Cllr Ellen Morton Writes: Danny Alexander visits Argyll and Bute

key_Alan_with_Danny_and_EM.JPG

 

I want to let you know how important today was for Argyll & Bute in terms of the Coastal Community Fund announcements and the visit to Rothesay by Danny Alexander and Alan Reid.

Argyll & Bute won over £2 million of grant funding for a range of projects ranging from the Submarine Museum in Helensburgh to the Picture Hall in Campbeltown to the Harbour in Tobermory to the Pavilion in Rothesay.

Of course the money is of enormous importance but it is the vote of confidence in this area that is even more important and the presence of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury was of great significance to us and very welcome.

We were even more grateful that Danny Alexander and Alan Reid took the time out of a particularly frenetic day to visit the Pavilion in Rothesay and see the details of the project for themselves. We realise that while this project is crucial for Argyll & Bute it scarcely weighs in the balance when the Greek crisis is upon us and that Danny has a major role in this given his key position in the Government.

Of course the Coastal Communities Fund was a brainchild of Danny's as a way to effectively deliver Crown Estate funds into our small coastal communities and we really benefitted from that Lib Dem initiative today. I am sure that Danny, as a Colonsay lad, must have taken great pleasure out of today's announcements.

As a Lib Dem Councillor I took particular pleasure in seeing how our party is still (despite all the prophets of doom) playing a key role in delivering for the Scottish economy and supporting our small communities.

As Depute Leader of Argyll & Bute Council I was delighted to see Danny and Alan in Rothesay on such an important day for us.

Add your reaction Share

Telephone companies must improve their repair performances

Alan Reid MP for Argyll and Bute met with senior officials from Vodafone Ltd at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday and was briefed on the work restoring mobile phone service to Islay, Tiree and other parts of his constituency.Alan_Reid_on_the_phone.jpg
Read more
Add your reaction Share

New Tobermory post office welcomed

key_post_office.jpgTobermory's new Post Office will open on Monday (February 2) and the news has been welcomed by Alan Reid MP.
 
"Not only is a Post Office a vital asset to a community, I know from my experience as an MP for 14 years that any suggestion of change to, or loss of, a Post Office causes worry and uncertainty, especially for older and more vulnerable customers," said Mr Reid.
 
The new venue will be at Sugar Rush, a shop at Hu's Gate in Tobermory at the entrance to Ledaig car park, some 200 metres along the Main Street from the original premises.
Read more
Add your reaction Share

Reid speaks out against threat to Island businesses which use HGVs

Alan Reid MP has welcomed the drop in the number of people out of work in his Argyll and Bute constituency - especially the drop by a third in the number of young people.
 
The latest employment figures announced by the Office of National Statistics for December 2014 show that the number of Jobseeker's Allowance claimants was 982; this is 499 lower than in December 2013 and represents a rate of 2.3 per cent of the economically active population aged 16 to 64.
 
“I very much welcome the fact that there are 499 less local people out of work compared to a year ago. The Government’s recovery plan is working. We need LibDems still to be in Government after May to keep the recovery on track.”, said Mr Reid.
Read more
Add your reaction Share

Reid welcomes big fall in Argyll and Bute unemployment figures

Alan Reid MP has welcomed the drop in the number of people out of work in his Argyll and Bute constituency - especially the drop by a third in the number of young people.
 
The latest employment figures announced by the Office of National Statistics for December 2014 show that the number of Jobseeker's Allowance claimants was 982; this is 499 lower than in December 2013 and represents a rate of 2.3 per cent of the economically active population aged 16 to 64.
Read more
Add your reaction Share

Reid calls for help for dairy industry after milk prices fall

key_alanwithcows.jpg
Alan Reid MP has called in the House of Commons for help from the Government on the current crisis in the dairy industry.
 
And he wants to see the big supermarkets held to account for their pricing.
 
Mr Reid told the House: "Dairy farmers in Argyll and Bute produce a very high quality product, but the falling price of milk is causing them and the entire British dairy industry serious problems. May we please have an urgent statement on what the Government can do to help this iconic British industry to survive? Extending the scope of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to include dairy farmers is one action that could help."
Read more
Add your reaction Share

Reid welcomes Lorn Arc £18.9 Million Investment

Alan Reid MP has welcomed news of the Lorn Arc programme which will see £18.9 million invested in the area by Argyll and Bute Council in coming years.
 
"Along with private sector money this project expects to bring a total of £40 million into the Oban and Lorn area," said Mr Reid, "and this has to be good news. The aim is to turn Oban into a hub for business and the plans for a business park at Oban Airport are exciting, with the potential to create more than 1,000 jobs."
Read more
Add your reaction Share

Reid backs farmers union in call to extend RET to commercial vehicles

Alan Reid MP has given his full backing to the National Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS) call for the RET ferry fares scheme to be extended to commercial vehicles.
 
When the SNP changed their mind on this, it forced up costs for islanders and their businesses, Mr Reid said.
 
The Argyll and Bute MP agrees with the farmers' union that it would boost fragile island economies if the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) was expanded to commercial vehicles and not just restricted to non-commercial traffic as it is at present.
Read more
Add your reaction Share

Reid backs NFUs calls for ferry tariff scheme extension

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP for Argyll and Bute Alan Reid today backed calls from NFU Scotland for the extension of the Scottish Government Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) scheme to cover commercial vehicles.
In a submission to Transport Scotland on freight ferry fares, NFU Scotland argued for the ferry tariff scheme to be extended to commercial vehicles in a bid to boost fragile island economies.
Read more
Add your reaction Share

14p in the pound income tax rise if SNP win warns Reid

Income tax would soar by 14 pence in the pound if Scotland had faced collapsing oil prices alone and the Scottish Government used income tax to plug the budget black hole, said Alan Reid MP.
 
