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Lesley Laird MP has called on EDF to engage with Fife’s trade unions following a community meeting in Buckhaven to discuss the company’s upcoming NnG wind farm contract. On Thursday night the STUC comprising Unite and the GMB led the meeting at Buckhaven community education centre, inviting local representatives and EDF Renewables to take part...
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The free TV licence was introduced in 2000 in recognition that the licence fee could be a source of concern for many people over the age of 75, nearly 50% of whom were in the lowest three income deciles. However, in 2015, the BBC reached an agreement with the Government to take on the cost...
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It is shocking that we had not had a full debate in the House of Commons chamber on climate change for over two years. It is also disappointing that the debate took place at a time when it is difficult for all MPs to attend. I believe the Government needs to give this issue proper...
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So, the deal is done. Just not one that anyone wants. After two years of wrangling that’s one thing we can all agree on. But don’t judge this book by its cover. This deal bears no resemblance to the easy promises of the Brexiteers. No resemblance to taking back control of our laws and our...
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It is an important principle of the BBC’s Charter that the BBC is operationally and editorially independent. The BBC also has a duty under both the BBC Charter and the Broadcasting Code to deliver impartial and accurate news. Indeed, the agreement accompanying the BBC Charter requires the BBC to do all it can to ensure...
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Kingdom Community Bank, Fife’s largest credit union, launched a new Cowdenbeath collection point at the Maxwell Centre today (Thursday). The launch, which coincides with Challenge Poverty Week, will further extend Kingdom’s aim to offer everyone in the local community a stake in their own ethical bank, and access to affordable loans, secure savings and other...
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Today is the official starting gun for the election period as we are now entering Purdah.  It’s hard to believe that since I was elected in 2012 so much of our political landscape has changed.  People have had so many elections and so many choices to make it’s probably hard not to have voter fatigue...
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Today it was the old firm derby day…… Fife Labour have invested in our national game by: ** Creating Fife’s own Football Performance Academy getting our best young players in our best facilities with our best coaches ** Building Fife’s first indoor football training pitch ** Investing in more 3G training pitches ………. Creating a...
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Our investment in Education continues….. The new Levenmouth Campus was official opened today by Council Leader, David Ross and Education Minister, John Swinney.  It was a great event and we were delighted to invite some special guests to share it with us. Stephanie Inglis (Commonwealth Silver Medal Judo Champion) and her friend Khalid joined the...
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Since taking the Administration in 2012 Fife Labour have made education and employment a key focus area.  I am therefore delighted that all the hard work and effort by teachers, business leaders and Fife College has paid off and we are seeing continuing year on year improvement in getting more young Fifers equipped for work...
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Delighted to be invited to speak at a conference in Edinburgh on Apprenticeships. Fife is very highly regarded for the work it has done over the last few years in terms of apprenticeships and wider employability initiatives. I was accompanied at the event by Meya – a graduate from our Rising Stars Programme.  Meya spoke...
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As we run towards the end of our term as Councillors the meeting agenda’s just seem to keep getting bigger.  Today’s Ward meeting was no different.  We discussed the potential disruption to Inverkeithing and its businesses with the proposed closure of the railway bridge by Network Rail in order to carry out essential repairs.  We...
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We’re having a bit of debate about education here in Fife.   We’re talking teacher numbers.  Or, more to the point the lack of. We’re got 100 posts that we can’t fill.  Not because we don’t want to but quite simply because the SNP got their sums wrong and there are now 4000 less teachers...
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We’ve increased our Breakfast Cafe Investment so that it now takes in schools in Fife with a higher than 40% free school meal ratio.  It also will include holiday club facilities over the easter, summer and autumn holidays keeping the provision of meals going during the holiday period. This investment is a key component if...
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In between the day job, there is now the up coming Local Government Elections on 4 May. I am glad to say that I have already got underway with an introductory newsletter gone out in North Queensferry, which under the boundary changes, now becomes part of Ward 6. I’ve also been out and about in...
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In my role as Spokesperson for Planning, delighted that I could pop along this week to Glenwood High School and meet the Pupil Council who are getting behind the investment Fife Council are making in regenerating Glenwood. Task of the day was to come up with a name for the regeneration project and following a...
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Very full agenda and a very long meeting but a huge meeting in terms of the amount of investment we’ve just approved today for Fife.  The go ahead given to progress with the site selection of the new Madras College and to begin the consultation process.  We’ve already put money in the capital programme for...
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Delighted to have been able to speak at the Scottish Labour Party Conference on two issues that I have been actively supporting and campaigning on.  In the debate on the motion by ASLEF for denationalisation of our railways I took the opportunity to raise the issue of the re opening of the Levenmouth Rail Link....
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Delighted that Ward 6 could potentially benefit considerable from the new Fife Council Budget approved on 16 February.  Key highlights that could directly provide significant investment for this Ward are: New Inverkeithing High School – A Step Closer I have been lobbying hard to make sure that a replacement high school for Inverkeithing is high on...
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Glad to see that local Fife news media are giving this important issue a strong profile. Fife has been a bit of a loan voice on this topic – but pleased to say that with the recently announced new rateable values it’s starting to get a much higher profile.  It needs reform and soon. Too...
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Very very busy week and a full range of very colourful events kept me occupied – ending with the Rainbow Awards at the City Chambers on Friday evening. Big activity of the week was the final run up and preparations for the Budget meeting on Thursday. Monday night, attended Dalgety Bay Community Council and hearing...
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The Future of Rail – Consultation – is underway and after lobbying Transport Scotland to host an event in Fife, delighted to welcome them along to Kirkcaldy Town House. The event was well attended with contributions from various groups from across Fife with an interest in improving rail provision in their local communities.  As well...
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I have been campaigning for the reform of Business Rates.  This is probably one of the main issues that businesses raise with me.  With the new rateable values just announced, but the formal Scottish Government Review of business rates not yet complete, there have been more than a few unwelcome surprises for businesses across the...
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Today was Budget Day.   Over £15M has been cut from the Council Budget.  The opposition sought to completely down play this but what cannot be down played or ignored is the cumulative impact of cuts over the last 10 years – local public services are simply being eroded and jobs being lost.  However, Fife...
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This week it’s been all business.  With all the expected changes likely to arise from Brexit, we’ve put together a cross business sector Brexit group with representatives from St Andrews, Fife College, Hotel & Tourism Sector, Construction Sector, Agricultural and Manufacturing.  Its important that we understand the impact on Fife and this first meeting was...
