUDGET VOTE.



ISOLATION WARNING FOR LABOUR ON BUDGET VOTE.

LABOUR "NO" VOTE WILL BE HEARD ACROSS SCOTLAND

Speaking ahead of tonight’s budget vote SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick warned the Labour party that should they become the first major party to vote against the budget they would be isolated across Scotland with council tax payers, businesses and communities all facing potential costs from Labour’s decision.

By voting against this year’s budget the Labour party would be voting against;

    · £230 million of capital expenditure brought forward by the UK Labour Government’s pre-budget report
    · support for 5000 jobs – particularly in the construction sector
    · brought forward funding for the SECC and the Edinburgh bioquarter, the Fife Energy Park, and road improvements across Scotland

    · £50 million of additional spending in the NHS including building new health and dental centres in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Ayr and Inverness

    · £70 million of early investment in affordable housing

In addition Labour will be voting against

    · Council tax freeze and increased funding for local authorities
    · £40 million increase in funding for free personal care
    · Investment in tackling hospital acquired infection
    · Investment to reduce waiting times and to cut prescription charges further
    · Abolition of business rates for 120,000 small businesses
    · More bobbies on the beat

Joe FitzPatrick said;

“If Labour become the first major party to reject a Scottish budget the SNP will make sure that decision is heard loud and clear by communities and businesses across Scotland.

“Labour will be voting against jobs, against business and against investment in our public services.

“They will even be voting against the UK Government’s decision to bring forward capital spending to help the economy at this difficult time.

“They will be forcing their own local authorities to cut back on services and increase council tax by between £130 and £400 to make up the difference.

“Midlothian council has already agreed a council tax freeze – Labour will be voting to take funding for that freeze away from them – leading to cuts in services.

“Iain Gray is so desperate not to look like “mince” this year he is threatening to make a dogs breakfast of Scotland’s economy.

“No major party has ever voted against the Scottish budget and Labour must realise the serious social, economic and political consequences of their actions.”

SNP LODGE AMENDMENT IN HEATHROW DEBATE.



SNP LODGE AMENDMENT IN HEATHROW DEBATE.

‘HIGH SPEED RAIL BEST SOLUTION’

SNP Business and Enterprise Spokesman Mike Weir MP has lodged an amendment to the Conservative motion in today’s (Wednesday) debate on a third runway for Heathrow. His motion calls for the development of high speed rail between cities in Scotland, England and Wales.

Commenting before the debate, Mr Weir said:

“When the UK Government announced the go ahead for the third runway at Heathrow, they camouflaged it with green sounding initiatives including a vague commitment to a high speed rail link but Geoff Hoon’s statement to the Commons last week was woefully lacking in detail.

“The UK Government must stop making transport policy on the hoof and devise a coherent and considered response. Today’s debate is about one of the many symptoms of the UK’s chaotic transport network but a third runway is not the best cure.

“The SNP believe high speed rail system offer a better solution to transport problems between Scotland, England and Wales. The Spanish Government have set and excellent example – investing long term in links between all major cities.

“Until such a network is in place, priority for Heathrow landing slots should be given to flights to and from destinations not readily accessible by rail.”

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

UK GOVERNMENT MUST OFFER MORE COMPENSATION OVER EQUITABLE LIFE.

UK GOVERNMENT MUST OFFER MORE COMPENSATION OVER EQUITABLE LIFE.


MIKE WEIR:POLICYHOLDERS HAVE WAITED A DECADE FOR JUSTICE’.

SNP Spokesperson on Business and Enterprise, Mike Weir MP, has accused the UK Government of “acting like an old lag” in dealing with those who suffered from the collapse of Equitable Life.

Speaking in a debate on the UK Government’s response to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report into the Equitable Life fiasco, Mr Weir said:

“As a former court lawyer it occurs to me that the actions of the Government in relation to Equitable Life are very similar to those of an old lag appearing before a Sheriff: start with outright denial but as the evidence accumulates reluctantly accept you will have to plead, make a half hearted plea and then try to minimise or wriggle out of the consequences of your actions.

Mr Weir posed a series of questions that needed to be answered as to who would receive compensation and when it would be made, but was scathing about the UK Government’s whole attitude:

“It is a mean minded scheme that will inevitably set policyholders against each other.

