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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
30th September 2010


Promises kept……

I get fed up sometimes! I know… I hear you saying - you Christina? no way…… life is continual sunshine for you.   Oh yes I hear you say that.  But sometimes I do.  

This week we had a fantastic story to tell about our school buildings I was excited, the press release went out and I was very very proud of our SNP Government. But and yes there’s a but…. If you had read anything about it you would have thought that Scotland’s children were being educated in caves.

A red-top cried 1 in 5 children in poor school buildings. It could have read 4 out of 5 children in new or refurbished schools but no that is way too positive and gives this government way too much credit. The oppositionist behaviour of the labour party is now becoming boring.

 For instance we had a debate today on the future of higher education which quite frankly is in a good position. All we got from the labour benches was doom and gloom and not much else.

Scotland needs a new enlightenment just to ensure these doomsayers don’t talk down everything that happens and of course all the natural disasters, pestilence and pain in the world is the fault of the SNP Government. God give me strength to make sure that these navel gazers have no power any time in the future of Scotland because if they do - I despair. See told you I get fed up!

So here is the press release telling the world that not only did we meet our target we actually exceeded our target and I for one welcome this as a promise kept. Another advance on making Scotland smarter.

Over 300 schools have been rebuilt or refurbished in the first three years of the SNP's term in Government, exceeding the Scottish Government's target of 250.

Statistics published today show that a total of 303 schools have been substantially rebuilt or refurbished since April 2007.

At the 2007 election the SNP promised to build at least 250 schools, matching Labour plans "brick for brick".  That target has been greatly exceeded as over 120,000 extra children now receive their education in good quality class rooms.

When Labour left office in 2007 official figures indicated that a quarter of a million children were in poor or bad quality classrooms.  Today’s figures also show that 82 per cent of Scottish school children are now being taught in good quality buildings, up from 61 per cent over the same period.

More than half the schools - 170 in total - have been delivered through traditional capital funding or Non-Profit Distributing (NPD) schemes.

Education Secretary Michael Russell said:

"Today's statistics are excellent news for Scottish school pupils. With 303 school projects completed in three years, we have far exceeded our commitment to match, brick for brick, the 250 schools which the previous administration pledged to rebuild or refurbish.

"What's more, 170 of these 303 schools - more than half - have been delivered through traditional capital funding and not-for-profit schemes, not the discredited, expensive PFI scheme.

"As a result, we now have 82 per cent of our school pupils in buildings rated as good or satisfactory, an increase of over 120,000 pupils in the last three years and a significant jump towards our 90 per cent target.

"The number of pupils being taught in buildings in the worst condition has dramatically decreased to one per cent. I am determined to see further reductions and we will continue work with local authorities to deliver high quality school facilities across Scotland.

"Through the £1.25 billion Scotland's Schools for the Future programme, we are providing support to build another 55 new schools across the whole of Scotland to provide even more top class accommodation. My ministerial colleague Keith Brown will mark the start of work on the first of these, at Pumpherston and Uphall Station Primary, in West Lothian tomorrow.

"The introduction of Curriculum for Excellence will ensure our school pupils are in an excellent position to succeed in the modern world, but it is also important that they are taught in the right environment. The continued investment in school buildings will ensure this is the case across the country."

SNP MSP and Education Committee member Christina McKelvie added:

"In 2007 voters backed the SNP’s promise to build or refurbish 250 schools and we have exceeded that target for Scotland’s children with 303 new or refurbished school buildings in the last three years.

“Labour left over a quarter of a million children in poor or bad quality schools. We know that better school buildings mean more opportunities for our children and better conditions for our teachers. That is why the SNP will not stop at 303 schools but will continue to see more schools built this year.

“I am particularly pleased that we have broken the pattern of private finance profiting from Scotland’s school buildings. With more schools built or refurbished in the last three years through traditional capital or non profit finance schemes Labour’s plans to allow the private sector to profit from our school buildings have been firmly put into touch.”

However Labour have claimed that no credit should go to the SNP and have insisted that all of the builds and refurbishments were either as a result of measures they put in place whilst in office or are the result of steps taken by local authorities.

