Sanjay SamaniCampaigner for Angus, Stonehaven & Mearns

Figures revealed yesterday have shown that the SNP Government chose to close the busier of the Sheriff’s Courts in Angus. This was despite there being over £100 million unspent in the last year for Justice and the Procurator Fiscal Service. 

Angus Lib Dems strongly objected to the closure of Arbroath Sheriff Court and the figures reveal that the court was heavily used.  Forcing witnesses and victims to travel long distances will undermine the effectiveness of the justice system in Angus.

SNP representatives for Angus, Mike Weir MP, Nigel Don MSP and Graeme Day MSP seem to have little or no influence on their SNP colleagues making decisions centrally in Holyrood.

It is now clear that closing yet another service in Angus was a big mistake by the SNP.

Click here for the full article in The Courier which gives the following figures:

Between April 2012 to the end of March last year, prisoner journeys to Arbroath totalled 2,568, compared to Forfar’s 991.

Dundee received 5,262 prisoner movements in 2012/13, 5,284 in 2013/14 and 3,588 between April and November last year.

In the same periods, other sheriff courts received the following number of individual prisoner transport journeys:

  • Arbroath (closed in May) — 1,163, 1,405, 255
  • Forfar — 504, 487, 928

Today’s announcement by BP that they will be cutting jobs in North East Scotland as a result of falling oil prices is a real blow for the local economy.

The news is a wake up call to supporters of independence who based their economic plans on Oil.

Oil prices are out of the hands of the Scottish and UK governments and is far too unstable to rely on for a major part of a country’s economy.

Falling oil prices are seen as a net positive for the overall UK economy that can weather the impact. It is however a massive blow for North East Scotland that the SNP Government has underfunded for many years. It puts a massive hole in the SNP’s plans for independence and shows that Scottish voters were right to reject their inflated promises.

North East Scotland needs to transition quickly to renewable energy where with on shore and off shore wind we have substantial resources and the price is far more stable and predictable. Oil and Gas will be a major per of the local economy for years to come but this news shows that the future is renewables and that we should invest now before we are forced to by shrinking oil reserves and volatile prices.

Angus Liberal Democrats have reacted angrily to news that the SNP Government has left £444 million unspent last year, despite closing key services across Angus and failing to invest in local infrastructure.

Accounts have emerged showing that the Scottish Government has underspent:

  • £92 million on Justice
  • £10 million on the Procurator Fiscal Service
  • £102 million on Infrastructure
  • A whopping £165 million on Education
Sanjay Samani and Cllr David May visit the Closed Police Counter in Montrose

Sanjay Samani and Cllr David May visit the Closed Police Counter in Montrose

Lib Dem Campaigner for Angus, Sanjay Samani said,

“The SNP have been steadily closing down services in Angus. They have closed Sheriff’s Courts, Police Counters, Noranside Prison and Angus College. They have failed to build a flyover at Laurencekirk that we desperately need to protect drivers. Yet in all these departments there was plenty of money left to be spent.”

“Meanwhile our SNP elected representatives, Mike Weir MP, Nigel Don MSP and Graeme Dey MSP, have done absolutely nothing to stop the closure of key Angus services by their SNP colleagues in Edinburgh. This has cost Angus jobs, made it harder for students to study, left Laurencekirk junction unsafe and had a negative impact on our local economy.”

“The SNP have blamed all the cuts on Angus services on Westminster, and yet they had close to half a billion pounds left to invest.”

Lib Dem Montrose Cllr David May said,

“As an ex-teacher and head master, I am appalled to see £165 million go unspent on Education. The merger of Angus College with Dundee and loss of hundreds of college places has had a huge impact on our young people, just trying to get on in life.”

“In Montrose we have a major issue with parking on double yellow lines that are not being policed due to SNP cuts, that they have blamed on Westminster, despite having £92 million left over.”

“Sanjay and I have backed Jill Fotheringham’s campaign for a flyover at Laurencekirk for many years. The news that on Infrastructure £102 million was left unspent will be a body blow for those desperate to see safety at the junction improved.”

Sanjay Samani concluded,

“We have an SNP MP and two SNP MSPs who have badly failed Angus residents. This year they will blame cuts on Westminster to gain votes at the General Election. Then we will see a big spending spree in the run up to Scottish Elections in 2016 and they will try to claim the credit.”

