Tag Archives: Angus

Angus Council sickness figures highlight need for cross party action on Mental Health

I was very saddened to read in The Courier on 9th March that 1/4 of Angus Council Staff and Angus Teachers who are off sick are, in fact, suffering with stress. Many of them will not be met with the understanding and sympathy they deserve, as Mental Health is poorly understood and there is a huge stigma attached to it.

Having been off work with stress myself last year, my heart goes out to all of them and hope that they are able to receive the support and treatment they desperately need. Personally, I was fortunate that I was getting great support from the magnificent Maggie’s Centre in Dundee, who have helped considerably in my recovery.

The figures published highlight the need to treat Mental Health on an equal footing with physical health. As the Lib Dem candidate for Angus in the upcoming election, I was delighted to see my party put Mental Health front and centre, adding it as one of our top five priorities on the front page of our manifesto.

However this is an issue that should cross all party political lines as Mental Health effects so many people across Angus and the rest of the country.

I have therefore written to my fellow candidates to politely request that we all agree on a simple set of commitments, if we are elected at the forthcoming election:

  • Challenge the stigma around Mental Health so that anyone effected by it feels able to come forward and seek support and treatment as early as possible.
  • Treat Mental Health on an equal footing with physical health, with maximum waiting time targets and additional funding for treatment.
  • Provide education at schools so that young people are better equipped to understand mental illness should they be effected by it.

If we can dramatically improve Mental Health treatment we can help sufferers to recover more quickly and, as a secondary benefit, help to improve Angus Council’s sickness rates.

Scottish Government Underspend a body blow for Angus investment

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.”

Honoured to be selected as Angus candidate for 2015 General Election

Angus Liberal Democrats have reselected me to be their candidate for next year’s General Election.  I have campaigned on behalf of Angus residents for many years and as candidate at the 2010 General Election and again at the 2011 Scottish Elections.  
 
It is a real honour to be selected to represent the Angus Lib Dems again and I would like to thank the members for their continued support.
 
Angus & Mearns Select Sanjay Samani as their General Election candidate
 
There has been a clear message from voters in every election since 2010.  We are all fed up with the the same old politics, where our voices are not heard and we feel we cannot make a difference.
 
Angus voters made it very clear that we want to remain part of the UK at the Independence Referendum, but also that we want the way we do politics to change.  All political parties are committed to further devolution to Scotland and, as a Lib Dem MP, I would work for Home Rule for Scotland.
 
But that does not go far enough.
 
Only the Lib Dems are both committed to changing politics and could also be in government to force through the changes we all need.  Labour and the Tories have repeatedly blocked change.  The SNP cannot and will not be part of the government.  The Lib Dems gave you a say on voting change, but our plans for giving you real power to sack your MP, clean up money in politics and having an elected House of Lords have all been blocked, by hard right wing Tories and Labour – desperate to hold on to power.
 
With only 6 MPs, the SNP cannot make a difference and as they are determined to split our country apart, are not worried about how Westminster is run.
 
Only with a Scottish Lib Dem can people in Angus be confident that their MP is working for real change to make sure their voice is heard.
 
Montrose Lib Dem Cllr David May welcomed my selection, saying,
 
“Sanjay has backed keys campaigns in Angus and in particular the Montrose area.  This includes better funding for flood prevention and coastal erosion across Angus and the need to back plans to develop the Harbour here in Montrose.  He has backed small businesses, the need to reinstate traffic wardens and backed the need to ban Legal Highs.”
 
Sanjay has also criticised the SNP for their huge cuts on college places, closure of our police counters and lack of action on a flyover at Laurencekirk. 
 
“Sanjay understands that all MPs should work hard on local issues for their constituents, but that they also need to drive through changes at Westminster so that our views are heard.  All too often SNP MPs sit on their hands on Westminster issues because they are only worried about independence. Angus voters gave a huge majority for being part of the UK and they need an MP who can and will deliver more powers for Scotland and clean up politics at Westminster.” 
 
Chair of the Angus & Mearns Lib Dems, Clive Sneddon said,
 
“Sanjay is a worthy candidate and I am delighted that he has agreed to represent the party again at the General Election. Sanjay has stood up for families working in Angus and the elderly. He will work hard to represent everyone in Angus at Westminster.”
 

Angus Voters deserve better from Labour’s selection process

The letter below was published in The Courier on Friday, 4th July, which you can find online by clicking here.

Dear Sir,
 
I was very disappointed to hear your report about the behaviour of Kathy Wiles, Labour’s candidate for Angus for the General Election next year.  Comparing the children of Yes Scotland campaigners to Hitler Youth and calling for Jeremy Clarkson to be shot are unacceptable.  It is welcome that she has resigned as candidate and apologised for her comments.
 
