Friday, 31 July 2009

GRAY LEADS LABOUR INTO THE RED



GRAY LEADS LABOUR INTO THE RED

LABOUR PUT POLITICS BEFORE PEOPLE

Figures released by the Electoral Commission have shown that donations to
the Scottish Labour Party fell by nearly 90% between 2007 and 2008 –
prompting questions about how long Labour can afford to continue funding
their operations from their dwindling reserves before going to the UK
party to beg for support.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Chief Whip Stewart Hosie MP said:

“News of Labour’s financial freefall is acutely embarrassing for Iain
Gray, who has failed to make any impression since taking over from Wendy
Alexander.

“Labour have clearly run their party finances as badly as they have been
running the country’s finances - and the collapse in donations to the
party underlines how unpopular Labour have become.

“No wonder people don’t want to give Labour money because they are party
out of ideas, putting politics before people.

“We’ve seen it in Glasgow North East where Labour MPs voted to delay the
by-election and leave local people without an MP for months. We’ve seen it
with Gordon Brown’s shameful abolition of the 10p tax rate which hit some
of the worst off people in Scotland. And we’ve seen it with Alistair
Darling’s insistence on inflicting £500m of cuts on the Scottish budget in
2010 – 2011, which is absolutely the wrong thing to do in a recession.

“Contrast Labour’s situation with that of the SNP who are enjoying all
time high membership and steady donations as people recognise that it is
the SNP who will always put Scotland first and have the ideas to take us
forward.”

PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE THREATENED WHISKY JOBS



PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE THREATENED WHISKY JOBS

Kilmarnock & Loudoun MSP Willie Coffey has secured time for a debate on 2nd September about the job losses announced by Diageo at their plants at Kilmarnock, Hurlford and Port Dundas which will see the loss of 900 jobs.

Mr Coffey who represents the workers at the Kilmarnock and Hurlford said the debate would assist the campaign in trying to convince Diageo to rethink the planned job losses by showing the strength of cross party support for the campaign.

The Ayrshire MSP has already initiated an online petition against the Kilmarnock job losses which has burst through the 11,000 mark with many thousands more signing the hard copy version.

Mr Coffey, who launched the petition at an all party event with Kilmarnock Football Club, said:

"I am delighted to have secured this debate which will give Parliament a chance to hear the arguments against Diageo’s plans to make so many unemployed at this time.

“It will also be a great opportunity for Parliament to show how united the campaign is. Last Saturday’s march showed the width of political opposition to these plans and this debate will allow us to press home how unpopular their plans are.

“The response to Diageo's plans is also reflected in the response to the online petition I initiated which is already moving to the 12,000 mark.

"The message that Diageo seems to have forgotten is that customers across the world DO value Johnnie Walker's close connection with Kilmarnock.

“They may have lost sight of the value of this but an increasing number of customers across the world are giving Diageo the message - keep Johnnie Walker in Kilmarnock."

Thursday, 30 July 2009

SNP BACK CALL FOR FREE-TO-AIR SCOTLAND GAMES



SNP BACK CALL FOR FREE-TO-AIR SCOTLAND GAMES

NATIONAL EVENTS MUST BE ACCESSIBLE TO ALL

SNP Culture, Media and Sport Spokesperson, Pete Wishart MP has backed calls by the BBC Trust for all of Scotland's home and away qualifiers for the football World Cup and European Championships to be given protected free-to-view status within the BBC. Similar protection is also recommended for the Commonwealth Games.

The Broadcasting Act (1996) requires a list of sporting and other events of national importance reserved for transmission by public service broadcasters with the aim of giving them the widest possible coverage. The list was last revised in 1998 and is now under review by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The BBC Trust today (Thursday) published their recommendations.

Commenting, Mr Wishart said:

“The SNP have long campaigned for a revision of this list to include major Scottish sporting events and I wholeheartedly back this call by the BBC Trust.

“For many supporters paying for subscription services or taking children to a pub to watch the match is neither affordable nor desirable. Similarly many pubs face crippling satellite costs to broadcast these events.

“These are national events in every sense of the word and fans should be able to enjoy them from the comfort of their own homes.”

FSA FAILURES CONTRIBUTED TO DUNFERMLINE DEBACLE




FSA FAILURES CONTRIBUTED TO DUNFERMLINE DEBACLE

Commenting on the publication of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee report into the takeover of the Dunfermline Building Society, SNP Home Affairs spokesperson and Committee Member, Pete Wishart MP, reinforced concerns about the operation of the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Mr Wishart said:

“This report underlines again the failure of the FSA in its duty to protect savers and investors, and these lessons must be learned.

“In the run up to the takeover by Nationwide, some extraordinarily poor managerial decisions were made at the Dunfermline and the FSA repeatedly failed to intervene. This cannot be allowed to happen again.

“Throughout Dunfermline’s difficulties, ensuring stability and certainty for depositors, borrowers and Dunfermline staff was the foremost priority of the Scottish Government. I am glad that this was secured although the value for money offered by Nationwide’s state sponsored buy-out has yet to be demonstrated.”

FURTHER QUESTIONS ON UK GOVERNMENT’S JOBS SCHEME




FURTHER QUESTIONS ON UK GOVERNMENT’S JOBS SCHEME

OVER 1,300 JOBS MISSING FOR SCOTLAND

SNP MSP Bob Doris, a member of the Scottish Parliament's Local Government and Communities Committee, has raised further questions about how many jobs Scotland has missed out on from yesterday’s announcement by the UK government on the creation of jobs from the Future Jobs Fund.

Yesterday Mr Doris queried why there were only 2,838 posts announced for Scotland compared to 47,000 for the UK as a whole. On a pro-rata basis Scotland would have acquired funding for 4,100 jobs.

However the Herald also reports today that the majority of bids from Scotland for funding were rejected. This is despite claims by the Scotland Office that the "vast majority" of bids to create Scottish jobs had been accepted. The figures seen by The Herald show only 48% were successful.

Commenting Mr Doris said:

"I am already on record as saying that any additional funding to create new jobs in Scotland is welcome. However the numbers benefiting in Scotland appear well out of kilter with the number for the UK.

“On a pro-rata basis Scotland would have secured over 4,100 jobs from this funding. However we have only secured 2,838 posts. That means Scotland is missing out to the tune of 1,300 jobs.

“There also appear to be further question marks about the number of bids that were rejected. As the Herald reports 52% were rejected. This is despite the Scotland Office saying the ‘vast majority’ were accepted.

"Someone in the Scotland Office has some explaining to do and must answer why so many bids were rejected and why Scotland is losing out on funding for a third of the posts on offer?”

