TAG | 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.”
A new local party for the Liberal Democrats has been created. The first committee meeting of the Angus and Mearns Liberal Democrats was held last week. The new local party covers the two new Scottish Parliament constituencies of Angus South and Angus North and Mearns.
The new local party boasts 6 Councillors and a brand new Executive, determined and energised to build up campaigns on local issues. From Moniefieth to Stonehaven and from Lintrathen to Arbroath, local Lib Dems will be campaigning all year round in the interests of residents, businesses and farms.
There is also a new Facebook page for the local party, to make it easier for everyone in the area to get in touch with the local party.
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:
Responding to the suggestion by Arbroath Cllr David Fairweather that Community Councils be disbanded, Liberal Democrat campaigners for Angus, added their support for the great work done by Community Councils.
Sanjay Samani, campaigner for Angus and Mearns, said:
“As secretary of Alyth Community Council, I am fully aware of the crucial role they play in local communities.”
“In particular, Community Councillors do a huge amount of work on a purely voluntary basis. They organise a tremendous amount of events, discussions and fund raising for local people. In Alyth, sub groups set up by the Community Council are responsible for the Christmas Lights, the Gala and parade, youth activities, management of the Town Hall and a community consultation on long term plans for the town. These are just some of the things that Community Councils are responsible for, all across Angus.”
“All this unpaid work done on a voluntary basis would have to be taken up by the Council at considerably more expense than the nominal savings Cllr Fairweather’s suggestion would make.”
Montrose Councillor David May said:
“I visit three Community Councils on a regular basis. They represent the cross section of opinions to their local councillors and act as a key liaison with Council officials, local police, schools, residents associations and healthcare providers. They are a weather vane for residents’ opinions on key planning applications and on long term planning for their areas.”
“Without the voluntary work done by them, Council officials would have their work cut out to make sure that their decisions are democratic and represent the views of everyday people.”
Kirriemuir Councillor Alison Andrews commented:
“Having attended my local Community Councils, disbanding them would be a huge loss to communities. They would lose the strong voice they have with local service providers, with Angus Councillors and Angus Council as a whole.”
“It is really important that residents are able to raise local issues without involving any party politics and it is vital that communities continue to have their say.”
I was somewhat bemused by Cllr Valentine’s defence of Nigel Don MSP’s delayed support for a flyover at Laurencekirk in a letter to the Montrose Review. As Mr Don sits on the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee, Jill Campbell’s petition can hardly have failed to come to his attention.
Transport Scotland have finally released safety figures demanded by Jill Campbell and Lib Dem MSP, Mike Rumbles, after years of fudging. The SNP have approved the building of three flyovers at junctions where there have been no deaths since 1999. There have been four tragic deaths at Laurencekirk, including one just last year.
So why did Mr Don try to close down Jill Campbell’s petition, instead of holding his own SNP government to account? Why has he confused the issue of road safety with the building of new houses?
Local Lib Dems have always called for cross party support. I personally contacted Angus candidates during this year’s General Election calling for cross party support and was met with a deafening silence.
That is why it is even more bizarre that Mr Don has not been more vocal in his support, nor has he met with Jill Campbell, Julie Watson, Mike Rumbles MSP ad myself about the issue.
As for Cllr West’s comments about the previous Scottish Executive’s record, he forgets to mention that the previous administration built no fewer than seven flyovers on the A90 between Perth and Laurencekirk.
It is clear that Laurencekirk should have been the next highest priority. Instead the SNP administration chose to build flyovers at junctions with no fatalities.
Earlier this year, I visited Laurencekirk junction with Tavish Scott MSP, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Transport Minister in the previous executive, Jill Campbell, Julie Watson, Mike Rumbles MSP, Sir Robert Smith MP and Montrose Cllr David May. The Lib Dems commitment to a flyover at Laurencekirk is crystal clear.
Instead of defending the SNP government, local SNP councillors and their candidate should be demanding better support for people in Angus and the Mearns, who have been badly let down.
PHOTO: Tavish Scott MSP, Mike Rumbles MSP, Sanjay Samani, Sir Robert Smith MP, Julie Watson, Jill Campbell, and Montrose Cllr David May visiting Laurencekirk Junction.
Photo © 2010 Neve Photography
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: