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I support lowering the voting age to 16 as I believe this will energise and engage young people and ensure their voices are heard. I also believe votes at 16 would strengthen our democracy and open it up to a new generation – as was quite clearly borne out in the Scottish Independence Referendum, where...
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I believe that the humane treatment of all animals should be a benchmark for any civilized society and it is very important that we send out a strong and powerful message that the illegal importation of puppies is a cruel practice that must stop. I am aware that Defra’s Chief Veterinary Officer has written to...
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I recognise that a number of concerns have been highlighted about the effectiveness of our asylum system where claims of torture are involved, including around the use of medical evidence. Indeed, It was concerning to read in Freedom from Torture’s “Proving Torture” report that of the asylum cases the organisation looked at involving claims of...
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I believe that parliament needs to be representative of communities across Britain and that we must make it easier for people to vote and engage in politics. At the 2017 General Election I stood on a manifesto which committed to establish a constitutional convention to look at reforming the way Britain works at a fundamental...
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I share concerns about punitive PIP assessments and their impact on some of the most vulnerable people in society. I was deeply concerned by the Disability Benefits Consortium’s recent findings that eight in every 10 of those facing PIP assessments find it make their health worse, and two thirds feel their claim was poorly represented...
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Our country has a proud history of helping those fleeing conflict and persecution and, as we face the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, I believe we must continue to pay our part by taking our fair share of refugees. I have long believed that the government should be doing more to help...
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Recent events have brought to mind the old adage “the more it changes, the more it stays the same” and when it comes to the upper echelons of politics that certainly still seems to be the case. Sex scandals, harassment and bullying might make for good headlines and sell news but they don’t make for...
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I appreciate that breastfeeding is widely accepted as the best form of nutrition for infants to ensure a good start in life and I recognise the positive health benefits of breastfeeding and its important role in reducing health inequalities. I know from UNICEF’s recent report on preventing disease finds that the NHS could save significant...
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The winner of Lesley Laird MP’s first ever Christmas card competition experienced the thrill of seeing her design roll off the printing presses on Thursday. A drawing by Adela Friedrichova (12), a first year pupil at Viewforth High School, KIrkcaldy, was among over a hundred entries submitted by pupils from five local primary and high...
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The humane treatment of animals should be a benchmark for any civilized society and I have long believed that the UK must lead the world on high animal welfare standards and in the fight against global animal cruelty. I am proud that in 1997 the UK Government banned the testing of cosmetics on animals. In...
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It was an absolute honour to meet Ava Stark and her family as they were awarded the John Petchy Hero of the Year award at Westminster last night. The award was given by the Anthony Nolan Trust in recognition of four-year-old Ava and her entire family, who have become huge advocates for the Trust after...
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Four stores in Scotland could be hit by planned closures by Toys R Us. The retailer has put forward proposals to shut 26 of its UK premises as part a a company voluntary agreement (CVA), putting up to 800 jobs at risk. Among those in Scotland which could be hit include Aberdeen, East Kilbride, Kirkcaldy...
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Lesley Laird backs Terrence Higgins Trust’s #SeeRed campaign for World AIDS Day Lesley Laird has spoken out ahead of World AIDS Day by calling for an end to HIV stigma. She joined Terrence Higgins Trust’s reception in the Speaker’s House in Westminster at a reception which brought together politicians, campaigners, medics and people affected by...
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Bank of Scotland has announced it has made the “difficult decision” to close its Lochgelly branch on 27 February 2018. Staff affected by this closure have been informed and BOS will be writing to customers shortly. The company said it had decided to close the branch because of the “changing way customers choose to bank...
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https://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/universal-credit-will-hit-fifers-like-a-brick-1-462714 The Government is set to press ahead with the roll-out of Universal Credit in Fife before Christmas – despite widespread concerns it will impact badly on many local families. It will begin on December 6, and any new claimants could face a wait of up to five weeks to get any money, leaving them...
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From the newspaper front pages to the phone-in radio shows, Twitterstorms and countless websites, the one story which seemed to get everyone talking in the last few days has been the revelation that BBC bosses pay their male “stars” far more than their female counterparts. But were any of us really surprised by this divulgence...
