Saturday, 31 October 2009

DIESEL COSTS HINDERING RECOVERY



DIESEL COSTS HINDERING RECOVERY

UK Petrol Prices for
Thursday 29th Oct 2009

Avg.Min.Max.
Unleaded:107.6p102.9p118.0p
Diesel:108.9p103.9p119.9p
LRP:113.3p105.9p114.9p
Super:114.3p105.9p124.9p
LPG:55.3p47.9p69.9p
***

2007 Fuel Tax Figures

2007 fuel duty (as of 1 October 2007) in the United Kingdom is:
  • 50.35 pence per litre for ultra-low sulphur unleaded petrol/diesel
  • 53.65 pence per litre for conventional unleaded petrol
  • 56.94 pence per litre for conventional diesel
  • 30.35 pence per litre for bio-diesel and bio ethanol - low tax to encourage consumer conversion
  • 16.49 pence per kg for gas other than natural gas (LPG)
  • 13.70 pence per kg for natural gas used as road fuel.
  • 9.69 pence per litre for rebated gas oil (red diesel)
  • 9.29 pence per litre for rebated fuel oil


DIESEL COSTS HINDERING RECOVERY

SCOTLAND HIGHEST COST IN EUROPE

The SNP have today highlighted figures showing that diesel in the UK is
the most expensive in Europe, with diesel in parts of Scotland higher
still.

66% of the cost in the UK is due to taxation – more than in any other EU
nation. Costs in the UK are the lowest in the EU before taxation is
applied.

Figures from the UK Department of Energy show that Diesel in the UK is 10
pence higher than in any other EU nation with a litre costing an average
of 106.9p. Diesel in Inverness is an average of 109p

SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson and Western Isles MP – where diesel
on the island of Barra costs £1.20 a litre, Angus MacNeil, said:

“The Treasury’s tax take on diesel is modern day highway robbery. It is a
national scandal that, in an oil rich country like Scotland, we are paying
more than 30p a litre more than motorists in Romania and Bulgaria.

“Key sectors like the haulage industry are reeling from forecourt costs,
and Alistair Darling must use his Pre-Budget report next month to bring
down the cost of fuel.

“A strong haulage industry is a vital part of our economy. The fact is
that soaring fuel prices are actually hindering economic recovery from
recession.”

REVIEW OF AFGHAN STRATEGY REQUIRED



REVIEW OF AFGHAN STRATEGY REQUIRED

Commenting on the email sent by Lietuentant Colonoel Robert Thorneloe,
revealed in today's Daily Mail, in which he warned that the shortage of
helicopters for UK troops in Afghanistan increased their exposure to bombs
and branded them "not fit for purpose" SNP Defence Spokesperson and Moray
MP Angus Robertson said:

"These emails underline the need for an urgent review of UK strategy in
Afghanistan.

“The public, and our forces themselves, have the right to question why the
current strategy is failing. People need to be convinced that the UK
Government actually has a credible strategy in place and the necessary
equipment in the hands of our forces.

"Colonel Thorneloe was extremely well thought of and his views cannot be
dismissed by Downing Street."

SNP VOW TO GIVE LABOUR 'FRIGHT OF THEIR LIFE'



SNP VOW TO GIVE LABOUR 'FRIGHT OF THEIR LIFE'

DAVID KERR HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO SPEAK UP FOR GLASGOW

SNP activists will be out in force across Glasgow North East as the day of
the by-election draws closer.

Commenting, Deputy First Minister and SNP Depute Leader Nicola Sturgeon
MSP, who will join SNP candidate David Kerr to campaign across the
constituency said:

"With less than two weeks to go, SNP activists will be out in force. Last
summer, John Mason's victory in Glasgow East created a political
earthquake that shook Scottish politics to its core. This Halloween, we
are on track to give Labour the fright of their lives.

"Labour have taken this constituency for granted for decades - and the
by-election on November 12th is a chance for local people to say enough is
enough.

"Figures out this week show that Springburn is turning a corner. Across a
range of deprivation indicators, the situation is improving since the SNP
came to power. A vote for David Kerr and the SNP is a vote to ensure this
recovery continues."

Friday, 30 October 2009

BANKS MUST GIVE SMALL BUSINESS A BETTER DEAL



BANKS MUST GIVE SMALL BUSINESS A BETTER DEAL

Following warnings from the Federation of Small Business over the extent of Lloyds Group and Royal Bank of Scotland's dominance of the small business banking market in Scotland SNP MSP Professor Chris Harvie a member of Scotland's Economy Committee said:

"Lloyds and RBS have over two thirds of the market between them. That is not good for competition and not good for Scotland’s small businesses.

"Last month, a report by the Scottish Government’s Chief Economist Dr Andrew Goudie made clear that the slightest policy change from either of these banks would impact on Scottish small businesses.

"While the Scottish Government has taken steps toward the establishment of a Scottish Investment Bank which may offer a new route to finance for small businesses, the UK Government has not used its shareholding in RBS

and Lloyds to effectively encourage these banks to back small businesses and many have seen their overdrafts cut, loans rejected and charges increased despite running successful and profitable businesses.

"Banks need to be careful with the money they lend but it is absolutely unacceptable to allow the small businesses which drive our local economies to suffer because of bad banking practices."

GLASGOW LABOUR CLLR UNDERMINES PARTY'S BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN



GLASGOW LABOUR CLLR UNDERMINES PARTY'S BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN

IDENTIFIES £37.5 BILLION OF WASTE BY LABOUR GOVERNMENT

Glasgow SNP MSP Bill Kidd has seized on comments being made by Glasgow Labour councillor Euan McLeod last week that the Labour government in London should not spend £37.5 billion earmarked to bankroll the replacement for Trident as clear evidence of which party is wasting public money whilst demanding cuts in the Scottish budget.

Mr Kidd said the councillor’s comments ripped apart Labour’s bogus 'roadshow' in the Glasgow North East by-election and left their campaign having to explain why they were not accusing the UK Labour government of cutting Glasgow's spending whilst it wastes, at least, £37.5 billion on Trident.

The Labour councillor, who is Convener of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities Scotland, made the remarks at a seminar in Glasgow last Friday. A release issued from the seminar said he made the call as Convener with plans to renew the UK's nuclear arsenal being dropped and the funds diverted to support frontline troops.

He was quoted as saying: "The £37.5billion earmarked for the son-of-Trident could make a staggering difference to the equipment that our soldiers need to carry out their vital tasks on the front line.”

Commenting Mr Kidd said:

“How on earth can Labour keep a straight face with their self-styled ‘roadshow’ in Glasgow when one of their own councillors has identified a staggering £37.5 billion which he believes is being wasted by his own party?

“Whilst it is welcome that Cllr McLeod recognises the waste of money from nuclear weapons and suggests alternative spending it is well at odds with what his party is claiming in Glasgow and doing in government at Westminster.

“I’m sure voters in Glasgow North East will be wondering how Labour can claim one thing about the SNP when it is their own Prime Minister wanting to blow billions on weapons of mass destruction.