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Another week goes past and we’re almost at the end of January already.  This week has seen the first meeting of the key stakeholder group for the Levenmouth Rail Campaign.  The Council has been working with the Levenmouth Rail Group to complete the documentation that will help assess whether this project will make the cut...
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Been a very busy week.  Preparation for the budget is well underway as we once again look to find ways to balance the books.  This year we’ve been trying to bring all the opposition parties into the process to try and ensure that where we can we can have a common understanding and consensus. I’ve...
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December was a very difficult month for our family. My mother in law (Rena) took very unwell and sadly passed away on the 14 December. My Dad (John) was ill for most of December and passed away peacefully on Friday 16 December.  He was 91 years  of age.  His funeral took place on 30 December,...
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Today is Fife Council.  The event of the meeting has to be the announcement by Council Leader David Ross, that progress has been made in discussions with St Andrew’s University and its new Principal, on identification of a potential site for a new Madras High School. The young people in St Andrews and Tayport area...
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Great to catch up with Inverkeithing Primary School Head Teacher Caroline Gardiner on a long overdue visit to the school.  I regularly attend the Parent Council meetings but it’s always helpful to hear first hand how things are going at the school and as a local councillor I want to make sure that the school...
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This morning I am visiting St Kenneth’s breakfast club with Cllr Bryan Poole, Education Spokesperson.    Last year in our Fife Council budget we invested some money to support a number of pilots of breakfast clubs and breakfast cafe initiatives in areas where there were very high uptakes of free school meals across Fife. Over...
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Meeting of SESplan today in Edinburgh.  The work continues in developing the next iteration of this plan for the SESplan area.  However, there are increasing concerns about transportation and connectivity across the area – both are key and linked to funding of infrastructure these remain issues that will continue to require focus not just a...
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The regeneration of Inverkeithing is not just about knocking down and rebuilding Fraser Avenue.  There is so much work going on to regenerate the community and over the last few years a huge amount of effort has gone in to shaping how the area will look in the future but also working with people in...
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This afternoon I am attending the Fife Politicians Forum that is organised by the Fife Chamber of Commerce. This is the opportunity for politicians from all parties to meet with representatives from Fife Chamber and to talk about key issues affecting the economy, the business community in Fife today, and what may be of concern...
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These events have become a very popular and successful feature of the Dunfermline events calendar.  Thomas Moffat has done a great job working with Fife College and Jan Thomson and her team to promote these events and have built up a track record of attracting very good speakers. Today’s event was no exception, with Hearts...
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Delighted to be asked to jointly open the new Sainsbury Bank in Rosyth with Sainsbury Chief Executive Peter Griffiths.    This is another good news story for the Rosyth area and wider Fife, with further investment by Sainsbury in the Rosyth facility. Once operating at capacity it is expected to employ around 500 people and...
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Dropped in to see the plans for the proposals for the remediation of the Dalgety Bay Foreshore.  It’s been a long wait for the community but finally there are real tangible signs of the work that is to begin in the Spring of next year.  There was a good attendance at the event and people...
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Despite having got agreement from the Transport Minister to include pricing as part of the Transport Strategy Review this is not a quick fix. The review is likely to take a considerable time and therefore while the review is ongoing, and while there are transition arrangements to be put in place I believe it’s right...
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This afternoon it was the all party budget group.  With potentially one of the most significant budget challenges yet to come for Fife Council the Labour Administration has reached out to all the other parties to see if we can jointly bring forward a budget for Fife in February 2017.  Budget setting is always fraught.  But with...
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This morning it’s my last event as part of Fife Business Week as I am attending the Fife Economy Partnership Business Breakfast with MSP, Paul Wheelhouse. This is the opportunity for Fife’s business community representatives, and guests from the college and university sector to put their questions to the Minister.  The session was very well...
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Today I am opening the Scotland’s Town Partnership Conference, which is being held in Kirkcaldy.  My opening speech is a great opportunity to show case the significant work being done across Fife’s 32 town centres. Every town centre across the country has its challenges and Fife is no different.  Out of town shopping, the rise...
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This afternoon I met with Council Officers and representatives from the Levenmouth Rail Campaign.  We are working on the final stages of the STAG document, which has to be submitted if we want to be successful in the bid to reopen the 5 miles of track that would then re connect a community that has...
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Left the demolition at Fraser Avenue to head over to Inverkeithing High School where Deputy Yvonne Beveridge and her team were in full swing with a Developing The Young Workforce event for around 250 P7 pupils from across the South West Fife Area. Area Chair Cllr Bobby Clelland and I had a fantastic time touring...
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Back in 2012, my Fife Labour colleague Gavin Yates and I both stood as first time Councillors.  One of our Election Commitments was to bring new housing and regeneration of Fraser Avenue.  Not just knock down the houses but also work towards rebuilding and regenerating a community.  I am delighted to say that this week Fife...
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Kicked off Business Week with the Developing the Young Workforce Event.  This event was aimed at getting more businesses to engage with our schools so that we make sure that young Fifer’s can be equipped for the world of work.  This has been a key priority area for the Labour Administration over the last 4...
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This week is one of the biggest week’s for the Invest In Fife Team and the Property Event is a very successful event aimed at bring property companies and their agents to Fife to find out their view of the market and also to present to them the great options for their businesses and the...
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This week we re launched our NHS That’s Fife For Fife Campaign. http://www.fifelabour.scot/nhs/ Yesterday Scottish Labour also held a national campaign day across Scotland and hundreds of activists were out talking to people about the state of our NHS.  The Audit Scotland Report this week does not make for good reading.  The SNP have been...
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Delighted to attend the official opening of the Windmill Community Campus today.  The school was opened by Gordon Brown, who was Prime Minister and local MP for Kirkcaldy.  These days Gordon is a Global Ambassador for Education for the United Nations.  He brought along with him two young women who had been shot by the...
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The SESplan Drop In Event at the Dunfermline City Chambers was well attended and was good to chat to people and hear about their questions and concerns about development in their area.   Planning is such a key issue and while it doesn’t always attract the headlines until there is something wrong its really good...
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Delighted to pop along today to celebrate with the employees of CoorsTEK.  They have been operating for 35 years in Glenrothes, and many of the employees have been there since day one.   Lovely too that Provost Jim Leishman could pop along on behalf of Fife Council and recognise what, by any businesses standards, is...
