Angus & Mearns Liberal DemocratsWorking Year Round for Angus, Mearns & Stonehaven

Jul/15

2

Links Park Community Trust

By David May

I heard a fascinating presentation by Peter Davidson of the Links Park Community Trust at this week’s meeting of Montrose Community Council . Like others at the meeting we were amazed at the breadth and depth of work the LPCT did which worked with all ages in our community from pre school to and and including people of pension age with the aim to utilise the power and appeal of sport to inspire change.

Particularly interesting was the work they are doing in community engagement with football, education and training including health , science, literacy and numeracy trails. Their initiatives on walking football for some older people, and pilot on dementia is also impressive , and their future plans included disability, soccer mums and walking groups.

Overall the presentation greatly impressed those who attended the meeting as did the answers to many questions.

From:: David May

Jul/15

2

Montrose Community Council

By David May

I took part in another excellent meeting of Montrose Community Council which covered many local issues on their packed agenda including fly tipping, Xmas Lights, the recent local events meeting in the town hall, fund raising, and the bench at the health centre.

The work by a sub- committee of MCC on the flower project is very impressive and will make quite a difference.

I reported to the council on issues I have been dealing with in the town including litter in the High Street, scaffolding left in close for weeks, pot holes and I encouraged the council members to attend the last strawberry tea at the present day care centre on Friday afternoon and the YM coffee morning on Saturday morning.

From:: David May

Jul/15

2

Planning a visit by Norwegian veterans to Montrose

By David May

Earlier this week Sandy Munro and I, representing Montrose Heritage Trust, met a group of Norwegian visitors to plan the programme of a group of Norwegian veterans in September later in the year. The Norwegians were led by General Johan Brun, Erling Eikli the Editor of the Norwegian National Defence Magazine and Mona Rohne the Norwegian Consul in Edinburgh.
During their short trip to Montrose the Norwegian group visited the Bamse statue and grave, as well as being given a guided tour of the Air Heritage Museum, all of which was agreed by the visitors, will be on the September programme.

From:: David May

Scottish Liberal Democrat North East MSP and justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes has blasted a senior SNP MSPs staggering complacency over the Scottish Government’s controversial proposals to create a super ID database.

In a response to a constituent’s concerns, SNP MSP for Angus South, Graeme Dey, accused critics of the government’s scheme of being “paranoid.” (Note 1)

The SNP Government’s proposals would assign each individual in Scotland with a unique reference code and expand access to the NHS Central Register to 120 public bodies including Scottish Canals and Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens.

The UK Information Commissioner has already issued a series of damning criticisms on the proposals, warning that the unique reference number should be “the subject of proper debate” and “should not just happen by default.” (Note 2)

In published responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, NSPCC Scotland, civil liberties campaigners and members of the public set out a wide range of concerns over the impact the proposals could have on the protection of data. (Note 3)

Commenting, Ms McInnes said:

“It is extraordinary for such a senior MSP from the SNP to accuse those who have concerns, who include the Information Commissioner, of being paranoid.

“In dismissing out of hand concerns about the SNP’s super ID database, Graeme Dey is displaying staggering complacency.

“The Royal College of Psychiatrists, NSPCC Scotland, civil liberties campaigners and members of the public have set out detailed and wide-ranging concerns against the SNP’s plans to expand access to the NHS Central Register to 120 public bodies.

“Any claim that these voices of civic Scotland are “paranoid” is simply offensive. He should apologise, listen to these concerns and speak with his own mind to these worrying proposals. People in Angus need an MSP who will stand up for their civil liberties- not one who surrenders them without question. ”

 

1. In a response to a constituent seen by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, SNP MSP Graeme Dey said:
(Constituent name)

There are no plans to establish any new national database.

The only thing planned is to upgrade the software of an existing database which has been in use for many years.

The claims by the right wing press, the Lib-Dems and paranoid websites are simply wrong in this regard.

Regards

Graeme Dey MSP

2. The UK Information Commissioner response can be found at  http://amberhawk.typepad.com/files/nhs-central-register—ico-response-feb-2015.pdf

3. The consultation responses from a number of lobbying organisations can be found at:

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2014/12/5990/downloads

Jun/15

30

Bad news for Montrose about Sainsbury’s

By David May

As a Montrose councillor who supported their application, it is disappointing, but not unexpected to hear that Sainsbury’s have decided not to come to Montrose and the site will now be available for sale. Apparently, it is caused by a change in shopping behaviour and it is the case that nationally supermarkets are increasingly closing some of their stores and opening smaller outlets in the high streets.

From:: David May

Jun/15

26

Oil drop effect on jobs

By David May

The SNP dramatically revised its oil forecasts downwards with best case of the amount of £10.8bn in next four years and the worst case being just £2.4 billion. This fully shows to me that full fiscal autonomy would be a disaster as we would be faced with both massive cuts in our services as well as increases in tax.

