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Councillor John Finnie
(01463) 712836 Mobile 07748 624296
John is always available
to help with any issues that you would like to discuss
with him. John also holds regular surgeries in the Hilton
About SNP Councillor John Finnie
John Finnie was
born and brought up in Lochaber and has lived in Inverness
since 1982. He served for 30 years in the police service
and is married with a son, a daughter and two grand-daughters.
Finnie is rightly credited as being the driving force to stop
the privatisation of the Council's Care Homes after the
2007 election. Working with colleagues he then brought forward
proposals to build the five new council run homes currently
He refused to accept
additional public money forced on him as leader of the opposition
in 2008 as the Lib Dem leadership on the council introduced
new paid posts for themselves, instead donating the extra
cash to charity. His view is that the payments were unnecessary
and could not be justified in the prevailing circumstances.
John brings a fresh approach to politics
and is determined to put fairness first as he delivers real
improvements for both his constituents and, in his role as
SNP Group Leader on Highland Council, for people in all areas.
Finnie is the SNP Westminster Candidate for Inverness, Nairn,
Badenoch and Strathspey in the forthcoming Westminster election.
threaten Scottish Tourism
Friday 26th of March 2010
John Finnie fully supports the SNP’s call for the UK Government
to immediately reverse the decision to scrap furnished holiday
lets relief which will be deeply damaging for the tourist businesses
of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, and beyond.
treasury must release fossil fuel levy
Friday 26th of March 2010
The value of the Fund for Scotland has tripled in value since
2007 and now sits at over £176 million yet continues
to sit in accounts in London unused, when it could be helping
us fight the recession - right here, now. The Government in
London could - and should release this money.
fuel prices - Elect a local champion
Friday 26th of March 2010
As part of the Party’s focus on fuel prices, John Finnie
joined Angus Brendan McNeil MP to launch the latest campaign
postcard urging voters who want to drive down fuel prices
to ‘elect a local champion’. Read
the full story here
Finnie says ‘Darling's
duty delay deludes no-one’ -
Wednesday 24th of March 2010
John Finnie believes the public were entitled to expect that
the Chancellor would use this budget to help hard-pressed families
and not raise fuel duty by his planned 3 pence.
Challenge To Lib Dem MP – ‘Don’t Be April
Fool On Fuel Duty’
Tuesday 23rd of March 2010
With less than 24 hours to go until Chancellor Alistair Darling
presents his final budget before the General Election, the
SNP Westminster Candidate in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch &
Strathspey has called on his Lib Dem opponent to oppose a
planned 3p increase in the rate of fuel duty scheduled for
CHANCE FOR A SAY IN THE FUTURE OF SCOTLAND
Councillor John Finnie is delighted at the SNP’s
response to the Scottish Government’s public consultation
on the draft Referendum (Scotland) Bill.
The response sets out the Party's view on the proposed
referendum, clearly stating: Our preference for the
first question to be in regard to full devolved powers
for the Scottish Parliament, as opposed to the London
parties' fudged proposals from the Calman Commission
and our support for a 'YES' vote on the second question
in regard to Scotland's Independence.
Anyone who wishes to add their own response to the
consultation can do so at
or by email: email@example.com or by writing
to: Referendum Bill Team, National Conversation, Referendum
and Elections Division, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6
Councillor Finnie hopes YOU will join us in calling
for the people of Scotland to have their say on our
nation's future. For a copy of the full response contact
COMMUNITY SCHOOL MUST MOVE FORWARD
Councillor John Finnie understands the importance of
a new community school to Aviemore.
The recently announced delay has disappointed many and
prompted questions from Fergus Ewing MSP. Councillor
Finnie applauds the support given to this project by
Fergus and local SNP Councillor Dave Fallows and backs
their comments in the local press. Here..
WARS’ – FINNIE SAYS ‘VOTE LOCAL!’
Councillor John Finnie was first approached by the good
folk of Hilton Community Centre to support their bid to
by a ‘landmark’ on the Highland version of
monopoly being brought out later this year.
Competition to be a place on the board is hot from Ruthven
Barracks and Cairngorm Mountain in Badenoch and Strathspey
to ‘Nessie’. Councillor Finnie will stick
by his original vote and encourages everyone to ‘vote
local’ here: firstname.lastname@example.org
COMMUNITY CENTRE – ‘THE MAYFAIR OF THE NORTH’
Finnie is delighted that a Highland version of the board
game ‘Monopoly’ is to be brought out in
October or November of this year, in time for Christmas.
The manufacturers are seeking nominations for local
landmarks to feature in the game and Councillor Finnie
is lending his support to those seeking to have Hilton
Community Centre, situated within his Ness-side Ward,
as one of the places on the Board.
Councillor Finnie said “I have told the manufacturers
that ‘the Centre, which is staffed by enthusiastic
and community-spirited folk, is the focal point of the
community for all ages and offers a range of activities
to suit all tastes’ and think it be great if Hilton
Community Centre took Mayfair’s place on the Board.”
Please support this proposal by voting here: mailto:email@example.com
ON THE ECONOMY - ‘UK GOVERNMENT MUST DO MORE’
Councillor John Finnie believes
jobs will be a key part of the Westminster campaign
and he applauds the SNP Scottish Government protecting
and creating as many jobs as possible to ensure strong
growth as the economy recovers.
Many levers of power are still held at Westminster and
Councillor Finnie believes the UK Government must do
more and, in particular, continue with a fiscal stimulus.
The UK is the only G7 country which hasn’t continued
with such a move and there is no doubt that capital
acceleration from the Treasury to Scotland would help
stimulate the economy by creating much needed jobs in
the construction industry.
ON RACE RELATIONS/IMMIGRATION
Councillor John Finnie is
very interested in race relations. He is a former Member
of Grampian Racial Equality Council, http://www.grec.co.uk/index.html
and a great admirer of the late SNP MSP Bashir Ahmed,
Scotland’s first Asian MSP.
Mr Ahmed use to say that what really matters in Scotland
is not where we come from, but where we are going -
The SNP believes Scotland should determine its own rules
on immigration so that they better reflect the needs
and interests of our nation. Within the UK system there
should be opportunities for Scotland to attract the
sort of highly skilled immigrants who will add to the
strength of our economy and society.
Councillor Finnie and the SNP strongly opposed the dawn
raids on asylum seekers and the detention of their children.
ALEXANDER ‘LOST’ ON A HUNG PARLIAMENT QUESTION!
Councillor John Finnie believes
that the public have a right to know to whom the Lib
Dems would lend their support in the event of a hung
That simple question was posed to Danny Alexander, the
present MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey,
on the BBC.
Listen to Mr Alexander’s torturous, evasive responses,
from about 10 minutes onwards,
APPLAUDS CROSS-PARTY CONSENSUS
Councillor John Finnie supports Inverness College moving
to the new Beechwood Campus on the outskirts of the
city where they can benefit from the wide range of facilities
to be constructed as part of the University of the Highlands
and Islands (UHI).
The public like politicians working for the common good
and Councillor Finnie applauds the cross-party approach
adopted in respect of this important issue. BBC
CALLS FOR STRAIGHT TALKING ON HOUSING CASH
Finnie believes that with 10,000 folk on the housing
waiting list in Highland housing is a huge priority
which should not be used as a political football.
The SNP Scottish Government is committed to addressing
housing and has, and will continue, to ‘put its
money where its mouth is,’ sadly, our opponents,
both party political and so-called ‘independent’
are not quite so ‘accurate’.
Councillor Finnie won’t flatter those who shout
from the sidelines by repeating their inaccuracies,
rather, here is a comment prepared by the Scottish Government
press office regarding the affordable housing budget
The… issue is actually one for the UK Government
to address in the forthcoming Budget, which is where
representations need to be made.
We brought forward £120 million accelerated funding
from 2010/11 into this year in order to support affordable
housing in Scotland during the economic downturn, providing
vital work for the construction sector and accelerating
Scotland's economic recovery.
By definition, that boosted spending available to fight
recession in 2009/10, and reduced it correspondingly
in 2010/11. It is totally dishonest to ignore the £120
million advanced from next year’s budget and £75
million in subsidies which will give local authorities
the flexibility to borrow £200 million for house
Obviously when you bring forward money, the year you
bring it forward from is always going to show a lower
figure. It was spent early because we wanted to make
sure that during the recession we maximised the amount
That is precisely why we have called for a further round
of accelerated spending into 2010/11 as part of a further
targeted stimulus from the UK Government in the 24 March
Budget, in order to allow for additional resources to
be brought forward into the forthcoming year.
Over the current spending period, spending in Scotland
on affordable housing has been protected in its entirely
and to the penny – despite budget cuts from the
UK Government. The Scottish Government will invest more
than £1.65 billion over the three years in affordable
homes across Scotland, we are on track to build 8,100
homes this financial year.
However, there is a significant risk that the premature
withdrawal of fiscal stimulus by the UK Government could
result in a ‘double-dip recession’. The
head of the International Monetary Fund has already
cautioned that reducing public sector support before
private sector demand has recovered could result in
economies falling back into recession, which is one
reason why we need a further round of accelerated capital
spending in 2010/11.”
An additional £75 million is also being invested
to reverse decades of decline in council house building
in the largest council house building programme for
30 years, with over 1,300 new council homes planned
across the country.
LIB DEMS OUT OF TUNE AND OUT OF TOUCH
Finnie led the SNP Group on Highland Council’s
opposition to the Lib Dem lead Administration’s
ill-conceived and arbitrary cuts.
The SNP Group recognises that the UK Government removing
£814m from the Scottish settlement means there
is a need for economies, however, we will not be party
to attacks on front-line services, especially when Highland
Council employees nearly 900 folk who earn more than
£40,000 per annum!
|Few cuts have galvanised Highland opinion
like the senseless attack on music for our young folk.
The facts speak for themselves and can be found at ‘ECS8’
and ‘ECS22’ here;
How did your local councillor vote?
Please sign: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/handsoffhighlandyoungmusicians/signatures
Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=10150129297745646&ref=ts
Highland Youth Big Band
WHAT WE NEEDED –THREE MORE MANAGERS!
Councillor John Finnie and his SNP colleagues
on the Housing and Social Work Committee were unable
to stop the Lib Dem lead Administration adding three
more managers to the wage bill.
Councillor Finnie believes that every single council
tax payer in the Highlands could find a better use for
Read our Media Release here:
Council Squanders Community Money
The Lib Dem led administration on Highland Council's
decision to respond to the need to encourage more facilities
for older people in communities by employing three senior
area support officers at an annual cost of £150,000
has been described as wasteful and unjustifiable by
the SNP opposition.
Speaking after the meeting of the Housing and Social
Work Committee that made the decision, SNP Leader John
Finnie said “This is money we could have used
to provide real financial support to get new projects
off the ground. There are many Highland Council staff
locally who could, if so directed, assist communities
with good projects to bring them to fruition without
the need for yet another layer of expensive jobs”.
Dave Fallows, SNP spokesman on Health and Wellbeing
said “We opposed this proposal in committee, but
the administration were not in listening mode. We will
be watching the progress of this approach over the next
twelve months to see what, if anything, actually delivers
for older people”.
SCLEROSIS (MS) – THE FIGHT GOES ON
Finnie is a Director of the MS Therapy Centre in Inverness
and, recently, via Facebook, he became aware of research
by Doctor Zamboni, from Italy, into possible links between
chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and
Councillor Finnie wrote to the Scottish Government and
today received an excellent reply from Shona Robison
MSP, Minister for Public Health and Sport, indicating;
the Scottish Government were aware of Doctor Zamboni’s
|Scotland’s Chief Scientist Office
is presently funding three projects into MS, totalling
£312,000; the Scottish Government is also providing
funding to support the start-up of an MS audit to provide
an accurate estimate of MS incidence in Scotland which
will be key in facilitating MS research and which will
provide a valuable data source for clinical trials.
Incidence of MS is higher in Scotland than anywhere else
in the world and Councillor Finnie applauds the work being
done by the Scottish Government and others to find a cure.
Please donate to the Inverness Therapy Centre, which services
a wide area.
BUSINESS BONUS GETS BETTER - HAVE YOU CHECKED?
Councillor John Finnie is keen that businesses
take full advantage of the latest stage of the Scottish
Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme.
Councillor Finnie is aware that 5,200 Highland businesses
have benefitted from the scheme and urges all businesses
to check whether or not they may now be eligible.
The changes, which will come into effect on 1st April,
- Rateable value of £10,000 or less - business
- Rateable value between £10,000 and £12,000
- business rates halved
- Rateable value between £12,000 & £18,000
- business rates reduced by a quarter
- Businesses with small chains of properties with a
cumulative rateable value under £25,000 - business
rates reduced by a quarter
Finnie is delighted that the US and Russia are, once
again, discussing reducing their nuclear arsenals, an
initiative which starkly contrasts with the UK Government’s
proposal to waste billions replacing Trident.
Councillor Finnie is happy to endorse the ‘Cut
Trident’ and ‘Scotland’s for Peace’
campaigns to see the monies spend on alleviating poverty
and creating jobs.
PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN
Action for Children Scotland, formerly
called NCH, have a proud record of acting to ‘make
the future better’ for children.
Councillor John Finnie is proud to endorse their work
to end child depravation and recognise that targeted
early intervention breaks the cycle of deprivation.