REPORT REVEALS PENSIONER POVERTY SHAME



REPORT REVEALS PENSIONER POVERTY SHAME

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson John Mason MP has seized on the publication of a report today by the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee which criticises the benefits system as a key cause of poverty - with some 1.7m pensioners failing to claim money to which they are entitled.

The Commons Committee report follows the publication of European statistics earlier this week showing that the number of pensioners living in poverty in the UK is among the highest in Europe with the over-65s in poorer countries, including Romania and Poland faring better.

Mr Mason, the MP for Glasgow East, said:

"The benefits system has failed poor pensioners, and the UK Government is just not doing enough to help lift people out of poverty. After twelve years in government Labour has failed to close the gap between rich and poor created during the Tory years.

"It is outrageous that the complexities of the benefits system have actually discouraged millions of older people from claiming state entitlements that they should properly receive. The system that should be helping people in poverty is actually working against them.

"No issue underlines more why Scotland must have full responsibility for all tax, spending and social welfare issues so that we can tackle the scourge of poverty.

"The Scottish Government is doing everything it can with the powers that are available to it. Practical steps, like freezing the Council Tax, ending food preparation charges, and extending action to end fuel poverty, are delivering - and we will do more.

"There is enormous political goodwill towards fighting poverty, and yet the UK government has failed to match its talk with action. Scotland has the will to eradicate poverty but we are being held back by a tax and benefits system that is failing thousands of people.”

GERS SURPLUS MAKES OIL FUND UNDENIABLE



GERS SURPLUS MAKES OIL FUND UNDENIABLE

SCOTLAND £2.3 BILLION IN BLACK OVER LAST THREE YEARS

Welcoming today’s announcement by the Scottish Government’s Finance Cabinet Secretary, John Swinney, today (Thursday) for a Scottish Oil Fund, SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick – a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee – said the benefits of such a fund could no longer be denied by the opposition party, since the official figures already show Scotland has been in surplus by £2.3 billion over the previous three years.

The latest GERS report [Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland] shows Scotland with a current budget surplus of £219 million, or 0.2 per cent of GDP – compared with a UK deficit of £5.3 billion, or 0.4 per cent of GDP. Scotland has been in current budget surplus now for three years, to the tune of almost £2.3 billion, confirming that Scotland stands on a strong financial footing – stronger than the UK as a whole.

Commenting on today’s announcement by Mr Swinney, Mr FitzPatrick said;

“The official figures demonstrate that Scotland is in surplus – in a stronger budget position than the UK as a whole – and an oil fund would transform Scotland just as it has transformed Norway, Alaska and Alberta. Those parties who would do down Scotland’s economic potential can no longer deny Scotland’s need for an oil fund, or our ability to prosper as a normal independent country.

“With a three year surplus of £2.3 billion, the GERS report shows Scotland would be in a far healthier financial position than the UK as a whole. With an oil fund we would be able to prosper further.

“It is clear the flow of resources is from Scotland to the rest of the UK, not the other way round as the London parties would like people to believe as they try and sap Scottish confidence.

“Even before this recession, Scotland’s revenues have been propping up Gordon Brown’s overdraft instead of being invested in our economic future. With an oil fund Scotland could start to invest in the future. The naysayers and doom-mongers will need to rethink their position.

“With access to our own resources – just like every other oil-rich nation – Scotland will be well placed to thrive and invest in a successful future.”

BLAIR AND BROWN MUST GIVE EVIDENCE IN PUBLIC



BLAIR AND BROWN MUST GIVE EVIDENCE IN PUBLIC

IRAQ INQUIRY WILL BE JUDGED ON ANSWERS AND LESSONS LEARNED

Commenting as the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war gets underway, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP said the investigation would be judged on the answers that it provided and said the former and current prime ministers must give evidence in public.

The SNP have led demands for an inquiry into the Iraq war, and secured the first substantive debate at Westminster in October 2006 – at that time the vote calling for an inquiry was narrowly lost by just 25 votes – with 12 Labour rebels. It was backed by all Tories and Liberal Democrats.

Mr Robertson said:

“This inquiry will be judged on the answers that it provides and the lessons that are learned.

“Sir John Chilcot has a mountain to climb if he is to convince people that this an open and independent inquiry and not some establishment stitch-up with Downing Street pulling the strings.

“The whole point of an inquiry is to get to the truth about the Iraq war, and the conduct and conclusions of Sir John’s investigation must leave no doubt in peoples minds or questions unanswered. It is essential that both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown give their evidence to this inquiry in public.

“By every measurement the Iraq war has been the biggest foreign policy disaster in modern times, and those responsible for it have never answered the most fundamental questions about why we were led into this war.

“The claim that the war was about weapons of mass destruction was a blatant lie, a mere cover story unsupported by the facts, which has cost the lives of thousands of civilians and hundreds of our brave soldiers.”

MSP WINS ALL ROUND SUPPORT FOR FIRE-SAFE CIGARETTES



MSP WINS ALL ROUND SUPPORT FOR FIRE-SAFE CIGARETTES

West of Scotland SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell has won unanimous support from all of Scotland’s Fire Brigades for the introduction of legislation for fire-safe cigarettes – otherwise known as reduced ignition propensity (RIP) cigarettes – which have the capacity to substantially cut down on deaths attributed to smoking materials.

Mr Maxwell has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for Scotland to be the first country in Europe to introduce this life-saving technology for cigarettes. He wrote to all senior fire officers in Scotland asking if they would support the introduction of such legislation at Westminster and has received support from all eight.

Commenting Mr Maxwell said:

“Fires started by cigarettes are the biggest cause of fire-related deaths in the home. As a West of Scotland MSP who has worked for Strathclyde Fire Brigade I am well aware that 48.1% of fire deaths in Strathclyde in 2007-08 were attributable to smoking materials. This compares to 44.8 across Scotland.

“Both those figures are way too high and introducing legislation at Westminster to ensure fire safe cigarettes, or reduced ignition propensity (RIP) cigarettes, would go a long way to cutting those tragic figures.

“In the state of Vermont in America they introduced just such legislation in 2005 to ensure that all cigarettes were fire-safe. The results were dramatic with no fire deaths being attributed to cigarettes in 2007 and 2008.

“I am therefore delighted that all the Fire Brigades across Scotland have indicated support for my motion and hope that this will see early moves to see this legislation introduced as soon as possible.

"I will now be writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to seek his support in pressing the UK Government to introduce such legislation.”