As a councillor it is also bad news to hear that oil companies in Aberdeen are now having a second wave of cuts on top of what happened a few months back. It is a worrying time for so many people in the industry and it is clear that this is not a short term problem, and full time permanent staff in the industry are losing their jobs. Inevitably we in Angus are going to be directly affected as many of our residents as well as local companies depend on the oil industry for their work.

As much of the NE economy is dependent on the oil industry some people will have to look at other sources of work where their skills will be needed, and the area will have to look at greater diversification of work.

From:: David May

Jun/15

26

MCARTHUR BLASTS SNP HANDLING OF OIL AND GAS FIGURES

By David May

I completely support the comments by Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesperson Liam McArthur who has blasted SNP Ministers for their handling of a crucial Scottish Government bulletin on oil and gas.

Despite months of pressure from opposition politicians, the SNP Government quietly issued the document on the final day before parliament breaks for summer recess. The oil and gas bulletin revealed SNP mnisters downgraded their most optimistic forecast from £39.7bn in May 2014 to £10.8bn this year.

The latest figures blow a hole in the SNP’s plans for full fiscal autonomy.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

“The SNP Government’s credibility on oil and gas is falling faster than their own massive downgrades to forecast receipts. The downwards revision to their most optimistic forecast would have seen a £30m to public services in the blink of an eye.

“This blows a massive hole in their proposals for Scotland to scrap the Barnett formula and adopt full fiscal autonomy.

“Issuing this report on the day parliament rises for the summer recess either shows contempt for parliament or contempt for the oil and gas industry. The strong suspicion is that it is both. Shame on them.”

From:: David May

Jun/15

24

How to recycle more

By David May

As a councillor I have always been very keen on recycling, so it great news that Angus residents are now recycling 52% of their household waste. This means that as Montrose and Angus residents we have increased the amount we recycle and thus less goes to landfill and as a result we are moving towards 60% of our waste being recycled by the end of this year.

Despite this huge improvement in recent years, I have been told by council officers that as residents we could still recycle more of our waste, as we continue to throw away materials that could go in our recycling bins or to the local recycling centre.

In particular we put materials such as food waste, textiles, wood, metal , electrical equipment, plastic bottles and containers, paper, card, cans and glass, in the general purple waste bin all of which can be recycled.

I back the calls by the council to all of us to recycle more as this will mean less going into landfill.

From:: David May

By David May

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP has repeated calls for Police Scotland to give staff and communities clear answers on the impact of potential closures.

A report submitted by Police Scotland and discussed by the Scottish Police Authority today noted that a reduction in the police estate could have implications for staff. Today Police Scotland senior management said “every property we have is under consideration”.

Ms McInnes said:

“Officers, staff and local communities deserve clear answers on potential closures.

“Of course we want the Police Estate to modernise but any change must be undertaken in full consultation with police, staff and local communities.

“We know from experience that moving officers from local stations to a “hub” means there is unproductive time spent returning to a more distant base, resulting in longer handovers between shifts, and impacting on the time officers have available to be out on duty.

“This demonstrates why rationalisation of the estate is worth looking at, but also saving money can’t be the only criterion.

“Police Scotland must show they have learned the lessons of the shoddy and rushed closure of near 70 public counters in police stations across the country. People are already concerned that police are becoming more remote from the communities they serve. If this plan is approved, we must have assurances that the impact on local police responsiveness is not affected.”

From:: David May

By David May

I am delighted to hear that Jill Fotheringham’s petition on the Laurencekirk Flyover, which was recently heard in the Scottish Government infrastructure meeting, that the committee has agreed to keep the petition open until the flyover was in place.

I am aware from what the Transport Minister has indicated that that there are issues which still have to resolved about funding, and it is clear to me that his responsibility to get this in place. It is also clear to me that our council have no role to play in funding this as this trunk road is the responsibility of his government and Transport Scotland and they have to fund it.

Derek Mackay the Transport Minster has admitted that the evidence is there about the need for a flyover, and I now expect that he and the government will make a priority, so I call on him to make the decision quickly, set the date and get the work started in the next year. There should be no more delay and we should not have to wait for almost another 10 years of little action.

In my option any delay on making a decision and starting the work on this much needed junction is a considerable safety issue for the drivers that use the junction.

Any delay is also likely to lead to a threat to future jobs in Angus as our Chief Executive admitted at a council meeting that there was a threat to economic development in Montrose and Angus of being able to attract oil related jobs and off shore wind jobs, due to the lack of a flyover, as it appears that there may be problems with getting planning permission and then attracting jobs will be threatened.

From:: David May

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