Read about all their work here: www.actionforchildren.org.uk
The Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) Project
in Highland is about everyone working to ensure every
child gets the help they need when they need it.
how Highland leads here:
SUPPORTS ‘LOCAL NEWS’
Councillor John Finnie sent the following message to BECTU
and NUJ, Trade Unions seeking support for quality local
I believe that my local news programme on STV plays a
vital role in our democracy by ensuring that viewers in
my constituency have access to quality TV news from a
variety of sources. If elected, I commit to ensure the
future of local news on STV will be protected, including
finding long-term funding solutions that will maintain
and strengthen investment in quality programmes.
Links to unions comments..bectu
Squanders Community Money
The Lib Dem led administration in Highland Council's decision to respond to the need to encourage more facilities for older people in communities by employing three senior area support officers at an annual cost of £150,000 has been described as wasteful and unjustifiable by the SNP opposition. Speaking after the meeting of the Housing and Social Work Committee that made the decision, SNP Leader John Finnie said “This is money we could have used to provide real financial support to get new projects off the ground. There are many Highland Council staff locally who could, if so directed, assist communities with good projects to bring them to fruition without the need for yet another layer of expensive jobs”. Dave Fallows, SNP spokesman on Health and Wellbeing said “We opposed this proposal in committee, but the administration were not in listening mode. We will be watching the progress of this approach over the next twelve months to see what, if anything, is actually delivered for older people”.
OPPOSES REPLACEMENT OF TRIDENT 09/03/10
Councillor John Finnie is a long time supporter of the
SNP’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and is
ashamed that Scotland hosts the United Kingdom’s
Councillor Finnie will not be at the March in Edinburgh
this coming Saturday, rather, as usual, he will be calling
on houses in the constituency seeking folks’ views
on what is important to them. So far the response has
been ‘education, jobs, care of our older people,
the environment, transport’ never the need to
spend vast sums of money on weapons of mass destruction.
Read the First Minister’s comments on Trident
Cut Trident, Not Jobs
This Saturday, I will be in Edinburgh to join marchers
campaigning against the replacement of the UK Trident
nuclear weapons system.
From a personal point of view, I’ve always been
resolutely opposed to the UK’s nuclear weapons.
I’ve never believed that they acted as any kind
of deterrent, or that their use could ever be justified.
With the Cold War long over, it’s now even less
clear what purpose these weapons could ever serve, or
even at whom they might be targeted.
However, at a time when budgets are tight all across
the armed forces, when our armed forces are being sent
into conflict zones without the proper equipment to
do the job we ask of them, and with savage Treasury
cuts to other budgets on the way, it really does beggar
belief that the UK government would want to sink billions
of pounds into a new generation of nuclear weapons.
The people of Scotland do not want weapons of mass
destruction on the Clyde. The Scottish Parliament opposes
it, the Scottish Government opposes it; defence chiefs,
trade unions, religious organisations, and civil society
all oppose replacing Trident.
It’s inevitable that some politicians would like
to pretend that the UK remains a major player in world
affairs, and will argue that having nuclear weapons
is key to retaining that status. However, there are
many other countries around Europe which manage to use
their influence more benignly, and without the need
for nuclear weapons.
A £25bn ‘Son of Trident’ is an exorbitant
price to pay, simply to allow a small elite in Westminster
to pretend that they still matter on the global stage.
With so many other competing and more worthwhile calls
on our resources, membership of the nuclear club is
an expense we can no longer afford.
Join the SNP’s campaign here: http://www.snp.org/node/185
DEMS FLIP-FLOPPING, FOR A THIRD TIME – DOCUMENTS
STILL SHOW LIB DEMS CANNOT BE TRUSTED 09/03/10
Today, the Lib Dem Leader of Highland Council, Michael
Foxley, confirmed Councillor John Finnie’s assertion
that the Lib Dem-lead Administration has considered
privatisation and/or closure of the Councils’
Councillor Foxley alleges the Lib Dems are no longer
planning this, however, given his continuing change
of views, the public have a right to know exactly where
the Lib Dems stand.
Here’s the letter Councillor Finnie has sent to
try and clarify some basic points;
9th March 2010
Councillor Michael Foxley
Leader of the Administration
Highland Council Care Homes
Following coverage in today’s ‘Press and
Journal’, and for the avoidance of any doubt,
can you please confirm that your Administration wish
to retain all the Council’s Care Homes in the
ownership and managerial control of Highland Council
and, with the possible exception of qualified nursing
staff, that they will continue to be staffed by Highland
Leader of the Opposition
SHOW LIB DEMS CANNOT BE TRUSTED
Councillor John Finnie and his colleagues in the SNP
Group have long warned of the Lib Dem lead Administration’s
intentions regarding the care of our older people; more
privatisation, more centralisation and more uncertainty
for an ever-increasing number of folk.
In contrast to the previous SNP Administration who reversed
the privatisation of Council’s Care Homes and
commenced a costed programme to build and run five new
Council Homes, the Lib Dems have awarded contracts worth
several millions to the private sector and now papers
obtained by Councillor Finnie reveal that they are considering
further privatisation and even care home CLOSURES.
The SNP Group will not abandon our older folk.
and Journal Article here..
|Councillor John Finnie outside the now demolished Burnside
Care Home in his Ness-side Ward.
PROBLEM WITH GRAFFITI’? 05/03/10
Councillor John Finnie has
been trying to encourage Highland Council to be more
responsive to the blight of graffiti and, having chased
a reply for months, was astonished to be advised today
that graffiti isn’t a problem in Inverness!
Perhaps you know different?
Please advise Councillor Finnie firstname.lastname@example.org
of any graffiti where you live and he will ensure action
Dems about to implement school closure threat? 05/03/10
Councillor John Finnie and
his colleagues in the SNP Group have repeatedly reminded
the public of Lib Dem Vice Chair of Education, Councillor
Drew Miller’s, threat to close and amalgamate
Councillor Finnie and the SNP will continue to defend
schools, the hearts of our communities.
calls on the Lib Dems to accept responsibility for power-
Councillor John Finnie values
the public’s views, indeed, he knock countless
doors to chat to folk to hear what’s important
Political parties incorporate such views in their programmes
and, even when facing financial difficulties, the public
expect their elected politicians to act, not abdicate,
responsibility and engage in a costly gimmick which
cannot bring about evidenced outcomes
Press and Journal article
FUTURE - SNP delivers on referendum promise
Councillor John Finnie is
a life-long believer in Scotland’s right to take
its place amongst the other Nations of the world and
is proud that the SNP Government has published the Draft
Referendum (Scotland) Bill Consultation Paper. www.scotland.gov.uk/referendum
Councillor Finnie met with Bruce Crawford MSP, Minister
for Parliamentary Business, the driving force behind
the Government’s exciting legislative programme,
to discuss this and other matters.
Visits Staff and Inmates at Inverness Prison
Councillor John Finnie and other members of Highland
Homeless Trust visited Inverness Prison and witnessed
the high standard of support given to the 170 inmates.
The Trust hope to contribute to the prisoner rehabilitation
programme by ensuring housing support for those released.
Councillor Finnie believes that prisons should be for
the ‘bad’ rather than the inadequate members
of our society and is very supportive of constructive
alternatives to custody.
The Scottish Prison Service can be proud of their staff
AND MACDONALD ‘WIN’ NAIRN MONIES –
MAYBE! - 17/02/10
Councillor John Finnie and Provost Liz
MacDonald of Nairn won an assurance from the Lib Dem
lead Administration that they would examine allocating
some of the vast proceeds which Highland Council will
get from sale of the land at the former care home site
at Corsee, Nairn to upgrading McLean Court Day Centre,
The Lib Dems are threatening McLean Court with closure
and the SNP hope that using some of the receipts to
upgrade bathroom facilities will improve prospects of
Councillor Finnie said ‘The SNP is fully committed
to the best possible facilities for our older people.
We initially supported a review of day care facilities
as a sensible way of examining whether the needs of
our older folk are being met have been met, however,
we have since withdrawn that support having seen that
the Lib Dems, lead by former Conservative Candidate,
Councillor Robbie Rowantree, have pre-empted that review
with cuts and now threaten lunch clubs too.’
Councillors Finnie and MacDonald will be watching this
The Lib Dems should be aware the good folk of Nairn
will be watching closely too!
CAN AN SNP MP DO FOR YOU?
John Mason is a fine example of what an MP should be
and Councillor John Finnie can be exactly the same for
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey.
COMMENTS ON ‘COWARDLY BUDGET’
Interest in Highland Council’s
budget extends the length of the authority.
Read Councillor John Finnie’s comments to the
Oban Times here;
The £800m cuts from Westminster won’t miss
the Highlands, however, the SNP is dismayed that this
Lib Dem lead Administration went straight to the front-line,
attacking Primary and Secondary schools and the voluntary
sector, all so vital to our communities.
Following on from halting the Council's Care Home Building
Programme, they now plan cuts in our older peoples'
lunch clubs and day care centres.
Highland Council has almost 900 employees who receive
over £40,000 per year yet they could only find
one such post to delete. This was a cowardly budget.
and his comments in the
Strathspey and Badenoch Herald report here:
Councillor John Finnie was one of the 1700 invited to
participate in local MP Danny Alexander’s meeting
on the Inverness By-pass in Inverness Town Hall.
The modest attendance of sixty in no way reflects the
widespread frustration at an apparent lack of progress
with the issue.
Councillor Finnie advised the meeting that the written
replies he had received from the Transport Minister,
the Chief Executive, Political Leader and Chair of TECS
of Highland Council all indicated a willingness to examine
creative ways of moving forward.
Councillor Finnie believes Highlands and Islands Enterprise,
the British Waterways Board and Historic Scotland need
to be actively engaged and the public kept informed.
and Journal Article:
COVERAGE – ‘TEARS’ SEEM FASHIONABLE
Councillor John Finnie understands that
the Lib Dem lead Administration on Highland Council
think they ‘got off lightly’ by the coverage
following their attacks on schools, older folk and our
voluntary sector, however, time will show that the public
are not easily duped.
Almost nine hundred Highland
Council employees receive over £40,000 but the
Lib Dem Leader, himself a veteran of budgets where the
inflated salaries of an increasing number of bureaucrats
grew, could only find one post not to fill.
Any tears associated with this shocking budget may legitimately
be shed by parents of pupils, families of our older
folk not by some highly paid politician.
the Press and Journal Article
GOVERNMENT PLANS MAKE IT EASIER TO ‘GO GREEN’
Councillor John Finnie believes that any obstacles to
everyone being able to contribute to ‘green targets’
should be removed.
Read his press release on a Scottish Government proposal
to do just that here;
Going green in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
SNP clearing the way for green energy generation
More households in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
are being given the opportunity to generate their own
green energy under SNP Government proposals.
Currently many homeowners are unable to install equipment
including solar panels and ground and water source heat
pumps without planning permission.
But under fresh proposals set out in a consultation
launched this week, people could install wind turbines
or air source heat pumps without a requirement for planning
Commenting, SNP Candidate for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch
and Strathspey, Councillor John Finnie said: “Protecting
the environment, and allowing people in the Highlands
to do so, is really important. At the moment people
who want to cut their energy bills and reduce emissions
by installing micro generation equipment are telling
me there is a real problem with red tape."
“These new SNP Government rules would make it
much easier for householders to play their part in reducing
“The Scottish Government has already permitted
development rights for some technologies but we want
to go further.
“It will also provide a vital boost for Scotland’s
growing renewables sector and help to support jobs.”
The consultation, which runs until April 30, 2010, can
be viewed here:
SAYS LIB DEM’S BUDGET SHOWS THEY DON’T CARE
Councillor John Finnie believes that Highland Council,
like all Scottish Local Authorities, will have to take
its share of the obscene £800 million cuts imposed
by the London Government.
However, the SNP Group also believe in protecting front-line
services and this is reflected in the eve of Meeting
Press Release reproduced here;
Opposition Leader says ‘Administration Doesn’t
Highland Council meets tomorrow (11th February 2010)
to consider the Lib Dem lead Administration’s
budget proposals for 2010/11.
Budget Papers show that in addition to cuts the Administration
already forced through in December, the Administration
plan significant cuts in schools and the care of older
Commenting SNP Group Leader and Leader of the Opposition,
Councillor John Finnie said;
“There are hundreds of highly paid officials behind
the scenes at Highland Council yet the Lib Dem lead
Administration choose to attack front-line services
with cuts in primary and secondary school teachers,
an end to language assistants and music staff laid off.
Altogether a shocking indictment of where their priorities
“Our older people fare no better from an Administration
which has already awarded a multi-million pound contract
to the private sector for home care services and halted
building of the five new Council Care Homes, giving
rise to fears of even further privatisation, as they
now attack older peoples’ lunch clubs and day
“The SNP had already agreed a review of day care
services, on the understanding that the Administration
withdrew its threat to close McLean Court Day Centre,
Nairn, and we are dismayed to see that the outcome of
that review prejudged with twenty two posts identified
to go and plans to ‘deregister’ Care Centres,
just a fancy word for ‘close’.