SNP MSPs WELCOMES POSITIVE REPORTS INTO ABERDEEN CITY COUNCIL




SNP MSPs WELCOMES POSITIVE REPORTS INTO ABERDEEN CITY COUNCIL

Aberdeen North MSP Brian Adam and North East Scotland MSP Maureen Watt have welcomed the latest findings of Audit Scotland’s Best Value report into Aberdeen City Council which recognises the improvements the Council has made in its finances. The report acknowledges the “prompt and decisive action” taken in response to its previous report and highlights the improvements that have been made to budget setting in Aberdeen.

Commenting Mr Adam said:

"These reports show that significant progress has been made in addressing Aberdeen City Councils historic difficulties.

“They give encouragement that a corner has been turned and that the Council has started out on the road to full recovery.

“I am glad that Commission has praised the work done in the restructuring of the Council. Lead by Sue Bruce along with the Councils political leaders, a foundation has now been laid to build on."

Ms Watt said:

“Aberdeen Council has had to make some very difficult decisions to address the problems created by many years of mismanagement prior to 2007.

"The SNP group on the council have stepped up to address these problems and I commend them on not shying away from the issues Aberdeen City Council.

“There have been clear improvements as a result of more stable leadership on the council and things are demonstrably moving in the right direction despite the continued challenges being faced.

"That said, the report does express concern about the tension caused by leadership changes in other party groups. This kind of internal warfare cannot be allowed to hinder the efforts being made to improve the performance of Aberdeen Council.

“Audit Scotland’s report rightly points out that there is still a lot for the Council to do to sustain its progress, but a good start has been made and I am confident that things will continue to improve. These have been difficult years for the Council but progress is being made, as Audit Scotland have acknowledged in their report."

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

MSP QUERIES UK GOVERNMENT'S YOUTH EMPLOYMENT ANNOUNCEMENT



MSP QUERIES UK GOVERNMENT'S YOUTH EMPLOYMENT ANNOUNCEMENT
Commenting on today's UK government announcement about funding for youth employment SNP MSP Bob Doris, a member of the Scottish Parliament's Local Government and Communities Committee said:

"Whilst any additional funding to create new jobs in Scotland is welcome the numbers being created in comparison to those being announced south of the border raises questions.

"2,838 posts in Scotland compared to 47,000 UK-wide does not look like Scotland is getting its share by any means. Perhaps Jim Murphy can explain this apparent discrepancy."

FOOTBALL FOCUS TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR DIAGEO JOBS



FOOTBALL FOCUS TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR DIAGEO JOBS

A friendly football match between Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle tomorrow will become the focus for support for whisky workers threatened with job losses by Diageo as two SNP MSPs prepare to campaign on behalf of the workers.

The two teams are the local teams for the two plants where workers jobs are threatened – Johnnie Walker in Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas Distillery in Glasgow. SNP MSPs, Willie Coffey for Kilmarnock and Loudoun and Glasgow’s Bob Doris, will both be helping raise awareness of the campaign for jobs at both plants.

Commenting before the match at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock local MSP Willie Coffey, who will be collecting names for a petition he initiated and which has already broken 11,000 online, said:

"The response to Sunday’s march was already a reflection of the response to the petition I initiated. It showed the level of concern about Diageo's plans.

"Equally I am sure this football match will become a focus of protest against Diageo’s decision. It will give local people in Kilmarnock and Glasgow the chance to show Diageo what they think of their decision to close down nearly two centuries of tradition.

"The message that Diageo seems to have forgotten is that customers across the world DO value Johnnie Walker's close connection with Kilmarnock.

“They may have lost sight of the value of this but an increasing number of customers across the world are giving Diageo the message - keep Johnnie Walker in Kilmarnock and keep Port Dundas distillery open in Glasgow.

“I would urge fans old and new to come along and support both clubs tomorrow night and to also show their support for Kilmarnock and Glasgow’s whisky workers.”

Mr Bob Doris, who suggested that the football match would be an excellent focus in the campaign and will be helping trade unions leaflet the fans, said:

"Both Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock football clubs have shown a great commitment and determination to help their communities retain the jobs threatened by Diageo at Johnnie Walkers in Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow.

“This pre-season friendly between both clubs is an ideal opportunity for fans to turn out in significant numbers for the match and take a united stand against Diageo's plans.

"It would be good to see people that have not been to a game for a while, or even first timers, make the effort to attend. Having spoken to both GMB and UNITE unions I know that the workers and the Unions would very much appreciate this.

“I hope others from Glasgow will make the trip through in a show of solidarity. Having spoken to the Jags Trust (Partick Thistle's supporters trust) they are certainly keen for as many from Glasgow to make the trip through to Kilmarnock.

"I know the Unions will be out in force at the game and fans will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their support."

OUTRAGE AT MoD ATTEMPT TO CUT WOUNDED SOLDIERS’ AWARDS



OUTRAGE AT MoD ATTEMPT TO CUT WOUNDED SOLDIERS’ AWARDS


SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP has hit out at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over an attempt at the Court of Appeal to significantly reduce the compensation awarded to two injured soldiers.

Mr Robertson has written to the Defence Secretary demanding to know how much the MoD has spent on legal advice and representation in their attempt to challenge the compensation payments.

Mr Robertson said:

“The Ministry of Defence are behaving shamefully in attempting to cut these compensation payments. These two soldiers were wounded while fighting for their country, and now the UK Government is fighting them in court – it is an outrageous and exceptionally crass way to treat these men.

“It is frankly offensive that when our servicemen and women are risking their lives engaged in fierce fighting in Afghanistan, sustaining significant casualties in the process, the MoD are attempting to slash the compensation levels awarded to those wounded in battle.

“Soldiers, sailors and airforce personnel have already volunteered to do a difficult, dangerous and stressful job often in hostile territory thousands of miles from home. To be met with such a response from the MoD when seeking compensation for wounds received in service is unacceptable.

“The MoD should think again about how their action will be viewed by the service community in the present circumstances.”

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

TIME FOR ACTION OVER BANK LENDING.


TIME FOR ACTION OVER BANK LENDING.

CHANCELLOR’S WARM WORDS NOT ENOUGH,

Commenting on the meeting between Chancellor Alistair Darling and banking bosses over the costs of borrowing for small and medium sized businesses today (Monday), SNP Treasury Spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:

“It is essential that the banks – many of them effectively publicly owned – start lending again to small and medium sized businesses.

“I am sure that every MP including myself has been approached by local businesses about not being able to access new and cheaper lending facilities or being offered extortionate rates.

“That has to end and the Chancellor must follow his warm words with action now. For months he has been making these warnings to the banks and we have not seen any improvement in the situation.