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Babcock International’s announcement today that 250 jobs are to go at Rosyth Dockyard is a bitter blow for workers and underlines again the need for a proper shipbuilding strategy which avoids these fluctuations in the workforce. Coming in the week that the UK government announced an industrial strategy it shows that protecting jobs for the...
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Every year, around the beginning of November, Equal Pay Day comes around – highlighting the discrepancies between men’s and women’s salaries and to be blunt, how many days women effectively work for free because of the scale of the gender pay gap. Last year it was only one day later than the previous year, proving...
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On September 18, 2014, the Scottish people were asked to make a “once in a generation” referendum decision on the future of the nation. The result was an overwhelming and decisive ‘no’, affirming the Scottish will to remain a part of the United Kingdom. In 2014, I campaigned for Scotland to remain part of the...
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Following problems with a traffic survey in Dalgety Bay new guidelines in relation to CCTV use will now be developed and residents will require to be notified when CCTV is being used in their area Planning Survey – I have written to the Alex Neil MSP, as Minister for Planning asking for a review of...
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Today I received information back from the Legal department regarding traffic surveys and this will be reviewed with the other 3 ward councilors at our Ward Meeting on Monday evening.
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Meeting today to review progress of the HADIE Steering Group. This is a group of businesses that have got together on the Hillend & Donibristle Industrial Estate in order to better manage the overall estate. Fife Council is not the main owners of the estate. That’s why we are supporting this business group as we...
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Met with Officers today to discuss Factoring and Rural Development. Concerns have been raised about the factoring companies that look after the green spaces across Fife particularly around charging and the quality of service. Will be looking further into this.
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Follow up meeting of the multiagency task force group formed following recent tragic accident at Prestonhill Quarry. A very positive attendance and joined today by representatives from the diving community. Fife Council’s Legal department are still tracking down the owners of the Quarry – this is proving to be quite a challenge as the company...
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Raised the issues around the use of cctv cameras and residents concerns about the way the survey appears to have been conducted with Planning and Transportation. I have also raised it with our Legal department and further review of this is now underway. Tonight at Inverkeithing Community Council – busy agenda. Traffic management, speeding and...
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Fife council calls on ministers to “come clean” over plans for underground coal burning I have been highlight the issue of the non inclusion of UCG in the current Scottish Government moratorium for several months.  The Scottish Government needs to be open and honest about their intentions and UCG needs to be included in the...
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Very concerned to read that Ineos now want to drill in the Falkirk area. I also hear that Algy Cluff is looking at the Kincardine area.  Moratorium?  Consultation? http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/ineos-wants-to-drill-now-in-falkirk-area-1-3836762
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As part of my Tourism brief attended the British Golf Open in St Andrews to support the Visit Scotland Stand, which also includes the Visit Fife Tourism Team.  Provost Jim Leishman was also on hand meeting and greeting visitors from all across the globe and he never fails to leave people with a great impression...
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Welcomed the news about the 6 million Euro investment for the continuation of the Rosyth freight Ferry by DFDS which will develop Scotland’s only direct sea route to Europe. Still await timetable, frequency and fare structures. There were hopes that the passenger ferry service would also return but this would not appear to be part...
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Out in the Ward visiting the Wing to see how the Summer Fun Programme was going. Stewart Biggar and his staff and team of volunteers do an amazing job. The Wing was busy with Mums, Dads and Kids having fun in the pool – on the bouncy castle and painting and crafts as well as...
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I am calling on the introduction of Carbon Price Support Tax, to assist the industry. I have written again to Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change raising concerns. This is following an unsatisfactory response to the council’s earlier calls for the introduction of a Carbon Price Support Tax to be progressed...
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Business event today – Out first thing for a 9am event.  Pleased to be invited to open the new Sainsbury store in Rosyth with Olivia and the team from CHAS.  Great to see this new store open and the housing development well underway including new council houses that will take us towards our target of...
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Today out in Dalgety Bay for the launch of Business Watch, the refurbished roundabout and new signage for the industrial estate.  The business community has taken a strong lead in these projects so good to see them come through.  The Chair of the Community Council, Colin McPhail, also joined us for an inspection in advance...