“This Administration doesn’t care about
education or our older folk and know the value of nothing.”
can be found here:
Specific proposals referred to are on pages 10, 14,
17, 25, 27, 41 & 43
PLEDGES TO ‘VOTE CRUELTY FREE’
John Finnie believes that how we treat animals reflects
the sort of society we are and, for those reasons, he
is happy to lend his support to ‘Vote Cruelty
Read Vote Cruelty Free’s press statement here;
First candidate in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
to Vote Cruelty Free
National Party Candidate, John Finnie, has pledged his
support for Vote Cruelty Free, a new non-partisan coalition
of animal protection organisations working to put animals
on the political agenda. John is the first candidate
in his constituency to support the coalition.
alliance has sent its manifesto to all candidates announced
for the next General Election and asked them to show
their support for the issues raised. So far more than
190 candidates have pledged their support.
Finnie said, “It is important we recognise the
important part that animals play in our lives and the
need to maintain the high standards of livestock management
I know traditionally apply in the Highlands. Future
generations will rightly expect that we apply ourselves
to ending animal cruelty, whether in the laboratory
or the countryside, and, to that end, I am happy to
lend my support to this coalition of animal welfare
A Vote Cruelty Free spokesperson said, “Animal
protection is an issue close to the UK public’s
heart but this is often not reflected in current political
debate. It is fantastic that John Finnie has shown he
believes in animal protection issues as much as his
potential future constituents in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch
and Strathspey; we are calling on all candidates to
follow his lead by pledging their support for Vote Cruelty
Cruelty Free comprises the BUAV, Compassion in World
Farming, IFAW in Action, League Against Cruel Sports
and Respect for Animals. It covers a broad range of
animal welfare issues including wild and marine animals,
animal experimentation, cruel sports, the fur trade
Cruelty Free is urging all candidates to pledge their
support for the initiative. Voters can track candidates
who have signed up by visiting the website
CONDEMNS ‘UNPROFESSIONAL’ REPLY TO CARE
HOME BUILDING QUERIES 15/01/10
John Finnie leads a Group committed to the Council’s
Care Home Building Programme and, when the Lib Dem lead
Administration decided to halt the Programme, pending
a ‘review’, he sought clarificatio9n on
a few points.
Read below a Press Statement covering the response he
SNP Councillor John Finnie, Opposition Leader on Highland
Council, has refused to be put off by an unsatisfactory
reply from the Chair of Housing and Social Work, Councillor
Margaret Davidson, indicating her unwillingness to clarify
the terms of reference of Highland Council Administration’s
review of Council Care Home Building Programme.
Councillor Finnie wrote Councillor Davidson on the 27th
December asking her to explain what specifically the
Administration meant by the phrase ‘taking into
account: The Social and Economic impact on the locality’
used in the review’s terms of reference.
Such detail is important because the precise terms under
which the Programme’s future is to be judged must
be clearly understood by all interested parties. As
things stand, mystery still surrounds the Administration’s
sudden halt to a major Capital Programme, hugely popular
with the public, which Members were told only a few
weeks ago was ‘on target’.
Given the magnitude of the proposal to halt the Programme,
Councillor Finnie also requested an assurance from Councillor
Davidson that residents, their families and friends,
Care Home staff and their trade unions, along with the
Highland Senior Citizens Network and Community Councils
would be consulted during the review.
The reply, received from Councillor Davidson on 12th
January, ignored the first question and avoids giving
any undertaking to consult beyond ‘local Members’.
Councillor Finnie said;
“Those familiar with Councillor Davidson’s
ever shifting position on privatisation of the Council’s
Care Homes may not be surprised by her unwillingness
to answer reasonable questions from the Leader of the
Opposition, however, her dismissive tone is both disappointing
“I received no reply to my request for her to
clarify one of the terms of reference and she makes
it abundantly clear that the Administration has no intention
of consulting residents, staff, communities and others
on this sudden and unexplained halt to a major capital
programme we were told only weeks ago was ‘on
“I would ask the Administration to live up to
their commitments on community engagement and have meaningful
consultation with the Care Home Residents’ support
groups, the Highland Senior Citizens Network and others.”
WINS REPREIVE FOR MCLEAN COURT DAY CENTRE, NAIRN
Liz MacDonald, Provost of Nairn, who has campaigned,
along with Fergus Ewing MSP and Councillor John Finnie,
Westminster Candidate, to retain the Day Care Facilities
at McLean Court, Nairn, this week forced the Lib Dem
lead Administration to defer any decision on the future
of McLean Court pending an agreed review of all day
SNP defending communities, protecting our older folk!
Read some background here:
CHALLENGE ON HOME CARE STAFF NUMBERS
Finnie and his colleagues who attended this week’s
Housing and Social Work Committee Meeting were involved
in a number of debates with the Lib Dem lead Administration
who have already spend several millions on private home
care, put a halt to the Care Home Building Programme
and now give cause to raise concerns over the commitment
to the Council’s role in providing care for our
Read some of the reality here:
A lesson to us all, keep it simple:
CONDEMS LABOUR JOINING LIB DEM ATTACK ON OUR OLDER PEOPLE
John Finnie is dismayed at the latest attack on our
older folk by the unionist parties, this London Labour’s
plan to scrap attendance allowance.
Read his full Press Statement here;
LABOUR PLANS PUSH INVERNESS, NAIRN, BADENOCH AND STRATHSPEY
PEOPLE INTO POVERTY
SNP candidate for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey,
Councillor John Finnie, has hit out against Labour plans
to scrap attendance allowance for nearly 170,000 elderly
and disabled Scots.
The plans, announced by Gordon Brown, will see attendance
allowance scrapped to fund a National Care Service in
England with no consideration of Scottish pensioners.
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions and
the Institute for Social and Economic Research show
that 167,940 people in Scotland receive attendance allowance.
Independent research by ISER shows that removing attendance
allowance would push 40% of those people into poverty,
or 67,000 Scots, that’s 1,060 in Inverness, Nairn,
Badenoch and Strathspey.
In addition to removing attendance allowance Scotland’s
carers could also be affected. Receipt of AA by the
disabled person is one of the grounds for receipt of
Carer’s Allowance by the carer and its removal
could affect 46,300 carers in Scotland.
The proposals have been opposed by Age Concern, Help
the Aged, Royal National Institute for the Blind, MacMillan
Cancer Support and Leonard Cheshire Disability and a
petition on the Downing Street website has attracted
Commenting, Councillor Finnie said:
“This will be terrible news for some of Inverness,
Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey's most vulnerable people.
It is inconceivable that instead of tackling poverty,
Labour is planning to push 67,000 Scots – some
of our most vulnerable residents – into poverty
and remove funding from a further 100,000.
“2,650 of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey's
people will really suffer under these plans. This is
a clear sign of how little the UK Government considers
its impact on Scotland and in particular on vulnerable
“Attendance Allowance offers essential support
to many of Scotland’s elderly and disabled residents
and helps Scotland’s carers. To get rid of this
valuable benefit would be a hammer blow to elderly and
“Without Attendance Allowance more elderly people
would be forced out of their homes into the care system
instead of living independently in their homes.
“This proposal is entirely focussed on England
with no attention paid to the consequences in Scotland.
Labour’s plans ignore Scotland completely.”
1. Attached are details of the number of attendance
allowance recipients (according to the Department for
Work and Pensions) in each Westminster constituency.
2. Charities who deal with elderly and disabled people
have united in opposition to Labour’s plans:
Age Concern and Help the Aged are opposed to the move,
pointing out that ‘That extra bit of help may
help prevent, or delay the need for more formal care.’
The Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB)
is actively campaigning against the proposals as some
53,000 blind and partially sighted people across the
UK receive AA.
Macmillan Cancer Support has also expressed concern,
fearing that removing AA ‘would leave many cancer
patients over 65 unable to pay for the extra costs of
disability, such as a special diet, higher fuel bills
or travel to hospital.’
Leonard Cheshire Disability stated in their response
to the Green Paper they would be ‘strongly opposed’
to integrating AA into the social care system –
adding: ‘…it simply does not make sense
to look to remove elements that are actually working
successfully at present.’
3. Attendance Allowance (AA) is a non means tested tax
free benefit paid to people over the age of 65 requiring
help from another person due to severe mental or physical
disability. It is paid directly into an account of the
recipient’s choice. It is paid at two different
o Higher rate: £70.35 per week
o Lower rate: £47.10 per week
The Higher rate applies to those needing help both day
and night. The Lower rate applies to those needing help
either day or night.
4. Motions for Thursday 14 January 2010
S3M-5515 Alex Neil: Attendance Allowance for People
with Disabilities—That the Parliament notes that
the UK Green Paper, Shaping the Future of Care Together,
published in June 2009, may have long-term implications
for vulnerable older and disabled people in Scotland
who are eligible for attendance allowance and disability
living allowance as it proposes to remove the universal
benefits of attendance allowance and disability living
allowance and instead redesign the benefit system to
meet English social policy objectives and redirect funding
to pay for the provision of a National Care Service
in England, while failing to give adequate consideration
to the position in Scotland, and calls on HM Government
to consult fully with the Scottish Government, the Scottish
Parliament, local authorities, NHS boards and other
interested parties before proceeding any further.
SNP CONDEMNS THE SECOND ‘CALLOUS’ LIB DEM
LEAD HIKE IN SHELTERED WARDEN CHARGES IN TWO MONTHS!
The SNP Group on Highland Council considers protection
of our vulnerable citizens as one of our primary duties
as elected representatives.
Councillor John Finnie, Group Leader, has issued the
following press statement;
Highland Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee,
meeting in Inverness today, voted 15-5 to increase charges
for Sheltered Housing Wardens Charges, for the second
time in two months.
The SNP Group opposed the measure as it follows an increase,
agreed by the same committee on 11th November, as it
would affect the most vulnerable members of our community,
older people and the disabled.
Speaking afterwards, SNP Group Leader John Finnie said;
“The Lib Dems say they understand the economic
crisis faced by our communities yet choose to punish
our sheltered housing tenants, treating this increase
as another opportunity to increase the coffers.
“Lib Dems Leader, Nick Clegg, has announced the
Party is dropping its support for Free Personal Care
for our Older Folk, and already we that mind set at
work in the Highlands with them halting the Care Home
Building Programme, privatizing even more home care
and now our sheltered housing tenants facing another
hike in charges for their much needed wardens.
“We are disgusted that our proposal to protect
vulnerable members of our communities form this second
callous charges hike fell on deaf ears but will continue
to fight to protect the old and vulnerable.”
The first rise can be found at item ‘6’
The second rise can be found here;
Over a quarter of our tenants affected first faced up
to £20.78 per week increase, now will have that
raised, for the second time, by 1.3%.
‘IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO TRUE IT PROBABLY IS!’
John Finnie is keen to raise awareness of various fraudulent
schemes which criminals use to steal from persons they
contact by telephone or mail.
you have any suspicions about any approach you may receive
please do not hesitate to contact Northern Constabulary
on 01463 715555.
find advice from the Financial
Service Authority here:
EXCHANGE SCHEMES – VITAL PART OF HARM REDUCTION
Councillor John Finnie visited the staff of the Needle
Exchange Scheme in Waterloo Place, Inverness.
Scheme is part of the Harm Reduction Scheme and supported
by all public agencies.
in this complex field is often undervalued and frequently
misunderstood and Councillor Finnie will continue to
support any effort to reduce drug dependencies and the
community damage it causes.
about the Scheme here:
the Press and Journal story here:
HOME CARE PROGRAMME - A CRUEL DECEPTION’ 30/12/09
SNP stood at the election in 2007 committed to reversing
the privatisation of the Council's Care Homes.
the SNP formed Highlands first political administration
with the so-called Independents, we secured agreement
to retain the five Care Homes in Council ownership,
build five new Homes and target additional monies and
resources at older people to ensure as many as possible
could stay safely for as long as possible in their own
Lib Dem lead Administration's decision to halt the Care
Home Programme, coming only weeks after they had announced
the replacement programme was on target, is a cruel
deception which the SNP is committed to fully exposing
John Finnie, SNP Group Leader has written to the Chair
of Housing and Social Work asking for details of their
so-called ‘review’, requesting that residents
their families and friends; care home staff and their
trade unions plus Highland Senior Citizens Network and
Community Councils are not only consulted but listened
is a significant lurch towards total privatisation of
care and the SNP are committed to ensuring that does
not take place.
Courier articles here
and another here
plus Oban Times here:
FINNIE ISSUES DRUG WARNING 29/12/09
John Finnie is aware of the damage that illegal drugs
can cause to lives and highlights a recent phenomenon
of very low priced and legally available drugs. John
is concerned that supplies flooding in will lead to
deaths. Read the Press and Journal story here
of Our Older People Crucial 24/11/09
John Finnie was delighted to visit the Mackenzie Day
Centre for the City’s Older People, in Culduthel
Centre is an important t lifeline to not only the clients
who attend but also their carers.
smiling and attentive staff, and the warmth of Centre
Manager, Fran MacLeod, highlights all that is good about
the Council’s care of older people.
Finnie is known for his keen interest in older peoples’
services and will not allow facilities such as the Mackenzie
Centre to be sacrificed by a short-sighted Lid Dem lead
Girona - Showing Scotland the Way 17/11/09
John Finnie was delighted to have been invited to speak at
a meeting of idea
an organisation which seeks to encourage public engagement
in Catalan affairs and specifically the promotion of a referendum
about Catalan independence from Spain.
in Catalunya, Councillor Finnie also addressed a meeting of
the Esquerra Republicana
de Catalunya, political partners in the European Parliament,
in the town of Figueres, home to the Dali museum.
news clip about the referendum:
Forum – Councillor Finnie Listens to Our Young Folk
John Finnie was delighted to meet again with pupils from Inverness
Royal Academy at a Ness-side Ward Youth Forum.
represented were the local community councils, Hilton Community
Centre Management Committee, and a number of statutory and
voluntary youth agencies.