“Alistair Darling has had months to sort this problem out and this time must follow through or lose what remaining confidence he has left with the business community.”

MASON LAMBASTS LABOUR OVER PENSIONER POVERTY.




MASON LAMBASTS LABOUR OVER PENSIONER POVERTY.

The UK government has been lambasted following the publication of European statistics showing that the number of pensioners living in poverty in the UK is among the highest in Europe with the over-65s in poorer countries, including Romania and Poland faring better.

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson John Mason MP said the figures, which show pensioner poverty in Britain is more than a third higher than the European average, were an appalling legacy after twelve years of a Labour government.

Mr Mason, the MP for Glasgow East, said:

"These figures are an appalling legacy after twelve years of Labour government and show that Labour has singularly failed to close the gap between rich and poor created during the Thatcher years.

"Gordon Brown should hang his head in shame as banking bosses get multi-million pound rewards while pensioners live below the bread-line.

"No issue underlines more why Scotland must have full responsibility for all tax, spending and social welfare issues so that we can tackle the scourge of poverty.

"The Scottish Government is doing everything it can with the powers that are available to it. Practical steps, like freezing the Council Tax, ending food preparation charges, and extending action to end fuel poverty, are delivering - and we will do more.

"There is enormous political goodwill towards fighting poverty, and yet the UK government has failed to match its talk with action. Scotland has the will to eradicate poverty but we are being held back by a tax and benefits system that is failing thousands of people.”

ROBERTSON WELCOMES CALL FOR COHERENT AFGHAN EFFORT.


ROBERTSON WELCOMES CALL FOR COHERENT AFGHAN EFFORT.

SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP has welcomed calls by the Foreign Secretary for a more coherent effort to achieve a political solution in Afghanistan.

Mr Robertson, who visited forces in Afghanistan earlier this year, also repeated calls for a major rethink of UK strategy in Afghanistan after next months Afghan elections.


Mr Robertson said:

“Military action is just not enough, we need a political solution which should involve speaking to insurgents and offering them alternatives to fighting. David Miliband’s calls for a more coherent effort signal a welcome and overdue willingness to change the emphasis of our operations.

“We must take stock after the Afghan elections next month – Ministers still have to convince us that they have a proper strategy and a proper objective which have the likelihood of success.


“The awful toll of military personnel killed in Afghanistan has understandably led to questions about just what our forces are fighting for.

“Military action has not been enough and, perhaps most crucially, we need development, as the UK’s former ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, says the army has been "holding a wall up" in Helmand, but "no one has come along to build a buttress" of development.

“What is required is a major rethink that looks at all the options, and that will give people, not least our troops themselves, the confidence that the right strategy is being pursued and is achievable.”

LABOUR BY-ELECTION DELAY SETS RECORD FOR POLL POSTPONEMENT.


LABOUR BY-ELECTION DELAY SETS RECORD FOR POLL POSTPONEMENT.

FIGHT FOR BY-ELECTION MOVES TO SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT,


Voters in Glasgow North East will be without an MP for a record length of
time SNP research confirmed today (Monday). The news comes as SNP MSP for
Glasgow, Anne McLaughlin lodges a motion in the Scottish Parliament
expressing concern over the failure of the UK Labour Government to move
the writ for the Glasgow North East by-election, leaving the constituency
without representation at Westminster for four months.

SNP research reveals that by failing to move the writ for the by-election
before the parliamentary recess, Labour are leaving the constituency
without an MP for a record breaking length of time.

The longest interval since 1979, between a Member demitting office and the
writ being moved, is currently 113 days. This occurred in South Antrim
after Clifford Forsythe MP passed away in 2000. After Mr Forsythe died on
27th April, the writ was issued on 18th August (during the recess) and the
by-election was held on 21 September.

The earliest date the writ can now be moved is October 12th – 114 days
since former Commons Speaker Michael Martin stood down as MP for Glasgow
North East.

Commenting, campaign coordinator Stewart Hosie MP said:

“This record poll delay truly takes the biscuit, and Labour’s attempts to
fob-off people in Glasgow just won’t wash. With this record beating delay,
Labour are putting politics before people.

“The community faces serious challenges with the threat of job losses at
Diageo and the closure of local schools by the Labour council. Now, more
than ever, people in Glasgow North East need an MP to stand up for local
interests.

“Labour had the chance to set an early date for the election last week,
but the party objected and voted against giving people in Glasgow their
say.”

SNP Glasgow North East candidate, David Kerr, added:

“Labour are clearly running scared of voters in Glasgow North East – after
the Norwich North result last week Labour are clearly worried about what
people in Glasgow will have to say about their record in the city.

“People in Scotland know that it is the SNP who have delivered real
benefits for them and their family and are helping them out in the hard
times by freezing the council tax, delivering a record number of police
officers, restoring free education, reducing business rates, and
abolishing prescription charge.

1. The text of Anne McLaughlin MSP’s Motion is set out below:

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT MOTION
Date of Lodging: 27 July 2009
Short Title: Voice for Glasgow North East
S3M-04630 Anne McLaughlin (Glasgow) (SNP): That the Parliament notes with
concern and disappointment that residents of the Glasgow North East
Westminster constituency will be without representation in the UK
Parliament for up to four months; recognises that, in stark contrast,
voters in Norwich North elected a new MP after only 48 days, and believes
that the people of Glasgow North East deserve the same representation in
the UK Parliament as any other constituency and require a strong voice at
all times, especially when the community is facing major job losses at the
Port Dundas Diageo distillery.

2. A selection of quotes from local residents in Glasgow East, expressing
concern over the delay, are detailed below:

Jakki Morrison - a home carer from Milton - said: "Four months is a long
time to be without an MP - especially given the situation at Port Dundas.
Glasgow North East needs a strong voice to speak for the people."

Hugh Fitzgerald - Chair of Germiston Community Council - said: "Labour
haven't done anything for this area in generation and once again they've
neglected us by leaving us without an MP for months."

Lynn Scott - Parent Campaigner for Barmulloch Primary - said: "We want our
by-election and we want it now. This ridiculous tactic of run and hide
until everyone forgets about Labour's school closures just isn't good
enough."

Sunday, 26 July 2009

DARLING’S WARNING MUST NOT BE ANOTHER EMPTY LENDING LECTURE.





DARLING’S WARNING MUST NOT BE ANOTHER EMPTY LENDING LECTURE.



Commenting on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s remarks that he will talk to the banks about cutting the costs of borrowing to small and medium sized businesses SNP Treasury Spokesperson, Stewart Hosie MP said:

“It is essential that the banks – many of them effectively publicly owned now – must start lending again to small and medium sized businesses.