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Police reported tonight some worrying concerns from residents in relation to inappropriate behaviours at Goats Quarry. Everyone more than a little concerned but reassured that the Police are working this issue.   Residents were pleased that the planning application for a small development at the west end of the Village has been rejected by the...
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Today I was speaking at the annual Fife House Builders Forum.  Over the last few years this has become a very successful event and is the opportunity for everyone to get together to review the state of play in the house building sector.  What’s clear from this event is that Fife Council through it’s affordable...
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Today it was our Ward meeting.  Good agenda and also a visit from the new Police Inspector, Jim Davenport.  Discussions about the changing role of the police, the strong community focus being undertaken in SW area particularly engagement with schools and speed safety.  Plans are underway to re introduce Community Speed Watch in the spring...
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With continual growth in the West Fife and Dunfermline area the Executive Committee agreed to start an early engagement process with parents in relation to the rising pupil roll numbers across schools in this area.  This early engagement will allow parents the opportunity to bring forward their ideas and suggestions and to also gain a...
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Today at the Executive Committee we agreed to support 3 community based library projects.  I am delighted that these projects have now been developed and that the community efforts to support the retention of a library provision in the community can now get underway.  No thanks of course to the on negative SNP.  Yet again...
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Well – obviously there is an election coming up so we have yet another series of SNP nonsense about how bad things are in Dunfermline and how Dunfermline is loosing out to everyone else in Fife…. Not so. Here are some things you might want to know about Fife Labour’s investment in Dunfermline…..made against a backdrop...
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I have written to the Scottish Government Minister Kevin Stewart in relation to the ongoing delays in ratifying FIFEplan.  We are now on our third delay and this is not good news for providing communities with certainty.  Communities across Fife contributed to the FIFEplan consultation and I am regularly asked when will the plan be...
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I am pleased to say that after relentless campaigning Fife Council’s Labour Leader David Ross, and myself have welcomed the news that the Scottish Government is to now provide funding for the Longannet Task Force. We have argued repeatedly that Longannet was an extra ordinary event and merited an extra ordinary response – and should have...
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Last night I was delighted to pop into the AGM of the Inverkeithing Group.  New Committee elected and some fresh ideas for the year ahead being developed.  You can find out more about the group – or even getting involved by checking out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/InverkeithingFood/likes
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Lots of chat about Sunday parking. Unfortunately not always the true facts. The decision to introduce Sunday car parking was made in the Budget in February this year. When we were out consulting on the budget many people said we should put up parking charges and charge on a Sunday as this is what other...
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    Council Leader David Ross and I recently met with Transport Minister, Mr Yousaf.  It was a meeting to discuss a range of Fife transport issues and concerns.  I brought up the issue of rail fares in Fife and Mr Yousaf has pledged to look at the controversial issue in more detail.  We have...
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Fife Council Transportation Officers continue to support me in my ongoing discussions with Transport Scotland and train operator Abellio – we all agree that there is a significant price differences for Fife commuters, but so far no positive plans have been put on the table to tabled the issue. While I know this is a long...
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Attended a Communities Event in Kincardine to listen and learn about what the communities in the areas surrounding Longannet believe should be the priorities.  Transportation, Tourism and environmental clean up and wider employment were just some of the key talking points. The Coalfields Regeneration Trust were asked to host the event which saw a very...
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Have returned from holiday to concerns from local people about a group of Travellers who have taken up residence in the area.  This is causing wide spread concern for local people. The land in question is not owned by the Council which makes it additionally complicated. The land is owned by all the residents (just...
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Yesterday was my first day back from holiday and delighted to attend the Levenmouth Rail Campaign meeting with Council Leader David Ross.  There was a great turn out for this meeting and Area Chair, Cllr Tom Adams, and Cllr Jim Young were also attending. Even more delighted to hear that my earlier call (20 July)...
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Delighted to see this article (see link below) about the regeneration of Fraser Avenue. This is going to be a great development – because the people who will live there have helped to shape it and have been contributing their views and ideas over recent months.   This was one of my key election commitments...
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At a recent Council meeting I urged all my SNP councillor colleagues to use their influence with their party’s MSPs and MPs to ensure that Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government make Levenmouth their number one rail priority in Fife. Reopening the Levenmouth rail link is absolutely in keeping with the aims of the Fairer...
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In my role as Spokesperson for Economy and Planning I also have the brief for town centres.   Over the last few years there has been lots of discussions about how the town centre in Inverkeithing can be improved and how its wonderful heritage can be used to best effect to bring visitors to the...
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A key part of my portfolio role responsibilities – and the part I enjoy very much – is getting out and meeting Fife businesses.  Especially companies like Glenrothes based McDonald Engineers UK who are one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of hot water storage solutions for a wide range of domestic and commercial installations. They...
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I have been campaigning to get Fifer’s a Fair Deal on Rail Fares.  Commuters in Fife are paying x2 and in some cases x3 more per rail mile journey than other parts of Scotland.   There is no reason why this should be the case.   To continue to do this puts Fife at an...
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I am continue to press the case for a “Fare” Deal for Fifers on rail fares.  I have called on a freeze on rail prices after it has been confirmed that passengers are paying over the odds. Comparable trips costs much more if your journey starts in Fife As an example, a journey from Cupar to...
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Today’s Courier led with Fife Council’s call for the Scottish Government to stump up the money for the Longannet Action Plan.  The key points about why this Action Plan should be funded are these: The closure of Longannet has both local and Scotland wide implications – but this is an area, that based on the...
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Out this morning with Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Alex Rowley and Councillors Pat Callaghan and David Graham. Good to have lots of support today and delighted that the weather stayed dry! Here’s hoping for a good week with the weather and more door step chats about why it has to be KidsNotCuts.
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Out this morning with Cara Hilton in Duloch.  Interesting conversations on the door step today with a number people having already voted for Scottish Labour.  Concerns being expressed about education and our NHS and good to hear that people are now taking time to look at the SNP’s 9 year in record in a bit...
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Glad to see that Council Leader David Ross is keeping up the pressure and making the case for the £9M funding of the Longannet Task Force.  If it was good enough for Halls of Broxburn £12M and good enough for Glenrothes & Mid Fife £6M then why is it not good enough for West Fife...