Finnie understands that it is important not just to listen
to the young folk but also to act on what you are told.
More youth clubs and a youth shelter have been progressed.
CENTRE IMPROVEMENT FUNDS FOR NAIRN WARMLY WELCOMED
award of £800,000 to improve Nairn's town
centre has been welcomed by the SNP's Westminster Candidate
for the town, Councillor John Finnie.
award came as part of part of the second wave from the
Scottish Government's £60 million Town Centre
Regeneration Fund, which assisted 41 towns.
on the award, Councillor Finnie said; "This
significant sum of money will make a huge difference
to the centre of Nairn and shows the Scottish Government
not only recognises the long-term decline and neglect
of small town centres but also sees the value of town-centre
am particularly pleased at the lift this money will
give to the local construction industry and, like everyone,
I look forward to seeing a vibrant and attractive
Nairn town centre."
Scottish Government release detailing today’s
announcement is here:
EDUCATION EXPANDING - 12/11/09
John Finnie is a keen supporter of the Gaelic language
and proud to have the first purpose built Gaelic Primary
School in his Ward.
Finnie is delighted at the rapid growth of Gaelic
education in Inverness, and hopes to see Gaelic
Medium education at Drumnadrochit very soon.
about the expansion here:
PHONE - CAMPAIGN LATEST - 11/11/09
John Finnie's mobile phone campaign to have providers
improve coverage or cut bills continues.
MacNeil, SNP MP for Western Isles, suggests an improvement
to mobile phone coverage in his Ten Minute Rule Bill,
introduced today at Westminster - his excellent
speech is here:
on the Bill, Councillor Finnie said: "I am
grateful for the help of the public in Inverness,
Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey with my campaign and
only wish the telephone companies were all as co-operative.
MacNeil's suggested obligation for automatic roaming
capabilities between networks has the potential
to remove blackspots, not only from rural areas, but
also parts of urban Inverness where coverage is
poor or non-existent."
am continuing my campaign and hope to publish the
results in the New Year."
WORK BUDGET - PUBLIC MUST BE ASSURED ABOUT LEVELS OF
CARE - 11/11/09
representation, in the strongest terms, at today's Housing
and Social Work Meeting, Councillor John Finnie was
initially unable to secure any assurance from the Chair,
Councillor Margaret Davidson, that her Lib Dem
lead Administration would
meet the Free Personal and Nursing Care of any assessed
as requiring it.
that assurance was eventually dragged out from the Lib
Dems - read their press release here:
public can be assured that Councillor Finnie and his
SNP colleagues are presently involved in detailed checks
to ensure that this promise is being honoured.
know of anyone having difficulty with their care
package please contact Councillor Finnie at email@example.com
or telephone him on (01463) 712836 or 077
486 24 296.
WE MUST BUILD THOUSANDS MORE HOMES -
John Finnie believes that a home is a fundamental right
and, with ten thousand on the Highland Housing Register,
every new house built is vital.
Finnie was delighted to lend his support, at today's
Planning Committee Meeting, to the construction
of 14 affordable houses by Cairn Housing Association,
at Slacknamarnock, the old sand and gravel pit off Essich
Road near the Southern Distributor Road.
the Meeting, Councillor Finnie secured an assurance
that Ward Councillors would be consulted on the provision
of play equipment on the site and received confirmation
that the developer's failure to protect the trees on
site was being addressed by officials.
the full planning application here:
and Human Rights Commission 8/12/09
John Finnie was delighted to meet informally with Officers
from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Finnie, who has spoken at a number Council for Ethnic Minority
Voluntary Organisations (CEMVO)
events, and was himself involved in equality and fairness
training in the Police, spoke to the EHCR about the added
pressure of rural victims of racial abuse and the growing
need to address the intolerance directed towards gypsy travellers.
FINNIE - LET'S GET POLICE ENGAGING WITH OUR YOUNG PEOPLE
to the record number of Northern Constabulary officers
funded by the SNP Scottish Government Councillor Finnie
suggests it is time to go back to police being involved
in cycling training. Read
about it here:
RECESSION - SNP GOVERNMENT HAS HELP TO GIVE
John Finnie is keen to ensure everyone has all the help
they need at these difficult times.
what the SNP Scottish Government can do
PRICES - THE LONDON 'RIP-OFF' CONTINUES - 06/11/09
John Finnie and his SNP colleagues have long campaigned
for fairer fuel prices for the Highlands and support a
'fuel-regulator', a system which would stabilise
prices at the pumps during periods when oil
prices fluctuate. London doesn't listen!
Councillor Finnie is also keen that
the UK Government pursues 'derogation' with the European
Union - a discount scheme which has been applied
to rural areas of France.
The Highland depends heavily on the
haulage industry and Councillor Finnie and the SNP will
do everything they can to support this key sector with
the consequential benefits this will bring for ordinary
about it here:
EU diesel prices can be found
without taxes can be found
SWITCHOVER - CONFUSED? HELP IS AT HAND -
Finnie is keen that older and disabled people confused
about the switch-over to digital get all the help they
some helpful information from John MacNeil, Assistant
National Manager - STV North, Digital UK;
than 190,000 older and disabled people in the STV North
region will be entitled to practical help to switch
over to digital.
The Switchover Help Scheme is run by the BBC through
an agreement with the Government to help eligible older
and disabled people to make the switch to digital on
one of their TV sets.
Help Scheme has launched a television and print advertising
campaign to raise awareness of the help available to
older and disabled people so they can continue to watch
their favourite television programmes after switchover.
The Help Scheme will also be running local activity
and poster advertising campaigns and Help Scheme events
in the lead up to switchover. The Help Scheme is also
working alongside Digital UK and with local charities
and organisations to spread the word. More information
can be found with the recent press
people in the STV North TV region will be offered a
Freeview set top box for £40, or free if they
also get income benefits. The help also includes installation
if requested, a demonstration of how to use the equipment,
an aerial check and upgrade if necessary for those that
own their own aerials and a free help line to ring for
advice while they get used to it.
are many ways to go digital and additional Help Scheme
options are available at extra cost – these are
set out in the options guide sent to eligible people.
The Help Scheme will write to all those who re eligible,
starting with the islands as a distinct mailing burst
to allow installers to complete installations within
a fixed window of time.
Help Scheme has appointed Luke McCullough as its
National Manager, Scotland. If you would like more information
about the Switchover Help Scheme in the STV North TV
region, please do not hesitate to contact Luke on 07590
306972 or firstname.lastname@example.org
General Calls For Urgent Action
Across The Public Sector - John Finnie Agrees! -
Finnie notes with interest the Audit General's Call
for action across the public sector and the 'need to
make informed decisions about competing priorities'.
Leader of the Opposition on Highland Council, Councillor
Finnie and his 16 SNP colleagues take that message,
and the scrutiny role they are charged with, very seriously.
on this hugely important report Councillor Finnie said;
Audit Scotland report is extremely welcome, because
it confirms everything that the SNP Government have
been saying about the spending squeeze being imposed
by the UK Government at Westminster - not just £500
million next year, but up to £3 billion by 2013/14.
that the latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland
(GERS) analysis shows Scotland in budget surplus - with
a surplus of some 2.3 billion pounds in the past three
years - the Audit Scotland report reinforces the need
for Scotland to be responsible for our own tax and spending
decisions with independence.
am delighted that the Scottish Government have already
risen to the challenge, not just in an ambitious efficiency
programme which will deliver £3.2 billion in savings
by 2011 while delivering the same level of services,
but also in taking tough decisions such as cancelling
the unaffordable rail link to Glasgow Airport - where
the cost of work at the airport alone had spiraled from
£8 million to £70 million without a single
yard of track being laid.
demanding MORE spending virtually every day in the Scottish
Parliament - including reinstating GARL, and more money
for local government - while Scotland's budget is being
CUT by the UK London Labour Government, Labour and the
Lib Dems are living in a fiscal fantasy land.
Audit Scotland report sets out the reality of Scotland's
budget cuts within the UK. London Labour and the
rest of the opposition have to get real over their ridiculous
spending demands. And Scotland needs to acquire
the real financial and economic powers that come with
the Auditor General's report here: http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/media/article.php?id=119
the Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP's response here:
the Lib Dems 'wish list' here: http://www.highlandsnp.org/JohnFinnieSNP.html#LibDemCall
EXPENSES AND ALLOWANCES - THE KELLY REPORT - CANDIDATE
FINNIE'S RESPONSE- 04/11/09
Finnie recognises the damage done to public service
by the greed and apparent dishonesty of some Members
of the UK Parliament.
the SNP's Candidate for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and
Strathspey for the forthcoming Westminster election, Councillor
Finnie welcomes the Kelly Report as bringing
the UK Parliament more in line with Holyrood.
don't think anyone should be out of pocket as a result
of their work, and that includes elected Members.
the greed of some has tarnished the entire political
process and it's time to remove the trough.
elected at the forthcoming election, my needs will be
modest. I will continue to live in Inverness and
will have no difficulty feeding and cleaning myself."
views on the expenses scandal? Please share them
with Councillor Finnie at email@example.com
Twinning - Spain - Badenoch and Strathspey-
John Finnie recently held wide-ranging discussions with
the Consul General of Spain, Federico Palomera Güez.
the press release to the Strathspey an Badenoch Herald
on the subject; Following a meeting, at the SNP's
Annual Conference in Inverness on Saturday 17th
October, between the Party's Westminster Candidate for
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Councillor
John Finnie, and the Consul General of Spain, Federico
Palomera , it is hoped that a town-twinning arrangement,
between respective mountain areas in Span and Scotland,
can be arranged and directly benefit Badenoch and
"In a meeting with the Consul General, covering
a range of topics, I asked what steps he thought
we could take to boost the number of Spanish tourists visiting
the Highlands. I discovered that the Consul General
was presently examining town twinning options for Huelua.
Although the town of Huelua itself is on the coast,
there are striking similarities with our mountainous
area including farming, recreation activities such as
walking, golf and other outdoor pursuits as well
as unique wildlife. Huelua is also a birdlife
As Badenoch and Strathspey had not been included in
the list of those areas under consideration for
this town-twinning, John moved quickly to ensure that
the area was not only included in the Consul General's
options, but should be considered as a main contender
for the tourism partnership opportunity.
Councillor Finnie added;
am delighted that the Consul General has agreed that
I could pursue options of twinning with a town or village
in Badenoch and Strathspey. I have already
spoken with the Highland Council Chief Executive, Mr
Alistair Dodds, and know he has progressed the
matter. It is important to move fast when an opportunity
to protect jobs and boost the area's income presents itself"
"The Highlands is a welcoming area and there is
no doubt that town-twinning benefits go beyond
simple economics with shared cultures and experiences, especially
for our young folk, enriching both communities."
Huelua (AKA Huelva) is on the coast and is flat and
industrial until you move out of town.
Also of interest is that "the Man who never was"
is buried in a cemetery there. The operation "Mincemeat"
started in the Holy Loch.
Happening with the "Saved" House?-
Finnie prevented the former janitor's house at Cauldeen
Primary School, Hilton, Inverness being sold on the
now wondering when the Lib Dem lead Administration
is going to make it available to one of the 10,000
folk on the waiting list?
Finnie won't wait too much longer for action!
and Journal Report
of Speech and the Independent Councillor
Finnie supports freedom of speech.
The question is does your so-called non-political
about the future here:
Bill Clark, like Councillor Finnie's Ward Colleague
Councillor Norrie Donald, is an honourable man.
there is a 'Independent Party' operating alongside the
Lib Dems and Labour?
A 20% COUNCIL TAX INCREASE? - THESE LIB DEMS DO! -
Lib Dem fiscal wizards are at it again with another
daft proposal. What they don't tell you is that the
removal of the package of support from the Scottish
Government would mean a TWENTY PERCENT increase in Council
Tax to match. Of course, it is all just posturing
Press and Journal Article
Finnie knows that the Scottish Government's funding
of the Council Tax freeze has been warmly welcomed by
everyone - except Lib Doom councillors!
the official - non-political - response
you own mind up and feel to share your views with Councillor
Million Contract - John unimpressed by "Gross Inneficiency"
about Highland Council's awarding of a £66 million
Finnie would be surprised to hear of any 10 year
public sector contracts still operating in their 13th
the record, both Councillor Finnie, and his SNP colleague
Councillor Wynd, declined to take part in any vote.
The Press and Journal Article Here
EFFECTIVELY WITH YOUNG PEOPLE - HILTON COMMUNITY CENTRE
John Finnie is on the Management Committee of the
Hilton Community Centre but takes no credit for
the outstanding work of local Committee Members who provide
a safe and caring environment for Hilton's young
Finnie enjoyed participating in the Management
Committee's training course, 'Working Effectively with
Young People', and views the subject as key to good
relations in the Hilton area.