I would appeal to the Minister even at this late stage to give this group justice and come up with a scheme that is even handed, simple and that will ensure that elderly policyholders do not have an interminable wait to see if they are to be compensated.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Weir was equally scathing about the response to the debate from the Minister, Angela Eagle, whom he said offered up “a masterclass in obfuscation.”

“The Minister spoke for nearly fifteen minutes and said absolutely nothing. Those who are awaiting justice from this Government are still no further forward and face more years of uncertainty.

“What is required is a simple scheme that gives help now to those who have already waiting nearly a decade for justice.”

SNP ATTACK GREEDY PFI COMPANY AT EDINBURGH ROYAL INFIRMARY OVER PARKING CONTRACT.

SNP ATTACK GREEDY PFI COMPANY AT EDINBURGH ROYAL INFIRMARY OVER PARKING CONTRACT.

PFI EXTORTION OVER EDINBURGH HOSPITAL PARKING.


SNP MSPs have accused the PFI firm behind Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary of making extortionate claims after they demanded £14.5 million to buy out the car parking contract at the hospital.

The SNP Government has instructed health boards to re-introduce free parking at all hospitals. The PFI contracts put in place by Labour and the Lib Dems mean car parking charges are still in place at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Ninewells in Dundee.

Responding to the demand SNP Lothians MSP Dr Ian Mckee said;

"This shows the enormous folly of building public services through private finance.

"This claim is extortionate. Edinburgh's PFI deal has allowed a private company to hold the health board and its employees to ransom.

"To take £14 million from frontline services to line the pockets of a private company is simply wrong.”

Livingston MSP Angela Constance said;

"Parking charges at hospitals are a disgraceful legacy of Labour's years in office and it is only thanks to the SNP that free parking is back in place at all other hospitals.

"It is deeply unfortunate that we are left with NHS staff and visitors paying private sector fees - but that is the problem with PFI.

“Actions like this show why PFI is wrong and the SNP is right to replace it.

"The millions it would take to buy out this contract would hit the health service hard.”

BANK GOVERNOR SNUBS TALKS WITH SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT.



BANK GOVERNOR SNUBS TALKS WITH SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT.

Commenting on the latest snub by the Bank of England to appear before the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee with a letter by the Governor of the Bank of England backing up his officials' refusal to attend SNP MSP Rob Gibson – a member of the committee – said:

"Coming after a snub by Bank of England officials and the revelation that they are willing to hold invitation-only breakfast buffet in Glasgow but not to talk to Scotland's democratically elected representatives this letter beggars belief.

"If the Bank of England is meant to consult major stakeholders diligently, why won't they meet the Scottish Parliament in public? It is after all one of the premier stakeholders in Scotland.

"The excuse that they are not accountable to the Scottish Parliament doesn't wash. Other UK bodies such as Ofcom, the BBC, and UK ministers and officials have appeared before Parliamentary committees.

"This snub by the Bank of England to engage in discussion with Scotland's democratically elected representatives a is bizarre.
"It is essential the Committee have a full picture of recent economic events and their impact on Scotland the Parliament must get that full picture. That not only means evidence from bankers but also from the Bank of England, the UK Financial Services Authority and current and recent Chancellors of the Exchequer.

"We need a thorough investigation and the Scottish Parliament should hear from all those involved in creating this age of irresponsibility in the first place.

"With the financial services sector playing a significant role in Scotland's economy it is not only right that the Scottish Parliament hears from all those involved but a necessity."

Monday, 26 January 2009

EIGHT DAYS OF POLLING SHOWS SNP PULLING AHEAD OF SCOTTISH LABOUR.

EIGHT DAYS OF POLLING SHOWS SNP PULLING AHEAD OF SCOTTISH LABOUR.

LABOUR VOTE COLLAPSING AS DOWNING ST DOWNTURN BITES.

The Scottish breakdown of UK polling over eight days shows the SNP pulling head of Labour at 30% to Labour 29% in an analysis of the three latest polls over that period.

The latest breakdown from today's Comres poll for the Independent shows the SNP on 32% to 28% for Labour. When the samples of this poll are combined with the two previous polls the larger sample shows the SNP pulling ahead of Labour.

