Clive Sneddon – Improving Health Services for All

At every election – Scottish, Westminster and occasionally local too – candidates receive carefully-considered manifestos from voluntary bodies, asking them to pledge to implement their particular wishes. Many of these revolve around health issues, such as the care and treatment of people suffering from cancer, diabetes, heart disease or strokes.

Clive Sneddon is firmly convinced that we need a National Health Service in all parts of the UK which is properly funded and staffed, to deliver what is needed for both mental and physical health. Only consultation with medical staff will ensure that the right priorities are identified and delivered.

The Liberal Democrats have announced that they would end the 1% cap on public sector pay, and would increase it in line with inflation. They have also announced an increase of 1p in the pound on income tax to pay for improved health services. This approach is supported by the former head of the NHS David Nicholson, as well as former heads of the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of GPs and Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Because of the current devolved powers, the tax on dividends is the only part that would apply in Scotland. Even this limited part would raise £35 million, enough to transform Scottish mental health services. The Scottish Government already has the power to fund the Scottish NHS, if it cares to use its powers.

Despite the best efforts of its devoted staff, the NHS is currently under severe strain. Clive Sneddon is committed to finding and implementing practical solutions which will give us a fully functioning NHS again.

If you want to change Britain for the better, you can do so by voting Liberal Democrat on 8th June.

Richard Moore Raises Concerns over Teacher Shortages and College Cuts

There are unfilled vacancies for teachers in key subjects in both the Arbroath secondary schools.
Richard Moore said: “This is a serious concern. Under-staffed departments mean overworked teachers and less contact time for pupils.
If subject choices are limited and exam results suffer, opportunities are affected for a pupil’s lifetime.
We are already facing shortages of certain skills, such as in the trades, and this needs to be addressed.”

Richard is also worried by cuts in courses at the Arbroath campus of Dundee & Angus College.
“When part-time courses are not on offer in Arbroath,” he says, “it’s people with family caring obligations who miss out most.
Travelling to Dundee or Perth is just not an option for them.
Further Education should be within reach for all who want it, regardless of their stage of life or responsibilities.”

Richard Moore Calls for Affordable Housing

Richard Moore wants to see more affordable housing built in rural communities.
The ongoing development in Friockheim should have provided 16 affordable homes but instead, the Council is  letting the developer provide funds for housing elsewhere.
Only the immediate neighbours were consulted – no site notice, no press notice – so hardly anybody knew what was happening.

Richard said, “For rural communities to stay alive, they need housing for young families, and for people wishing to downsize.
‘Commuted sums for development elsewhere’ sounds reasonable, but where is ‘Elsewhere’? Not a rural community I suspect.”

“When local people can’t afford to buy or rent houses in their villages, they have to migrate to the towns. Housing should be built where people choose to live.”

Richard Moore offers solutions to “School Run” parking

Residents near schools have complained to Richard about “school run” parking.
Richard said, “Residents are annoyed at their drives being blocked and road restriction markings being ignored.
Of course parents want their children to get to and from school safely, but we have to make sure that other children are not put at risk by thoughtless parking.”

“There are solutions to address the problem. For example, there are walking buses, ‘Park and Stride’, using a local car park as an assembly point.
We have to raise awareness of the dangers and educate parents about the risks of careless parking.
My aim is to address the problem sensibly without resorting to draconian measures such as parking fines.”

Richard Moore is the Scottish Liberal Democrats candidate for Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim.

Richard Moore criticises Council’s “Attack on Recycling”

Arbroath West, Letham, & Friockheim candidate Richard Moore is committed to protecting the environment for future generations and has criticised the recent cuts to recycling.
“The attack on recycling is counter-productive,” he said. “If recycling centres are only open when people are at work, the centres will be less used and more recyclables will go into landfill. Has the charge for green bin emptying covered the cost of the service? Or are we in for another service reduction this summer?”

“The council has to pay £86 for every tonne that goes to landfill,” he added. “Collecting recyclate and garden waste is the sensible way to reduce that cost. I hope the administration has learned from the monumental blooper last July, when thousands of households opted out of the garden waste collections. Or must the taxpayer continue to pay for dumping recyclable material at the tip?”

“The council has chosen to reduce the number of household amenity sites, creating less opportunity to recycle. Did the administration not realise that it has to work with residents to improve recycling rates? People need to be able to access the site in the evenings, longer at weekends, and in locations that are local and sensible.”

Richard Moore on IndyRef2


Richard Moore is worried by the direction Angus Council is taking. He sees the SNP in Angus following the Scottish Government’s austerity agenda as the First Minister moves toward IndyRef2.

Richard and the Scottish Liberal Democrats are against the idea of a second independence referendum. “There are many issues requiring the urgent attention of Angus Council – job shortages, especially teachers and NHS staff, but also road and footpath repairs and the need for affordable homes – which should take priority. Where is the will to address these issues?”, he said.

Richard understands that a nation can achieve whatever it wants. He simply believes that it can achieve more by not working in isolation. “The practical way to achieve more for Angus,” he added, “is to concentrate on delivering effective local solutions.”

Richard Moore slams ‘obscene’ Council Tax increases


Arbroath West, Letham & Friockheim candidate Richard Moore has criticised Angus Council and Holyrood for Council Tax increases significantly above the rate of inflation.  “The new National E-H Increase means increases can be over sixteen times the rate of inflation – and there is no guarantee that this increase will be spent on improving services in Angus,” said Richard.  “This flies in the face of Alex Salmond’s statement, supporting the Lib Dem view, that ‘we believe that local income tax is a better and a fairer way to contribute to paying for local services. We believe that taxation should be based on the ability to pay.”