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Please sign this petition – and encourage your friends and family to do so too.  https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fund-longannet-task-force   The Scottish Government’s refusal to fund this is simply a mystery.  Unless of course they already have some other plan in mind…. It does beg the question is that why they have gone so shy on saying NO...
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At Full Council I spoke in two debates. The first was a motion on anti austerity and what that really means to the people we are elected to serve. Mitigating the bedroom tax. No ifs no buts. Fife Labour were one of the first Council’s to do so.   Investing in 2700 new homes –...
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Out today to visit PowerPhotonic, a company that specialises in high value optics, aim to increase their workforce and recently secured the cash from Archangels and Scottish Investment Bank.  They are based in my Ward, located in St David’s Drive, and I am delighted to hear that they’re now ready to upscale their business development...
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I normally enjoy our Ward Meetings – this seems to be the one place where the party politics get left behind and all four ward councillors just get stuck in about doing the right thing for our constituents.  We always have a busy agenda and cover a lot of ground in the 3+ hours that...
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I have been campaigning for a change to business rates.  Many businesses approach me thinking that the Council is responsible for setting rates.  In fact business rates are set by the UK and Scottish Governments.  Glad that we are now going to have a re-evaluation of business rates – the last one happened before the...
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In between my roles as Ward Councillor, Spokesperson for Economy & Planning and Deputy Leader campaigning for the Scottish Parliament elections over the next few weeks is going to be a big part of what I will be doing, together with other colleagues and candidates from across Fife.  Hope to see you on the campaign...
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Out in my Ward this morning and delighted that the next phase of the multi-million-pound regeneration of this key industrial estate has taken a step forward.  Getting rid of older properties and making space for new sites is part of a programme aimed at regenerating this industrial estate which is home to 7 of the...
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In February this year I wrote to Abellio outlining concerns with rail fares being charged in Fife.  Last week Abellio replied confirming that they would investigate the issues raised.     Cllr Laird said: “I’m pleased Abellio have agreed to look into our call for a ‘fare deal’ for Fife rail commuters. “Based on the...
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Delighted to be in St Andrews this morning with Robertson Homes Managing Director John Murphy.  We are here to see the work that is getting underway on a £1.5 million project to convert a former school residential lodge into a major business hub in the heart of St Andrews which is being constructed by Robertson Homes....
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Delighted to have been able to pop along to the Vine Conference Centre in Dunfermline to support the Women Into Business Event being hosted by Janet Torley.  This was a great event and inspiring to hear the very different journey each of the women in business have taken.   Even more delighted when a number...
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Madras Update…….Confirmation today of the deeply disappointing decision to reject the Pipeland site in St Andrews for the proposed construction of the long overdue Madras High School.  Young people in this area must be fed up with waiting on their new school.  Having finally secured a suitable and available site there emerged a powerful and...
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Delighted to have had the opportunity to meet up with Professor Leigh Sparks from Stirling University to discuss town centres, and thanks to Roger Mullin MP for hosting this round table discussion.  You can read more about it here http://www.centralfifetimes.com/news/14370705.Town_centres_are_an_important_issue/?ref=mr&lp=16 There could be a number of pilot research projects developing around town centres and I want...
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Busy agenda today.  Update on Longannet Task Force Action Plan.  Full and very detailed update on the action plan and the very disappointing news that the Scottish Government Minister has refused to fund the £9M action plan despite the fact that the Task Force has met for months and been working on this plan across...
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One of Fife Labour’s key commitments was employment and getting more Fifer’s into work.  Over the course of the last 4 years we have invested £13M in a range of employment schemes.  The Fife Youth Job Contract saw the Council work with employers to create a record year for apprenticeships.  The Rising Stars programme is...
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It’s taken a while and lots of dedication but the new skatepark is now opened at Ballast Bank.  Delighted to have gone along today to meet the young people and the Take A Pride Group who made it all happen.  The local ward councillors were delighted to have also played their part by providing funding...
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In Edinburgh today for the COSLA Convention.  This is where all the local authorities from across Scotland send representatives to review key policies, and set direction.  A key focus of today’s meeting was the COSLA.  Read more here http://www.cosla.gov.uk/news/2016/03/chooselocalmanifesto  
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A bracing but sunny day for a visit to Pittenweem. This is a project that was funded through our lobbying to get access to the Vacant & Derelict Land Fund – and what a different it has made to this area.  Given that it is also right on the Coastal Path, it has just been...
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Invited along to The Boathouse at Silversands Aberdour to meet with a number of companies involved in the renewable and oil and gas sector.  The Boathouse is a fantastic location and has become a real hub for the businesses involved in this sector.  Growing and developing Fife’s expertise is really important for future economic development...
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Council Leader David Ross and myself meet on a regular basis with Fife Chamber of Commerce.  This gives us the opportunity to hear what the business communities concerns are and to look at ways in which the Council can try and work and support to address them.  The BIG concern right now is the forthcoming...
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Today I’m delighted to be invited to join the judging panel for the Fife Economy Partnership Award at the Fife Chamber Business Awards.  This year’s entries are of a very high calibre and its great to see so many excellent businesses thriving and doing well in Fife.  It’s going to be hard job to decide...
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Today my day has mostly been about Longannet.  This morning I was giving evidence at the Scottish Parliament to the Economy Energy and Tourism Committee.  The Committee is looking at the role of the Task Force and seeking evidence on progress to deliver the economic recovery plan to support workers, businesses and communities affected by...
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Last year we held a forum for Harbour Users across Fife.  We had a very good turn out and we conducted a survey with the different users to find out how we could make better use of our harbour assets – and how they could fit with Fife’s Tourism Strategy.  Today, I was reviewing the...
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Visit Scotland provide a network of support and opportunities that help Fife Tourism have a wider global reach.  Working in partnership is therefore important to ensure that Fife continues to develop and grow its Tourism business.  I am pleased to say that the performance of Fife continues to improve.  From the information provided by Visit...
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Ward Meeting today.  This is where the real work gets done that makes a different to our communities.  Today our main focus was on the Regeneration of Fraser Avenue. This was one of my main election pledges and that’s why I am so delighted and excited to see this now start to come good. This...
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Despite the budget cuts and negative headlines it’s not all bad news.  Fife Labour has stayed focused on our key priorities.  And education is one of those.  So is care.  That’s why we are building 3 new care villages.  Employment is one of those.  That’s why we’ve invested £9M in employment.  Numeracy and literacy and...