Commenting on the findings SNP Business Convener and Westminster Leader, Angus Robertson MP, said:

"On their own these figures may be small but they are significant. Combined, this series of poll results shows only the SNP can beat Labour across Scotland at the next elections for Europe and for Westminster.

"Those elections in Scotland are a two horse race between the SNP and Labour.

"These figures reflect the fact that the SNP came ahead of Labour for the first time in its history in a Westminster poll of polls in 2008 but also the combined results of by-elections in 2008.

"As Labour faces the consequences of their economic mismanagement more and more people see the SNP as the only credible alternative in Scotland to tackle Downing Street's Downturn.

"It is the SNP in Government in Scotland which is trust ed to do everything we can within our responsibilities to help families and business in these troubled economic times.

"We've put more money back in people's pockets with a council tax freeze and lower prescription charges; and we've put more money back into high street businesses with our small business bonus whilst increased infrastructure spending will support 5000 jobs at this crucial time.

"Labour's age of irresponsibility is over and it is the SNP which is offering the people of Scotland a better future based on confidence and responsibility.

"The choice is clearly between the SNP offering a positive vision of confidence and responsibility compared to a Labour party obsessed with negativity and irresponsibility."

SNP MOCKS PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN OVER NEW GLOBAL ORDER COMMENTS.



SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie MP, today (Monday) mocked the Prime Minister for suggesting that this recession, which has already seen unemployment hit almost two million is the "the difficult birth-pangs of a new global order".

Mr Hosie said:

"This is meaningless rubbish. Gordon Brown’s remarks are typical New Labour speak - just spin to deflect any criticism of the man who was at the financial helm of the UK for a decade.

”These are not ‘birth-pangs’ so much as the death throes of a failed Labour government.


"Gordon Brown might be better answering why he allowed a credit bubble during his tenure as Chancellor or why debt levels were so high that the recession can now only be fought by doubling the national debt to over £1 trillion.

"The tens of thousands of people losing their jobs are looking for help now, as are the businesses who are still struggling to get credit from the banks yet all Gordon Brown can do is spout nonsense about 'new global orders'."

‘CASH FOR LAWS’ HOUSE OF LORDS SHOULD BE SUSPENDED PENDING INQUIRY.

‘CASH FOR LAWS’ HOUSE OF LORDS SHOULD BE SUSPENDED PENDING INQUIRY.

NO PLACE FOR PEERS ‘IN THE KNOW AND ON THE MAKE’

The MP who instigated the investigation into the Cash for Peerages scandal has called for the Lords named over the ‘cash for laws’ allegations to be suspended pending a full independent investigation into allegations they solicited money in order to ensure legislation is changed to favour business interests.

SNP MP Angus MacNeil said:

”The sleaze allegations levelled at these Labour Lords are as serious as they can be.

”Until there has been a full independent investigation these peers should be suspended from the House of Lords with immediate effect.

”There should be no place in parliament for peers in the know and on the make.

“The House of Lords is unelected, unaccountable and now, with these revelations, it looks completely unsustainable.”

Sunday, 25 January 2009

SNP DEMAND THAT UK GOVERNMENT LEAVE SCOTLAND NUCLEAR POWER FREE.

SNP DEMAND THAT UK GOVERNMENT LEAVE SCOTLAND NUCLEAR POWER FREE.

LABOUR MUST DISOWN MP BRIAN DONOHOE POWER GRAB.

The SNP is calling on Labour leaders in Edinburgh and London to confirm that they will not seek to transfer powers over nuclear energy back to London.

SNP MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville has made the call as a Labour party submission to the Calman Commission from MP Brian Donohoe called for powers over energy to be handed back.

Commenting on Mr Donohoe’s proposal Ms Somerville said;

“This is a clear attempt by Labour to take control of Scotland’s planning powers over nuclear energy.

“The UK Government and the Calman Commission have shown a disturbing level of interest in reclaiming these powers at a time when the Scottish people want more powers for the Parliament, not less.

“There is no desire for new nuclear stations in Scotland. With increasing amounts of renewable energy already produced in Scotland and more under development Scotland is well on the way to a clean energy future.

“Labour must disown Mr Donohoe’s comments.