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Delighted to be able to attend a performance of Sole Searching A Hootenanny in the Church Hall in Inverkeithing. This was a fantastic performance and another example of the way in which local people are engaging with the activities developed as part of the regeneration programme for Fraser Avenue.  Well done Fife Council’s Jo Ross...
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Meeting today to look at the final preparations for the Open and our joint stand with Visit Scotland.  This is a huge event for Fife with potentially £millions coming into the Fife economy.  Not just this year as what we find – and what we want to encourage – is return visitors to Fife.  We’ve...
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Out today with Cllr Tom Adams, Chair of the Levenmouth Area Committee.  More work underway by the Invest In Fife Team – Visited the final ground works for the 2nd phase of the low carbon investment park. This is another significant investment project for Fife that Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise are taking forward. Marketing...
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Tourism is also part of my brief so delighted that all the hard work by Fife Council and its partners has paid off and World Heritage status has been secured for the Forth Rail Bridge. Work is already underway to look at how we can make the most of this amazing opportunity in terms of...
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Getting investment and jobs into Fife is a key priority. That’s why it’s always a pleasure when the Invest in Fife Team secured another win. This time it’s an innovative green hydrogen project in Levenmouth and awarded a £1.5 million contract to local Ward 6 company Heil Faird for a fleet of 9 new refuge...
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Final Full Council before recess. Today I proposed an amendment to a motion on the Human Rights Act. I called on Council to support the Human Rights Act and reject the Conservative Government’s moves to replace it with a British Bill of Rights.  There were also motions calling for a constitutional review of the current...
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Throughout the school summer holidays this fantastic offer is available at Fife Council sports facilities.  This year it has also been expanded to include golf at all of Fife Golf Trust courses. Make sure your kids don’t miss the fun!https://www.facebook.com/fifeleisure/posts/603288633015606 Ward meeting.  Very busy agenda including a meeting with Gillian Lancaster to hear about her...
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COSLA this morning – supported the debate to end the Council Tax Freeze and a move towards more progressive funding of local government and frontline services.  Did you know that Scotland has one of the least devolved fiscal funding mechanisms in Europe? Attended a multi agency meeting about the Quarry following the 2nd tragic death...
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2nd meeting of the Longannet Task Force today at the Scottish Parliament and update from key stakeholders.  Fife Council has pressed for this task force to be set up now so that people can be engaged in preparing and support the staff through any closure that may be announced towards the end of 2015.
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Fife Partnership Board this morning and Fife Economy Partnership Board this afternoon.  Showing real signs of progress across a whole range of work streams from employment, literacy and numeracy, ICT skills, partnership working with Scottish Enterprise on a new business accelerator model and a flying visit from Fergus Ewing on progress with Tullis Russell Task...
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Strategic partnership meeting today with St Andrew’s University at the Byre Theatre.  Today we discussed education, economic development and business tourism.  We have been working wit the University on a number of partnership projects and their proposed development of Guardbridge is also starting to come on-stream.  Good work underway on all fronts.
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As part of the drive to get more young people into STEM subjects (Science/Technology/Engineering/Maths) through my Employability brief Fife Council has supported the Primary and Secondary Engineering Programmes.  These have been hugely successful events loved by kids and teachers alike and open up engineering in fun way. http://www.youngeng.org/secondary/ There is a world wide shortage of engineers...
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Part of my brief includes Tourism.  This afternoon we reviewed the Harbour Study which is looking at the condition and potential of harbours and how we can make better use of them and join up better with our wider Tourism strategy.  Now planning to meet with all the contributors to hear what they’ve got to...
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As part of my Tourism brief we have been working with key partners to promote Fife for locations for television and film.  The new Outlander series currently on Amazon Prime is expected to have global appeal – and may end up with the same following as Game of Thrones.  The second series is being filmed...
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At Fife College tonight for the wrap-up and awards presentation to the partners on the Erasmus Programme.  10 days ago they started their journey on this course.  A theme of the event was “Don’t Count The Days – Make The Days Count” – do you know who originally said this?    Well the group have certainly...
