Claire calls for Justice Centre for Kirkcaldy

I can reveal that the number of jury trials in Kirkcaldy have almost doubled in the past 5 years and that is why I have reiterated my calls for a new, state of the art, Justice Centre in the town.

Statistics released to me have revealed the strain been felt by the current court. In the past 5 years, the total number of trails called has increased from 1,196 to 2,060, amongst those the number of jury trails called have increased by almost 100%.

At the same time, there has been a 55% increase in the number of trails adjourned, a quarter of which were adjourned due to a lack of court time in the past year. This is despite an increase in the number of days the court has sat.

In 2012 a consultation document from the Scottish Court Services that led to the closure of local courts across Scotland highlighted the need for change in Kirkcaldy. Continue reading

Claire calls for Charity event to mark bridge opening

With the Queensferry Crossing opening this year I have called for a charity event to celebrate the new bridge and raise vital funds for local and national charities.

The event would follow the success of the ‘M74 bike and hike’ which took place before the opening of the M74 extension in Glasgow in 2011. This event saw around 20,000 participants take part in 2 separate courses; a short 4km route or the longer 14km round trip.

Participants could raise money for the charity of their choice but the event officially recognised 8 main organisations, including SAMH, Macmillan Cancer Support and the British Heart Foundation.

This was a great way to open the M74 extension and simultaneously raise awareness and money for charity and it would be fantastic if such an event could be arranged for the opening of the Queensferry Crossing.

I have no doubt that Fifers would love the opportunity to be amongst the first to cross the bridge and take part in what could be a full day of fun stretching from one side of the Forth to the other.

With great views of the rail and road bridge along with the coast of Fife, the opportunity for people to cross the bridge before it is open to cars should be fully considered. This would be a great initiative to raise money for local charities such as MND Scotland but also for the many local charities across Mid Scotland and Fife that do great work day in day out.

I hope that people across the region can get behind an event to mark the opening of the crossing event and that the Scottish Government will make such an event a reality.

Government must “step up and take action” on quad bikes

I have called for the Scottish Government to step up and take action on the illegal and anti-social use of quad bikes and motorised scooters after they confirmed to me that they were not taking any action to encourage the responsible selling and ownership of such vehicles.

I am disappointed and deeply frustrated that despite a commitment from the previous Minister for Community Safety, the Scottish Government have now decided to hide behind the UK Government rather than take action.

I have been campaigning against such anti-social behaviour for some time and I have organised roundtables, met with the Police, campaigners, and concerned members of the public, and raised the issue many times in Parliament.

The illegal and anti-social behaviour on motorised off-road vehicles, such as quad bikes, continues to blight our local communities and the public rightly want to see as much effort as possible from everyone in tackling this nuisance. Continue reading

Claire backs ScotRail price freeze plan

Today Scottish Labour announced a plan to freeze Scotrail prices.

Passengers across Mid Scotland and Fife are fed up with overpriced, overcrowded and unreliable trains.

Despite this, fares are due to rise in January. That is why Scottish Labour is calling for a fares freeze. After weeks of misery, people across the region deserve a better deal.

If you agree with us and back our plan then you can sign Scottish Labour’s petition below:

http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/page/s/labour-backs-a-2017-fare-freeze

Claire backs Freedom From Fear Campaign

With over 300 shopworkers assaulted every day I am pleased to support Usdaw’s campaign to call for an end to abuse in the workplace.

As part of the Freedom From Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff, Usdaw members came to Parliament to highlight the problems faced by staff during Respect for Shopworkers Week.

Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse whilst serving the public. It is really important we stand together and ask people to keep their cool and respect shopworkers, especially as we approach the busy Christmas shopping period.

No one should have to go to work expecting abuse.

I will continue to campaign with Usdaw to provide shopworkers the support they need and deserve. We must give a clear message that abusing or assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable.

http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/political-backing-for-campaign-to-protect-shop-workers-1-4294356

Support for Levenmouth Rail Link

Recently I met with the Transport Minister and Transport Scotland where I once again called for the re-introduction of Levenmouth Rail Link.

I’ve been campaigning for its re-introduction since I was first elected in 2007 and was pleased that my lobbying resulted in it being included in Scottish Labour’s manifesto ahead of last year’s election.

However there is still much work to be done and recently I also took part in a local conference with Levenmouth Rail Campaign, Fife Council and opposition politicians, which you can read about on Fife Today.

I look forward to working together as we continue to campaign for its re-introduction.

Claire welcomes UCG ban

After first raising concerns over Underground Coal Gasification in 2013, I’m delighted that today it was announced UCG has no place in Scotland.

It was clear from the outset that this was an unnecessary and environmentally damaging process that had no place in the region.

I was pleased when my successful call to have UCG include in a moratorium was accepted last year and that research has now left the Scottish Government with no option but to rule UCG out.

Whilst Fife will no longer be a guinea-pig for UCG, this can only be the first step. The Scottish Government must now come out and ban fracking so once and for all we can have a Frack Free Fife.

You can read more here.

 

Cleft Lip and Palate Campaign

Today I met with campaigners, including from Fife, who are opposing plans to centralise cleft lip and palate surgery to a single site in Scotland.

As a result, those within Fife would have to travel to Glasgow to receive such surgery. Previously the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh also offered cleft lip and palate surgery.

Campaigners today were handing over a petition with over 6,000 signatures and I hope that NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government listen to their concerns.

You can find out more and sign the petition here

Claire hosts quad bike roundtable in Kirkcaldy

Today I held a roundtable meeting in Kirkcaldy to tackle the growing instances of illegal anti-social behaviour on quad bikes and motorised vehicles in the area. This was an opportunity for those concerned about anti-social behaviour on motorised vehicles to get round the table and try and find a solution.

The meeting follows my recent visit to Rabbit Braes, which has been described as a ‘problematic area’ after concerned locals got in touch with me to highlight a rise in dangerous behaviour on such vehicles.

It is clear that the problem in Kirkcaldy is escalating and following my campaign in Levenmouth it is important that we all work together to replicate the success we had in tackling such behaviour.

Locals are rightly concerned for their safety. These vehicles are being used in parks and pathways causing huge danger to children, residents and dog walkers. Many fear it is only a matter of time before a serious injury takes place. Continue reading

ScotRail to increase peak time Fife Circle services

I am delighted to have secured a victory in my campaign for better rail services in Fife after ScotRail have confirmed to me that they were planning to increase the number of coaches during peak time services.

Train services, or rather lack of train services, is one of the biggest issues to fill my inbox as an MSP. From the Levenmouth Rail Link to peak time services on the Fife Circle it is clear that the Kingdom often gets short changed.

That is why I am pleased to see that ScotRail is committed to increasing the number of coaches available for their peak time service to 5, when electric trains are introduced to the Edinburgh and Glasgow route. However, it is worth remembering that this service was originally scheduled to run with 6 coaches so there is still room for improvement.

Continue reading