CENTRE MUST CONTINUE -
John Finnie is a keen supporter of the MS Centre in
the Annual General Meeting he expressed concerns about
financial projections and rejected any suggestion of
Centre has been a life-line to countless MS sufferers
and their families and Councillor Finnie is keen that
efforts are redoubled to ensure its long-term viability.
HOMECOMING - UR BEATH DHAN DUTHAIC-
John Finnie was delighted to attend Eden Court Theatre,
Inverness for the opening of the Highland The Year of
POPPY APPEAL - LEAST WE FORGET -
John Finnie was delighted to attend the launch of the Poppy
Scotland Highland Appeal at Inverness Town House.
Finnie is keen to raise awareness of the work the Appeal
does on behalf of those who fought in Korea, the
Falkland Islands, the North of Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
National Party Government is a strong ally of our armed
services and introduced arrangements to ensure that
they were not disadvantaged on NHS lists
by virtue of having to transfer across Health Boards.
Finnie also applauds the work of Erskine,
the charity which cares for ex service men and women.
FINNIE CONDEMNS COWARDLY ATTACK
John Finnie condemns the cowardly attack on an 82 year old woman at
Hilton Village, yesterday morning.
with any information should contact the Police on
715555, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or Councillor
John Finnie in confidence, and he will liaise with the
|WORRIED ABOUT FUEL
BILLS? - THANKS TO THE SNP INCREASED HELP IS AT HAND
John Finnie is delighted that the Winter Payments Scheme,
which the Liberal Democrats shamelessly tried to restrict,
is to be retained.
as follows; City of Inverness - Scheme of Winter Payments
to the Elderly and to Persons with a Disability.
or persons with a disability who are resident within
the City of Inverness Wards (Aird and Loch Ness, Inverness
West, Inverness Central, Inverness Ness-side, Inverness
Millburn, Culloden and Ardersier and Inverness South)
who wish to receive a donation under the above scheme
should make application as soon as possible and not
later than Friday 20 November, 2009. Application forms
are available from the Town House, Service Points, Social
Work Area Offices, and Local Libraries.
must be aged 60 or over or be a person with a disability:-
(a) who is in receipt of Pension Credit or Disability
Living/Attendance Allowance; (b) does not have a wage
earner residing with them and (c) is the sole claimant
in the household. All donations are sent by cheque.
For further information please contact:
Mr David Haas, Inverness City Manager, Town House, Inverness
IV1 1JJ Telephone: 01463 724368
Finnie can provide you with an application form and,
if you do not meet the criteria for this scheme, and
are having difficulties with meeting fuel payments,
he will see if any other assistance is available.
FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENT - SNP GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO DELIVER
John Finnie is delighted that the SNP Government continues
to prioritise education by funding additional Childcare,
Student Income and Grants with more to follow.
from Student Award Agency for Scotland suggest that
around three thousand four hundred and ten students
from Highland will be supported.
the full announcement here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2009/10/07102114
Need Their Helpers - 03/10/09
John Finnie was delighted to attend a well-supported
Coffee Morning, run by Seonag Anderson and friends,
at the Recreational Hall, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.
cannot function without charities and the present
economic situation means charities' needs for resources,
and demands on their services, are greater than ever.
Finnie is aware of many who have benefited from the
outstanding service provided by MacMillan Nurses. You
can donate here:
Meets Polish Ambassador - 03/10/09
John Finnie was honoured to have been invited to a private
lunch with Her Excellency Ms Barbara Tuge-Erecinska, Ambassador
of the Republic of Poland to the UK, Provost Jimmy Gray,
David Stewart MSP and City Manager, David Haas.
Ambassador was accompanied by a long-standing friend
of the Highlands, Consul General of the Republic of
Poland, Aleksander Dietkow, from the Polish Consulate
in Edinburgh and was due to attend the Polish school,
run by volunteers in Inverness on a Saturday, after
Gray spoke of the long shared history of our two nations
and the continuing welcome the City extends to our Polish
brothers and sisters.
Finnie delights in the large number of nationalities
who reside in Inverness Ness-side ward, not least many
from our long-standing ally, the Republic of Poland
Education - Finest In The Highlands?
John Finnie is a resolute supporter of efforts to
sustain the Gaelic language and recognises this is the
least that should be done to right the historic wrongs
visited on Highland culture and the Gaelic language.
Finnie was delighted to have been invited to open the
Gaelic awareness day at Bun-sgoil Ghaidhlig Inbhir Nis
and spoke briefly in Gaelic, welcoming everyone
present before enjoying excellent performances
from the school's choir and Highland dancers.
organisations are giving Gaelic its vitality and they
were present today and there is no doubt that the enthusiastic
support of teachers, parents and the often small class
sizes make Gaelic Medium education very attractive.
CHANGE - HELP PROTECT SCOTLAND 01/10/09
John Finnie believes that climate change is the major
issue facing humanity.
Scottish Government leads the world on this
matter and Councillor Finnie believes that London Labour
Prime Minister Brown should recognise this fact and
send a Scottish Minister to the Climate Talks, in Copenhagen,
in December 2009.
Finnie encourages you to sign a petition supporting
TO TACKLE CLASS SIZES - TIME FOR THE LIB DEMS TO DEAL
WITH THE FACTS 01/10/09
John Finnie warmly welcomes the Scottish Government's
moves to tackle class sizes with new regulations limiting
P1 class sizes to 25, announced by the Education Secretary,
a Member of the COSLA Convention, Councillor Finnie
knows that the Local Authorities Body is working, with
renewed vigour, to bring about incremental class size
reductions, paid for by the Scottish Government, and
contained in the historic Concordat.
Finnie believes it's time the Lib Dems lead Highland
Council followed that example.
- LIB DEMS DENY PROBLEM 01/10/09
John Finnie and his colleagues warned about the consequences
of the Lib Dem lead Administration charging for bulky
said there would be increased fly-tipping and there
has been, albeit Councillor Angela MacLean (Lib Dem)
assured yesterday's Resources Committee that wasn't
certainly that isn't the experience in Ness-Side Ward
where fly-tipping is a problem in residential areas
and at every lay-by and forest track end.
Finnie was at the recent Ward Forum when Chief
Inspector MacLean confirmed there was an increase in
fly-tipping, albeit it wasn't being formally reported
to the police.
irony is that by charging the cost to the Council has
gone up as special trips have to be made by Council
workers to uplift the abandoned items.
the Lib Dems remain in denial or will they be big
enough to admit they are wrong and stop a flawed charging
policy which takes no regard of ability to pay?
Watch this space!
you wish to report any instances of fly-tipping please
contact Councillor Finnie or telephone the Council on
BROWN'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE FINANCIAL CRISIS - 30/09/09
Councillor John Finnie has watched with interest London
Labour Prime Minister Brown distance himself for the financial
This News Release from the SNP provides some
fascinating informed comment and some irrefutable facts about
Gordon Brown's past and present role.
commends this 'good read';
30th September 2009
ROBERT PESTON SAYS LABOUR’S REGULATORY BANK REGIME IS
IS CULPABILITY BROWN LEARNING ANY LESSONS?
Commenting after Robert Peston’s appearance at the Economy,
Energy and Tourism Committee today where he said that the
legislative proposals for a new banking regulatory regime
are “unclear” about who will now be in charge,
SNP committee member Rob Gibson said:
“Mr Peston’s appearance at today’s committee
was both welcome an interesting. In particular were his comments
about the legislation for a new regulatory regime being ‘unclear’
about who would be in charge of the new regime.
“After all we have learnt about how Gordon Brown’s
tripartite regime had failed this is extraordinary. Has Labour
learned any lessons from the banking crisis?
“We have a trail of headlines showing Gordon Brown’s
culpability and this begs the question of what Labour is now
“This is also why the committee’s inquiry should
have the full co-operation of the UK Government, Financial
Services Authority and Bank of England.
“Without a full examination of the banks and the regulatory
systems they operated under we cannot get to the bottom of
what happened in the industry or focus properly on its future.”
Examples of how Gordon Brown failed to regulate the financial
1. A speech Gordon Brown gave to the CBI Conference in 2005
where he called for "limited" regulation and even
suggested whether there should be regulation at all.
The better, and in my opinion the correct, modern model of
regulation – the risk based approach - is based on trust
in the responsible company, the engaged employee and the educated
consumer, leading government to focus its attention where
it should: no inspection without justification, no form filling
without justification, and no information requirements without
justification, not just a light touch but a limited touch.
The new model of regulation can be applied not just to regulation
of environment, health and safety and social standards but
is being applied to other areas vital to the success of British
business: to the regulation of financial services and indeed
to the administration of tax. And more than that, we should
not only apply the concept of risk to the enforcement of regulation,
but also to the design and indeed to the decision as to whether
to regulate at all. In the new legislation we will publish
before Christmas we will make this risk based approach a statutory
duty of the regulators."
2. The resignation of Sir James – one of the prime ministers
key advisors - followed revelations that when he was chief
executive of bank HBOS he sacked a whistleblower who warned
that banks were heading for disaster. Sir James was knighted
on the recommendation of the UK government, and later appointment
as deputy chairman of the FSA.
3. The warnings by the HBOS whistle blower reflect similar
warnings given to the FSA and the Prime Minister about Icelandic
banks months before the UK Government took any action - and
which is now seen as being so heavy handed it precipitated
an even more rapid collapse.
Links to news articles showing how the FSA and Gordon Brown
were similarly warned about the Icelandic banks months in
advance can be read here:
PM knew of problems with Icelandic banks
FSA was warned not
to allow Kaupthing to take over Singer
4. Details of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee
report on Banking Supervision and Regulationcan be found here:
5. In March - A National Audit Office inquiry into the handling
of Northern Rock, found that the tripartite regulatory structure
created by Gordon Brown was seriously flawed, and that Treasury
officials decided it was not a priority to fix it.
6. “Brown told us not to question banks on risky practices,
says City watchdog”:
- Shocking News! - 29/09/09
Councillor John Finnie, a long-time supporter
of flood relief measure on the south side of Inverness, was
angry to hear of an unacceptable to the South West Relief
Channel which will draw excess water away from the area which
previously caused the flooding in Lochardil. Councillor
Finnie was also disappointment was that no-one in the
Lib Dem lead Administration on Highland Council thought it
appropriate to share this hugely significant information with
an elected Member for the area affected. Highland Council
officials have done a great deal of work on this project and
Councillor Finnie has thanked the Director of TECS
whose staff have been left to clear up the mess. Read Highland
Council's News Release and, below it, comments Councillor
Finnie provided to the 'Press and Journal'.
Tuesday 29 September 2009 South
Water Flood Relief Channel
The works to
construct the Inverness South West Flood Relief Channel, which
will divert flood water from the south side of Inverness away
from residential properties in Hilton, Lochardil, and Holm
by collecting overflow water from the burns on the sought
side of Inverness and channelling it into the River Ness have
It was hoped
to start the works in September of this year subject to the
completion of land negotiations, however there are still some
outstanding issues to be resolved, and this has resulted in
the works being delayed. The works in the Holm Burn are
subject to very strict environmental controls and can only
be carried out at certain times of the year.
be discussing the new works programme with SEPA and other
interested parties, however it is likely the construction
will be delayed until the summer / autumn of 2010. In the
meantime preparatory works, including the diversion of services
and limited site clearance, will be undertaken this year in
advance of the main works.
Gray, Chairman of the Council’s Inverness City Committee
said: “This is very disappointing news, as we had expected
the first two phases of the works to start this year. Officials
will be working very hard to resolve the outstanding issues,
and get the project back on track. The environmental issues
are very sensitive, and we will be aiming to start construction
next year. I would like to assure the many residents who will
benefit from this scheme that the funding for the project
will be carried forward.” ENDS
John Finnie's comments;
am angry about this delay and the potential affect
it could have on my constituents many of whom fear a repeat
of the floods of a few years. "I understand the
problem is down to the same individual land-owner, who objected
to the Flood Prevention Scheme proposal, now denying access
similar to compulsory purchase schemes, will now be used to
obtain that access, however, we must have proportionate
flooding legislation which allows legitimate objections
but weeds out spurious complaints.
the Highland economy can ill afford to loose the £4million
injection this work would have given in this year alone."
BACK FROM RECESSION! - 28/09/09
Councillor John Finnie is delighted to hear
that a country "has bounced back from the mild recession
Sadly, that country isn't Scotland, rather
it's our oil-rich neighbour Norway.
"The Economist on Norway & Latest
IMF Estimates of GDP per Capita at PPP for Iceland, Ireland
& Norway (2009-14) data from the IMF and the following from
page 52 of the Economist (18-25 September) states:
"The economy is in good shape. Unemployment, at 3%, is
the lowest in Europe.
"Norway has bounced back from the mild recession it suffered
in the early months of this year. It is expected to grow by
2% next year.
"The $400 billion wealth fund that holds surplus revenues
from North Sea oil and gas exports, turning petrodollars into
hoard of stocks and bonds , naturally took a hit in the market
slump but is still worth some $85,000 per citizen.
"The Norwegians are a contented bunch. Bergen reveals
handsome, well-fed citizens who work in designer offices or
high tech fishing vessels, relax in art galleries and theatres
and enjoy pristine scenery. Education is free and health care
is heavily subsidised."
belives it all could have been so different for Scotland
if we weren't shackeld to the wasteful UK state.