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Our draft budget in now out for consultation. With unprecedented cuts facing public services its so important the people across Fife and beyond get involved in standing up for public services. We are asking people and all political parties to work with us to come up with a balanced budget that means we can look...
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It’s all about balance.  The closure of 16 libraries in Fife would mean that we would still have one of the largest provisions in Scotland. This means we will sustain investment in the book fund which means the quality of the library content is preserved. The proposal also includes improving the mobile service and include...
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At a time of budget cuts it’s all too easy to just focus on cutting without seeing the wider consequences.  At a time of budget cuts is also important that the Council balances the needs of communities and businesses by providing an appropriate measure of support. That’s why today I proposed that we look to...
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As part of my remit as spokesperson for Economy & Planning I have worked hard to make sure that Fife Labour stays connected to the business community.  The Manufacturing sector is a key part of Fife’s economy and that’s why I was delighted to jointly host a round table meeting with the Chair of the...
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Today Council Leader David Ross and I met with the Cross Party Leaders in Fife Council.  This was in advance of the Executive Committee on Tuesday 12 January and an opportunity to outline the shape of the budget challenge now facing Fife Council – £29M this year and nearly £91M over the next 3 years....
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We are still awaiting the wider enquiry in the Forth Road Bridge Closure.  Meanwhile, here in Fife we are making sure that we work with the various partnership agencies to ensure that we capture the key learnings and how we apply those to making sure Fife and its communities can be resilient in the future....
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As part of reforming public services we are looking at how we make best use of the assets that we have.  Today, we held a workshop with our community partners in South West Fife. in many places we have too many buildings, not effectively used, and in poor condition.  We have to heat them.  We...
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Today I met with Eric Byiers Chief Executive of Fife Chamber to talk about the ongoing impact of the closure of the Forth Road Bridge for HGVs.  There are still huge issues for business in Fife and beyond.  As the gateway to the North the impact of this closure for HGVs is extremely costly.  It...
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It’s going to be all about the budget.  With £29M of cuts now to be taken out of Fife Council’s budget it is going to be one of the biggest challenges the Council has ever faced.  Our Labour administration has been standing up against this continually attack on public services by sticking to our Labour...
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I am delighted that Lindsay Roy has offered me his endorsement and support for the Labour List.  Lindsay was one of the people who campaigned for me and supported me when I was just starting out in 2012 to get elected as Councillor for Inverkeithing, Dalgety Bay and Aberdour.  Lindsay offered me a huge amount...
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Yesterday John Swinney announced draconian budget cuts for local authorities across Scotland.  Fife Council officers have been working through the implications of what this means for Fife, its services, employees and its citizens.  Today’s Council meeting was the first opportunity to debate the Budget statement in advance of Fife Council’s own budget setting process which...
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Delighted to have had the opportunity to go and visit one of Fife’s micro business success stories.  Ross Syme and Aaron Andrews are the power behind this creative and bespoke lighting company and are certainly blazing a trail with Christmas displays both locally here in Fife as well as further afield.  They have also been...
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This afternoon I am attending an event for prospective candidates for the Mid Scotland & Fife Labour List, in Stirling. This event is part of the support process for next year’s Scottish Parliament elections. I am delighted to have made the first stage, being shortlisted for selection.  The next stage is to make the final...
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Today I’m Mrs Claus at the Spittalfield Residents Christmas Event.  The Residents Group have come up with a plan again for this year which includes a horse and cart clipping its way around Fraser Avenue, Spencerfield and Spittalfield.  The good news – the weather is damp –  very cold but dry. My black lab dog,...
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Great to have been able to make it along today to the newly refreshed and reformed Parent Council Group.  A great turnout and lots of positive contributions about plans for 2016.  Parents and Staff all now looking forward to their new head teacher starting in January.
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  http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/fife/planning-system-slammed-after-wimpey-wins-appeal-to-build-houses-in-inverkeithing-1.914884 This decision typifies why we need an overall have the Scottish Planning System.  The review of the Scottish Planning system has now been announced but already it has been advised that it will now not conclude until March 2016.  Can’t help but think this will be something else that’s kicked into the long...
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Council calls to keep business and economy moving in face of bridge closure 10/12/2015 Categories: Business & Strategy (EPE)* Fife Council is keeping in close touch with the business community throughout the first week of full closure of the Forth Road Bridge. A top priority is to work with other organisations to minimise the impact...
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Fife Council has been keeping in touch with businesses and as a result of their feedback I have now asked our officers to call on Transport Scotland for a relaxation of routing for LGVs in order to accommodate keeping the smaller business community on the road.  In Fife many of our businesses rely on LGV...
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This morning started at Inverkeithing Primary School catching up on the new Trim Track funded by parents. The rain managed to stay off long enough for a quick inspection and photograph – lots of smiling faces clearly very happy with the new edition to the playground. Well done to everyone – it looks terrific! Read...
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It was a very lengthy meeting – we started at 9.30am and it was after 4.30pm before we concluded. The main decision, following consultation, was the closure of 16 Libraries. Making this kind of decision is not easy but the Trust has consistently said that they would be making this change to ensure a more...
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It was great to visit the Youth Group at Ballast Bank for a Crispfest (think wine tasting with crisps!). Thanks for making me so welcome and enjoyed all the chat – everyone was getting excited about their sleep over at the Community Flat!  
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The unprecedented decision to close the Forth Road Bridge until after the New Year will have a very significant impact not just for Fife’s residents but also the Scottish economy.  With around nearly 70,000 travel movements each day across the Bridge it’s not hard to imagine how difficult it is going to be to keep...
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I am delighted to have made the Scottish Labour Party short list for the Regional List of Mid Scotland and Fife.  This List, is for consideration for next year’s Scottish Parliament elections. I have been genuinely overwhelmed by the number of people who have encouraged me to put my name forward – and not just...
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David Mundell MP, Scottish Secretary of State visited with Council Leader David Ross and myself today. This visit is part of a series of visits by Mr Mundell to local authorities across Scotland and we very much welcomed the opportunity to put Fife’s issues on the agenda. We had a number of areas that we...
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Tonight’s CLP (Constituency Labour Party) meeting was hosting a visit by Graeme Pearson MSP. Graeme has been conducting a review of Police Scotland for the Labour Party.   There were lots of questions for Graeme, and good insights around some of the challenges that local members see with the current set up of Police Scotland....