“Only this week a 4mw wave power facility was approved for the Western Isles, one of Europe and the world’s most significant wave power developments and we are well on course to surpass the target of 31% of electricity from renewable energy in the next two years.

“There is no need and no demand for new nuclear power stations in Scotland.
"Labour must confirm that they will not attempt to remove these powers against the clear will of the Scottish people.”

"CASH FOR LAWS" SCANDAL LATEST SNP NEWS EXCLUSIVE.

"CASH FOR LAWS" SCANDAL LATEST SNP NEWS EXCLUSIVE.


CASH FOR LAWS MAKES LORDS "UNSUSTAINABLE".

"UNELECTED, UNACCOUNTABLE AND UNBELIEVABLE".

The MP who instigated the investigation into the Cash for Peerages scandal
has called for a full independent investigation into allegations members
of the House of Lords have accepted money in order to ensure legislation
is changed to favour business interests as he branded the Lords
"unsustainable".

Commenting on the revelations in the Sunday Times SNP MP Angus MacNeil who
represents Na H-Eileanen an Iar said;

“The House of Lords is unelected, unaccountable and now completely
unbelievable.

“These revelations make the House of Lords completely unsustainable.

“There must be a full independent investigation by Standards authorities
into these claims and a complete and immediate end to political
consultancy by members of the Lords.

“Unfortunately it is no surprise to find that members of the House of
Lords are more interested in helping big business than protecting the
public interest.”

CASH FOR LAWS IS “DAMNING INDICTMENT” OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS.

CASH FOR LAWS IS “DAMNING INDICTMENT” OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS.



SNP ANGUS MACNEIL DEMANDS FULL INVESTIGATION.

The MP who instigated the investigation into the Cash for Peerages scandal
has called for a full investigation into allegations members of the House
of Lords have accepted money in order to ensure legislation is changed to
favour business interests.

Commenting on the revelations in the Sunday Times of the hard working SNP MP Angus MacNeil who
represents Na H-Eileanen an Iar said;

“These allegations are a damning indictment of the House of Lords and some
of its members.

“There must be a full investigation into these claims and an end to
political consultancy by members of the Lords.

“It is no surprise to find that members of the House of Lords are more
interested in helping big business than protecting the public interest.

“Members should serve the public not their own pockets.

"Getting someone else to do the dirty work by lodging your clients
amendment is no excuse.

“Today’s revelations confirm what many have long suspected and must be
thoroughly investigated.”

LABOUR PARTY ADVISERS HIKE EXPENSES AS SCOTLAND FACES MORE BUDGET CUTS.

LABOUR PARTY ADVISERS HIKE EXPENSES AS SCOTLAND FACES MORE BUDGET CUTS.



TIME TO SCRAP THE SCOTLAND OFFICE.

SNP MP Angus MacNeil has condemned the Scotland Office for allowing its
Labour Advisers to enjoy lavish expenses as they pursue a billion of cuts
to Scotland’s public services.

Figures released under Freedom of Information show that the expenses bill
for Special Advisers in the Scotland Office has more than doubled since
2005.

The Scotland Office Advisers have;
• Increased expenses claims by 116% between 2005/06 and 2007/08 from £6000
a year to over £13,000.
• Increased taxi claims from £250 in 2005/06 to £2,296.95 in 2007/08

SNP Shadow Scotland Office spokesperson, Angus MacNeil MP, said:
“The disturbing cost of keeping Labour spin-doctors in cabs and
cappuccinos will smart with ordinary Scots who are tightening their belts
as recession bites.

“These raise more questions about what the post of Scottish Secretary is
for, and the failure of the Scotland Office to provide value for money.

“Every penny spent on the partisan politics of the Scotland Office is a
penny less being spent on public services in Scotland.

“With the overall bill increasing to £2.3 million the Scotland Office
provides a lavish London lifestyle at the Scottish taxpayers expense.

"A far better arrangement would be for the three devolved administrations
to deal directly with the UK Government through the Number 10 Cabinet
Office - that is the sensible kind of arrangement we should be moving
towards.

“For Scotland’s budget for essential public services to be slashed while
Labour spin-doctors live high on the hog is unacceptable.

“Never mind taxis for McTernan, it should be on your bike Jim Murphy.”