“If Labour in the Glasgow North East by-election are claiming the city is being ripped off perhaps they can explain why their very own government in London support spending billions on a replacement for Trident?”

OLYMPIC CONTRACT QUESTIONS FOR UK GOVERNMENT



OLYMPIC CONTRACT QUESTIONS FOR UK GOVERNMENT

CONCERN OVER CONTRACTS AS SCOTLAND ALREADY MISSING OUT ON CONSEQUENTIALS

Questions have been raised over why Scottish, Welsh and Irish firms have not benefited more from London Olympic contracts after a parliamentary question revealed just 17 Scottish firms had received Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) contracts – in contrast to 1,022 English firms. Wales received 4 contracts and Northern Ireland 3, while as many contracts went overseas as came to Scotland.

SNP spokesperson on the Olympics, Pete Wishart MP, said the figures raised serious questions over whether contracts had been marketed fairly across the UK to deliver benefits for all.

Mr Wishart said:

“It seems clear from these disappointing figures that Scottish companies are an afterthought when lucrative Olympic contracts are being awarded. The imbalance in where these contracts are going raises real questions on whether they are being marketed fairly across the UK to deliver benefits for all.

“It is a double whammy for Scotland because we are already missing out on any consequentials from the massive spending regenerating London's East End for the Olympics whilst Downing Street deny the same funding to the Scottish Government for Glasgow which will host the Commonwealth Games. The Scottish Government are funding 80% of the Games’ costs, with Glasgow Council funding 20%.

“Spending by the UK Government on regeneration around the London Olympics should generate £165m - £33m per annum over the five years to 2012-13 - for Scotland under the Barnett formula. The expenditure is on areas such as regeneration and there is a strong case argued by all three devolved administrations that this spending should rightly be subject to the Barnett formula in the normal way.


“The UK Government is clearly failing to honour assurances that companies across the country will benefit from the London Olympics, and in the process, Labour Ministers are failing Scottish businesses.”

BROWN BRANDED CRASS OVER IRAQ COMMENTS



BROWN BRANDED CRASS OVER IRAQ COMMENTS

BOTH BLAIR AND BROWN MUST GIVE EVIDENCE IN PUBLIC TO IRAQ INQUIRY

Comments by Gordon Brown have been branded as ‘completely crass’ after the Prime Minister claimed "Iraq is not the issue for people in Europe now. People must look forwards and not backwards” as he tried to drum up support for Tony Blair’s faltering campaign to become President of Europe.

SNP Westminster leader and party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said the Prime Minister’s comments were insensitive considering the Chilcot inquiry is underway and repeated calls for the current and former prime ministers to give evidence in public.


Mr Robertson said:

“Gordon Brown’s remarks are completely crass considering the Chilcot inquiry is in the process of finding the truth about why we were led into an illegal and bloody war in Iraq. The answers to these questions are certainly not in the past, and the effects of the war will be with us for many years to come.

“Tony Blair’s record is tainted by the Iraq war, and no amount of cheerleading or glossing over by Gordon Brown can camouflage the most disastrous foreign policy decision of recent times.

“International law was broken. Military action was not sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council. Instead, the US/UK–led invasion was based on the erroneous proposition that Iraq harboured weapons of mass destruction that could be fired within 45 minutes.

“Tony Blair holds ultimate responsibility for the actions of his government – leading the country into war on a false premise. Mr Blair's hopes of securing a favourable legacy are long since in tatters – and he and Gordon Brown must confirm that they will give evidence to the Chilcot inquiry in public.”

LIB DEMS CHALLENGED TO OPEN UP REFERENDUM DEBATE



LIB DEMS CHALLENGED TO OPEN UP REFERENDUM DEBATE

CLOSED DOOR DISCUSSIONS ON SCOTLAND’S FUTURE NOT ACCEPTABLE

The SNP has today challenged the Lib Dems to open up their discussion on Scotland’s constitutional future.

The Lib Dems are to decide whether they support the right of the people of Scotland to have their say over Scotland’s future or whether they will deny Scotland a voice in a closed doors meeting on Saturday evening.

Speaking ahead of the Lib Dems secret discussion SNP MSP Dr Alasdair Allan contrasted the Lib Dems secretive approach with the SNP Scottish Government’s open and inclusive National Conversation and challenged the party to hold the debate in public saying it was not acceptable to discuss Scotland’s future behind closed doors.

SNP MSP Dr Alasdair Allan said:

“A decision on the right of the people of Scotland to have their say over Scotland’s future is not something to keep behind locked doors but something all Scotland’s people have the right to hear.

“For politicians to decide in secret on the right of the people of Scotland to exercise their sovereignty is in complete opposition to the principle of the referendum itself.

“The Liberal Democrat approach to this subject is one of fear over what members might say to their leadership – not a focus on what is right for Scotland.

“After the secretive sessions of the Calman Commission this is further evidence of the failure of the unionist parties to trust the people of Scotland.

“The contrast with the SNP Scottish Government’s open and inclusive National Conversation which gives the public a clear opportunity to join the discussion could not be starker.

“A majority of Lib Dem voters as well as a majority of people in Scotland support a referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future.

“That this discussion is happening is an embarrassment to Tavish Scott and his leadership – that they are having it behind closed doors is a disgrace.”

NEW STATS PROVE SNP HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO SEE GLASGOW FLOURISH




NEW STATS PROVE SNP HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO SEE GLASGOW FLOURISH

ONLY KERR VICTORY WILL DELIVER LOCAL CHAMPION

SNP Leader and First Minister Alex Salmond MSP MP today (Friday) said
that a vote for the SNP at the forthcoming Glasgow North East by-election
was the only way to ensure that the area continued on its path away from
poverty and deprivation towards a brighter, more prosperous future.

Alex Salmond will join SNP by-election candidate David Kerr to meet with
local voters at the Gala Bingo club in Possilpark this afternoon.

Commenting, Mr Salmond said:

"Labour might talk a good game about helping local people but it is two
years of SNP action that has finally seen improvement across Glasgow -
after 74 years of Labour neglect.

"The SNP Scottish Government is doing all it can to tackle deprivation
across Scotland. We have frozen council tax, we are scrapping prescription
charges and we are introducing free school meals to make sure children get
the best start in life. And it's working. Here in Glasgow North East, we
are already turning a corner.

"The number of deprived areas in Glasgow has fallen 4.5% since the SNP
came to power with the largest improvement - a fall of 12% - to be found
in Springburn. These are the sort of headlines we should be hearing
about Glasgow North East.

"But the Labour party want to put all of this in jeopardy. By slashing
Scotland budget and dragging their feet in London over the acceleration
of capital spend, Labour are endangering the Scottish recovery.

"Their colleagues in the Glasgow City Chambers are equally irresponsible:
shutting down schools, slashing teacher numbers and increasing class
sizes - despite record funding from the SNP Government.