“The SNP need to stop playing politics and start investing in Angus.”

Angus Liberal Democrats have welcomed the news that Legal High or “Head” shops in Angus will soon stop selling the controversial products, but have called on the shop owner to close the shops immediately.

The owner of shops in Arbroath and Montrose has said that the campaign against the selling of Legal Highs has been successful and has forced him to reconsider.  In addition, the Lib Dem led policy to make New Psychoactive Substances illegal in future will mean that he will no longer be able to sell the products legally.

Sanjay Samani and David May outside Montrose Legal High Shop

Lib Dem campaigner for Angus, Sanjay Samani, a member of the Montrose Against Legal Highs Group said,

“Angus Lib Dems have fully supported the Montrose and Arbroath Against Legal Highs and we are delighted to see that their campaigns will be successful.  Many parents have been concerned about the effects these Head shops are having on their children.”

“The Lib Dems have taken a grown up approach to tackling drug abuse with the realisation that the current War on Drugs is not working.  As part of the UK Government, Lib Dem Ministers conducted research to show that Legal Highs should be banned, and that those suffering from drug dependence should be treated for their addiction, rather than treated as criminals.”

“We are the only party that are taking common sense, evidence led approach to tackling drug abuse and have a plan than can properly address the issue.”  

Lib Dem Montrose Cllr David May said,

“I am delighted with the news that these shops will soon stop selling Legal Highs but they should stop selling them right now.  They have been a blight on Montrose and Arbroath for several years.  It is fantastic to see a grass roots campaign get wide spread backing from the community and be successful.  Everyone who has backed the Montrose and Arbroath Against Legal Highs should be congratulated on their success and thanked for their hard work.”

“Too many of our residents of all ages, including many youngsters have suffered as a result of easy access to cheap drugs.  We have to take a more grown up approach and help victims of drug abuse, by understanding what led them to drugs in the first place.  We also need to stop an easy supply of cheap dangerous drugs.  That is why I am delighted Lib Dem Government ministers have, despite Tory opposition, indicated that these drugs should be made illegal in future and proper treatment provided for those who have become addicted.”

It is really welcome that the first major construction contract for Brechin’s flood prevention scheme has been awarded to Morrison Construction.  

You can read more about this story at The Courier by clicking here.

This is excellent news for Brechin and a big step forward in protecting the City from future flooding.

With the virtually non-stop rain over the last two weeks, there have been many incidents of localised flooding across Angus and Tayside.  Fortunately none of these have been very severe.

Last year, Angus & Mearns Lib Dem proposed a policy on affordable flooding insurance which was adopted by the national party.

We were delighted to see our policy delivered by Lib Dems in Coalition in the 2014 Water Act, along with an agreement with the insurance industry to ensure that Angus residents can get affordable insurance against flooding.

 

Lib Dem Cllr David May said,

“I was delighted to hear that Brechin’s flood defences are taking a big step forward.”

“However it has highlighted again that the Scottish Government’s funding flood defence schemes is flawed.  The SNP Government introduced a crude formula based on population in 2009.”

“It is now abundantly clear that the funding should be based off the detailed maps of flooding risk now available to the Scottish Government.”

 

You can read more about our ongoing campaign to get fair flood defence funding for Angus by clicking here. 

 

 

Angus Lib Dems are backing proposals by Angus Council officers to repair the Esk Road Coastal Path in Ferryden.  Due to coastal erosion and the resultant safety concerns the very popular coastal path has been closed, for many, many months. 

I back the hard work which has been put in by the council to reinstate the previous line of timber wall and path along the section affected by the erosion. I am aware that local walkers will be delighted when the coastal path finally re-opens due to its popularity

Sanjay Samani and David May visit damaged footpath

Lib Dem Cllr David May said,

“A number of people in the area have spoken to me about this as it is a path much used by local walkers and I have been regularly in touch with council officers for it to be re-opened. However, it has taken them time to establish ownership as well as developing a coastal defence structure which would provide increased protection against further erosion of land, and reduce the risks to the reinstated Core Path, as well as other local assets and infrastructure, including utilities and rail.”

“The good news is that most of the planning of what is needed to reinstate the path has now been done, and the roads staff are now in the position of currently seeking formal consent from the statutory bodies and the landowner to carry out the  proposed works.” 

See more on this story at the Montrose Review by clicking here

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