Below and attached are latest IMF estimates for this year
and up to 2014 which demolish opposition claims - particularly
Jim Murphy's - that neighbouring countries have suffered worse
than the UK in the recession with official figures showing
that Iceland, Ireland and Norway will remain wealthier per
head than the UK.
IMF estimates of gross domestic product per capita based on
purchasing-power-parity (PPP) show that the wealth per person
in Iceland, Ireland and Norway is not only still larger than
the UK’s but that the gap between those countries and
the UK will actually increase over the next 5 years.
IMF estimates of gross domestic product based on purchasing-power-parity
(PPP) per capita between the UK and Iceland, Ireland and Norway
(Currency = Current international dollar) are as follows*:
Iceland 35,757.53 35,484.96
above figures can be viewed on the IMF site here: http://tinyurl.com/ljm7zw
% difference with UK
Iceland +1.34% +1.73% +3.95% +5.71%
Ireland +11.61% +9.67% +9.45% +9.26% +9.42%
Norway +49.62% +51.53% +51.86% +50.90% +50.19% +51.03%
2. For further info Jim Murphy’s attack on Iceland,
Ireland and Norway at the time can be read here:
MIGHT HAVE BEEN - 1970’s PAPER REVEALS OIL OWNERSHIP
WOULD BOOST SCOTTISH INCOME BY 30% - 28/09/09
Councillor John Finnie
was not surprised by the latest revelations about the
efforts the unionists parties put in to ensuring energy-rich
Scotland bankrolls the failed UK state.
Read the following SNP
Press Release, issued today;
Civil servants calculated
that North Sea oil could boost incomes in an independent Scotland
by up to 30% according to government records made public today
at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.
SNP MSP and Chief
Whip Brian Adam, who represents Aberdeen North, said the papers
reflected the McCrone papers and others which revealed the
lengths to which both Labour and Conservative Government’s
went to keep Scotland from her oil wealth.
Mr Adam said:
figures confirm yet again what the SNP said at the time and
what revelations have shown over last few years – that
Scotland would have boomed with ownership of its oil revenues.
"Scotland would have flourished as an
independent nation and investing in an oil fund would have
built a firm foundation for Scotland's future. These figures
show the missed opportunity that came from UK control of Scotland's
“There is a real sense of déjà
vu with these revelations. In Brighton we hear Labour politicians
scaremongering Scots about the 1980’s – the very
decade huge oil revenues underpinned Margaret Thatcher’s
destruction of Scotland’s economy.
“Scotland’s oil industry has
a bright future with an estimated 30 billion barrels of oil
still to be extracted, new technology developing and a central
role in the global oil industry.
“There is as much oil left in the North
Sea as has been taken out of it – and much more than
half of the revenues. Scotland’s oil industry has a
positive future. With the UK making £250 billion of
revenue from North Sea oil over the last 30 years in real
terms, it is now time to ensure that future revenues are invested
properly for Scotland’s future.
“In the 1970’s requests for an
oil fund were turned down – a repetition of this failure
by Labour in the 21st century would be unforgivable.
“The UK Government must see the error
of its ways and enable Scotland to invest our own oil revenues
for our future.
“Oil has become the new taboo for Scottish
Labour. It must not be another missed opportunity for Scotland.
“The lessons of 30 years ago must be
learnt – and applied to ensure Scotland’s prosperity
is a thriving one.”
DEMS NEVER LEARN - SNP GOVERNMENT DELIVERS NEW WICK HIGH SCHOOL
Councillor John Finnie and his SNP colleagues
are keen to deliver on public services for the Highlands and
will work with anyone to achieve that aim.
The Lib Dems, big on demands, low on substance
are yet to grasp the real politique .
Take Highland SNP, Jamie Stone, never missing
in action when a mindless quote is required. On 1st
April, this year he said;
People ask me, "Where is the new school?",
and in the streets of Wick and in Caithness people do not
mind if it is PFI, PPP or the Scottish Futures Trust—they
just want that school. That is the sort of issue that lies
before us. It is about choice and carrying on with the capital
programme. Patient and kindly as I am, I fear that we are
going precisely nowhere with the Scottish Futures Trust.
Councillor Finnie hopes Mr Stone will
have the good grace to reflect on his comments and give credit
where it is due, with the SNP Scottish Government.
Wick Academy has
been announced as one of the schools to be built under the
Scottish Government’s school building programme
A LOOP-HOLE - MAKE COMMUNITIES SAFER 27/09/09
John Finnie believes that every effort should be made
to make communities safer and for that reason he
has lent his support to moves by MSP Stewart Maxwell toclose
a loophole in the DNA legislation. Read the statement
given to the Press and Journal below:
to the Criminal Justice Bill will seek to end a loophole
that currently prevents police retaining DNA and fingerprint
evidence where an alleged offender accepts a prosecution
offer of a direct measure (e.g., a fiscal fine, compensation
order, or work order).
|Under the current legislation
DNA or fingerprints can only be retained where there is
a criminal conviction or the accused is charged with violent
or sexual offences. The rules for retaining DNA were last
amended in the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice
(Scotland) Act 2006.
SNP Group Leader on Highland Council, and the Party's
Westminster Candidate for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and
Strathspey, Councillor John Finnie, has lent his support
to MSP Stewart Maxwell who today signalled his intention
to lodge amendments to close the loophole after reviewing
evidence given in response to a Scottish Government consultation
and discussing the issue with Justice Secretary Kenny
Councillor Finnie, a former Police Officer with
30 years service, said: "I fully endorse Stewart
Maxwell's proposal to lodge amendments in line with the police response
to the consultation which stated : 'The acceptance
of an offer of disposal by the Procurator Fiscal should
equate to a conviction and forensic samples should be
retained in line with current procedures.'”
“Of course there is a delicate balance
to strike in retaining DNA between supporting the work
of the police and protecting human rights, however, Scotland
has been rightly praised for attaining that balance, and this loophole now
needs to be closed."
“I believe that when those who have been accused
of crimes accept direct measures such as fiscal fines
or work orders they are also accepting their guilt.
In these cases DNA or fingerprints taken by the police
should be treated exactly the same as if they had received
a criminal conviction and this will help police identify
those who re-offend or develop a pattern of offending
- without impacting on human rights concerns.”
Use of Direct Measures – Offences include:
* riotous behaviour while drunk in licensed premises,
such as a pub or club;
* breach of the peace;
* Destroying or damaging someone's property on purpose
(known as 'malicious mischief').
* Possession of controlled drug (18%);
* Assault Responses to
the Government consultation can be found
VIEWS ON THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT RESEARCH WEB-PAGES - TELL
THEM WHAT YOU THINK! - 27/09/09
John Finnie makes regular use of the excellent information
available from the Scottish Government. The publics'
views on are being sought on the Scottish Government Research
Web Pages and how it can be improved. If you could spare
a few minutes to complete a short on-line survey to tell them
what you think of the Scottish Government Research web-pages
and how it can be improved.
PEOPLE ANNUAL REPORT: RESULTS FROM 2007/2008 SCOTTISH HOUSEHOLD
SURVEY - It's about YOU and I - 27/09/09
The Scottish Household
Survey is designed to provide reliable and up-to-date information
on the composition, characteristics and behaviour of Scottish
households, both nationallyand at a sub-national level. It
covers a wide range of topics to allow links to be made between
different policy areas. Like the 2007 report, at the
start of a chapter, introductory paragraphs draw on key policy
documents to set the results that follow into the policy context
for the topic it covers.
Work Budget - Lib Dem Budget Leader 'missing'? -
Finnie and his SNP colleagues support Social Work staff
dealing with the ever increasing demands for their services.
Work finances show
the Lib Dem lead Administration failed to allocate funds
to cover the implications of an Equality Impact Statement
which first came to light in December 2008. It should
be noted that this is the same Administration which
keen to pay themselves additional salaries invented some new
posts, notably the post of 'Budget Leader' held by Lib
Dem Councillor David Alston.
What have the public received for their extra
money to Councillor Alston? Where has he been since
Did he participate in the setting of
the Council's budget for 09/10?
If the answer is 'yes', does he think it
competent not to budget for known costs?
What, if anything, did Councillor Alston
contribute to this so called 'recovery plan'?
Coverage of the
discussion can be found
Handyperson Service - Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
- 17/09/09 Councillor John Finnie was delighted to attend
the launch of the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
'Handyperson Scheme'. The scheme is designed to help
people over 65 years of age, or any age with a disability,
with carrying out small jobs around the house like changing
light bulbs and tap washers; cleaning windows; painting and
decorating; moving furniture within the house; securing carpets
putting up shelves; fitting grab rails and handrails as well
as weeding and pruning; grass cutting; hedge trimming etc,
etc. The only charge is for materials used. No
charge is made for the Handyperson's time or travel expenses. Councillor
Finnie has been grateful for assistance given by the Handyperson
Scheme to residents in the Ness-side Ward and would encourage
anyone eligible, who needs assistance, to contact Volunteering
Highland on 01463 711 393 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Committee of Experts Visit to Scotland - Councillor John
Finnie Invited to Give Evidence - 23/09/09
The Committee of Experts monitoring the European
Charter for Regional or Minority Languages visited Edinburgh
on the 23rd September. The visit followed the delayed
submission, in May of this year, of the UK's third periodical
report on the application of the Charter. Councillor
John Finnie was delighted to be invited give evidence to the
experts on the progress being made by Highland Council with
the implementation of their Gaelic
The SNP remains
committed to righting the historical wrong visited upon the
Gaelic language and Councillor Finnie and his colleagues on
Highland Council are very keen to promote the well-evidenced
benefits of bi-lingual education.
a Recent Government
News Release about additional funding for Highland Schools
Assistance Package - Get Free Advice Now! - 25/09/09
||Councillor John Finnie is
alarmed to hear that, according to a new survey commissioned
by the Energy Saving Trust, four in ten Scots are worried
about being unable to afford their home heating bills
this winter. The survey coincides with a new Scottish
Government campaign to promote the Energy Assistance Package,
which will provide real financial and environmental benefits
to those struggling to heat their homes this winter. Councillor
Finnie encourage everyone to read about the assistance
Money - Councillor John Finnie Will Look After YOUR Money
John Finnie is known for his tenacity at protecting the public's
money. The 'latest' coverage of an issue
exposed by Councillor John Finnie some considerable time ago;
further back, then 'Constable', John Finnie tackled the Police
on this very issue: Article
Government Backs the Highlands - Backs Inverness
John Finnie, SNP Candidate for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch
and Strathspey, was delighted that the Highlands economy
received a boost after it was revealed that Inverness
has been chosen for an innovative life science project,
safeguarding 223 jobs and creating a further nine.
Finance Secretary John Swinney announced that two million
pounds from the Scottish Government's Regional Selective
Assistance programme would support the manufacturing
of LifeScan's new testing strip system - a product for
monitoring blood glucose.
The project is part of an 11.1 million pounds investment
programme at LifeScan, Scotland's largest life sciences
company which will see this new product manufactured
for use worldwide.
In a further boost for the company, an R&D grant
of 313,000 pounds from Highlands and Islands Enterprise
will safeguard a further 12 jobs in 2009 and ensure
that LifeScan's base in Inverness continues to be a
centre for cutting edge life sciences research.
Mr Swinney said:
"LifeScan's decision to manufacture this new product
in Inverness is a major vote of confidence in Scotland's
world-renowned life science industry.
"It safeguards more than 200 vital jobs for the
Highlands economy, creates new posts and gives staff
the opportunity to showcase the excellence of Scottish
life sciences on a global stage.
"Scottish Development International (SDI) has played
a significant role in securing this major investment
for Scotland. And as the Government works to position
our economy for recovery, we will continue to use tools
at our disposal - like the Regional Selective Assistance
scheme - building on our economic recovery plan to create
new jobs and attract fresh investment of this kind."Mr
is great news for Inverness and the Highlands.
Contrast the UK Government unleashing £1billion
pounds of cuts on Scotland's budget with our Scottish
Government supporting this vital employer expansion.
I wish Lifescan continuing success."
Phone Reception? - Why Pay Same for Reduced Service?
John Finnie has written to mobile phone providers
asking them to improve their coverage throughout the
constituency OR reduce their bills for their reduced
Councillor John Finnie would be grateful
if YOU could assist his campaign by contacting him with
details of your mobile telephone provider and where you
are unable to provide coverage in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch
The more precise the details of the location
the greater the likelihood of identifying technical solutions,
failing which Councillor Finnie will continue to push
for reduced bills.
Thanks to those
of you who have already provided helpful details. Use
the contact detail above or email here
Values Council Workers and Condemns Lib Dem-lead 'Bullying'
John Finnie recognises the limited role for elected
Members in negotiations between a Council
and its staff.However, when Highland Council's Lib
Dem/Labour/Independent Administration pushed through
a plan to demand the workforce, 2,000 of whom are engaged
in an agreed appeals process, accept the terms and conditions
offered or be SACKED and offered their jobs
back under the new terms, Councillor Finnie lead the
fight, with his SNP colleagues, to stop this happening
- see item '30' here:
the Administration's leadership, Councillors Michael Foxley
(Lib Dem), Leader of the Administration; Councillor David
Alston (Lib Dem), Budget Leader; Councillor Caroline
Wilson (Independent), Chair of Resources Committee and Councillor
Margaret Davidson (Independent), Chair of Housing and Social
Work Committee plus others, including Councillor Deirdre MacKay
(Labour), voted to sack staff.
