Scotland’s Place in Europe

Yesterday I led for Scottish Labour during a Scottish Government debate on Scotland’s Place in Europe.

During the debate I highlighted the benefits of the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union and the access to the single market that membership brings.

I also called for a clearer focus from the EU on tackling youth unemployment and inequality, including opposing cuts to the Horizon 2020 funds that greatly benefit Scottish Universities. Continue reading

Action needed over NHS missed targets

Last week it was announced that the number of patients being treated in Accident and Emergency within the 4 hour waiting time target had dropped to 90.9% in December 2014. This is a significant drop from the 98.5% that was recorded in the same month in 2013 and down from the 95.2% in November 2014.

As I result I have written to the Scottish Government to call for them to take appropriate action to address this fall and ensure that the resources are available to staff to enable them to treat patients within the waiting time target.

Staff within the NHS do a great job under ever increasing pressures and therefore it is vital that they have the right resources available to them to ensure that our patients are being treated to the highest possible standards.

We knew previously that NHS Fife is struggling from bed blocking and increasing locum costs. We now know that they are also struggling to meet their four hour waiting time target. That is why the Scottish Government must take action. Continue reading

Claire meets with Minister over quad bike campaign

I have continued my campaign against anti-social behaviour on motorised scooters and quad bikes by meeting the Scottish Government to raise concerns. The meeting followed questions I raised in the Scottish Parliament and a visit to a local farmer to see the damage caused to his farm by the inappropriate use of such bikes.

I have been campaigning on the issue following a number of constituents getting in touch to highlight the inappropriate use of the vehicles in their area, particularly around Methil, Wemyss villages and Kirkcaldy.

The complaints I have received includes the riding and racing of the bikes and scooters on pavements, streets and fields. I raised the issues with the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs during General Questions shortly before Christmas and met with the Minister in the Scottish Parliament. Continue reading

It’s time for a frack free Fife

It’s time for a frack free Fife and that is why I am backing calls from Scottish Labour for a triple lock system to guard against fracking in Scotland. 

Under plans announced by Jim Murphy, Scottish Labour will use the new powers from the Smith Commission to stop fracking in Scotland. This move would stop Fife being a “test bed” for the controversial process.

I have long been campaigning both in Fife and the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish Government to take action against fracking. I have called for robust national guidelines and the introduction of buffer zones.

I’ve always been clear though that this was only the start as the decision on fracking in Scotland rests ultimately with the Scottish Government and should take into account the concerns of locals. Continue reading

Quad Bike campaign continues with Farm Visit

Yesterday I continued my campaign against anti-social behaviour on motorised scooters and quad bikes in Methil and the Wemyss villages. I visited a farmer in East Wemyss to inspect the damage to his land caused by the use of such bikes.

Previously I have raised concerns in the Scottish Parliament after being contacted by constituents. I have seen a significant increase in the number of complaints made to me in recent weeks regarding the use of anti-social behaviour and quad bikes.

I’ve raised the issues with the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs during General Questions shortly before Christmas (you can read about it here) and I am due to meet with the Minister next week. Continue reading

Claire calls for action over child homelessness

This week I called for the Scottish Government to ‘wake up’ to the growing housing crisis facing Scotland after Shelter Scotland released figures showing that over 4,000 children in Scotland will be homeless this Christmas

These figures will shock anyone who has read them and must act as a wake up call to the Scottish Government. Nobody wants to see a single child spend Christmas homeless, let alone 4,000, and we all must work together to fix this growing crisis.

According to Shelter Scotland, a shortage of affordable social housing is the root cause of the problem, which is why I have called for the Scottish Government to back Labour’s proposals for a National Housing Action Plan. Continue reading

Claire calls for the Government to reconsider rent cap opposition

Today I have called for the Scottish Government to reconsider their opposition towards capping rent rises after the SNP rejected the plan for the third time in Parliament yesterday. I am disappointed that for the third time the SNP have voted against our calls despite advice from their own Expert Working Group.

The Expert Group on Welfare earlier this year recommended a rent cap that would rise in line with inflation. Their decision to reject these simple but effective proposals benefits those landlords within the renting system that are keen to make a quick buck at the expense of hard working families looking to make ends meet.

Earlier this year, Scottish Labour proposed a cap on rent rises during the passing of the Housing (Scotland) Act with the aim to stop tenants being exposed by landlords imposing excessive rent hikes. I supported these proposals but they were blocked by the SNP and Conservative parties when they voted against them.  Continue reading

Claire raises antisocial behaviour in Fife

Yesterday I raised concerns over antisocial behaviour with quad bikes in Fife following fears raised by constituents. I raised the issue with the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs during General Questions in the Scottish Parliament.

I called for the Government to look at strengthening fixed penalty notices to give the police more ‘tools in their box’ to deal with problems around quad bike usage. I raised the issue following concerns that anti-social behaviour on quad bikes was taking place in Fife with the bikes being used on pavements and streets.

I have seen an increase recently in the number of people contacting me about the issue of quad bikes and antisocial behaviour. This is not just an issue for rural Scotland but is becoming an issue and nuisance on the streets and pavements of Fife. Continue reading

Claire writes to Justice Secretary as crime in Fife rises

Today I have written to the Scottish Government to call on them to tackle Fife’s rising crime rates after the release of the latest official Recorded Crime Statistics has shown a 6% increase in reported crime in Fife. 

These statistics highlight the unacceptable increase in crime in Fife, despite the level in Scotland reaching a 40 year low. We must now look beyond these figures and ask why this rise in Fife has taken place.

The increase in reported crime follows on from concerns I raised last year regarding the restructuring of police services in Fife after it was announced that the number of chief inspectors throughout Fife was being more than halved, down from seven to three.

With the advent of Police Scotland concerns were raised over the future of local policing and the ability for the new force to respond to local concerns. Questions must now be asked of the new Justice Secretary if the current structure and planning has negatively impacted on local policing, particularly in Fife. Continue reading

Claire praises Fife at Big Lottery Fund reception

Last week I had the honour of hosting the Big Lottery Fund reception in the Scottish Parliament. The event, which was held in the Scottish Parliament restaurant, was held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Lottery’s first draw and the 10th year of the Big Lottery Fund. 

I was honoured to host the Big Lottery Fund event and to use the opportunity to highlight the excellent work being done across Fife as a result of their funding.

The aim of the event was to highlight the work of the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland and I was pleased to be able to use the opportunity to praise the excellent work being done across Fife as a result of their funding. Continue reading