“I am sure that every MP including myself has been approached by local businesses about not being able to access new and cheaper lending facilities or being offered extortionate rates.

“That has to end now and the Chancellor must follow through with action now. For months he has been making these warnings to the banks and we have not seen any concrete action.


“He has had months to sort this out and this time must follow through or lose what remaining confidence he has left with the business community.”

SNP COMMENT ON MoD ATTEMPT TO CUT WOUNDED SOLDIERS’ AWARDS


SNP COMMENT ON MoD ATTEMPT TO CUT WOUNDED SOLDIERS’ AWARDS.

Commenting on the revelation in the Sunday Times that the Ministry of Defence will go to the Court of Appeal on Tuesday to try to slash the compensation awarded to injured soldiers by up to 70%, the SNP’s Westminster leader and defence spokesperson Angus Robertson said:


"It is outrageous that when our servicemen and women are risking their lives engaged in fierce fighting in Afghanistan, sustaining significant casualties in the process, the MoD are attempting to slash the compensation levels awarded to those wounded in battle.
“Soldiers, sailors and airmen have already volunteered to do a difficult, dangerous and stressful job often in hostile territory thousands of miles from home. To be met with such a response from the MoD when seeking compensation for wounds received in service is unacceptable. “The MoD should think again about how their action will be viewed by the service community in the present circumstances.”

SNP COMMENT ON IMMIGRATION PROPOSALS.


SNP COMMENT ON IMMIGRATION PROPOSALS.

Commenting on the Scottish Secretary's article on immigration in the Scotland on Sunday SNP home affairs spokesperson in Westminster, Pete Wishart MP said it was a move in the right direction but what is needed are the powers over immigration to be devolved to Scotland just as they are in Australia’s states.
Commenting Mr Wishart said: "Scotland's population projection, although improving from years of stagnation, requires real action taken in Scotland and not merely this scheme proposed by Jim Murphy, which is a move in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough. “The Scottish Government Minister for External Affairs, Michael Russell, has been discussing the need for a distinctive Scottish immigration policy with the UK Government and we are glad that point is finally being accepted. "But the SNP have pressed the case for the devolution of a Scottish points-based system that awards eager, qualified immigrants, who want to come to Scotland for five years or longer. Devolving control of immigration policy would not only benefit Scotland, it would help lift some of the pressure on the UK Home Office. "This is not an exceptional policy. Australian states already run such a scheme, as does Canada. A Scottish points-based system would create a targeted approach to immigration which would reflect the needs of the economy and the demographic challenges Scotland faces. "Only when immigration powers are devolved will we be able to find a Scottish solution to this Scottish problem."

LOCAL MSP COMMENTS ON WHISKY JOBS MARCH



LOCAL MSP COMMENTS ON WHISKY JOBS MARCH

Commenting on today's march in Kilmarnock to protest against Diageo's plans to lay off 900 workers the local MSP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, Willie Coffey, said the turnout was an indication of the strength of feeling across Scotland against the company's decision.

Mr Coffey has already initiated an online petition against the Kilmarnock job losses which has burst through the 10,000 mark.

Mr Coffey, who launched the petition at an all party event with Kilmarnock Football Club, said:

"The response to this march reflects the response to the petition I initiated. It shows the level of concern about Diageo's plans.

"This march gives local people and others across Ayrshire and Scotland the chance to show Diageo what they think of their decision to close Johnnie Walker in Kilmarnock after 189 years.

"The message that Diageo seems to have forgotten is that customers across the world DO value Johnnie Walker's close connection with Kilmarnock.

“They may have lost sight of the value of this but an increasing number of customers across the world are giving Diageo the message - keep Johnnie Walker in Kilmarnock."

ROBERTSON REPORTS LORD TO POLICE OVER EXPENSES



ROBERTSON REPORTS LORD TO POLICE OVER EXPENSES

SNP Westminster Leader, Angus Robertson MP, has reported Lord Bhatia
to the police over his expenses after it was reported in the Sunday
Times that the peer had claimed more than £20,000 in allowances for a
small rented flat occupied by his brother. Last week he could not even
remember the flat's address.

Mr Robertson's complaint follows a previous one he submitted about
Labour peer Baroness Uddin who is being investigated over allegations
she claimed £100,000 in allowances for a flat that is reportedly lying
empty.

Commenting Mr Robertson said:

“The SNP has long campaigned for stricter controls on expenses at
Westminster and believe it would be better served by adopting the
system that successfully works in the Scottish Parliament.

“That somebody can claim an for a flat they don't know the address of
as their main residence beggars belief, and we need full and frank
answers from Lord Bhatia.

“This report just highlights how the House of Lords is unelected,
unaccountable and completely unbelievable. That is one of the reasons
the SNP does not appoint members to the House of Lords.

"I will be writing to the police and the House of Lords authorities
asking them to investigate this report.

"This case just underlines how the Labour government was wrong to
remove proposals from the Parliamentary Standards Bill to make it an
offence for an MP to intentionally fail to declare financial
interests.

"It is noteworthy that the amendments to remove those proposals came
from the Lords. A further example for why this anachronism should be
abolished."

DESPERATE LABOUR RUNNING SCARED AND RESORTING TO PERSONAL SMEARS IN BY-ELECTION



DESPERATE LABOUR RUNNING SCARED AND RESORTING TO PERSONAL SMEARS IN BY-ELECTION

PEOPLE OF GLASGOW NORTH EAST LEFT UNREPRESENTED

Commenting on yet more smears emenating from Labour's campaign for the
Glasgow North East by-election, the SNP's campaign manager Stewart
Hosie said that it was a clear sign that Labour was desperate and
fearful of losing the seat.

Commenting Mr Hosie said:

"Whilst the SNP has been focussing on the issues that matter to the
people of Glasgow, such as education and jobs, Labour's entire
campaign has been focussed on smears and personal attacks on SNP
candidate David Kerr.

"This latest stuff of nonsense, which hides behind an anonymous
source, is clearly another dirty smear tactic from an increasingly
desperate Labour party who have refused to allow the people of Glasgow
North East the chance to democratically elect a MP.

"As the BBC has made clear, the three person production team,
including David Kerr, was cleared of any health and safety breach and
acting with the permission of their editor. They were simply doing
their jobs.

"Last week, Labour disgracefully attempted to make religion a focal
point in the campaign by making cheap jibes about David's personal
faith. Comments they are now claiming were misquoted. If that were the
case, why didn't they immediately clarify their supposedly erroneous
comments and seek a correction in all the newspapers that published
the contemptuous attack?