"Only a vote for David Kerr at this by-election will deliver a champion
for this area - an MP who will stand up to the council and ensure this
area's long term recovery. A vote for Labour at this by-election is just
a vote for 74 more years of neglect.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

NIMROD MP RESPONDS TO QINETIQ RESIGNATION



NIMROD MP RESPONDS TO QINETIQ RESIGNATION

Responding to news that the chief executive of Qinetiq has resigned a day after the defence firm was criticised in connection with the fatal Nimrod aircraft crash in 2006, Angus Robertson, the MP for Moray, whose constituency is home to the RAF Nimrod fleet at Kinloss, said the resignation was the first sign of the hard hitting review having an impact.

Mr Robertson, leader of the SNP at Westminster and party Defence spokesperson, said:

“This is the first sign of the Nimrod inquiry having a concrete impact. No doubt announcements will follow from BAe and the Ministry of Defence. The hard-hitting Nimrod inquiry makes a whole series of recommendations to put safety first, and the Ministry of Defence must accept them as a priority.”

FIRST MINISTER JOINS CAMPAIGN TRAIL IN GLASGOW NORTH EAST




FIRST MINISTER JOINS CAMPAIGN TRAIL IN GLASGOW NORTH EAST

SNP CANDIDATE DAVID KERR MEETS FULL HOUSE OF LOCAL VOTERS

When: Friday 30th October 2009 at 13h00

Where: Arrive Gala Bingo Possilpark, 167 Hawthorn Road, G22 6DB

Map:
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=G22+6DB&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=Glasgow,+Lanarkshire+G22+6DB&gl=uk&ei=tp3pSuT0JuTLjAf0h8WmDQ&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CAkQ8gEwAA

What: The First Minister Alex Salmond MSP and SNP by-election candidate
David Kerr will visit Gala Bingo to meet local people.

SNP CANDIDATE COMMENDS COUNCIL GROUP WALK OUT



SNP CANDIDATE COMMENDS COUNCIL GROUP WALK OUT

SNP by-election candidate, David Kerr, hailed the action of the SNP Group
in Glasgow council after they walked out in protest at the Lord Provost's
refusal to discuss the scourge of organised crime in Glasgow.

Commenting, Mr Kerr said:

"Labour's failure to address organised crime in the city has been
exposed.

"While the Labour Council run from organised crime, the SNP - both at
council and national level - are tackling the problem head on.

"Not only have the SNP Government put an additional 1044 police officers
on the street and set up a serious organised crime task force, we are
also hitting criminals where it hurts with our Cashback for Communities
scheme which sees ill gotten criminal gains returned to communities.

"And today the SNP group in Glasgow City Council said enough is enough -
organised crime in Glasgow must be tackled.

"A vote for the SNP on November 12 will be a vote against Labour's
complacency and a vote for a brighter, safer future for Glasgow North
East."

GRACELESS GRAY 5 MONTHS LATE IN CALL FOR ACCELERATED CAPITAL SPENDING



GRACELESS GRAY 5 MONTHS LATE IN CALL FOR ACCELERATED CAPITAL SPENDING

SNP WARNED ABOUT LABOUR'S RECESSION DITHER LAST DECEMBER

Commenting on Iain Gray’s belated support for capital acceleration from the Westminster Treasury SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick – a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee – said his belated support for accelerated capital spending reflected the dither the UK Labour government has shown towards the recession.

Mr FitzPatrick pointed to a statement the SNP released in December 2008 highlighting how Labour had dragged their feet in the face of recession and the financial crisis which has seen it become the longest UK recession since records began.

The statement details how the Scottish Government announced accelerated funding to directly stimulate the Scottish economy in August 2008 as well as how governments throughout the world were already putting in place their own stimulus packages months before the UK eventually announced their package in November 2008.

Commenting Mr FitzPatrick said:

“Everyone can welcome a repentant sinner but the lack of grace from Mr Gray about his belated support for capital acceleration only draws attention to how Labour have dithered overall in the face of this recession.

“The fact that the latest statistics UK is in the longest recorded recession since records began underlines how Labour cannot be trusted to admit their failure.

“That Iain Gray takes five months to follow the SNP Government only shows how dither and indecision is the hallmark of Labour’s response to this recession.

“It is the SNP Government which has been proved right in its calls for further accelerated capital spending to protect jobs and support the economy through Labour’s recession. Now Labour is coming round to that view.

“The SNP will not give up in calling for further capital acceleration in the Pre-Budget Report and will press the Chancellor to confirm that he is prepared to do that in order to safeguard Scottish jobs and promote Scotland’s economic recovery.”

NEW REPORT SHOWS SNP SUCCESS IN TACKLING GLASGOW DEPRIVATION.


NEW REPORT SHOWS SNP SUCCESS IN TACKLING GLASGOW DEPRIVATION.


KERR CHAMPIONS SNP ACTION AGAINST POVERTY

The SNP have made inroads in tackling deprivation in Glasgow according to
the latest edition of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation published
today (Thursday).

The number of deprived areas in Glasgow has fallen 4.5% since the SNP came
to power, with the largest improvement, a fall of 12% taking place in the
Springburn area of Glasgow North East.

The figures record the most deprived parts of Scotland based not just on
income but also on housing, health, employment, education, access to
transport and prevalence of crime.

While there are still serious challenges to meet in Glasgow, SNP
by-election candidate in Glasgow North East today highlighted the
progress.

Mr Kerr said:

"The SNP is committed to working with communities in the North East to
better housing, tackle crime, improve education and bring an end to the
scourge of poverty that has blighted this constituency for generations.

"Today's figures show that those efforts are paying off in Springburn and
across the city. After decades of neglects and – despite higher
unemployment under Labour than in the Tory years - Springburn is really
turning a corner.

"Labour are letting local people down with school closures and cuts to
education - a move which risks putting areas back into relative poverty.
Contrast this with the SNP who are pushing ahead with free school meals
for all young children, ABOLISHING prescription charges, FREEZING COUNCIL
TAX, new housing and community health services as well as real action to
tackle the drugs and drink culture that threatens communities.

"Areas of deprivation in this constituency has persisted for far too long.
In this by-election I have seen all to clearly the evidence of
Labour's neglect alongside the potential of this community.

"Only a strong local voice for Glasgow North East will ensure that the
progress achieved in recent years is maintained and taken forward. Only an
SNP MP will stand up to Glasgow City Council's attempts to do this are
down.

"As a strong voice for this constituency at Westminster I would ensure
that as Labour or Tory governments look to cut services, funding and
financial support those who face the problems of poverty in this
constituency are the last to be hit - not the first to be sacrificed."

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson and MP for Glasgow East John
Mason - which includes some of the most income deprived areas, warned
of the impact UK benefit changes could have. Mr Mason said:

"Real progress has been made in many areas under the SNP but there is much
more to do.

"Jobs and investment are vital to tackle poverty and the announcement in
the last two weeks of over 1700 jobs for Glasgow by the SNP Government is
a big step forward. Similarly the regeneration of the
East End, funded by the Scottish Government for the Commonwealth Games
has the potential to leave a lasting legacy of improvements and
opportunities for the East End.