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Good turnout for the Parent Council tonight.  Topics on the agenda were a review of the school’s performance and the various initiatives being undertaken across the school.  The school is doing very well and the parent council are looking for ways to support the school and teachers in the coming months.  The Parent Council is...
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Disappointing news today that the Scottish Government Reporter has over ruled Fife Council and consented planning permission for the development of over 200 houses at Spencerfield in Inverkeithing. This decision is a prime example of all that is currently wrong with the current Scottish Planning System.  This site was rejected by local Councillors.  Rejected by...
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Any time I go out to visit businesses in Fife the main issue always raised with me is Business Rates.  The system is broken.  Rates are currently set at pre 2008 levels and given the worst recession in the intervening years this has been a huge challenge for businesses.  Even with the Small Business Bonus...
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I was asked the Chair of the COSLA Economic Development Group to join him in a meeting with Fergus Ewing MSP at the Scottish Parliament to discuss Business Gateway. Business Gateway is a well respected and recognised brand for not just new business start ups but also for businesses who are looking to develop and...
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Very busy agenda today.  A presentation to the Board on the just launched Faire Fife Commission Report.  In addition an in-depth report on the Fife Economy was reviewed: Jobseeker Allowance Claimants fell in Fife by 1,104 between October 2014 and October 2015 In 2014 32% more new businesses started up in Fife In 2014 there...
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The Fairer Fife Commission was set up by Council Leader, Cllr David Ross in September 2014.  The Commission was totally independent of Fife Council and comprised senior figures who gave up their time for free to carry out a year long review into identifying the priorities areas for Fife Council in relation to tackling poverty...
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Tonight I am co-hosting the Fife Economy Partnership Table at the Courier Business Awards.  The event this year was hosted by Nick Hewer (ex Alan Sugar’s the Apprentice).  This event has grown year on year and it was great to see so many business from Courier Country at the event. It was a very good...
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It been a tough campaign – not least of which was the terrible weather which has been unbelievable over the last few weeks.  However, that has not deterred us being out knocking doors and speaking to people across Rosyth and North Queensferry.  Unfortunately despite having a fantastic local candidate in Vikki Fairweather, we did not...
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The final meeting of the working group on the Prestonhill Quarry Group concluded today.  The improved fencing has been approved at the Ward meeting and will now be installed.  The Water Safety Programme developed by the Fire, Police and Life Saving Association is also now underway across Fife Schools.  Attempts to track down the absent...
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In between everything else it’s been a busy week on the campaign trail for the Rosyth and North Queensferry by election that is taking place on Thursday 26 November.  We have a great community candidate and it’s really heartening to hear people say so many positive things about Vikki.  She really is recognised at a...
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In Stirling today for our Councillor’s Conference.  A really interesting agenda on technology, campaigning and social media.  It’s been a techno week!  But that is the shape of things these days – even in politics. There were a number of workshop events and we were delighted to welcome along Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale and...
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The papers for meetings just seem to get bigger and bigger – and this one is no exception.  Today we were discussing Business Gateway, the Independent Review of Planning that is now underway and the potential for a review of the National Transport Strategy.  There were also papers on Roads Collaboration, Procurement Reform and Broadband...
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Tourism is a big part of Fife’s economy and the turn out at this event at the Keavil House Hotel showed just how important it is.  Provost Jim Leishman opened up the event and the agenda then whirled the delegates off to the world of Digital Tourism and the shape of things to come.  With...
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Dr Paul Dale attended to update on the Radiation Monitoring at Dalgety Bay.  The MOD – as usual – were not in attendance.  Through ongoing monitoring a reading of radiation has been picked up in shellfish.  However, the current controls remain in place and shellfish should not be eaten from this area.   The warning...
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Today’s Executive was a mix of good news and not such good news.   The good news is that the Executive Committee approved the STAG for the Levenmouth Rail Campaign submission to Transport Scotland.  This has been a significant piece of work over many months and all credit to the LMRC campaign group for all...
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Delighted that Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale took time out of her busy schedule to join us on the campaign trail this afternoon.  It was really appreciated that Kezia had time to come along and campaign with Vikki and people were very pleased indeed to see Kezia out in their neighbourhood.  Thanks too to Deputy...
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Today we discussed the ongoing position with the Corn Exchange.  Despite efforts to sell / let this lovely building there remain challenges for most of the groups who at various points have expressed an interested in it.  It is now back on the market with a new Agent, so perhaps this time this will result...
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Out campaigning this morning with our Candidate in the Rosyth & North Queensferry by election –  Vikki Fairweather, a real Community Champion for the local area.  With lots of support from the Fife Labour Team we started with a street stall at 9am and then had teams of people out leafleting across Rosyth. The weather...
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Popped along to Aberdour tonight for a thank you event for the Village In Bloom Team who have a tremendous record both in local and national competitions.  Despite the weather being very wet and windy there was a great turn out from the village community to say “thank you” to this team of incredibly dedicated...
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Contender for Business Week’s most popular event has to be the Meet the Buyer Event.  The Council’s aim is to get more of Fife’s businesses working with the Council and other public sector bodies.  There is a very structured way that businesses need to engage with public sector bodies, like the Council, NHS etc, and...
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It’s Fife Business Week and a breakfast meeting this morning with FEP and MSP Fergus Ewing. There was a question and answer which covered areas such as, business rates, STEM subjects (Science Technology Engineering & Maths), the need for an Enterprise Culture to encourage the growth of small businesses. Fife has been leading work in...
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Attending the FSB East of Scotland Annual Dinner in Edinburgh.  Part of my role is to establish good working relationships with organisations like FSB and it is important that the Council understandings the issues and concerns of business so that we can work with them to improve the service and partnership that the Council can...
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Early morning visit to Leven to join the cross European partnership team working on the Erasmus+ programme. Fife Council’s Employability Team is working on an innovative learning approach to staff training for young offender’s to get them ready for employment.  Our partners come from across Europe and this programme is also working with Polmont Prison....
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I am currently Chair of TAYplan (the post rotates via the member local authorities each year) and it was my great pleasure to attend the Scottish Planning Awards in Edinburgh where the TAYplan team picked up an award for their work on the TAYplan Development Plan.  The awards were presented by Minister Alex Neil and...
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I am currently acting as Election Agent for Labour Candidate Vikki Fairweather in the up coming by election in Rosyth and North Queensferry on 26 November. Vikki is a great local candidate.  Working Mum with three children and very much active and involved in her community where she chairs the Camdean Community Club.  She also...