"Labour's tactics of personal attacks over policy were used in the
Norwich North by-election, and we saw there that the voters responded
to their smears by throwing them out.

"The people of Norwich North were given the chance to pass judgement
on Labour's shambolic administration at Westminster on Thursday and
Labour were overwhelmingly rejected.

SNP Glasgow North East candidate David Kerr said:

“I am engaging with the constituents in Glasgow North East on the
issues that really matter to them – jobs, including the threat to
Diageo’s workforce at Port Dundas, education and Labour council’s
threat to close local schools and the need for regenerating this area
that has been badly let down by decades of Labour mismanagement and
inertia.

“Now more than ever the people in Glasgow North East need someone
standing up for them, fighting their corner at Westminster. But
Labour are running scared by refusing to allow Glasgow North East
constituents representation until November at the earliest.."

MILIBAND BETWEEN THE ROCK AND HARD PLACE ON REFERENDUM



MILIBAND BETWEEN THE ROCK AND HARD PLACE ON REFERENDUM

UK Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary David Miliband has been challenged to
explain why his party is refusing to allow people in Scotland the chance to
choose their future in a referendum after observing that, for Gibraltar, the
issue of sovereignty lies with its people.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP has this weekend written to Mr
Miliband seeking clarification over how his view was reconciled with the
refusal by Labour to allow people in Scotland to have a say on their
constitutional future in a referendum.

Mr Robertson said:

“David Miliband is between a rock and a hard place on the issue of
sovereignty – he says people in Gibraltar should have their say, but denies
people in Scotland the same right.

“Of course sovereignty for Gibraltar must rest in the hands of the people,
and that is why I cannot understand the Labour party position of refusing
people here the right to have their say in a referendum.

“People in Scotland have just as much right to have their say as people in
Gibraltar, and David Miliband needs to explain the inconsistency in Labour’s
position.

“Labour are in a completely ridiculous and absurd position – denying people
the chance to choose their future in a democratic referendum.

“The SNP were elected on the promise to bring forward a referendum Bill in
2010 and that is what we will do.

“It may be that Labour’s real fear is that as the UK’s disastrous economic
management and Labour’s swingeing budget cuts for Scotland are exposed more
and more people will see that the best route to prosperity for Scotland is
as an independent nation with full financial powers.”

UK GOVERNMENT REJECTS FULL LEAVE ENTITLEMENT FOR SERVICE PERSONNEL



UK GOVERNMENT REJECTS FULL LEAVE ENTITLEMENT FOR SERVICE PERSONNEL

Defence Minister Kevan Jones has rejected calls for service personnel to
receive their full leave allowance with no reduction for travel time in a
reply to SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson who wrote to the UK Minister on the issue.

The SNP have lodged motions in the Scottish Parliament and at Westminster
calling for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to revise its rules to ensure the
time it takes service personnel to travel home is not counted within their
leave allowance, said it was an incredible disappointment.

Commenting Mr Gibson said;

"In these times our service personnel are already doing a difficult,
dangerous and stressful job often in hostile territory thousands of miles
from home.

“This rejection by Kevan Jones is incredibly disappointing. That it ignores
the findings of the Army Families Federation’s Journal makes me wonder if he
is in touch with the opinions of service families?

“His rejection of how the US and Canadian forces are able to apply this
scheme is equally unconvincing.

"Time spent at home with family and friends is both precious and essential
to ensure our troops recuperate fully, operate at peak efficiency and
maintain high morale.

"The greatest irony is that the more dangerous and far flung a posting the
more time it takes to travel to and from postings, the less time service
personnel can enjoy with their families.

“Kevan Jones should reconsider his position and I urge the MoD to implement
such changes forthwith."

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER TO SIGN 'SAVE JOHNNIE WALKER' PETITION



DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER TO SIGN 'SAVE JOHNNIE WALKER' PETITION
Today (Saturday) SNP Depute Leader and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP signed a copy of the 'Save Johnnie Walker' petition outside the steps of the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow to show her support for saving jobs at Johnnie Walker’s in Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow.
Commenting the day before a march in Kilmarnock which is expected to be attended by thousands, Ms Sturgeon said:

“The fight for jobs at Johnnie Walker’s in Kilmarnock is the same fight for jobs at the Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow. Both go hand in hand.

“It is an honour to sign this petition and I am pleased to do so.

"This petition shows that trade unions, politicians and local authorities in both Glasgow and East Ayrshire are all united in fighting Diageo's job cuts across Scotland.

“Just as First Minister Alex Salmond has actively put the case for retaining these jobs as a Glasgow MSP I can also categorically pledge that I will support the campaign to retain the jobs at both Port Dundas and in Kilmarnock.”

Kilmarnock and Loudoun MSP Willie Coffey, who launched the petition at an all party event with Kilmarnock Football Club, welcomed the support of the Deputy First Minister. He said:

"The petition has given local people and people all over the world the chance to tell Diageo what they think of their incredible decisions."

"With over 10,000 signatures online the response to the petition has been incredible and it is continuing to grow.

"It is very welcome that Nicola Sturgeon is showing her support and how this campaign is united between Glasgow and East Ayrshire."

MASON MARKS ONE YEAR SINCE GLASGOW EAST VICTORY



MASON MARKS ONE YEAR SINCE GLASGOW EAST VICTORY

LABOUR LAMBASTED BY ANNIVERSARY MP

SNP activists took a brief break from campaigning in Glasgow North East today (Saturday) to celebrate the first anniversary of John Mason’s stunning by-election win in Glasgow East.

Mr Mason was joined by SNP Glasgow North East candidate David Kerr and party activists to mark the victory that saw the SNP seize Glasgow East with a 22.5 per cent swing from Labour in a by-election that shook Westminster.

One year on, SNP by-election victor John Mason MP rounded on Labour for refusing voters in Glasgow North East the chance to elect a new MP until November.

Glasgow North East has been without an MP since former Speaker Michael Martin stood down on 21 June. An attempt by the SNP to move the by-election Writ on the last day before the parliamentary recess was defeated when Labour voted against an early poll. Voters in Norwich went to the polls just 48 days after their former Labour MP resigned – while voters in Glasgow are set to wait 144 days before they can elect a new MP.

Mr Mason said:

“When voters in Glasgow East elected me last year they sent a message to Gordon Brown that is clearly still echoing around Downing Street – why else has Labour kicked the Glasgow North East by-election into the bleak mid-winter?

“The work I have been doing for local constituents over the last twelve months underlines for me the outrageousness of Labour’s decision to leave people in Glasgow North East without an MP for six months.

“Labour are guilty of the most astonishing arrogance in denying people in Glasgow the chance of an MP on their side at a time when the local community faces serious challenges because of Labour's recession. Issues such as threatened job losses at Port Dundas distillery or school closures by the local Labour council.

"Labour have learnt nothing since their defeat this time last year as the recent vote on Brown's 10p tax showed. They are still taking the support of people in Glasgow for granted.

“Labour had the chance to set an early date for the election last week, but the party objected and voted against giving people in Glasgow their say.

“People in Scotland know that it is the SNP who have delivered real benefits for them and their family and are helping them out in the hard times by freezing the council tax, delivering a record number of police officers, restoring free education, reducing business rates, and abolishing prescription charges.

“In contrast Labour are putting Gordon Brown’s interests before the needs of people in Glasgow and people will see that for what it is.”

Mr Kerr added:

“John Mason has been committed to serving this constituency since day one, and everyone in Glasgow East knows somebody that he has helped.

“In a year, he has dealt with more than one thousand constituency cases, held upwards of 100 constituency surgeries and established a real presence on Shettleston Road with his full-time constituency office. This is exactly the kind of representation and support the people of Glasgow North East deserve – but as Labour put politics before people – will be denied this for months to come.”

Friday, 24 July 2009

NORWICH GETS NEW MP WHILE GLASGOW GOES WITHOUT



NORWICH GETS NEW MP WHILE GLASGOW GOES WITHOUT



LABOUR LAMBASTED BY ANNIVERSARY MP


Today’s by-election result in Norwich North comes exactly one year to the day that the SNP won Glasgow East with a 22.5 per cent swing from Labour in a by-election that shook Westminster, and as voters in the neighbouring Glasgow North East constituency face a six month wait to elect a new MP.

One year on, SNP by-election victor John Mason MP today (Friday) rounded on Labour for refusing voters in Glasgow North East the chance to elect a new MP until November.

Glasgow North East has been without an MP since former Speaker Michael Martin stood down on 21 June. An attempt by the SNP to move the by-election Writ on the last day before the parliamentary recess was defeated when Labour voted against an early poll. Voters in Norwich went to the polls just 48 days after their former Labour MP resigned – while voters in Glasgow are set to wait 144 days before they can elect a new MP.

Mr Mason said:

“Why should people in Glasgow be left without an MP for six months when voters in Norwich are allowed to elect a new representative within weeks?

“Labour are guilty of the most astonishing arrogance in denying people in Glasgow the chance of an MP on their side at a time when the local community faces serious challenges because of Labour's recession. Issues such as threatened job losses at Port Dundas distillery or school closures by the local Labour council.



"Labour have learnt nothing since their defeat this time last year as the recent vote on Brown's 10p tax showed. They are still taking the support of people in Glasgow for granted.

“Labour had the chance to set an early date for the election last week, but the party objected and voted against giving people in Glasgow their say.

“People in Scotland know that it is the SNP who have delivered real benefits for them and their family and are helping them out in the hard times by freezing the council tax, delivering a record number of police officers, restoring free education, reducing business rates, and abolishing prescription charges.

“In contrast Labour are putting Gordon Brown’s interests before the needs of people in Glasgow and people will see that for what it is.”

MASON AND KERR CELEBRATE ONE YEAR SINCE SNP VICTORY IN GLASGOW EAST




MASON AND KERR CELEBRATE ONE YEAR SINCE SNP VICTORY IN GLASGOW EAST

SNP Glasgow North East candidate David Kerr and SNP activists will join
SNP MP John Mason to celebrate the one year anniversary of his stunning
by-election victory in Glasgow East.

WHAT: John Mason MP and David Kerr join SNP activists to cut an
anniversary cake outside John Mason's constituency office.

WHEN: Saturday 25th July 2009 at 11h00

WHERE: 888 Shettleston Road, Glasgow, G32 7XN

SPENDING FIGURES EXPOSE LIBDEM HYPOCRISY ON HIGHLAND ROADS



SPENDING FIGURES EXPOSE LIBDEM HYPOCRISY ON HIGHLAND ROADS

LIBDEMS CHALLENGED TO BE HONEST WITH HIGHLAND VOTERS


Figures obtained by SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Dave Thompson from a Parliamentary Question expose further LibDem hypocrisy on Highland roads as it as revealed that the spending allocated to fund trunk roads in the council area has reached record highs under the SNP and was the lowest during the four year period when a LibDem Transport Minister was in control.

According to the figures £41.7 million is to be spent on trunk roads in the Highlands under an SNP Government (2007-11). This dwarfs the £8.8 million that was spent during the tenures of Nicol Stephen and Tavish Scott when they were Transport Ministers (2003-2007). In what is a further embarrassment for the LibDems this figure is also dwarfed by what was spent under the tenure of the previous Labour Transport Ministers - £20.8 million between 1999 to 2003.

Mr Thompson said the figures further expose the LibDems’ hypocrisy on Highland roads and show what would happen under to investment in Highland roads under the LibDems.

Mr Thompson said:

"These figures finally expose the recent LibDem hypocrisy we have seen over investment in Highland roads. They show that it is the SNP which is investing in Highland roads whilst it was the LibDems who brought delays and dithering with their paltry investment.

“They are also an embarrassment for the LibDem leader Nick Clegg whose call for honesty in policy has been undermined by the actions of his very own chief-of-staff Danny Alexander. He has been being entirely dishonest and hypocritical with the Highland public. He is making demands that his party has no intention of delivering – in fact, as these figures reflect, they will cut funding for Highland roads.

"In the eight years in power with Labour, the London LibDems delivered little in terms of major road project and these figures expose their current hypocrisy. What was announced was subject to delay, dither and incompetence under two LibDem Transport Ministers!

"In contrast it is the SNP which is bringing forward an unprecedented number of plans to improve road transport across
Scotland and in the Highlands.

”Danny Alexander has to answer why he is ignoring his boss and being dishonest with the Highland public about his party’s plans for road investment and why his party has the poorest record of investment in Highland roads.”

QUESTIONS REVEAL DISTURBING DIARY OF NUCLEAR FIRES AND LEAKS



QUESTIONS REVEAL DISTURBING DIARY OF NUCLEAR FIRES AND LEAKS

RISKS OF NUCLEAR UNDERLINE WISDOM OF RENEWABLES

Parliamentary Questions have revealed a disturbing catalogue of fires and coolant leaks at UK nuclear installations over the last eight years – raising serious public safety and environmental concerns.

