TAG | Arbroath
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
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.
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Worries have emerged as part of a recent consultation response to Scottish Government plans, which will shape the nation’s future flood management response, with Angus Lib Dem Cllr David May claiming rural areas such as Angus and Mearns look certain to lose out.
The SNP government’s Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 has been described as a “big step forward … providing a unique opportunity to shape new ways of working and creating a modern, sustainable approach to flood management fit for the 21st century.”
A number of Angus communities have suffered flood misery in recent years and, at a time when major financial challenges face councils, Angus infrastructure services convener David May has attacked the way money is dished out for flood schemes. Presently under this government, funding depends on the number of properties directly affected.
Mr May said:
“The funding formula means that urban areas — by their very nature more densely populated — are going to be advantaged and areas such as Angus and Mearns will lose out.
“Having in the past year regularly visited areas affected by flooding, I call on the Scottish government to reconsider their policy.”
“Given financial pressures facing councils, so it is more important than ever to make sure we receive adequate funding and do not lose out just because of our location and population.”
Highlighting the specific across Angus, Mr May continued,
“In March this year Angus Council agreed some short term measures to improve the Barry Burn Flood Protection Scheme. However, although these short term measures have been met from the council’s roads budget it is unlikely the Council will be able to fund the potential longer term solutions under investigation for Carnoustie.”
“A similar situation exists in Arbroath, which experienced significant flooding beyond the usual risk areas. The removal of the dedicated government grant scheme has thrown plans for flood protection schemes into complete disarray. Added to this, is the confusion created by the phased introduction of the new Flood Risk Management Act (2009) which changes local authorities’ responsibilities and powers.”
“We are doing what we can locally – today we will be discussing the latest report on the Brechin Flood Protection Scheme. Although this is a relatively modest scheme by national standards, it still comes with a price tag of £13m. Flooding needs to be considered at a national level, as the resources required to properly address it are clearly beyond the financial means of local government.”
Sanjay Samani, Liberal Democrat North East Regional Candidate added his support for Mr May’s comments, saying:
“By funding the new flood prevention schemes for the new act based on population, the SNP Government is being too simplistic. They have announced funding for a new Flood Forecasting Service. The information from this service must be used to target central government funding for flood prevention.”
PHOTO: Sanjay Samani and Cllr David May visit the site of flooding in Brechin with Provost Ruth Leslie Melville:
Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham recently announced plans for a Flood Forecasting Service, providing £750,000 of Scottish Government funding. Liberal Democrat campaigner for Angus and Mearns, Sanjay Samani, welcomed the announcement, but called on the Government to do more on planning flood prevention as well as forecasting.
The announcement of the investment for flood forecasting is very welcome. We all remember the devastating effects of flooding throughout Angus, Mearns and Stonehaven last year. Local emergency services can now be better prepared in case these tragic events occur again in future.
However, ensuring that flooding is prevented is even more important than forecasting when it will happen. The SNP Government made it a requirement that Councils prepare for flooding in the Flood Risk Management Act passed by parliament last year.
The SNP Government must make use of the information from the forecasting service to ensure that funding for flood prevention is provided where it is most needed. Funding should not be based on a simplistic count of population, but has to be targeted to where flooding is most likely to occur and cause devastating damage to homes, farmland and businesses.
PHOTO: Sanjay visiting a flooding site in Brechin with Montrose Cllr David May and Provost & Brechin Cllr Ruth Leslie Melville:
I am backing the Arbroath Abbey World Heritage Campaign. I have signed the petition online in order to demonstrate his support to secure World Heritage Status for Arbroath Abbey from the UN.
Given the Abbey’s connection to the Declaration of Arbroath, it is fitting that the Abbey be granted World Heritage Status. I believe that this will encourage even more visitors to come to visit Arbroath Abbey and share in the exceptional site and its history. As well as recognising the Abbey’s importance to Scotland, it would also provide a boost to our tourism industry both in Arbroath and Angus as a whole.
I would also ask Angus residents to sign the petition if they have not already done so, as the backing of local people plays a big role in securing the status. Furthermore, having World Heritage Status will help to preserve Arbroath Abbey for future generations.”
I understand that the Campaign’s website was attacked by hackers, and details of those that signed up to the petition online were deleted, which is a huge disappointment. If you originally pledged your support on the website, I would encourage you to return to the online petition and put your name down again, as I have done.