"We have already seen this week that reforms to incapacity benefit have
left many falling further into poverty with benefits unpaid,removed or
paid incorrectly.

"With the UK Government now implementing major changes to the support
available to parents - particularly single parents - it is vital we have
strong SNP voices at Westminster to represent Glasgow and ensure the good
work being done to improve health, housing and cut crime in
Glasgow is not put at risk by the UK's desire to cut the benefits bill
without addressing the implications on poverty."



1. Of the 83 areas within Springburn the number in the 15% most deprived
areas in Scotland has fallen from 53 in 2006 to 43 in
2009.

2. Areas in Springburn are improving faster under the SNP with a 12% fall
in areas amongst the 15% most deprived between 2006 and 2009 compared to
a 9.6% fall between 2004 and 2006.


3. The neighbouring area of Glasgow Maryhill - also in
Glasgow North East saw a 4% fall.

4. Across the whole of Glasgow the number of areas amongst
Scotland's 15% most deprived has fallen from 47.6% to 43.1%

LABOUR BY-ELECTION CANDIDATES HIGHLIGHTS SNP HOUSE BUILDING SUCCESS




LABOUR BY-ELECTION CANDIDATES HIGHLIGHTS SNP HOUSE BUILDING SUCCESS

The wheels came off Labour’s campaign roadshow today (Thursday) as their
candidate’s claims over the SNP’s investment in Glasgow were exposed by
his own stunt and Labour's Holyrood leader Iain Gray came out in support
of the SNP's call for capital acceleration.

Since 2007, under the SNP Government, 3241 properties have been started by
housing associations in Glasgow – more than in any other 2 year period.

And in 2008-09, 1898 approvals were granted in Glasgow through the
affordable housing investment programme funded by the Scottish Government.
A further 400 new homes were announced earlier this month.

SNP MSP Bob Doris said:

“Labour’s roadshow has been running on empty all week and today the wheels
have completely come off.

“Housing development across the north of the city has continued apace
under the SNP. Record investment from the SNP has seen 3241 properties
started in two years, and nearly 2000 approved in the last year alone.

“The SNP is investing a record £1.6 billion in housing with over 30% of
that money spent in Glasgow. Labour’s figures are fantasy.

“Iain Gray has today accepted the SNP’s argument that bringing forward
capital from next year to this year is vital to ensure continued recovery
and house building across Scotland.

“With the UK economy languishing in recession while other countries
recover the Labour candidate in this by-election should join the SNP and
support calls for further capital acceleration during the recession - not
damaging Labour cuts.”

COUNCIL COALITIONS EXPOSE LABOUR’S TORY ALLIANCE



COUNCIL COALITIONS EXPOSE LABOUR’S TORY ALLIANCE

A COSLA website exposes Labour’s formal coalitions with the Tories in town halls across Scotland as an SNP MSP accused them of hypocrisy on the issue. SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn highlighted how Labour are in formal coalition with the Tories on five councils throughout Scotland – which puts them at odds with their party’s rhetoric.

According to the COSLA website which lists the political control of councils throughout Scotland Labour is in formal coalition with the Tories on Angus, East Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Inverclyde and South Lanarkshire.

Commenting Mr Hepburn said said:

“These coalitions between Labour and the Tories throughout Scotland expose how Labour can’t be trusted on anything they say, and shows up their hypocrisy.

“They underline the recent comments from Ed Miliband about Labour and the Tories being the same, and Lord Mandelson’s willingness to serve under the Tories.

"And Labour must think voters are stupid if they believe they won't remember Gordon Brown's invite to Margaret Thatcher for tea at No. 10, or how Labour allied with the Tories to take us into an illegal war in Iraq.

"The people in Scotland remember the 1980s. They remember how the Labour Party failed to protect Scotland from a London Tory government cutting public spending and creating unemployment. This, despite Labour having a majority of MPs in Scotland during that period.

"And Labour want to go down that road again as they impose £500 million of cuts in Scotland's budget.

“Labour, Tory – Tory, Labour – tweedledum and tweedledee, and in cahoots in town halls all over Scotland as the clear evidence shows.”

LABOUR BLOCKS DEBATE ON ORGANISED CRIME IN GLASGOW



LABOUR BLOCKS DEBATE ON ORGANISED CRIME IN GLASGOW

GLASGOW SNP CALLS FOR MOTION TO BE RESTORED TO AGENDA

Glasgow SNP Council group has condemned a move by the the Labour Lord Provost of Glasgow City Council to refuse a debate on a motion about organised crime in the city.

Commenting on the move the Leader of the Council's Opposition, SNP Councillor James Dornan said:

“The decision by the Lord Provost is as puzzling as it is disappointing. It is a decision which the Glasgow SNP group find unacceptable.

“By refusing to debate serious organised crime in Glasgow he is complicit in a real loss of democracy in Glasgow. If the Council is not permitted to discuss a matter of the utmost relevance to all those Glaswegians affected by serious crime then why are we here in the City Chambers at all?

“I will be raising this issue with the Lord Provost at today’s meeting and urge him to reconsider his decision”.

SNP Councillor Billy McAllister, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and proposer of the motion, said:

“The decision to stop a debate on the major issue of organised crime - which affects people across the city, but particularly in the north of Glasgow - is a travesty. If Labour in Glasgow won’t even talk about the issue of crime in the city chambers how can they be trusted to deal with problem?

“This is the second meeting in recent months where procedure has been used to hide from this issue. Rest assured, the SNP Group will not shirk the difficult issues that blight so many people in Glasgow”.

SNP CANDIDATE CONTRASTS SNP HOUSING INVESTMENT WITH LABOUR NEGLECT



SNP CANDIDATE CONTRASTS SNP HOUSING INVESTMENT WITH LABOUR NEGLECT

When: Wednesday 29th October 2009 at 10h30

Where: Broomfield Road, Glasgow (Opposite the Red Road flats)

Map:
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=broomfield+road+glasgow&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=7.479304,28.168945&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Broomfield+Rd,+Glasgow,+Lanarkshire+G21,+United+Kingdom&ll=55.880896,-4.210682&spn=0,359.889965&z=13&layer=c&cbll=55.880788,-4.21066&panoid=-_D7uIa2AOnlkxk6hrwpIw&cbp=12,201.89,,0,-14.13

What: SNP candidate David Kerr will highlight key actions in the SNP's
battle against poverty in Glasgow. Mr Kerr will view new housing
developments funded by the SNP in Glasgow North East.

LATEST LABOUR APPOINTMENTS SHOW DEPTHS OF PANIC


LATEST LABOUR APPOINTMENTS SHOW DEPTHS OF PANIC

Commenting on the latest round of the Labour reshuffle which saw them finally fill the position of transport spokesman 24 hours after the first reshuffle by bringing back Charlie Gordon, who resigned in disgrace as part of the Wendy Alexander donation's affair and appoint James Kelly as deputy Justice spokesman SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn said:

"It seems it now takes 28 Labour MSPs to shadow the SNP's team of 16.

