TAG | Scottish Parliament
I noted an article in the Forfar Dispatch about Angus Council contract for new housing stock last month. I agree with “An Angus Employer” who complained in a letter [4 November] that the contract was not awarded to a local Angus business.
Unfortunately Councils in Scotland are tied to the procurement policies of the SNP government. They have centralised the process and made it extremely difficult for smaller local businesses to be approved to even bid for contracts. The approval process and level of paperwork is beyond local builders and service providers. I have discussed this very issue with builders in Angus before and after this year’s General Election.
That is why I was delighted to be able to support a new procurement policy for the Scottish Lib Dems at their recent Autumn Conference. This calls for a replacement for the SNP’s procurement body, Scotland Excel, in favour of a unified body that will make local and central government contracts accessible for smaller local businesses.
I know that local Councillors are as frustrated about the issue as local businesses and have strived to help them meet the arduous requirements imposed on them by the SNP’s simplistic one-size-fits-all procurement policy.
After next year’s Scottish election, the situation will hopefully change. Let us hope it is not too late for local firms struggling to stay afloat during the recession.
You can read more about the situation by clicking here for an article in The Courier.
I have been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Angus North and Mearns for the Scottish elections next May. I have also been selected as one of the Liberal Democrat Regional Candidates for the North East.
I am very grateful to the Liberal Democrat members in Angus and the Mearns for their support and their decision to select me as their candidate. I am looking forward to continuing the campaigns that we have been running in the area.
The SNP have said they will fight the next election on just the issue of independence. Most people are concerned about their jobs, rising prices and the economy. This shows how out of touch the SNP really are. They have been completely unprepared for the economic crisis, created by the Labour government.
In just five months, the Liberal Democrats in coalition have put in place plans to take 900,000 low earners out of income tax, restore a fair pension and to provide £2bn extra in child tax credits for poorer families. In stark contrast, in over four years, the SNP have failed to deliver on their hollow promises of more police, smaller class sizes and maintaining teacher numbers. The Liberal Democrats can do more for Scotland and for Angus and the Mearns.
Stonehaven Liberal Democrat Councillor, Peter Bellarby, said, “I am very pleased that Sanjay has been selected. Mike Rumbles has served Stonehaven and the Mearns well and I am sure that Sanjay will continue to listen and respond to the concerns people have in this area, just as Mike has done. In the revised constituencies, Mike Rumbles will be the candidate for Aberdeenshire West and I am sure that Mike and Sanjay will form an excellent partnership for this area.”
Liberal Democrat Cllr David May from Montrose, commented “I am delighted that Sanjay has ben selected. He has an excellent record on campaigning on local issues. He has called for the SNP government to reinstate funding to prevent coastal erosion and flooding, to provide relief to small businesses who received huge rises in their business rates and for a full time service at Forfar fire station. And he has been a strong supporter of Jill Campbell’s campaign for a flyover on the A90 at Laurencekirk Junction.”
David continued, “Angus North and Mearns is a new constituency for the Scottish Parliament. In the Mearns, residents have elected four Lib Dem councillors, Sir Robert Smith MP and an outstanding Liberal Democrat MSP, Mike Rumbles who has stood up for their needs at Holyrood. Unfortunately, SNP representatives have let down Angus residents. Now, Angus and Mearns residents will get a straight choice between an SNP candidate and a Liberal Democrat who will continue to fight for local people.”
Below: Sanjay campaigning for a flyover on the A90 at Laurencekirk, along with Laurencekikrk Flyover campaigners Jlll Campbell and Julie Watson, with Tavish Scott MSP, leader of Scottish Lib Dems, Mike Rumbles MSP, Sir Robert Smith MP and Montrose Cllr David May
I am congratulating the Scottish Lib Dems for their successful inclusion of the Post Office Diversification Fund in the Scottish budget. The diversification fund will help secure the future of local post offices by helping them offer a wider range of goods and services to their communities.
The news that a Post Office Diversification Fund has been included in the budget is great news for Angus villages and towns. With state owned banks refusing to lend to sound Scottish businesses at reasonable rates, the fund will assist post office owners to expand and widen their services. By helping the businesses become more profitable, it will hold off the risk of closure.
I learned that the risk of further closures is still serious. Under the last Tory government over 4,000 Post Offices were closed. Under Labour 608 more in Scotland have closed, and yet the boss of Royal Mail is paid a salary of more than £1 million.
Post Offices are essential services in many towns and villages across Angus. I visited Glamis Post Office, which is the last remaining shop in the town. It was saved from closure by a hard fought campaign by the owners, Hugh and Ann Nicoll and local residents. Its success is partly due to expanding the range of goods sold, and it is now the village shop as well as a Post Office. In spring and summer, their cafe provides lovely refreshments for tourists and locals.
Not all villages can count on a strong campaign in defence of their Post Office. The Diversification Fund secured by Scottish Liberal Democrats at Holyrood will ensure a fair chance for all village Post Offices to stay open.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, 2nd December, the Marine (Scotland) Bill will be considered by the Scottish Parliament’s Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.
The Look Out for Seals campaign has called for a ban on shooting seals during their breeding seasons. As it stands the Bill might allow this killing. They are working to get the Committee to amend the Bill to prohibit the killing of seals during their breeding seasons.
On 29th October the Scottish Parliament held its first full debate on the Marine (Scotland) Bill. Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur told Parliament: “In the sensitive issue of seal protection, I congratulate Advocates for Animals on the way in which they have made their case”.
I have signed up to support better protection for Scotland’s seals in the Marine Bill. Click here to find out more and sign up yourself at the Look Our for Seals website.