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Fife Business Week is now underway and it’s going to be a very successful one if today’s event is anything to go by.  It was a full house at the Queensferry Hotel to meet the Fife Council Team and also Mark Robertson of Ryden.  There was a lively question and answer session about the reform...
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Great to pop in and catch up with the ICI Committee.  Things are now well underway with the regeneration programme and the PPP (Planning Permission in Principle) application will be submitted shortly.  The aim is to have the detailed Planning Application submitted in January 2016 with a target on site start date of October 2016....
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Today we met with the Leaders of the other political Groups and Fife Council Officers to update on the proposed timetable for the Budget and to review proposals as to how we will engage with people across Fife on the debate about how we can preserve our public services against the backdrop of severe cuts....
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Met today with representatives from the Levenmouth Rail Campaign (LMRC – www.lmrc-action.org.uk) to share the consultants report with them prior to it going to the Executive Committee next week.  This is a significant milestone for the LMRC so we wanted to make sure they had a chance to talk through the report with Council Officers....
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Busy agenda for the Committee tonight and good to see members of the public coming along.  One of the key talking points – planning.  The recent development proposal by Springfield for the industrial estate was rejected by the SW Area Planning Committee and this means that the work to preserve the integrity of the industrial...
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Full Council today.  We started with three deputations.  Ian Waddell on behalf of the Joint Trade Unions affiliated to the STUC/Fife Trades Council and the Fife People’s Assembly who were outlining their opposition to the Tory’s proposed Trade Union Bill.  Fife Council has already said it will not support the Bill believing it to be...
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At Lochore Meadows today for the Strategy Day that was organised for the Board Members of the Fife Coast & Countryside Trust.  I sit on this Board as part of my Portfolio as spokesperson for Economy & Planning.  The Board reviewed how far the Trust has come over the years, with many memories being shared....
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The speech by Kezia today was just quite simply great.  Kezia set out a can do approach to how Scottish Labour will use the powers that the Scottish Parliament has – as well as our ambitions for the future.  Read more about it here www.keziadugdale.com After a very busy day some of Fife Labour Councillors...
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I’m spending the next few days attending the Scottish Labour Party Conference in Perth.  There some great debates coming up over the weekend and I am looking forward to listening to everyone’s views.  Today, I am also a little bit excited as I am proposing one of the Motions on Education.   One of my...
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It was lovely to pop in to Kingdom FM Studio to record the promotional messages for Fife’s Business Week. This event is hosted by the Fife Economy Partnership and there is a full action packed week of events across Fife on offer to the business community – many of them free.  One of the most...
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I met with Levenmouth Rail Campaign group tonight along with local Councillor Charles Haffey.  This was the Group’s monthly meeting and a timely opportunity to visit to bring them up to date on where we were with the STAG process. It was good to be able to confirm that the consultation had now closed that...
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Today I attend a really poignant ceremony in Dunfermline at the Garden For Heroes.  The ceremony was to launch an event by the British Legion to commemorate Remembrance Day through to 16 November by placing poppies, crosses and other symbols in the memorial garden.  Provost Jim Leishman put in the first cross.  This is a...
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Today’s Executive Committee saw papers presented by Education and Children’s Services.  In my opinion these were some of the best work that has been presented to the Committee.  Read more about it here:  www.fifedirect.org.uk/publications/index.cfm?fuseaction=… The focus was on – improving learning support in every school, Kinship Carers and their allowances.  This is one area that...
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I was on Kingdom FM today talking about the fall in Fife unemployment figures compared to an 18,000 increase across Scotland.  Over the last month there has been a 13% decrease in the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) compared with 10% in Scotland.  Fife’s rate overall is 2.3% however we are still...
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I think I have lost count the number of by elections we have had in Fife.  We now have two more – which I think brings us up to 12.  This time they will be in Rosyth/North Queensferry and Dunfermline North following two SNP Councillor resignations.  The election date is 26 November so we will...
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At Home Farm Trust this afternoon (www.hft.org.uk) an amazing facility in Lundin Links that provides fantastic lodge style accommodation for people in need of respite.  With the launch of the new James Bond film on Monday today’s event was definitely gearing up for a Licence to Thrill.  We were at Home Farm for a Bond...
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Today Fife Council Leader, David Ross and myself were meeting with NE Fife MP Stephen Gethins.   It’s important that we work together on key strategic issues if we are to deliver for the people of Fife so it was good to hear from Stephen that he is supporting our proposed City Region Deal, The...
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Busy agenda for tonight’s meeting.  Great to hear about progress on the conversion of the old station waiting room into a forthcoming visitor attraction – it’s moving ahead and I can’t wait to see it when it’s complete.  It will undoubtedly be another great asset for Aberdour.  Discussions over the last few weeks have also...
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Joined some of my SW Area Councillors on a visit to Oceaneering in Rosyth.  Oceaneering is a global oilfield provider of engineered services and products primarily to the offshore oil and gas industry, with a focus on deepwater applications. They employ around 450 employees and they work on highly complex solutions for the oil and...
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Tonight I attended a public meeting in Rosyth against the proposed changes to the Trade Union Bill.  Speakers from GMB, Unite and Unison were in attendance along with Alex Rowley MSP – the event was chaired by my colleague Cllr Linda Erskine.  If the changes to this Bill are approved it will undo all the...
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A busy agenda today.  The Committee received a verbal update on the Longannet Task Force. The impact of the closure beyond Fife was explained with the likely loss of jobs across Scotland around 1000.  Concerns expressed about the impact on the Scottish Coal Industry and the unsuccessful attempt to get the UK Government to implement the Carbon Tax...
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Today we were meeting with Abellio to discuss the current service provision on Fife Circle routes and to look at opportunities for how we can work together to improve the service and customer experience for passengers in Fife. While the Scottish Government quest is to get quicker trains on the east coast line there are...
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Tonight’s meeting welcomed Dr Paul Dale from SEPA to provide an update on progress on the planned radiation remedial work.  Yet again there was no representative from the MOD at the meeting and quite rightly Community Councillors were voicing their concerns.  At the Public Forum questions were raised about the lack of maintenance of the...
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Following an extensive campaign the Scottish Government have relented to pressure and now agreed that UCG is included in the moratorium and review of unconventional gas. Sunday’s event had been organised before this announcement and I was glad that the organisers decided to go ahead with the event. There was a great turnout and along...
