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



Sheltered Housing Meeting

By David May

I took part with another Montrose councillor in the meeting yesterday on Sheltered Housing which was organised by Montrose Churches Together in Melville South Church hall.
The chair of the meeting read out the letter from the Angus Council Chief Executive and then several members of the audience asked questions and various issues were raised by the audience. Among the issues discussed included the need to stop the freezing of the council tax, the important role played by the wardens, the inaccuracy of the statistics of the empty flats in the complexes and huge doubts that the demand for sheltered housing has decreased. There was also criticism of the Scottish Government system of self directed support and the disastrous effect it is having and could have on some services such as day care centre places, home helps and sheltered housing.

From:: David May



McArthur: SNP all at sea over standardised testing

By David May

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur MSP warned that the SNP appear all at sea over national standardised testing in schools.

The claim followed the Education Secretary’s evidence to the Education Committee today, during which she suggested that Ministers would seek to force Councils to end existing local school testing arrangements with no clarity over what will replace them.

Angela Constance told Holyrood’s education committee that MSPs would be asked to support a new testing model as part of a National Improvement Framework (NIF) before details of the NIF are made available at some point in the New Year.

During her evidence, Mr Constance told Mr McArthur that the new testing framework would replace current arrangements in local authorities, despite accepting that many of these work extremely well, but went on to say that further details on the new national tests would not be on the face of the SNP’s Education (Scotland) Bill.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

“The Education Secretary seems all at sea over these reforms. She expects MSPs to vote for major changes to our education system and for national testing without letting us see the detail of what the SNP propose.

“Ms Constance accepts that current assessment and testing of pupils works well across the country, yet still insists on using this ‘one size fits all’ approach to get local Councils to conform. She insists that her plans will improve consistency, but can’t tell parliament what schools or local authorities are to be consistent with.

“At the hearing today we were told by the teachers union that there are strong educational arguments against using the ‘blunt instrument’ of high stakes, standardised testing. We also heard further warnings that the new system would allow school league tables by the back door. Pupils, parents and teachers alike deserve better from the Scottish Government.”

From:: David May

By David May


Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume MSP today challenged the SNP to “put their money where their mouth is” and increase support for mental health services in Scotland.
Mr Hume was speaking after the SNP Westminster health spokeswoman backed a campaign for increased investment in mental health in other parts of the UK. In Scotland, spending on mental health services as a proportion of the overall health budget has fallen since 2009.
Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb is leading the Equality 4 Mental Health campaign, a cross-party campaign that has been backed by politicians from across the political spectrum, mental health charities and celebrities.
The campaign is calling for a range of actions to boost investment as a share of NHS spending and highlighted problems of children being treated for mental ill health in adult wards and being forced to travel long distances for treatment.
In Scotland, there has been a 40% rise in the number of children treated on non-specialist (largely adult) wards since 2008/09 and some young people have reportedly been forced to wait more than 12 months to receive treatment. There is only one dedicated mental health bed for young people north of Dundee.
Commenting, Jim Hume MSP said:
“Nicola Sturgeon’s health spokesman at Westminster has backed calls for an increase in mental health spending but the proportion of the NHS budget in Scotland spent on mental health services is falling year on year.
“The SNP are saying one thing at Westminster, doing the opposite at Holyrood and hoping that no one joins the dots. With some vulnerable young people having to wait more than a year for treatments, this simply is not good enough.
“The number of children receiving treatment in adult wards continues to climb, and there is only one bed north of Dundee available specifically to support children and young people. The SNP have the power they need to make most of the changes that the Equality 4 Mental Health campaign want to see. They need to put their money where their mouth is on mental health.
“If the UK government increases spending on mental health at the Autumn Statement on Wednesday this needs to feed through to doctors, nurses and patients in Scotland – in full. It is time that SNP Minister started taking mental health seriously.”

From:: David May

By David May

November 23, 2015 11:02 AM

The Liberal Democrats have welcomed the UN’s unanimous Security Council resolution that agreed that ISIL/ISIS constituted an “unprecedented” threat to international peace and security, and called upon Member States with the requisite capacity to take “all necessary measures” to prevent and suppress its terrorist acts on territory under its control in Syria and Iraq.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, said:
“I warmly welcome United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249. The fact that fact that Russia did not use its veto is an important first step towards creating the broad coalition that the Liberal Democrats have been calling for as the only effective context for considering proposals for military action.
“The UK should now use all its diplomatic skills to support the efforts being made in Vienna to assemble an anti-ISIL coalition including Russia, Turkey, Iran and other key states in the region.
“At the same time, the Prime Minister must address the questions raised in the Foreign Affairs Committee Report when he presents to parliament the long-term strategy for any military action in Syria. That must include the planning for post-ISIL Syria, which has so far been absent amid the calls for UK planes to be engaged in strikes.”

From:: David May

By David May

Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats
As another Scottish wave power firm folds, Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesman Liam McArthur MSP has renewed his calls for the funding allocated to an unattainable multi-million-pound wave power prize to be made available immediately to support the industry.
Administrators for Edinburgh-based wave energy company Aquamarine Power today said the firm has failed to find a buyer and been forced to stop trading, with 14 jobs lost as a result. The company had built and run two full-scale energy converters at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.
Speaking in Parliament earlier this month, Mr McArthur questioned the logic behind ministers’ refusal to distribute £10 million of funding earmarked for the Saltire Prize after it was revealed that no renewable company would meet the qualifying criteria. The prize, launched amid great fanfare in 2008, was designed to make the country a world leader in wave and tidal power development.
Pelamis, another Edinburgh-based wave power technology firm, called in administrators last November after failing to secure development funding.
Following the Aquamarine Power announcement today Mr McArthur reiterated:
“This is very sad news and my thoughts are with the staff at Aquamarine Power. I expect the Scottish Government and its agencies to make every effort to ensure staff have the support they need at this difficult time.
“One area where I think they can and should be doing more is in relation to the much-vaunted Saltire Prize, which Ministers accept no wave developer can win. It therefore makes far more sense to invest the £10m now to support pioneering firms in need of support so that we can safeguard the longer term future of the wave sector in Scotland.”