"The only way Iain Gray can keep his party loyal is to give them a job - even those like Charlie Gordon who previously resigned in disgrace.

"Labour's reshuffle has really hit the bottom of the barrel with the return of team Wendy.

"You have to wonder how many people said no to Iain Gray before he had to ask Charlie Gordon.

“The real problem with Labour’s Holyrood Group is the man supposedly in charge, and the whispering campaign against Iain Gray’s leadership within the Labour Party is getting louder by the day. These are desperate measures by a desperate leader – all he has done is rearrange the deckchairs on a rapidly sinking ship.

“For Iain Gray, it truly is the case that his political opponents sit on the benches opposite – and his political enemies still sit behind him."

JOBS ANNOUNCEMENT “A TURNING POINT FOR AYRSHIRE ECONOMY”



JOBS ANNOUNCEMENT “A TURNING POINT FOR AYRSHIRE ECONOMY”

SNP SECURING JOBS, SKILLED EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING FOR LONG TERM

Aileen Campbell SNP MSP, for South of Scotland, has welcomed the news that 331 jobs at GlaxoSmithKline in Irvine will be safeguarded through the £4.6 million of funding from the Scottish Government’s Regional Selective Assistance scheme (RSA) [1].

The RSA is the main national scheme of financial assistance to industry and the Scottish Government is to award more than £19 million of grants to companies throughout the country, which will stimulate investment in the economy and create and safeguard thousands of jobs across Scotland.

Speaking on the RSA funding, Aileen Campbell MSP said:

“The Scottish Government’s £4.6 million of RSA funding to GlaxoSmithKline in Irvine, to ensure some 331 jobs are safeguarded is fantastic news.

“North Ayrshire and Irvine have been hit hard by the economic recession with unemployment in the area above the national average. I hope this announcement will be a turning point for the local economy.

“While the UK Labour Government wields £500 million of cuts across Scotland, the Scottish Government is taking direct action through the RSA to protect jobs in Irvine and strengthen the local economy during these tough times.”

SNP Westminster Candidate for Ayrshire Central, John Mullen added:

“This investment of £4.6 million by the government will provide a welcome boost to the local economy and shows the government is aware of the challenges businesses, families and individuals face in this area.”

“It was great to hear the First Minister set out the Scottish Government’s plans to create and safeguard jobs in Scotland. I was also extremely pleased to hear that Irvine is to benefit from the RSA scheme, with 331 jobs being safeguarded.

“I know that this news will be greatly welcomed by people in Irvine and highlights that this government is taking direct action to ensure a strong economic recovery.”

GRANTS TO HELP MATURE STUDENTS THROUGH RECESSION



GRANTS TO HELP MATURE STUDENTS THROUGH RECESSION

FUNDING ENSURES ACCESS TO EDUCATION FOR ALL

Scotland’s mature or “independent” students are to benefit by over £1000 following the announcement of a new package of student funding by Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

The SNP welcomed the announcement which ensures education is an option for all and sees those most affected by recession gaining the biggest helping hand with grants of £1000 introduced for those over 25 or who have previously been in employment and £2 million set aside to support students with children. Independent students have previously only had access to loans.

The Scottish Government has also agreed with the NUS to increase the amount available to all students through loans. In total 75,900 students will have access to increased support.

Welcoming the announcement, during which Ms Hyslop confirmed that the SNP Government rejects proposals from Labour and the Tories to charge for education, SNP MSP and Education Committee member Christina McKelvie said;

“Today’s announcement ensures education under an SNP Government is accessible to all.

“That is why we scrapped the student tuition fee introduced by Labour and that is why today’s announcement will see funding directed to independent students and student parents.

“A £1000 grant for 14,000 independent students, £2 million for childcare as well as access to the same loan support for independent students as for young students will make a real difference to many hard working older students and student parents who are turning to education to ensure job security in the future.

"Importantly this money will help those studying for HNC's at our colleges as part of retraining in response to the recession, as well as those taking degrees at our universities.

“Along with the increase in support for young students this is great news for students in Scotland’s colleges and universities who are working hard to gain the education and skills that will help them see out this recession and build jobs for the future.

“Today’s announcement is a real step forward, ensuring independent students have the funding to access education and putting the role of our colleges and universities at the heart of economic recovery.”

SPRINGBURN WINTER GARDEN 'MONUMENT TO DECADES OF LABOUR NEGLECT'



SPRINGBURN WINTER GARDEN 'MONUMENT TO DECADES OF LABOUR NEGLECT'

'ONLY SNP HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO SEE THIS AREA FLOURISH'

SNP candidate in the forthcoming Glasgow North East by-election, David
Kerr, today (Wednesday) visited the decaying Winter Garden in Springburn.
Mr Kerr described the site as 'a monument to decades of Labour neglect'
and said that only an SNP victory in the forthcoming poll will ensure this
consituency gets the respect and investment it deserves from the council.

The Garden was one of four constructed across the city at the turn of the
century and achieved Grade A Listed Building status in 1985 but shortly
thereafter fell into disrepair.

Speaking from the Winter Garden, Mr Kerr said:

"Just like Springburn Public Hall, the Winter Garden was once a focal
point of this community but it is now a monument to decades Labour neglect.

"Despite successive generations of politicians promising to restore the
Winter Garden to its former glory, nothing has ever happened.

"Similar structures in the East, West and South of the City have been
restored for the enjoyment of local people. Why not in Sprinburn? The
simple fact is, Labour take the people of Glasgow North East for granted.

"Only an SNP victory in this by-election will send a message to the Labour
Council - the people of Glasgow North East deserve better. Together, local
people and the SNP have what it takes to see this area flourish."

NIMROD MP RESPONDS TO ‘HARD-HITTING’ SAFETY REVIEW


NIMROD MP RESPONDS TO ‘HARD-HITTING’ SAFETY REVIEW.

MOD AND MINISTERS MUST ACT ON RECOMMENDATIONS,

Angus Robertson, the MP for Moray, whose constituency is home to the RAF Nimrod fleet at Kinloss has hit out at the Ministry of Defence and UK Government following the publication of the independent review into the loss of the Nimrod MR2 aircraft XV230 in Afghanistan in September 2006.

Mr Robertson, leader of the SNP at Westminster, this morning discussed the report findings with widows of those who died, and demanded assurances that lessons would be learned from the “detailed and hard-hitting” report produced by the independent review.

Mr Robertson said:


“This report is detailed and hard-hitting and the Ministry of Defence must take responsibility and act on its recommendations. It is now clear now that wholesale changes in terms of leadership, culture and priorities are necessary in the way that the Ministry of Defence and UK Government deal with military safety issues.

“For the families of the fourteen servicemen I hope it will provide answers and some closure, but evidence of glaring failures and that this tragedy was preventable will be difficult to bare. The conclusions are clearly too late for those airmen, but what is now crucial is how these lessons are learned.