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On Friday evening I attended a Labour event in Glasgow where the key speakers were Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale and Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn.  This was the first time that I have heard Jeremy speak “live” and was very impressed.  It was also good to see Kezia in top form and even more pleasing...
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This afternoon I am back for my third visit to Inverkeithing High School.  This time I am meeting with one of the S4 classes to talk about my role as a councillor and the various activities across the Ward.  It was great to meet with the young people and get their perspective on politics.  As...
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Good meeting today at Inverkeithing High School to review the progress and activities of the Employability Group.  There is a range of activities underway in this group and today was about reviewing what is already in progress and new activities coming up in the next few months.  The IT Class at the Wing is now...
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Busy agenda tonight with a presentation from Head Teacher Iain Yuill reviewing the outstanding school attainment results.  Huge improvements attracting a lot of national interest.  We also discussed plans for the new £1M nursery extension for a Family Nurture Centre – one of 7 in Fife. I am so delighted this is being built in...
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Attended the sod cutting ceremony for the new Levenmouth campus. This is going to be a unique education experience with two high schools merging and also Fife College also on site.  This is the vision of where education is going in the future with the integration of curriculum from school to college opening up more...
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Popped in to Civic Centre for the Town Centre Event. Despite a very wet day great that people came along and even better they have lots of ideas. Make sure you’ve had the chance to see the plans and have your say.
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Out this morning joining Fife Labour colleagues at the Anti Cuts March.  A really strong turn out for the march, and well done to the organisers – even the weather was good.  Fife Council has £21M to take out it’s budget next year.  We have £77M to take out the following year.  We are working...
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Unfortunately the by election did not go in our favour and the SNP held the seat.   Thanks to everyone who worked so hard and appreciate all the time voters took to speak with us on the door step.  We’ll be back. Straight into things this morning for the short listing of candidates for the...
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Today is by election day in Glenrothes – I plan to be out in the Ward for most of today campaigning for our candidate Alan Seath. We have also heard that another SNP Fife MP has resigned which means another by election, this time in Rosyth. It’s very disappointing that the resignations were not done...
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Glad to be in Fife House today and the opportunity to catch up on emails.  I also caught up with the Levenmouth Rail Campaign – we are coming up to a key milestone with the STAG Process with open events being held next week.  If you want to find out more about their campaign, or...
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29 September Today it’s our Executive Committee.  We received an update on the Syrian Refugee situation and the potential timetable for arrivals to Fife in the coming months.  Read more about it here: http://fish.fife/fish/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=ViewNews&objectid=18E075D1-C01A-F55E-425EDD5A9269EF1C We also approved the next stage of the proposal to build a new 60 bed care home with day care as...
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28 September This afternoon I attended briefing about the Fairer Fife Commission – the Commission are coming to the end of their work and this meeting was to give an overview of some of the main findings prior to it’s publication in the next few weeks.   This has been a major piece of work undertaken...
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Even though it’s Sunday… I’m back in Glenrothes today campaigning for our candidate Alan Seath.  Alan is first class local candidate and with just a few more days to the election we want to get the message out across the ward.  It’s another sunny day, we got a very good turn out of helpers –...
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26 September This morning I was at Fife Labour’s street stall in Dunfermline High Street campaigning against the proposed UK Government changes to the Trade Union Bill.  This is a very regressive Bill and will undo the rights of workers that have been fought for over generations. If you would like to sign the national...
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25 September This morning attended Inverkeithing High School to meet with one of the S5 / S6 Modern Studies classes.  They have been studying Poverty and I was asked to come along and talk about my work as a Councillor and what the Council is doing to address poverty. There are so many things that...
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Tonight attending my Dunfermline constituency Labour Party Meeting where members are submitting motions for the Labour Party Conference at the end of October.  I was delighted to speak to my motion on Education and even more delighted when it was voted as the motion to go forward from our CLP to Conference.  Can’t wait to...
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24 September This afternoon attended a meeting to review the proposals for Inverkeithing Town Centre.  This was a study funded by Fife Council.  Part of my brief is to support town centres and it’s good to see that Inverkeithing has accessed Council support to begin to look at how the town centre could develop.  With...
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Wednesday 23 September This afternoon was the first Fife Council Officers/Ward Councillor meeting on the regeneration of Fraser Avenue.  This meeting pulls together all the different groups associated with the regeneration to look at housing, employability, amenities and communities.  Kingdom Housing also attended the meeting.  There is good progress being made across the various groups...
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Wednesday 23 September In Glasgow at the Pearce Institute in Govan for an address by the First Minister and Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty on the Human Rights Act.  We debated this motion a few months ago at Full Council and I spoke about my support for the Human Rights Act and the need for a...
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Tuesday 22 September This year I am Chair of TAYplan and this morning I was in Dundee for an early morning meeting to go through the agenda planning process for the next meeting.  It was also a chance to say good bye to Pam Ewen as TAYplan Manager, and welcome her as Fife Council’s new...
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Saturday 19 September Out this morning leafleting for our candidate Alan Seath. Big contrast to last week’s rain – the sun was out and so was Fife Team Labour.  We were joined by MSP’s Alex Rowley and Jayne Baxter and Fife Council Leader David Ross. If you would like to get involved and help us...
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Friday 18 September At COSLA offices in Edinburgh today for the Economic Development meeting of local authorities from all across Scotland.   Today we had a very busy agenda.  Big focus on planning, lots of concerns about planning from across the country and very much reflecting the concerns that have been raised with me. Check...
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Thursday 17 September Today at Full Council everyone gave their support for welcoming refugees in Fife.  Read more about it here and how you can help : fifedirect.org.uk/heretohelp I spoke today in the motion put forward by Cllrs Tom Adams and Bobby Clelland, for Council to call on the Scottish Government to include UCG (Underground...
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Tuesday 15 September Delighted to have been invited to attend the AGM of ICI (Inverkeithing Community Initiative).  The Group have come a long way in the last two years and I am delighted to see them going from strength to strength.  Guest speaker of the evening was MSP Alex Rowley, recently elected Deputy Leader of...
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Monday 14 September Early start this morning to meet Head of Housing regarding Factoring.  We are looking at Factoring arrangements in Fife, current practice, and how things might improve.  Housing and Planning are going to work together to look at this over the next few months.  This topic has come up due to residents being...
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