Since 2001 there have been 82 fires and 83 coolant leaks recorded at nuclear installations - in the last six months alone there were six fires and three coolant leaks.


Last month a Channel 4 News investigation revealed that the Sizewell A nuclear power station came close to a serious nuclear disaster in June 2007 when, only by pure luck, a contractor noticed water leaking from the radioactive cooling pond that posed significant risk to operators and the public. Parliamentary Questions by the SNP now reveal that incident, which occurred just as the UK government was trying to soften up the public for the building of new reactors, was not isolated.

SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP said:

“One incident is troubling, but this catalogue of fires and leaks is extremely disturbing, and the obvious fear is what could have happened if any one of these incidents had not been detected in time.

“It paints a very unsettling picture about the state these installations are in, and how they are operating.

“These incidents are clearly inconvenient for UK Ministers who seem more interested in selling the idea of new generation of reactors than telling us about the dangers of the existing ones.


“The risks and uncertainties of nuclear power, in terms of waste disposal, decommissioning, security and health concerns, or cost, are far too great.


“This situation perfectly illustrates the safety problems of nuclear power and underlines the wisdom of the Scottish Government's energy strategy - based on our vast clean, green energy sources including renewables, clean coal and carbon capture.

"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 and without the danger and uncertainty of nuclear.”

Thursday, 23 July 2009

CLEGG LEAVES LIBDEM ROADS POLICY IN TATTERS



CLEGG LEAVES LIBDEM ROADS POLICY IN TATTERS

LONDON LIBDEMS HYPOCRITICAL DEMANDS JUST DON’T ADD UP

An announcement by the LibDem leader Nick Clegg that they ditch key Lib Dem policies in an attempt to be more honest with voters about spending cuts has undermined his own self-styled Chief-of-Staff’s attempts to make un-costed demands for spending on roads says SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Dave Thompson.

Yesterday the LibDem leader announced that his party had to be "disciplined and honest" which has been followed today by his Chief-of-Staff, Danny Alexander, making demands for immediate funding in Highland roads.

Mr Thompson pointed put that it was already the LibDem’s policy to cut roads funding and that yesterday’s announcement just further undermines Danny Alexander’s spurious attack on the SNP Government.

Mr Thompson also pointed out that the LibDems failed to invest in one single major road project in the Highlands in the eight years they were in power with Labour.

Research already shows that the LibDems’ policy on roads is a chaotic mess with local demands for roads improvements contradicting the party’s national policy which would cut roads funding.

Mr Thompson listed the LibDems’ position on transport funding and roads which contradicts what they are telling voters at a local level:

* A Liberal Democrat policy signed by LibDem Scottish leader Tavish Scott is not to invest in roads - "We believe that building more roads and runways will not tackle congestion. We would invest in a proper public transport system, taxing lorries and domestic flights to invest in high speed rail." (See Note 1)

* As part of their UK 4p income tax policy which will see cuts of £20 billion across the UK the LibDems want to cut 90% of all major road projects

* Liberal Democrat MSPs voted for the £500 million Edinburgh tram project - diverting funds from other projects

* Liberal Democrats want to charge for usage of all motorways and trunk roads - a scheme supported by LibDems' Scottish leader Tavish Scott

Yet at the same time LibDems at a local level are demanding immediate or increased funding in roads projects which directly contradicts the policies they have and would enact in power.

Commenting on Mr Thompson said:

"Danny Alexander is being entirely dishonest and hypocritical with the Highland public. He is making demands that his party has no intention of delivering – in fact they will cut funding for Highland roads.

"And in the eight years in power with Labour, the London LibDems delivered little in terms of major road project and what was announced was subject to delay, dither and incompetence under two LibDem Transport Ministers!

"In contrast it is the SNP which is bringing forward an unprecedented number of plans to improve road transport across Scotland.

"The LibDems not only had eight years to deliver these improvements, and failed, they now actually have a policy that would mean no money and no new roads.

"Not content with diverting valuable cash, which could have been used for other transport schemes, to an Edinburgh project that even people in Edinburgh don't want – the LibDems in Holyrood and Westminster want to cut the funds and stop roads.

"We even have LibDems bidding against each other with Danny Alexander wanting money to be taken away from the new Forth Crossing. How will that go down with LibDem MSP Jim Tolson?

"The LibDems are notorious for trying to hoodwink the voters. They will say one thing on local doorsteps whilst hoping the voters don't notice what policies they are supporting in Holyrood and Westminster.

"A raft of LibDem MPs and MSPs has some questions to answer about why they are trying to hide this policy from people locally whilst supporting it when in Edinburgh and London?

"If we had a LibDem administration none of those projects would have had sufficient funding and the schemes they call for locally would never be started, far less finished.

"It's time the London-based LibDems told the truth to people across Scotland about their policy on roads and recognised the damaging impact their policies would have on the economy."

LABOUR’S EDUCATION CUTS EXPOSED



LABOUR’S EDUCATION CUTS EXPOSED

TALE OF TWO GOVERNMENTS CONTINUES

Commenting on Treasury documents reported in the Telegraph today (Thursday) which reveal that Labour will cut the education budget by £100 million SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson – the vice-convener of the Scottish Parliament’s education committee – said it exposed labour’s cuts agenda as well as highlighting the different approach taken in Scotland which has shown that the amount of money spent by local authorities on education has increased dramatically under the SNP.

Figures released earlier this month in Scotland showed that local authority education budgets have increased by an average of 8.3% or £366 million between 2008 and 2010 under the SNP Government; and the figures for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 financial years also show that the average increase is higher in SNP led councils.

This contrasts with Labour’s largest council in Glasgow which – like their counterparts south of the border - is cutting spending on education (in this case by £7 million).

Commenting Mr Gibson said;

“Today’s report just exposes Labour’s cant about education spending in Scotland. It is their party which cuts spending on educating our children and it is under an SNP government and councils that investment in our children’s education is increasing.

“It is a clear case of a tale of two governments with official statistics showing the SNP’s real commitment to education in Scotland compared to a Labour government’s cuts agenda.

“It is now undeniable that education spending in Scotland has increased under the SNP Government as we invest in Scotland's future generations; and it is also clear that SNP Council’s are leading the way with average increases of over 10%.

“After two years of misinformation and scaremongering from opposition parties we now have clear evidence that education budgets in Scotland are on the up under the SNP with above inflation increases.

“And we also have clear evidence that it is Labour which is cutting education funding in Glasgow with their school closures programme. Something that will not be lost on the voters of Glasgow North East.”