“We have had an inquiry, an inquest, a review, reports and analysis and, time and again, Ministers have said lessons would be learned and action taken as a priority – why should we now have confidence that the governments response will be different this time.

“Our service personnel must be able to rely on their equipment being maintained to the highest standards, and their families must feel safe in the knowledge that their loved ones safety is a top priority. This report exposes systemic failures in the Ministry of Defence and raises serious questions about ministerial oversight and responsibility.

“The aging Nimrod fleet is nearly forty years old and there have been a whole series of reports and recommendations calling for improvements.

“There must be no repeat of this tragedy. The MoD has to restore confidence in the wake of this verdict.”

CALMAC FUTURE SECURED WITH EU DECISION



CALMAC FUTURE SECURED WITH EU DECISION

SNP WELCOME COMMISSION RULING ON CALMAC

The future of ferry services to the Western and Northern Isles has been
secured after the European Commission ruled that action by the Scottish
Government to support the services was appropriate and that there had been
no overpayment of subsidy.

The Commission has also confirmed that the ferry service between Gourock
and Dunoon town centres can continue – subject to a tendering exercise.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith, who has campaigned for security for the island ferry
services and for the town centre service across the Clyde said:

“After decades of jumping through EU legal hoops this is a positive
decision for Scotland’s remote and island communities.

“Our ferry services are essential and I welcome the Commission’s
confirmation that the Scottish Government’s actions are right and
appropriate to secure the future of our ferries.

“The pro-active approach of the Scottish Government to securing our
ferries future has paid off. Confirmation from the EU that a town centre
to town centre service between Gourock and Dunoon supporting these two
communities can continue is good news - though there is still a need for
a tendering process. I hope those operators of alternative routes who
have repeatedly threatened legal action will accept this decision.

“I called for this inquiry, Now everyone involved in the service can be
clear that supporting Scotland’s island ferries is the right and proper
thing to do.

“With the Scottish Government delivering cheaper fares to the Western
Isles, long term security to all island ferries and a future on the cards
for town centre services between Gourock and Dunoon this is a strong
result for Scotland’s island and ferry services.

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan said:

“This is a good result for the Western Isles and for Scotland.

“For too long the previous Executive allowed our ferry services to operate
in limbo. Now we have a secure future for subsidised ferry services to
and from the Western Isles and other island communities.

“We have already seen the real benefits ferry services can bring with the
pilot of RET bringing more visitors and more business to the Western
Isles, as well as cutting costs for island residents.

“Today’s successful decision by the Commission, after hearing the
arguments put forward by the Scottish Government is another sign of the
SNPs commitment to support our island communities.”

SNP SEIZE ON BROWN FISCAL STIMULUS COMMENTS



SNP SEIZE ON BROWN FISCAL STIMULUS COMMENTS

Speaking after Prime Minister’s Questions today (Wednesday), in which Gordon Brown reinforced the importance of investing in recovery by questioning “What sense to withdraw the fiscal stimulus now?” SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP focussed on the need for a further acceleration of capital spending into 2010/11 in order to support this objective.

Mr Hosie said:

“If we are to continue stimulating the economy back to growth – as the Scottish Government are doing – it is vital that the UK Government brings forward a further facility to accelerate capital spending into next year. In his Pre-Budget Report in November, the Chancellor must deliver on Gordon Brown’s words in the House of Commons.

“Otherwise, Gordon Brown’s attack on the Tories for being prepared to stop the process of economic recovery will rebound back on Labour.

“The SNP Government’s acceleration of £350 million of capital spending into vital areas such as affordable housing and other infrastructure projects has helped us fight recession, boost spending, and assist the construction sector during tough times.

“Clearly, these resources have been spent, which is why we need a further acceleration of capital spending into 2010/11, so that we can maintain this enhanced level of spending for infrastructure and investment next year, and support thousands more jobs. Already, the Scottish Government’s recovery plan is supporting 15,000 jobs – despite Scotland’s budget being cut in real terms for the first time since devolution by the UK Labour government.”

LABOUR MUST NOT AXE ATTENDANCE ALLOWANCE FOR DISABLED PENSIONERS




LABOUR MUST NOT AXE ATTENDANCE ALLOWANCE FOR DISABLED PENSIONERS

ISSUE WILL FEATURE HIGH IN GLASGOW NORTH EAST BY-ELECTION

BONUSES FOR BANKERS AND BENEFIT CUTS FOR PENSIONERS

Speaking the day before the debate in the House of Commons on the Labour government’s Green Paper: ‘Shaping the future of care together,’ takes place on Thursday 29th October, the SNP’s Westminster spokesperson on social security and benefits, John Mason MP, warned the Labour government to abandon their proposed reform of Attendance Allowance.

Mr Mason warned that the benefit, which helps severely disabled pensioners pay for the additional costs of disability, could see them lose over £70 per week under Labour’s proposals. The Member of Parliament for Glasgow East further warned that if the London Labour government did not abandon their plans then the issue would feature high in the Glasgow North East by-election.

Commenting Mr Mason said:

“There are 145,000 people in Scotland on Attendance Allowance. Whilst Labour’s proposals are about the future of Care in England this policy would also affect Scotland.

“The proposal to scrap Attendance Allowance to help fill the black hole in the care system south of the border is extremely short-sighted. Such cuts will fall on some of the most vulnerable in society and leave them deeper in poverty.

“It is extremely unfair that whilst bankers enjoy bonuses from the Labour government’s billion pounds bail out, it is disabled pensioners who will effectively pay for them!;

“Pensioner couples who care for each other will also be doubly affected, and the position of those carers receiving Carer’s Allowance is unclear. Presently, receipt of Attendance Allowance by the disabled person is one of the grounds for receipt of Carer’s Allowance by the carer.

“Labour are squeezing benefits to lone parents, the working-age disabled, and the long-term unemployed. I call on this UK Labour government not to cut benefits to the severely disabled elderly as well.”

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

REFERENDUM CONFUSION FROM LIBDEM BY-ELECTION CANDIDATE.

REFERENDUM CONFUSION FROM LIBDEM BY-ELECTION CANDIDATE.

The Lib Dems confusion over a referendum on Scotland’s constitutional
future continued today as their candidate in the Glasgow North East
by-election denied the party was to review its position in a special
conference this weekend.

On Newsnight Scotland last night (Tuesday) candidate Eileen Baxendale
denied that a review was taking place saying; “we’ve got a policy, we’re
not looking at our policy…” and when asked about the conference stated:
“I’m puzzled by what your saying. Our policy is clear…”

The Lib Dems have announced a review of their position on a referendum to
be led by Ross Finnie with a special conference held this weekend to allow
the party’s grassroots to express their views.

SNP MSP Alasdair Allan today called on the Lib Dems to clarify the purpose
of this weekend’s conference.

Dr Allan said:

“It seems the LibDems have no idea what they are doing. If their
by-election candidate is totally unaware of this weekend's conference and
the review then what is going on in their party?