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This afternoon was at Eden Mill Brewery doing further work to support business and tourism with one of Fife’s many growing businesses.  They have just launched a new gin too which is bound to be a hit at the Open in a few weeks time!  You might have seen Eden on the television advert aired...
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This morning I am out meeting Fife’s newest MYSPs at Bowhill.  They are having an induction and training event today and I have been asked to go along and meet them and join in the activities.  It was a fun morning and so good to see young people get active in politics!  They are a...
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As part of my Economy and Planning brief I represent the Council on the Board of Business Gateway.  This organisation plays a very important role in supporting new and developing businesses in Fife.  It also helps to support them obtain grants, HR advice, as well as running workshops.  Today’s meeting was focusing on our Strategy...
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Manufacturing and Engineering play a very important role in Fife’s economy and we are lucky to have so many fantastic companies located here in Fife who are recongised as being at the top of their game.  Tonight I was invited to represent the Council at the Scottish Engineering Awards – this was a special night...
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At the Scottish Parliament this afternoon with Fife Council Leader David Ross.  Productive and helpful meeting to talk about Longannet. Although there has been no formal closure announcement David and I have been calling for the task force to be set up now so that we can plan ahead and have the right support in...
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Apprentice Week – Visiting Fife Council’s Bankhead facility today meeting 3 fantastic young people who are really shining and making the most of their opportunities.  Future stars in the making. Visit also by Skills Development Scotland and Joe Dowd of the Scottish Government who have come to see all the great work being done on...
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http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/fife/scottish-government-urged-to-answer-really-big-questions-on-future-of-longannet-1.876180 I have asked the Scottish Government some questions on Longannet why UCG is excluded from the moratorium.  I’m not the only one trying to get an answer.  Another recent article on UCG – http://act.foe-scotland.org.uk/lobby/energy-minister-ucg Tonight at Inverkeithing High School Parent Council. The new AstroTurf is nearly ready to use. The gym has also been...
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Good to see Fife Schools making the headlines for all the right reasons and bucking the Scottish downward trend on literacy and attainment. Fife Labour has chosen to invest in Literacy and Numeracy and Early Years since the start of our administration. We also restored the 50+ classroom assistants that were removed by the previous...
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Today meeting with Inverkeithing regeneration employability group. So much happening. So many great people and organisations now actively involved. Highlight of the week so far. Attended Spittalfield Residents meeting tonight at the Town House. Great chat tonight and a few more things on the list! Even think a couple of the ladies might sign up...
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East of Scotland Regional Advisory Board today. Following up on the recent conference on exporting. Great feedback and next steps agreed.
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Fife Council Executive Committee today. Reviewing the first year of high hedge legislation and approving further new council homes to be built in Fife. Fife Labour has committed to build 2700 council homes and we are leading the way with one of the most ambitious council house building programmes in Scotland. All the more commendable...
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Great to meet up with Janet Torley of FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) today to hear about what’s on FSB members agenda and how we can continue to build on the partnership working on employability and relationships with schools. Not long in from Dalgety Bay Community Council. Plans progressing well for Jubilee celebrations and good...
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At SE Inverkeithing Neighbourhood Partnership meeting – next phase of the regeneration – unveiling the plan – at Inverkeithing High School. http://www.fifedirect.org.uk/topics/index.cfm?fuseaction=service.display&p2sid=EEF5AB9E-B720-42B3-BEB5-E6E55194DDDC&themeid=2B482E89-1CC4-E06A-52FBA69F838F4D24
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Out this afternoon at Aberdour Primary School STEM event. (Science Technology Engineering Maths). This is a great Fife Council Education initiative and didn’t the children just love it! Amazing designs, teamwork and a great learning experience. Tomorrow’s engineers in the making.
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Have spent the day out on the campaign trail. Unfortunately not the result that Labour had hoped for. But we need to move on and focus on delivering for people in Fife.
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Dropped into the Inverkeithing Arts Initiative Event at the Civic Centre. Fantastic event, talented artists and especially glad to meet Cathy and Catherine from the Community Flat Sewing Group. Well done to Donna and her Team for organising a very successful event.https://www.facebook.com/InverkeithingArtsInitiative
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