Angus Labour and the Scottish Labour Party need to be open about how Kathy Wiles was selected as their Westminster candidate, what vetting process was in place and whether they had made even some basic checks on her opinions and behaviour.  It seems they have had little regard or respect for Angus voters by selecting someone with such nasty views.
 
We have seen similar actions by the notorious CyberNats, such as the horrendous treatment of J K Rowling since her decision to back the Better Together Campaign and the heckling down of Willie Rennie MSP at a debate in Dunfermline.
 
The tone of the Independence debate has plunged in recent weeks.  Both Better Together and Yes Scotland should strongly condemn any personal attacks on supporters of the other side of the debate.  Angus and Mearns Lib Dems have maintained a positive, friendly approach to the debate throughout.
 
It is time we stopped the nastiness towards our neighbours and accept that we are all trying to find what is best for Scotland.  We may have a big difference of opinion on whether that is to stand united or split up our family, but we are all striving for the best outcome.
 
Angus voters deserve a better level of debate from both sides of the Independence debate and they deserve Westminster candidates who will respect all sides of the political debate.
 
Yours,
 
Sanjay Samani

Income Tax Cut for Thousands in Angus & Mearns

Liberal Democrat Candidate Sanjay Samani for Angus North and Mearns has revealed that 102,500 in Aberdeenshire and 53,200 people in Angus will pay reduced income tax from April this year, thanks to the Liberal Democrat-led increase in the personal tax allowance.

In addition, over 2,500 people in Aberdeenshire and 1,560 people in the Angus will not pay ANY income tax.

Liberal Democrats in the UK Government will be increasing the personal tax allowance to £10,000, meaning no-one will pay any tax on the first £10,000 they earn.  The allowance will rise by £1,000 this April, with a further £600 rise next April, as just announced in the UK budget.

Commenting, Sanjay Samani, said:

“Thanks to the Liberal Democrats, over 4,000 people across Angus, Mearns and Aberdeenshire will not pay any income tax and more than 155,000 people will pay much less than they did before.”

“Liberal Democrats promised at last year’s General Election to increase the personal allowance.  I am proud that my colleagues in Westminster are delivering on that promise.”

“Labour put an incredible income tax burden on the poorest in society.  It is not fair that people on the lowest incomes paid so much of their income in tax. “

Montrose councillor  David May added,

“Liberal Democrats have put money into the pockets of Montrose families.”

“In just 11 months, 54,760 people in Angus have benefited from Liberal Democrats in Government.  This figure will now increase as the tax system gets fairer under Liberal Democrats.”

Stonehaven councillor Peter Bellarby added,

“Liberal Democrats are delivering on their promise to help residents in Stonehaven, Laurencekirk and Mearns.”

“Over 105,000 people in Aberdeenshire will gain from April thanks to Liberal Democrats in Government.  The number who will benefit will rise again next year with the further increase in the allowance and more, year on year through the lifetime of the Coalition Government.”

Scottish Budget boost for Colleges

Angus and Mearns candidate Sanjay Samani has welcomed the major concessions to this year’s Scottish Budget secured by Liberal Democrat MSPs which will help Aberdeen, Angus and Dundee Colleges.

Concessions made to the Liberal Democrats include:

  • Additional funding for FE bursaries of £15 million, spread across 2010-2011-12 to provide additional student support for current student numbers.
  • Additional funding of £8 million in 2011-12 that would support an additional 1,200 college places and associated student support.
  • 1,500 additional Modern Apprenticeships, including 500 places for the renewables sector, at a cost of £2 million
  • 2,000 additional flexible training opportunities

Sanjay commented,

“40,000 students across Scoltand were going to have their budgets slashed by the SNP Government, but this has been reversed thanks to the Lib Dems working hard for you at Holyrood.”

“This is a better budget than the SNP presented in November.  It is better for young people in the Mearns wanting the skills they need to find jobs, helping our local economy.  It is  better for colleges in Angus, Dundee and Aberdeen, that will be able to provide more opportunities.   And it is better for Angus and Mearns businesses that will be able to take on more apprentices.”

“It is also great to hear that the National Union of Students support what we have done.”

Commenting Liam Burns, President of NUS Scotland, said:

“This is great news and testament to the hard work of thousands of college students across Scotland and the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Students across colleges and universities have mobilised fantastically well, with over 32,000 letters and emails sent to MSPs on this issue.

“To win £15m college bursaries, and £8m for college places, in a budget which is being cut is a fantastic result.  We hope this will now end the yearly ritual of college bursaries running out and end the threat of cuts to 40,000 of our poorest students.”