“The LibDems must be clear – are they reviewing their position or are they
not?

“Members are heading to Dunfermline this weekend to let the LibDem
leadership know what they think about a referendum on Scotland’s future –
but their by-election candidate says there will be no change and there is
no review.

“We know a majority of Lib Dem voters support a referendum and many grass
roots members are deeply uncomfortable with Tavish Scott’s oppositionist
stance. Even his own MEP opposes the Lib Dem’s refusal to accept the
right of Scottish people to have their say over the country’s future.”


Interview by Gary Robertson on Newsnight Scotland with Lib Dem Glasgow
North East candidate Eileen Baxendale:

GR: We know there is to be a special conference this weekend to look at
the referendum issue, what the Scottish Lib Dems policy is on that, what’s
you stance?

EB: “we’ve got a policy, we’re not looking at our policy…

GR: You are, you’re reviewing your policy this weekend.

EB: “we’re not…

GR: Respective candidates stood up at the conference and said it was time
to bring this referendum on. Do you stand for that?

EB: “I’m puzzled by what your saying. Our policy is clear…

GR: Then why is Tavish Scott reviewing it if is clear?

EB: “he’s not really, let me finish what I saying. Two and a half years
ago Aelx Salmond had his chance. He lost the popular vote, he didn’t get a
majority to have a referendum. Ehhhh we have better things to do at the
moment in government than worry about the referendum.

GR: What about your colleagues that got up at the recent LibDem conference
and said that it should happen? George Lyon, Kevin Lang they were wrong?

EB: “The thing about the LibDems is that we’re allowed to have opinions
and are allowed to discuss and debate things. What we are doing on
Saturday at the conference is going over the issues…people say to me
‘marshalling our arguments’ about the referendum, about independence, cos
we need to do that…but we’re not…our policy is there…we’re not in favour
of a referendum, we don’t want to spend public money on that just now, we
want whoever has the powers at Holyrood should focus on the economy…

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

SNP DEMAND STATEMENT ON PM GORDON BROWN'S TA ABOUT-TURN


SNP DEMAND STATEMENT ON PM GORDON BROWN'S TA ABOUT-TURN,

The SNP have welcomed an apparent cave-in by the Prime Minister this evening (Tuesday) following reports on BBC that Gordon Brown has abandoned plans to impose a £17.5m cut to the training budget of the Territorial Army – the move comes a day after the UK government announced a token reduction in the scale of the original cuts from £20m to £17.5m.

SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP,
who has led calls for the cuts to be reversed, called for a further statement to parliament.

Mr Robertson said:
“The Prime Minister must make a statement to parliament and confirm this u-turn which comes just a day after Downing Street told us there would only be a token concession.

The fact is that this embarrassing
cave-in has nothing to do with what’s right for the TA, and everything to do with Gordon Brown’s fear that Labour’s cuts will turn into a political disaster rivaling his humiliation over the Gurkhas.

“The fact is that Labour keep making the wrong choices on cuts – whether its cutting Scottish spending in the teeth of recession or cutting TA training while blowing billions on a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons.

These choices underline just how out of touch
Labour is. “The SNP have a simple suggestion for the prime minister if he wants to make efficiency savings – he should focus on cutting Trident before he cuts the TA. “The TA are more than ‘weekend warriors’ - right now five hundred territorial officers are making a significant operational contribution in Afghanistan.

Closing down training for the next six months could
have real repercussions, and Ministers have not addressed that. You can’t cut training for six months without a knock on effect down the line in terms of operations and recruitment.”

MSP CHALLENGES LABOUR TO BACK SNP REGENERATION FUNDING CALL


MSP CHALLENGES LABOUR TO BACK SNP
REGENERATION FUNDING CALL
.

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT TRANSFORMING GLASGOW,

ONLY DAVID KERR SNP HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO SPEAK UP FOR GLASGOW CITY,

SNP MSP for Glasgow, Bob Doris has challenged the Labour candidate in the
forthcoming Glasgow North East by-election to back SNP calls to secure
Glasgow's fair share of the money generated by the London Olympics.

Commenting, Mr Doris who worked on a cross party bid to secure Town Centre
Regeneration funding for Glasgow, said:

"The SNP recognise the need for investment in Glasgow in these tough
economic times.

"That's why the Scottish Government is spending over £2bn on
infrastructure in the run up to the Commonwealth Games and £842m on a new
hospital for the City. Regeneration in Possilpark is being driven
forward with £9m of SNP investment in a community health centre.

"Glasgow has also recieved more than £5m from the Scottish Government's
Town Centre Regeneration Fund - over 10% of the total released so far.

"This massive investment is transforming the Glasgow but there is still
more to be done. That's why I am calling on Labour to get behind SNP
candidate David Kerr's demands for Glasgow's fair share of the money
generated by the London Olympics.

"London Labour's refusal to allow the Scottish Government access to the
£165m of Barnett consequentials from regeneration spending in London's
East End is costing Glasgow £33m each year.

"Only David Kerr and the SNP have what it takes to speak up for Scotland
to ensure this money is invested in regenerating Glasgow - not locked in a
London bank account."



Related information,

1. Town Centre Regeneration Fund first tranche:

Independent Advisory panel recommendations (6th August 2009)

Glasgow City
Glasgow City Council
Govan Cross Improvement Works 1,300,000

Glasgow City
Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust
Maryhill Burgh Halls 1,800,000

Glasgow City
Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company
Former Olympia Theatre 1,950,000

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/regeneration/town-centres/tcrf/FirstTrancheAllocations

2. SNP Scottish Government invest £9m in Possilpark Community Health Centre
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2009/01/19104447

PRESSURE GETS TO GRAY AS HE LASHES OUT AT FORMER FIRST MINISTER


PRESSURE GETS TO GRAY AS HE LASHES OUT AT FORMER FIRST MINISTER

GRAY’S RESHUFFLE DESCENDS INTO UNCIVIL WAR

Commenting on Iain Gray’s attack on the former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish this evening, the SNP Group Convener Gil Paterson said:

“Iain Gray’s reshuffle now not only looks like a panicked measure in response to the whispering campaign underway against him within the Labour group, but it has also descended into an uncivil war with his attack on a fellow party colleague.

“It just shows the depths Labour have shrunk too under Iain Gray when instead of accepting friendly advice from their own former First Minister, he responds with attack and insult. It epitomises the type of unattractive party Iain Gray is now leading.

“Labour are struggling to raise the tone of political debate in Scotland and this is just another example of their negative knee jerk approach to Scotland and Scottish politics.”