From:: David May

By David May


Calls are being made for the police to issue the numbers of officers in Angus who are being moved off the streets to a control room.

Angus campaigner Sanjay Samani has called on Chief Superintendent Eddie Smith to issue the figures.
Mr Samani said: “It is clear to me having heard from serving police that the SNP/Police Scotland policy of massive cuts in civilian staff has meant uniformed police having to pick up administrative work.
“Police officers inevitably have less time to be on the beat.

“Now we hear that five per cent of Tayside’s experienced police officers are being moved from the streets to a control room.

“I am very worried about the effect of this on the performance of our police force and most especially in our burghs and towns in Angus and the Mearns.”

Angus Councillor David May added: “The SNP policy of police centralisation has been an abject failure.

“Although our hardworking local police have been doing a superb job with less time to do it, we have faced massive problems in areas like parking in our towns and closure of local police offices.”

From:: David May



McInnes urges: ‘Get ready for winter’

By David May

With winter well on the way, North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes today called on local people to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills.

Mrs McInnes said: “It is important to be prepared for winter and I hope all my constituents understand what help is available so they can be energy efficient and keep bills under control. I would urge everyone to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.

“There are a number of simple steps that everyone can take to ensure they are keeping their bills down while staying warm.”

Scottish Gas managing director Christine McGourty said: “Winter can be a challenging time for households and many people will be concerned about their winter energy bill. We urge customers to get in touch for advice and support. In the long term energy efficiency is still the best way to save money. Scottish Gas is working with government at all levels to roll out free loft and cavity wall insulation for eligible households, and you do not need to be a Scottish Gas customer to sign up.

“We are also proud to lead the way in the roll-out of smart meters which let you see how much energy you are using in pounds and pence. That way you can identify where savings can be made.

“To find out more about home insulation call Scottish Gas free on 0800 316 4051 or visit”

From:: David May



Double Yellow lines

By David May

The Communities Committee passed the report on waiting restrictions today as two areas of Montrose were included.

A local resident raised with me inappropriate kerbside parking causing congestion and restricted visibility sightlines for vehicles coming onto Glenesk Avenue from Glenprosen Street. I visited the area and saw for myself the problem, then contacted the traffic officer who has agreed that ‘no waiting restrictions’ signage or double yellow lines are to be installed which I am pleased to report that the council committee I am on passed today.

I was also pleased to agree on having waiting restrictions on the vicinity of the road bend between William Street and King Street in Ferryden which was raised as a problem area due to kerbside parking at Ferryden and Craig Community Council.

From:: David May



Welcome news on mental health

By David May

Hume welcomes assurances on mental health report

Like Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume MSP I also welcome assurances from Scottish Government Ministers that a much-delayed report into the state of mental health services in Scotland will be published by Christmas. In my view mental health is an issue that needs to be given the same priority as other health conditions and I am aware that our young people and other vulnerable groups in Angus and across Tayside need more help and services than seem to be available.

The Scottish Government’s 2012-2015 mental health strategy included a commitment to publishing a 10 year follow up report on the implementation of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

Mr Hume had raised a series of questions with Ministers after the failure of the government to publish the report in 2014, as set out in their strategy.

Commenting, Mr Hume said:

“After having questioned Scottish Ministers three times on the publication of this comprehensive report on mental health services in Scotland, I welcome assurances that the 10-year follow up to the Grant report will be published by Christmas. It is crucial that we have a clear picture of the state of Scotland’s mental health services.

“We know that services for young people and other vulnerable groups are stretched. The NHS cannot put the right resources in the right places unless we identify gaps in services. The delays in the publication of this report have not helped.

“1 in 4 people are likely to suffer a mental health condition in their lifetime. It is vital that we provide all the right support both to patients and the NHS frontline staff delivering mental health services. I look forward to the publication of this report.”

From:: David May

By David May

I am delighted to see that the police have recently been out in force taking action on bad parking in Montrose, as since Police Scotland decided to get rid of the traffic wardens parking has unquestionably got worse and the safety of both pedestrians and drivers is under threat.

However, I call on the police to repeat this blitz on bad parking more regularly as it is only then will we find that parking and safety will improve, and this will also be to the benefit of our local shops as some of them have complained to me about the loss of trade as some drivers have been ignoring the time restrictions on parking and even parking for several hours.

In my recent meeting with the local police traffic sergeant I commented that our local police have not only lost traffic wardens but they have also been faced with taking on more work due to the loss of so many of their support civilian staff. In my view our local police do a superb job despite diminishing resources and increasing central control and loss of local priorities, and unquestionably Montrose and Angus is losing out.

From:: David May

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Printed (Hosted) by 1&1 Internet Limited, Aquasulis House, 10-14 Bath Road, Slough, SL1 3SA. Promoted by Peter Bellarby on behalf of Robert Smith (Scottish Liberal Democrats), both at South Linn, 13 Westfield Road, Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, AB39 2EE, and by David May on behalf of Sanjay Samani (Scottish Liberal Democrats), both at Evanston, Lamondfauld Lane, Montrose, Angus, DD10 9HX.

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