Recently I met with BiFab workers and trade union representatives at their yard in Methil to discuss their future and concerns as we near the end of their current Beatrice contract.
I also raised the issue directly with the First Minister during FMQs where I called for continued Government support to ensure we can protect jobs and the company can survive any gap in their order book.
That is why I am hosting a meeting in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow to allow trade union members to meet and lobby MSPs from all parties as we work to secure the future of the yards.
I previously held a similar lobby in 2015, which led to cross party pressure on the UK Government ahead of the awarding of the current Beatrice contract. Continue reading →
Today I questioned the Energy Minister as he announced that the current moratorium on fracking will be extended indefinitely.
As a long time campaigner against fracking in my region welcome this move, however it still stops short of an outright ban. I’ve been campaigning against fracking and UCG locally since 2012 and I will continue to support any efforts to introduce a full legislative ban.
I do not believe that the potential risks to public health and the environment have been addressed and I believe that the exploitation of another fossil fuel will hamper our climate change priorities. Continue reading →
Following the successful campaign to have underground coal gasification banned in Fife and across Scotland I have today called for the Scottish Government to back plans to ban fracking in Scotland and ensure a “frack free Fife”.
The banning of UCG was only the first step. Now the Scottish Government must work with Scottish Labour in banning fracking. Anything less is unacceptable.
All evidence points to the fact that fracking, yet another fossil fuel, will have a negative impact on our environment. It is an unnecessary and environmentally damaging process that has no place in Fife.
This is about the air we breathe, that water we drink and the communities we live in. That is why Labour will change the law and ban fracking in Scotland, just as we promised in our election manifesto.
My colleague Claudia Beamish MSP, has launched a consultation to ban the continuous process in Scotland and I would encourage everyone to put forward a submission to the consultation and unite behind calls for a frack free Fife.
Earlier this year the Scottish Parliament passed a motion calling for such a ban. The motion was passed due to Labour votes as a result of the SNP abstaining. The Scottish Government must listen to locals and community groups, the very people that will be impacted by the potential of drilling under their homes.
I was delighted to attend the recent Coalfields Home Internationals at Forthbank Stadium to watch teams from Benarty and Alloa battle it out with teams from Derby, Hartlepool, Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil.
Coalfield Regeneration Trust do a great job in supporting and empowering coalfield communities across the country and this football tournament was the culmination of a nationwide competition that pitted teams of 14 to 16 year olds against each other.
I was delighted that my region was hosting the final and that two local teams had made it through the Scottish section. I was also pleased to see Kelty & Blairadam Pipe Band providing the entertainment throughout the day.
Congratulations to the team from Hartlepool who were the overall winners.
Tomorrow the Scottish Parliament can vote for a ban on fracking in Scotland after Scottish Labour submitted an amendment to a Government motion that calls for the ban to be introduced.
I have been campaigning for some time for a Frack Free Fife and this week offers the perfect opportunity for all Fife politicians to unite behind that goal.
Currently the Scottish Government has stopped short of implanting a full ban on fracking, introducing a moratorium (a short term pause) on the process instead. This is despite repeated calls from Scottish Labour, the Lib-Dems and the Green’s for an outright ban.
The Scottish Government can take decisive action against UCG and fracking in Fife and we know that from community groups, to national environmental organisations, to Fife Council there is support for an outright ban. Continue reading →
Recently the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) announced the classifications of bathing waters for throughout Scotland, including Fife.
According to SEPA, 4 of Fife’s 14 designated bathing waters have been classed as ‘excellent’ with a further 7 rated as ‘good’. Only one area, Kinghorn Harbour Beach, was rated as ‘poor’.
The classifications are a result of the new European classification system which has resulted in much tighter water quality standards. Under the new regulations, four years of monitoring data is used to provide a more consistent picture of water quality.
The 4 ‘excellent’ areas in Fife are amongst the 17 across the country that received the top rating. A further 38 throughout Scotland were rated as ‘good’, 12 ‘sufficient’ and 17 as ‘poor’. Continue reading →
Today I took part in a member’s debate celebrating the work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.
The trust is based in Alloa and has worked across the Mid Scotland and Fife region in the past 15 years carrying out excellent work regenerating and addressing the challenges facing former mining communities.
Thirty years after the decline of the coal industry, there is a continuing legacy of poverty and deprivation, a set of circumstances which in recent years, has faced further pressure. There are still worse levels of deprivation in coalfield committees when compared to other areas, and the Trust report that Fife, by some margin, has the largest and most pronounced concentration of coalfield deprivation in Scotland.
I was able to highlight the Trusts work in Methil, where they provided grants to groups and projects through their Participatory Budget Fund. The fund has proved a success and for every £1 invested though participatory budgeting an additional £5 of external funding has been secured.
Communities living with poverty often feel remote from decision making or feel as if their vote at the ballot box doesn’t change their lives or community very much. Projects such as this give communities power, control and decision making, bring people together to improve their community and I am happy to continue to work with them in delivering change in Mid Scotland and Fife.
This week SCIAF joined us in the Scottish Parliament to celebrate their 50th anniversary, hosting a well attended evening celebrating on Wednesday.
It was good to meet and discuss all the fantastic work they do throughout the world. I look forward to further conversations as we work together in my role as Democracy spokesperson for Scottish Labour.