Richard added “Alex Salmond, while First Minister, stated ‘there is something fundamentally flawed about a taxation system that does not take account of people’s ability to pay’, yet this is exactly what the SNP-controlled Scottish Parliament is implementing.

“This will impact on the construction industry, as most properties now are rated E; it will affect the housing market, as people will be deterred from moving up the ladder with the additional costs, which means the ‘first-time buyer’ properties will be blocked.  Local Income Tax is the way forward, not this draconian, unfair process.”

Mulberry Unit closure

By davidmay

It is has been made clear by Tayside Health Board that the temporary closure of the Mulberry unit is due to the lack of mental health staff, and this is a national issue. I therefore, urge the Scottish Health Minister to take action on this by recruiting more staff and I have contacted her about this. There is obviously a long term concern as the health board will have to make decision very soon, as to whether it is going to be a one site option or a two site option as there are units in Perth, Dundee and our one at Stracathro.

Although I am still appalled that they have been forced to make this decision to close it temporarily , I applaud the Mulberry staff who have made the transition for the vulnerable patients to Carseview, to be as satisfactory as possible by every member of the staff moving with their patients.

However, I am still concerned about this move for the friends and families of the patients who are now having to travel over 30 miles to visit them at Careview as it is clearly much further away for them to get to than the state of the art Mulberry Unit. What will help is that Voluntary Action Angus have agreed to organise transport to Carseview for friends and families who contact VAA .

I have also heard that the Mulberry Unit staff are collected by taxi from their homes and transported free to Carseview and this is being rightly done in their work time. However, although this is being done it is economically not sustainable in the long term.

From:: David May

Finding out that mental health progress was worse than we thought – one of the reasons Scottish Liberal Democrats voted against the SNP’s budget

By davidmay

During negotiations on this year’s Scottish Budget, Willie Rennie discovered that the mental health situation in Scotland was much worse than even he had thought. He told activists yesterday at the Kickstart training day in Perth:

Look at the terrible record of this SNP Government on mental health.

They let the share of the budget spent on mental health drop by their own admission for years.

The SNP let its mental health strategy lapse in 2015 with no replacement in place.

Young people still have to wait more than a year for treatment.

It became clear during our budget discussions with them that the SNP Government is much further behind on mental health even than we feared.

The SNP were simply unable to make the changes to their budget towards what we know is important for mental health. We wanted a doubling of services for young people, comprehensive support at GP surgeries and comprehensive cover.

We cannot let this drop. We cannot let the SNP and their neglect of mental health stand. They are letting people down.

I want our council candidates to take our mental health campaign into the council chambers of Scotland.

Liberal Democrat councillors will work in partnership with local health services for better support for people with mental health problems.

Councils can patch up the provision that is neglected by the SNP Government.

We can make sure local education services identify young people with mental health problems and help them get early support, and continue to help them as they transfer to adult services.

We will make sure each council is a mental health champion, promoting good health and helping people back into employment.

We can support voluntary groups that help people tackle loneliness and isolation.

And we can use the influence of councillors on the Integration Joint Boards to make mental health support quick, effective and locally available.

For a time it looked like there might have to be another Scottish election as the SNP didn’t look like they were going to get the agreement of any other party in the Parliament. The Tories and Labour wouldn’t talk to them at all, much to their discredit. Willie spent a substantial amount of time in pretty open and honest (on both sides) negotiations with Derek Mackay, the Finance Minister, but there was no prospect of an agreement in sight. The Greens decided that they wanted a 60% tax rate and they weren’t budging on that.

Until Patrick Harvie, their leader, capitulated live on telly on Wednesday afternoon, muttering about how it would be irresponsible not to let the budget go through. That’s the voice of strong opposition for you. Maybe he was more worried about an election potentially removing the pro-independence majority in the Parliament.

It might have been ok if Patrick hadn’t mucked it up so spectacularly before. In 2009 he voted against the Budget only to capitulate with nothing a few days later. You know what Lady Bracknell would say – once is unfortunate, twice is careless.

Anyway, as the Greens slunk off quietly, Willie talked about his reasons for voting against:

Today the SNP missed a huge opportunity to make Scotland a more liberal and economically strong country. It’s a missed opportunity to meet the challenges of Brexit, a sluggish economy and slipping educational performance. It’s a missed opportunity to see a transformational investment in education, a step change in mental health services and essential support for our police service.

Liberal Democrats held firm on our reasonable and principled positions. Instead of delivering a bold and green country the Green Party have simply helped the SNP deliver a grey and timorous budget.

The SNP and Greens between them have delivered an austerity budget which is not what Scotland’s ailing economy needs right now

From:: David May

Concern about support for local groups

By davidmay

My comments about the council report on the changed system

Angus council have changed the community grant scheme, which I helped to introduce several years ago, and which has given support to many community groups over the years as they could bid for grants of up to £5,000 for very worthwhile projects and made huge difference to the groups and what they could do.

However, the council have now passed a very considerable revision to the scheme and in order to qualify for a reduced support of up to £1,200 they have to have this matched by showing they can get the sum matched by crowdfunding. I have huge concerns about this change as in my view it will put many groups off and the groups themselves as well as what they are able to do will suffer. Furthermore, the sum they can apply for is now much more limited which will in my view means less can be done by the groups.

In a recent report on the previous system, we had groups that were enabled to buy spotlight to enhance a new lighting system to enhance their productions, assistance to a football team towards new equipment, funding to help to purchase a community shed, and assistance towards expand a Montrose Music Festival activity to provide a more family friendly event. The new system might mean less of these were able to be done and 2 of the successful applications were for over the new maximum of £1,200.

From:: David May