Under questioning from the Argyll and Bute MP, at last Wednesday's meeting of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons, financial experts revealed the appalling price Scots would have to pay if SNP's plans ever became reality.
 
The SNP had gambled on oil staying at $110 a barrel in all of its financial models. Now that it is down to $50 a barrel, their plans would place a huge burden on Scottish tax payers. Cutting government jobs and services to the bone was the only alternative to a massive tax hike.
 
A Scottish finance minister would have the choice between cutting £7 billion from the annual budget or increasing every tax paid by Scots by 15 per cent. If the extra burden was put on income tax alone, the basic rate would go up from 20 pence to 34 pence in the pound. The alternative would be drastic spending cuts, equivalent to the entire education budget.
 
With the "full fiscal autonomy" proposal in the SNP manifesto, these cuts would apply whether Scotland was independent or still in the UK, said Mr Reid, because the SNP wants to replace the Barnett formula with oil revenues. The Barnett formula for spending on public services gives Scotland more than £1,500 extra per person to spend compared to England. On the other hand, oil revenues have nearly disappeared.
 
The price of Brent Crude dropped to $50 leaving a £7 billion spending black hole in the figures used by the SNP during the referendum.
Read more
Add your reaction Share

Reid's cold weather payment campaign

The worst winter weather so far has hit this week and cold weather payments to pensioners and people in need will be monitored in locations across Argyll and Bute thanks to a successful campaign by Alan Reid MP.
 
Payments are made when your local temperature is either recorded as, or forecast to be, an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.
 
Mr Reid made sure that payment rules were changed in 2010 for a large part of Argyll, benefitting Oban, Lorn, Lochgilphead, Ardrishaig and most of Mull.
 
At one time all cold-weather payment decisions were taken from a thermometer reading at Machrihanish only.
Read more
Add your reaction Share

NHS Highland should commit to 'Zero Suicides' ambition says Reid

Health bosses in NHS Highland have been urged to back a campaign aimed at dramatically reducing the number of suicides.
 
Liberal Democrat MP Alan Reid has called on NHS Highland to commit to an ambition for ‘zero suicides’ in their care. The region is second only to Shetland for the percentage of suicide deaths and both are above the Scottish average.
 
It follows Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s call for an overhaul of how the health service treats mental health.
 
Scottish Liberal Democrats have urged the Scottish Government to follow the new ambition in order to dramatically reduce suicides across Scotland.
 
The most recent Scottish Suicide Information Database report for Scotland found that there were 3,059 deaths from probable suicide between January 2009 and December 2012. Almost three quarters of probable suicide deaths were male.
 
Today Alan Reid said NHS Highland should think about how it could provide better provide care for people suffering depression and other serious illnesses.
 
He  said: “Latest figures show 218 people took their own lives in the Highland region with 3,059 suicides in Scotland between 2009-2012. More than three quarters of these deaths were men.
 
“This is not inevitable. These tragic deaths can be prevented. The majority of people who are feeling suicidal do not want to die. We have to do more to make sure people have the support they need so they do not get to the point where they believe taking their own life is their only option.
 
“That’s why I hope NHS Highland commits to the new ambition of zero suicides in our area. We have to work together to remove the stigma around talking about suicide, so people are not afraid to ask for help.”
 
Nick Clegg said: “Suicide is, and always has been, a massive taboo in our society. People are genuinely scared to talk about it, never mind intervene when they believe a loved one is at risk.
 
“This isn’t about blame. It is about doing more in every area of our society to ensure that people don’t get to that point where they believe taking their own life is their only option.”
Read more
Add your reaction Share

Reid calls for fines on mobile phone companies who don't repair faults speedily

Alan Reid MP has called for much quicker repair times for faults to mobile phone networks and fines for those companies which fail to meet targets.
 
He had welcomed the good news that the Government has secured a binding agreement with mobile phone companies, which have agreed to invest at least £5 billion pounds to extend coverage and improve signal strength over the next three years. This deal will result in cutting total ‘not-spots’ where there is currently no mobile coverage by two-thirds.
 
Read more
Add your reaction Share

SNP Government announces grim new for Bute ferry users and Disabled Dunoon Ferry Users

Reacting to the SNP Government decision that Wemyss Bay ferry terminal will undergo major work and will be closed for 4 months from early February to late May, Alan Reid MP said,

“This SNP decision is grim news for Bute ferry users and Dunoon ferry users who have mobility problems.

“I have written to Nicola Sturgeon, the Minister responsible for the decision, asking the following questions.”

Why is this work being carried out between February and May, meaning that tourists will be deterred from visiting Bute during the spring and early summer season? Why could it not be carried out during the quieter winter months?

Can a through ticketing arrangement be agreed with Western Ferries to help ferry users who choose to go to Bute via their service and the Colintraive-Rhubodach one?

What impact will this have on the Coruisk sailings to Dunoon?

Why is nothing being done at Gourock to help Dunoon passengers with limited mobility? Can an access to the Dunoon-Gourock passenger ferry that could be used by disabled passengers be built as close as possible to the exit from the station?

Mr Reid added,

“This announcement of very bad news from the SNP Government has come out just after the referendum without any prior consultation with ferry users. It will mean tremendous disruption for Bute ferry users and visitors to the island during the spring and early summer season. Instead of just carrying out repairs to the port infrastructure, the SNP Government should build a breakwater at Wemyss Bay to both protect the port infrastructure and reduce the number of cancelled sailings in the future.

“I was shocked by the way the CalMac announcement dismissed the problems that will be caused to Dunoon passengers with limited mobility. Instead of just dismissing these passengers, the SNP Government should build an access to the Dunoon-Gourock ferry that could be used by disabled passengers as close as possible to the exit from the station.”

 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.