At no point did any
Member of the Administration give any explanation for taking
such a draconian stance.At the Full Council Meeting on 3rd
September, Councillor Finnie again attempted to have the matter
Once again the Lib Dem, Labour and Independent
Members used their weight of numbers to forbid debate, a worrying
democratic deficit.Councillor Finnie has written an open letter
(see below) to the Leader of the Administration, Councillor
Foxley, encouraging him to personally engage in meaningful
debate with the trade unions and to reconsider denying the
public, and our workforce, the right to view open debate on
this important issue.Councillor Fraser Parr (Inverness Ness-side)
was the only Labour Member to vote for a debate.
evidence, if any were needed, of the contempt the Labour
Party has for the Trade Union movement and its Members.The
SNP will continue to fight for 'fair play'. Letter
to M Foxley;
you know, the SNP Group’s amendment to delete the Administration’s
Modernising Employment – Job Evaluation proposal to
terminate the contracts of employment of those employees who
are not willing to vary their terms and conditions by agreement
and offer them re-engagement on the new terms and conditions,
tabled at the Resources Committee of 19th August, was voted
down by the Administration, without discussion.
the support of eleven of your colleagues, our subsequent attempt
to prompt a wider debate on this crucial matter at the Full
Council Meeting on 3rd September, was again defeated, without
the reverse of modernising the employment, this proposal is
what might be expected of a callous multi-national corporation
or a totalitarian regime rather than the Highland’s
largest employer and would have a dramatic effect on thousands
of council staff and the delivery of services to our communities.
your mandate, many will consider it inconceivable that the
sacking of thousands of public sector employees will now be
ushered through, behind closed doors, by the Administration.
implore you to personally engage with the Trade Unions on
this matter and afford an opportunity to openly debate this
sad state of affairs.
TESCO OFFER '£17 MILLION'? 10/09/09
Councillor John Finnie believes that
multi-national supermarkets should contribute to infrastructure
costs in the same way as other developers are expected
to and that Highland Council must be seen to be even-handed
in its dealings with every supermarket chain.
At the recent
Full Council Meeting (3rd inst), Councillor Finnie sought
to establish if the Lib Dem lead Administration's pursuit
of ASDA for money for roads was a 'change of policy'
following the reported loss of '£17million' from
was evident that the question struck 'a raw nerve', with Councillor
Ian Ross (Lib Dem), Chair of Planning, now and also when Tesco
were granted permission for their fourth store at Holm Mains,
stating he would request the Chief Executive investigate the
background to this much quoted figure. The
public deserve to know the truth and Councillor Finnie has
written to the Chief Executive seeking to establish the terms
of reference of his enquiry and a likely date for it to report. Councillor
Finnie will advise you of any developments as soon as he hears. In
the meantime you may wish to see what Tesco
themselves say about that figure;
MacAskill MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice Minister
in Scottish politics can have faced a decision of the magnitude
Kenny MacAskill MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, had to
make in respect of the convicted criminal Mr Al-Megrahi.
Councillor John Finnie believes
that the manner in which the Justice Secretary conducted
himself in reaching, and explaining, the decision to release
Mr Al-Megrahi displayed the humanity for which Scotland is
known and respected throughout the world. Councillor
Finnie is one of the many who has written Mr MacAskill a supportive
letter and he would now like to see, what both the UK and
US Governments wouldn't, a full independent enquiry into the
whole Pan Am affair. '
Safety' Ward Forum
Ness-side Ward Forum takes place this week (27th) and the
subject is one that affects us all, 'community safety'.
Councillor John Finnie is
chairing the meeting. Please come along and join the
discussion. Read all about it here
FOR A FAMILY - REVIEW UNDER WAY 05/08/09 Councillor
John Finnie constantly deals with families struggling to get
a council house so, when he was asked to agree the sale of
one of Highland Council's own properties, the former janitor's
house at Cauldeen Primary, he went straight into action to
save it for use for social housing. Read
all about it here In
addition to this success Councillor Finnie also pressed for
support from the Chair of Housing and Social Work, Councillor
Margaret Davidson, for a review of the 'pressured area status'
boundaries, to include Hilton. As things stand, even
though there are hundreds wishing housing a Council House
in Hilton, the Council continues to sell houses to tenants
and Councillor Davidson conceded it was 'high time we reviewed
Hilton'. The SNP is
on the side of those wanting a Council House - watch this
CANDIDATE SAYS MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE SHOULD BE IMPROVED
OR BILLS CUT 31/07/09
SNP Councillor John Finnie, who is
Westminster Candidate for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch
and Strathspey, has called for Mobile Phone companies
to provide a much better service if the area is to benefit
from advances in technology or to return some of the
charges billed to customers.
ALEXANDER MP - the facts! 30/7/2009
you say something often enough people will start to think
it's the truth" is the way the saying goes and Danny Alexander
seems to work to this premise, Councillor John Finnie has
always tried to avoid political arguing over issues that require
cooperation but the public are entitled to know the facts.
Instead of ignoring Danny Alexander's frequent posturing
and misrepresentation of basic facts you can find, here
an accurate position, starting with the old chestnut of the
A9 upgrading. John makes no apology for the detail. Read
the two press statements and supporting documentation for
yourself and make your own judgement.
Read the facts here
- Inverness and Europe 27/7/2009
on a week's break on Councillor John Finnie took the
time to visit;
in the town of Albert The MacRae
Battalion Memorial, in the village of Contalmaison
a variety of Normandy World War sites. Councillor
Finnie believes that a visit to those mass graves should
convince anyone of the folly of war and the need for us all
to co-operate as nations. Councillor
John Finnie is an internationalist who supports the European
Union and applauds the town
twinning arrangements which see our young folk from Inverness stay
with peers from France and Germany -
IN "USUAL CHAOS" 25/06/09
Finnie believes it is very important to have 'visible'
democracy and he is therefore delighted that the SNP's
proposal to web-cast Highland Council meetings moved
on a bit after today's meeting. However, Councillor Finnie
believes that there is 'nothing like the real thing' and he
would encourage everyone to attend one Council meeting to
see their elected Representatives 'in action', or not, as
the case me be. Minutes and
Agendas can be found here.
Of course no Minute,
however accurately recorded, can give the full flavour of
a debate and I'm sure that will be the case with the debates
we sought on important issues like 'Council's Response to
the Economic Downturn' during which Councillor Drew Hendry's
forensic interrogation of the paper literally left senior
Members of the Administration speechless! Confidentiality
precludes much detail on one paper discussed in private, suffice
to say, Councillor John Finnie leads a Group intend to resist
the creeping privatisation taking place in our Social Work
In November 2007, following a
huge consultation process, Highland Council adopted a Gaelic
Plan which received world wide acclaim. Sadly, since
that time, ill-informed and unrepresentative elements,
who contributed nothing to that original debate, have sought
to undermine progress in revitalising the language.
Councillor John Finnie leads a Group who will maintain unequivocal
support for the Gaelic language.
– A HUGE JOB REQUIRED
John Finnie regularly deals with housing issues from young
families forced to live in cramped conditions with relatives
whilst forlornly waiting on the housing waiting list.
10,000 on that waiting list, the problem is significant, and
has been growing for years.
improvements are taking place such as welcome Scottish Government
support for houses under construction within the Ward at West
Heather Road. insert pic
can and must be done, starting with the London Labour Government
writing off Highland Council’s housing debt as it was
once prepared to do.
Finnie welcomes the Scottish Government’s support for
the construction industry which means homes for families and
a much needed jobs boost.
out for those Scottish Government sites they are across Inverness
and the Highlands and show the Scottish Government's commitment
to providing a mix of social housing.
The Scottish Government LIFT shared equity scheme aims to
help people on low incomes who wish to own their own home.
Buyers pay for the majority share in a property, normally
between 60 and 80 per cent, and the Scottish Government holds
the remaining share under a shared equity agreement. For further
information please visit www.scotland.gsi.gov.uk.
MINISTER VISITS - AND DELIVERS! 23/06/09
John Finnie and Jean Urquhart were delighted to meet with
the Housing Minister, Alex Neil MSP, in between his many Highland
addition to the very welcome announcement on the Highland
Housing Fair, which Councillor Jean Urquhart has tirelessly
worked on, the Minister opened new affordable housing at Kildary.
Councillor John Finnie
was later invited to join other senior Members of Highland
Council for what was a highly productive meeting, full details
of which will be published separately.
GOVERNMENT ACCELERATES CAPITAL WORKS
Ness-side School Improvements Welcomed
Councillor John Finnie is delighted
that one of the many Scottish Government initiatives to kick-start
the economy, the acceleration of capital funds to local authorities,
means that much needed work can go ahead in three schools
in Ness-side Ward.
fabric of our schools has been neglected for years and Councillor
John Finnie is therefore pleased to report the following work;
- Hilton Primary School Window
Replacement Phase 1 - £291,600 Inverness
Royal Academy -Replacement of Music Block Roof - £58,320
- Lochardil Primary School Windows
Phase 3 £77,760
thanks to the Scottish Government.
RELIEF CHANNEL MONIES ADVANCED BY SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT
John Finnie welcomes the advance of £1,000,000 of capital
from the Scottish Government which means that work will commence on
the Inverness South West Relief Channel
COMMON GOOD FUND - PUBLIC MONIES 10/06/09
John Finnie is aware of the high level of interest in the
use of Inverness Common Good Fund. Read
an interesting report on the Fund.
and other Members present at the Resources Committee agreed
OUTCOME AGREEMENT (SOA) 20/04/09
into actions' Councillor John Finnie believes that
the Scottish Government's Single Outcome Agreement (SOA) should focus
the public sector on the need to evidence joint
working, for the public good, to avoid duplication of
effort, money and resources. John believes that papers
Councillors are presented with should show proposals with
a clear link to the SOA and, at today's Inverness City
Committee Meeting, Councillor Finnie won unanimous support
for that proposal. John will keep you advised of progress
with this matter.
Councillor John Finnie
was delighted to have been appointed today as a Director
of Highland Homeless
Trust and hopes to contribute to the considerable
good work of the organisation.
COUNCIL/NHS LEADERSHIP AND PERFORMANCE GROUP
John Finnie is a Member of the Highland Council/ NHS Leadership
and Performance Group which provide a strategic lead in the
many areas of joint working between Highland's two leading public
services, coincidently the Highland's two major employers.
John was present at today's Group meeting which discussed a
range of issues.
of the Group are available here
John Finnie, Inverness Ness-side, who successfully highlighted
failings in Northern Constabulary's use of consultants, is
'continuing enquiries' at Highland Council where the Lib Dem
led Administration is incurring significant costs hiring consultants
whilst making vital front-line staff redundant.
Article 1, Press and Journal Article
should provide welcome competition
Ward residents and their fellow Invernessians will be delighted
that the Scottish Government has backed Highland Council’s
decision to allow Asda to build a store at Slackbuie.After
weighing the planning criteria carefully, John Finnie seconded
the motion which won the Planning Committee's approval
and was in no doubt that the ASDA store would be
suitable for the area. The decision has since enjoyed huge
local support. Lib Dems locally opposed the proposal and Danny
Alexander remains a critic – watch this space for a
“shift” in position from them.In other “Store
News” Electors should note that, under the ‘watch’
of the Lib Dem Chair of Planning, Councillor Ian Ross, the
initial ‘offer’ of a massive £17 million
planning gain form Tesco at the Holm Mains site was not pursued
and resulted in a massive own goal and wasted opportunity.In
total, unforgiveable folly on the part of the Lib Dems!
Inverness - Direct European
Airlink Vital 26/07/09 Councillor
John Finnie believes that it is vitally important for the
economic well-being of the Highlands that a direct air link,
to a hub airport, is available from Inverness.
is just back from a week's break in Germany, Belgium and France
and flew direct to Inverness to Dusseldorf, the flight took
about an hour and a half, using
the new summer air link
AND DISTRICT MS THERAPY CENTRE - SAVED! 08/06/09Councillor
John Finnie is delighted to have lead and secured support
from the Inverness City Committee for the MS Therapy Centre's
application to the Inverness
Common Good Fund.
The Centre had been under pressure of closure...read
LAWS TO BE MODERNISED - HAVE YOUR SAY!- 30/06/09
Whilst Ness-side Ward has
one of the smallest natural areas of any Highland Council
Ward, Councillor John Finnie believes that constituents value
those precious pieces of ground and the species that
reside or visit there. Please
have your say here
AND ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR - JOHN FINNIE - ACTION NOT
SURVEYS - 12/06/09 Councillor
John Finnie has been working hard with all the statutory agencies
and the community in Hilton to bring about a safer and more
pleasing environment for all. Councillor
John Finnie's initiative with dog-fouling has seen a marked
improvement and means the police and the Council are working
closely on this and the added problem of litter....read
CUTS Feb 2009 Councillor John
Finnie and the SNP in Highland have been dismayed at the careless
approach to the Education service taken by the Lib Dem/Independent/Labour
Coalition on Highland Council. Cuts are being made now in
Ness-Side without any thought to educational outcomes.
has obtained figures on teacher numbers which show that Highland
Council's Lib Dem lead Administration is failing our young
people and follows the announcement that seventeen community
youth workers are being made redundant. Press
and Journal Article
SCOTLAND - WORDS INTO ACTION ON DIMENTIA - AWARENESS DAY
25/05/09Councillor John Finnie was delighted to visit the
Woodlands Centre, Culduthel Road, Inverness for Alzheimar
Scotland's 'awareness day'....read
COMMUNITY CARE FORUM (HCCF) OLDER PEOPLE'S GROUPS CELEBRATION
25/05/09 Councillor John Finnie attended a celebratory event,
organised by the Highland Community Care Forum, to recognise
the marvellous work done by many older peoples' charities,
their employees and volunteers....read
AND OPEN SPACES IN NESS-SIDE 24/05/09
John Finnie and colleagues have inspected the play areas
and parks at Balloan, Castle Heather and Holm Park...read
OF MULTIPLE OCCUPANCY (HMOs) 21/04/09
Road Hostel - ongoing The issue of non-compliance with
the Houses of Multiple Occupancy(HMO) legislation, by Highland
Council, was recently exposed by Councillor John Finnie.