NEW LONDON OLYMPIC 2012 GAMES THREAT TO UK LOTTERY FUNDING.

NEW LONDON OLYMPIC 2012 GAMES THREAT TO UK LOTTERY FUNDING.


GOOD CAUSES MUST NOT FACE FURTHER LOTTERY CUTS.

SNP Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson, Pete Wishart MP, has written to
the Olympics Minister seeking assurances that no further funds will be
diverted from good causes in Scotland to prop up the London Olympics.

Mr Wishart’s calls follow reports earlier this week revealing that over a
quarter of the games contingency fund has been spent – more than three
years before the Games are due to open.

Commenting, Mr Wishart said;

“It is clearly alarming that at this halfway stage the UK Government is
already spending contingency funds.

“With private contributions falling as Labour’s recession bites there must
be no temptation by the UK Government to carry out further raids on
Scotland’s lottery funding.

”Tessa Jowell said the UK Government would never have embarked on the
Olympic bid had they know the economic crisis was around the corner, and
now we know why.

“While taxpayers’ money is being poured into the athletes’ village and
£150 million of lottery funding already lost to Scotland communities and
charities across the rest of the country are paying the price.

“With charities facing their own funding downturn the UK Government must
now give cast-iron assurances that not one penny more will be taken from
lottery funding to pay for the Olympic games and work with the Scottish
Government to see that £150 million put back into a Scotland wide legacy
for the Commonwealth Games."

Saturday, 24 January 2009

BBC BOSSES MUST ALLOW GAZA APPEAL TO BE SHOWN ON TV.

BBC BOSSES MUST ALLOW GAZA APPEAL TO BE SHOWN ON TV.


SNP MSP Sandra White has expressed her outrage at a decision by the BBC not to show a Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal for Gaza out of concerns it could compromise its impartiality.

Other broadcasters are reported to have followed the BBC's decision.

Glasgow MSP Ms White who has recently visited Gaza on a fact finding trip said;

"This is an unbelievably ridiculous decision by the BBC that will hinder efforts to raise funds to provide essential supplies and medical care for the people of Gaza.

"Whatever people's views on the conflict there is no doubt that international aid is of vital importance in Gaza at this time.

"The Scottish people are well known for their generosity to appeals from the DEC but without TV time many people will not know where or how to make their donation.

"This is a vital appeal to support the work of the Red Cross, Oxfam and others not a political statement.

"The BBC's position is simply absurd and I would urge BBC management to reconsider this decision as a matter of urgency."

SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY MSPs CELEBRATE 250th ANNIVERSARY OF ROBERT BURNS.

SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY MSPs CELEBRATE 250th ANNIVERSARY OF ROBERT BURNS.


SNP members of the Scottish Parliament are kicking off Homecoming 2009 with numerous Burns celebrations across Scotland.

The group of 47 MSPs will be attending a host of events from Willie Coffey, MSP for Kilmarnock, taking part in the Burns Supper at Kilmarnock Prison to Stuart McMillan MSP, West of Scotland, playing the bagpipes at a local event.

South of Scotland MSP Aileen Campbell has urged her fellow MSPs and people across Scotland to take part in the World Record attempt at the largest simultaneous Burns toast; and John Swinney will toast the lassies at the Perth Burns Club supper.

2009 is the 250th Anniversary of birth of Scotland’s national bard and Burns Night is kicking off the celebrations that run all the way through to St Andrews Day.

Kilmarnock MSP Willie Coffey said;

“Burns night is one of the highlights of our National Calendar and this year is even more special with it being the 250th Anniversary of Burns birth and also the start of Homecoming.

Some of the events SNP MSPs will be attending over the next few weeks include;

Willie Coffey, Attending Kilmarnock Prison Burns Supper and Kilmarnock
Amateur Operatic Society

Aileen Campbell, Hosts a World Record Attempt Burns Supper, Sunday 25th

John Swinney, Perth Burns Club – Toast to the lassies.

Stuart McMillan, Piping at three Burns Suppers

Fergus Ewing, Highland Hospice Burns Supper

Bruce Crawford, Stirling Incorporation of Skinners (the seven trades associations) Burns Supper

Alasdair Morgan, Immortal memory at Kirkcudbright Bowling Club