‘GRAY RESHUFFLE’ – LABOUR’S PROBLEM IS THE PERSON SUPPOSEDLY IN CHARGE QUANTITY CANNOT DISGUISE LACK OF QUALITY



‘GRAY RESHUFFLE’ – LABOUR’S PROBLEM IS THE PERSON SUPPOSEDLY IN CHARGE
QUANTITY CANNOT DISGUISE LACK OF QUALITY
Commenting on Iain Gray’s reshuffle, SNP Group Convener Gil Paterson said these were desperate measures by a desperate man, as the reshuffle was likened to shuffling the deckchairs on a sinking ship. Mr Paterson said:

“The extraordinary thing about this panicked reshuffle is that it takes 27 Labour MSPs to shadow an SNP Ministerial team of 16 – some 60 per cent of their entire parliamentary group. And Labour’s abysmal record shows that quantity is no substitute for lack of quality.

“The real problem with Labour’s Holyrood Group is the man supposedly in charge, and the whispering campaign against Iain Gray’s leadership within the Labour Party is getting louder by the day. These are desperate measures by a desperate leader – all he has done is rearrange the deckchairs on a rapidly sinking ship. Even this reshuffle is a ‘gray’ affair in all senses!

“After two years in opposition, Labour still have nothing to offer the people of Scotland. They have no new policies and no ideas – that’s according to their own senior sources, and former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish says that Labour could be out of office in Scotland for a generation unless there is fundamental change.

“Labour were voted out of office in Scotland in 2007 because of the failure of the Labour-led Executive – and according to their own senior members they are now failing as an opposition.

“For Iain Gray, it truly is the case that his political opponents sit on the benches opposite – and his political enemies still sit behind him.

“The SNP are delivering strong, effective and popular government in Scotland – with a rapid pace of policy delivery and a commanding poll lead. Well over two years after the election, no matter how many times Iain Gray shuffles the pack, Labour still cannot muster themselves as a coherent opposition.”

SNP DISMISS CAMERON ELECTION CLAIM



SNP DISMISS CAMERON ELECTION CLAIM

TWO-HORSE RACE BETWEEN SNP AND LABOUR IN SCOTLAND

Dismissing David Cameron’s General Election claim, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP reminded the Tory leader that the Westminster election is a two-horse race between the SNP and Labour in Scotland, and only SNP votes and MPs can oppose the Tory/Labour cuts agenda.


Mr Robertson said:

“The reality is that the General Election in Scotland is a two-horse race between the SNP and Labour, and the Tories are an irrelevance north of the Border.

“Only SNP votes and MPs can oppose the Tory/Labour agenda to cut public services, and demand instead that the Trident nuclear weapons replacement programme is scrapped.

“Whether the next UK government is Labour or Tory, Tory of Labour, the best result for Scotland will be a balanced or hung Westminster parliament – a minority government, with a Scottish block of 20 SNP MPs fighting for and winning key objectives for Scotland.

“There are clear and achievable, and in the context of a likely emergency UK budget after the election are focussed on measures to support jobs and economic activity.

“In the current circumstances, this would include a further acceleration of some £350m of capital resources for investment in affordable housing and other key infrastructure; securing the £160m Fossil Fuel Levy for green energy projects and home insulation in Scotland; delivering £300m of Barnett consequentials which could and should come Scotland’s way as a result of Olympic regeneration and prison spending south of the border; and Treasury agreement for phasing the cost of the Fourth crossing over a longer period, given the scale and unique nature of the project.

“These are policies to maximise investment and employment in Scotland, and they can only be achieved by SNP votes in the general Election.

“A Scottish block of 20 SNP MPs will sweep away the Westminster blockage and deliver progress for Scotland. Voters in Scotland are well aware that at the next General Election neither Labour nor the Tories have anything to offer except more cuts to frontline services, while they continue to waste millions on nuclear weapons.”

SNP DELIVERING ON SAFER SCOTLAND



SNP DELIVERING ON SAFER SCOTLAND

17% REDUCTION IN FIREARMS OFFENCES

SNP MSP Angela Constance – a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee – has welcomed the publication today (Tuesday) of the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey which shows that more people in Scotland think the crime rate is decreasing in their local area compared with previous years.

The survey follows last month’s statistics which showed that recorded crime in Scotland is at its lowest level in nearly 30 years and further statistics released today also showed that there has been a 17% reduction in firearms offences in 2008-09.

Commenting on today’s publications Ms Constance said:

“The SNP said it would deliver on a safer Scotland and this survey along with the release of further statistics on firearms offences shows that our approach is working. We are not complacent but all politicians should be welcoming a reduction in the fear of crime which can debilitate communities.

“The reality is that recorded crime is at its lowest level for nearly 30 years, there is a lower risk of being a victim of crime in Scotland compared to England and Wales, and we have record numbers of police officers protecting Scotland’s communities.

“We promised 1,000 extra police officers and we have delivered more than 1,000 extra police officers. The delivery of that promise is obviously seeing a greater level of confidence in our criminal justice system and a safer Scotland.
“Today’s survey also puts an onus on the opposition parties to explain why they continue to try and undermine the hard work of our police and prosecutors by scaremongering about levels of crime.

"Creating a safer Scotland was a top priority for the SNP in the 2007 election and we are doing that by taking action focused on cutting crime and reducing the fear of crime.”

BENEFITS WORRIES UNACCEPTABLE – REFORM LEAVES PAYMENTS IN CHAOS




BENEFITS WORRIES UNACCEPTABLE – REFORM LEAVES PAYMENTS IN CHAOS

CONCERN OVER FUTURE CHANGES TO PARENTS BENEFIT

SNP MP and Work and Pensions spokesman John Mason has been joined by his
Holyrood colleague Glasgow MSP Bill Kidd in raising concerns over worrying
reports from Citizens Advice Scotland of the failure of reforms to
incapacity benefit and income support.


Citizens Advice Scotland today state that the new Employment Support
Allowance is now worse for those dependent on it than the previous
incapacity benefit system, with benefits unpaid or paid incorrectly,
private firms conducting health checks, increased numbers of appeals and
increasing stress, pressure and financial hardship on people who are
unable to work due to illness or disability.

SNP Work and Pensions spokesman and Glasgow East MP John Mason said:

“From the start the DWP have been warned that they were going about these
reforms in the wrong way.

“It is wrong that people with genuine disability and incapacity should be
subject to this kind of mental and financial pressure. The UK Government
has approached these reforms in an utterly irresponsible manner.

“That GPs are being overruled by private firms, subcontracted to the DWP
to do medical checks is a disgrace.

“As the first step in Labour’s plans for benefit reform this has been a
disaster with people facing increased stress, hardship and financial
difficulty.”

Glasgow MSP Bill Kidd warned of problems for further changes

“Many single parents across Glasgow and Scotland will be reading today’s
report with trepidation.

“The failure to get this change in the system right is reminiscent of the
failures over child support and tax credit payments.


"With parents next to be targeted by the government, with benefit cuts
used to force parents back into work or face benefit reductions regardless
of circumstance the next step of benefit reform looks like a disaster
waiting to happen."

“The DWP’s one size fits all approach is more about cutting its benefits
bill than helping those who can work back into employment or allowing
parents to support their children.


“Before any further changes are made and anyone else is left in hardship
the DWP must listen to Citizens Advice and get this system right.”