Councillor John Finnie was aware of the excellent work
done by Highland Homeless Trust at the Assynt Road Hostel,
a Highland Council HMO, whose HMO licence was shamefully allowed
to lapse.....read more
Community Centre is a key facility in the Ward which is served
by a Management Committee and Centre Co-ordinator whose commitment
is outstanding. In 2008 John secured £3,000 worth of
additional funding for the Centre to help them employ their
own youth workers.The Centre does a great deal of fund-raising
with the Hilton Community Centre Strawberry Fayre taking place
on Saturday 20th June 2009.
Finnie is very keen to see greater use being made of the Council's
school playing fields and he has now secured the opening of
the playing fields at the IRA outwith school hours.
suggestion being examined is the potential for 'young peoples'
cinema'at Eden Court Theatre.
his Eden Court Director's hat, Councillor John will actively
promote this excellent proposal which has the potential to
break down some perceived elitist barriers connected with
- Updated April 2009
representations by Councillor John Finnie, Inverness Ness-side,
a more focused approach to litter, involving the Hilton Community
Warden, TECS Services and the Police has now been agreed.
Community Beat Officers and the Council officers will undertake
the vital education role whilst the Police and the Council's
Enforcement Officers will enforce the legislation.
FOULING - April 2009
fouling of our play areas, pavements and open spaces continues
to blight our communities. Councillor John Finnie pressed
for action on dog-fouling
supported Ness-side Ward Councillors' Discretionary Budget
paying for additional Dog Waste Bins at Holm Dell and Culduthel
Mains and has been assured enforcement work, including action
by Northern Constabulary, will take place throughout the Ward.
PEOPLE -April 2009
Finnie is very keen to engage with young people in the Ward.
In conjunction with Ward colleagues, two very successful meetings
have taken place with secondary pupils from the Inverness
Royal Academy (IRA). Community Councils, voluntary groups
and the Council Officials were present at the most recent
event and John believes it is important that the issues raised,
which included access to facilities, the opening hours of
Hilton Youth Centre and transport are seen to be addressed.
being elected in 2007, Councillor John Finnie, Inverness Ness-side,
has responded to community concerns about anti-social behaviour.
John Finnie was delighted to receive a private briefing about progress
with the issue of 'curfew orders'. Councillor John Finnie
was made aware of a high-level meeting which
took place last week at which the Justice Minister tasked
various parts of Government with examining the implications
of enacting Northern Constabulary's 'curfew' proposal...read
JOHN FINNIE AT THE STUC HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS CONFERENCE
John Finnie was delighted to represent the SNP for the Politicians
'Question and Answer' Session during the STUC's Conference
in Inverness Town House.
interesting range of questions, from dental provision and
Road Equivalent Tariff to MPs' expenses and disabled access
prompted much agreement, and some none too heated debate,
with fellow panel Members, Mary Scanlon MSP for the Conservative
and Unionist Party and Rhoda Grant for the London Labour Party.
Liberal Democrats failed to send a representative and Councillor
John Finnie speculates as to whether this is further
evidence of their contempt for Highland Council employees.
ALEXANDER MP - the facts! - Continued from top of page 30/7/2009
Lib Dems are misleading the public calling for Improvements
locally whilst having no intention to deliver - List
of Calls and Lib Dem Policy
to Danny Alexander’s hypocritical comments on the Scottish
Government’s A9 upgrading, a spokesman for Transport
Minister Stewart Stevenson said:
Alexander’s comments are disgracefully misleading –
the liberals were in office with labour for eight years until
2007 and they left the SNP Government with a transport infrastructure
that was shambolic and not fit for the 21st Century.
Alexander’s outrageous hypocrisy seemingly knows no
bounds. The Liberals failed to even commit to dualling the
A9 road in eight years and proved incapable of making the
long overdue improvements to Scotland’s road and rail
networks which are so vital to our nation’s infrastructure.
this parliamentary term, the SNP Government is investing more
than five times the amount on trunk roads in the Highlands
than the previous Liberal/Labour administration did from 2003-07.
reality is that the Scottish Government is delivering the
biggest construction programme seen in Scotland in a generation.
We are investing progressively in the A9 on a continuing basis
leading to dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness. This
demonstrates the progress made by this Government in delivering
an effective transport infrastructure.
outwith our control such as a larger than expected number
of local objections leading to public local inquiries, and
other complex technical issues, have meant some projects are
taking slightly longer to complete, but this does not detract
from the fact that this Scottish Government is currently delivering
a record programme of works which will deliver around £2.7bn
and thousands of jobs to the economy. Construction employment
has increased in Scotland by 1.4 per cent in the year to March,
a much better position than south of the Border.”
- Dave Thompson (Highlands and Islands) (SNP) (Date Lodged
Friday, June 12, 2009): To ask the Scottish Executive how
much was spent, expressed in today’s prices, on trunk
roads in the Highland local authority area from (a) 1999-00
to 2002-03 and (b) 2003-04 to 2006-07; how much has been spent
and is planned to be spent between 2007-08 and 2010-11, and
how much is planned to be spent in each year from 2012 for
which information is available.
by Stewart Stevenson (Thursday, June 25, 2009):
expenditure on major trunk road projects in the Highland local
authority area is as follows:
to 2002-03: £20.872 million
to 2006-07: £8.850 million
to 2010-11: £41.754 million
current three year budget settlement does not extend beyond
From 2007 the transport portfolio has been held by an SNP
the 2003-07 Parliament the transport portfolio was held by
two Liberal Democrats - Nicol Stephen followed by Tavish Scott.
the first Parliament (1999-2003) the transport portfolio was
held by a number of Labour MSPs.
Thursday, July 23, 2009 2:50 PM
CLEGG LEAVES LIBDEM ROADS POLICY IN TATTERS
LONDON LIBDEMS HYPOCRITICAL DEMANDS JUST DON’T ADD UP
An announcement by the LibDem leader Nick Clegg that they
ditch key Lib Dem policies in an attempt to be more honest
with voters about spending cuts has undermined his own self-styled
Chief-of-Staff’s attempts to make un-costed demands
for spending on roads says SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Dave
Yesterday the LibDem leader announced that his party had to
be "disciplined and honest" which has been followed today
by his Chief-of-Staff, Danny Alexander, making demands for
immediate funding in Highland roads.
Mr Thompson pointed put that it was already the LibDem’s
policy to cut roads funding and that yesterday’s announcement
just further undermines Danny Alexander’s spurious attack
on the SNP Government.
Mr Thompson also pointed out that the LibDems failed to invest
in one single major road project in the Highlands in the eight
years they were in power with Labour.
Research already shows that the LibDems’ policy on roads
is a chaotic mess with local demands for roads improvements
contradicting the party’s national policy which would
cut roads funding.
Mr Thompson listed the LibDems’ position on transport
funding and roads which contradicts what they are telling
voters at a local level:
* A Liberal Democrat policy signed by LibDem Scottish leader
Tavish Scott is not to invest in roads - "We believe that
building more roads and runways will not tackle congestion.
We would invest in a proper public transport system, taxing
lorries and domestic flights to invest in high speed rail."
(See Note 1)
* As part of their UK 4p income tax policy which will see
cuts of £20 billion across the UK the LibDems want to
cut 90% of all major road projects
* Liberal Democrat MSPs voted for the £500 million Edinburgh
tram project - diverting funds from other projects
* Liberal Democrats want to charge for usage of all motorways
and trunk roads - a scheme supported by LibDems' Scottish
leader Tavish Scott
Yet at the same time LibDems at a local level are demanding
immediate or increased funding in roads projects which directly
contradicts the policies they have and would enact in power.
Commenting on Mr Thompson said:
"Danny Alexander is being entirely dishonest and hypocritical
with the Highland public. He is making demands that his party
has no intention of delivering – in fact they will cut
funding for Highland roads.
"And in the eight years in power with Labour, the London LibDems
delivered little in terms of major road project and what was
announced was subject to delay, dither and incompetence under
two LibDem Transport Ministers!
"In contrast it is the SNP which is bringing forward an unprecedented
number of plans to improve road transport across Scotland.
"The LibDems not only had eight years to deliver these improvements,
and failed, they now actually have a policy that would mean
no money and no new roads.
"Not content with diverting valuable cash, which could have
been used for other transport schemes, to an Edinburgh project
that even people in Edinburgh don't want – the LibDems
in Holyrood and Westminster want to cut the funds and stop
"We even have LibDems bidding against each other with Danny
Alexander wanting money to be taken away from the new Forth
Crossing. How will that go down with LibDem MSP Jim Tolson?
"The LibDems are notorious for trying to hoodwink the voters.
They will say one thing on local doorsteps whilst hoping the
voters don't notice what policies they are supporting in Holyrood
"A raft of LibDem MPs and MSPs has some questions to answer
about why they are trying to hide this policy from people
locally whilst supporting it when in Edinburgh and London?
"If we had a LibDem administration none of those projects
would have had sufficient funding and the schemes they call
for locally would never be started, far less finished.
"It's time the London-based LibDems told the truth to people
across Scotland about their policy on roads and recognised
the damaging impact their policies would have on the economy."
A. Nick Clegg’s comments
can be read here:
B. At a national level the LibDems’
policy is anti-roads and wants to cut funding…
1. Tavish Scott is one of the signatories of this Liberal
Democrat policy to not invest in roads – i.e. “We
believe that building more roads and runways will not tackle
congestion. We would invest in a proper public transport system,
taxing lorries and domestic flights to invest in high speed
can be read here:
2. Nick Clegg said that they would pay for the £20 bn
of cuts from their 4p income tax policy by cutting major road
projects by 90%. NB As Clegg's Chief of Staff Danny Alexander
was instrumental in pushing this policy through their conference.
The article in the Telegraph can
be read here:
The other biggest saving - around £1 billion - will
come from shelving 90 per cent of the major motorway and trunk
road building programme.
3. Explaining how the Scottish LibDems would pay for their
£800m of cuts for their 2p income tax policy Tavish
Scott has said that cuts to fund their tax policy would come
from infrastructure projects:
"We could, for example, look very closely at the savings that
they plan to make on the massive infrastructure programme
across Scotland. I think they're being very conservative there
Press Association, 14th September 2008
That is also reported in this
"Target areas include ... a £14 billion infrastructure
4. Tavish Scott described any attempts at dualling the A9
by the SNP Government would be a "stitch-up" and because Fergus
represented Inverness it "wouldn't be a good enough reason"
to go ahead with it. Read
...He added: "A simple political stitch-up because a road
ran through Fergus Ewing's constituency (Inverness East, Nairn
and Lochaber] wouldn't be a good enough reason."...
...He made a thinly veiled claim that the SNP only wanted
to dual the A9 from Perth to Inverness because it went through
an SNP constituency...
5. In June 2007 all LibDem MSPs voted to spend over £500
million on trams in Edinburgh. Read
C. …but at a local level they
are demanding large amounts of investment in roads
The are making calls locally throughout the country - obviously
hoping that other local papers don't notice this contradiction
between their national policy and what they are doing locally.
* Danny Alexander demands a Nairn by-pass (2nd March 2009)
* Danny Alexander demands immediate funding for the A9, A96
and A82 (2nd March 2009)
* Mike Rumbles wants funding for the A90 Laurencekirk Junction
(11 December 2008)
* Mike Rumbles demands immediate funding for the Aberdeen
by-pass (21 September 2007)
* Alison McInnes demands immediate funding for the Elgin by-pass
(23 January 2009)
* Alison McInnes demands trunk road improvements for Dundee
(10th Apr 2007)
* Jamie Stone demanding funding for dualling the A9 from Tore
to Tain (15 January, 2009)
* Jeremy Purvis wants funding for the Leadburn Junction in
Peeblesshire (23rd January, 2009)
* Jeremy Purvis wants £33million for the Selkirk bypass
(30 January 2009)
* Jeremy Purvis also wants improvements on the A7 north of
Galashiels, overtaking places on the A7 north of Gala and
improvements on the A68 and A702.
* Jim Tolson wants funding for the Rosyth by-pass (04 January
* Jim Tolson “urgently” wants a new Forth crossing
(*31 May 2007*)
* Jim Tolson wants improvements to the junction of Dunfermline
Road, Limekilns and the A985 (26 January 2009)
* Ross Finnie calls for A82 upgrade (24th Jun 2008)
More to follow, of course!