Scotland's school estate is continuing to improve with only one per cent of pupils now in schools in the worst condition category and 82 per cent of pupils now in schools in good or satisfactory condition.

More than 50,000 pupils are in schools of condition C or D that currently have plans in place or building projects underway to improve the condition of the school to A or B

Of the 303 schools rebuilt or refurbished in the last three years, funding breaks down:

·       152 by traditional capital routes
·       18 were funded by NPD
·       133 were funded by PFI  

Another promise kept……..

We came into government promising to cut waiting times universally but we had a very important target and that was to ensure people who had or were suspected of having cancer would get the fastest and most appropriate attention possible, again we exceeded that target too. What a wonderful example of doing the right thing at the right time and coupled with the results this week that our policy of turning around childhood obesity is working too then we are on our way to being that bit healthier.

The figures are below because again you’d be hard pushed to find it on any front page although that is where it should be.

Cancer treatment waiting times by Health Board

Ø       Under the SNP, the 62 day maximum waiting time target for cancer patients has been met by the NHS.

Ø       The target is for 95% of all patients referred by a GP with a suspicion of cancer to be receiving treatment within 62 days.

Ø       Across Scotland, 96.6% of patients were being treated within 62 days.

NHS Board       % of cancer patients treated within 62 days from GP referral   
Ayrshire & Arran 97.1   
Borders 96.2   
Dumfries & Galloway 97.8   
Fife 96.6   
Forth Valley 96.2   
Grampian  93.6   
Greater Glasgow 95.8   
Highland 97.7   
Lanarkshire 96.3   
Lothian 98.8   
Orkney 75     
Shetland  100    
Tayside 98.1   
Western Isles 100    
Scotland 96.6   

Source:  ISD Scotland Cancer Waiting Times Statistics updated 28th September 2010, table 1A: http://www.isdscotland.org/isd/6226.html

New 31 day target for cancer treatment

Ø       Ambitious new cancer patient waiting time targets of one month (31 days) from seeing a consultant to treatment are being met across Scotland.

Ø       The target is for 95% of patients to wait no more than 31 days from the decision to treat being made by a consultant to the treatment commencing.

Ø       Across Scotland, 97.7% of patients are being treated in this timescale.

Ø       Half of all those patients began treatment within 6 days or less from decision to treat.

Ø       The target is being met early – it was not due to be met until the end of next year.

NHS Board       % of cancer patients treated within 31 days from decision to treat     
Ayrshire & Arran 100    
Borders 100    
Dumfries & Galloway 100    
Fife  99.5   
Forth Valley 91.8   
Grampian  97.7   
Greater Glasgow 97.2   
Highland 92.5   
Lanarkshire  98.9   
Lothian 98.4   
Orkney 100    
Shetland  100    
Tayside 98.7   
Western Isles 100    
Scotland  97.7   

Source:  ISD Scotland Table 2A:  http://www.isdscotland.org/isd/6225.html

Cancer patient waiting time – SNP v. Labour

Ø       On average, cancer patients are waiting less time to be treated under an SNP Government compared to the previous Lib/Lab administration:

NHS Board       Median wait under Labour        Median wait under SNP  
Ayrshire & Arran          35                                             36     
Borders                       36                                             33     
Dumfries & Galloway    29                                             28     
Fife                             37                                             31     
Forth Valley                 39                                             41     
Grampian                    36                                             32     
Greater Glasgow          32                                             37     
Highland                      48                                             38     
Lanarkshire                  35                                             29     
Lothian                        39                                             29     
Orkney                        32                                             49     
Shetland                      36                                             28     
Tayside                        34                                             32     
Western Isles               38                                             26     
Scotland                      35                                             34     

Source:  SNP figures taken from ISD Scotland:  ISD Scotland Cancer Waiting Times Statistics, Table 1a, updated 28th September 2010: http://www.isdscotland.org/isd/6225.html

Labour figures:  http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/health/cancer/waiting-times/waitingtimes2007/AllcancerQ107

Yes you guessed it I am going to tell you about another promise kept, I know it’s very exciting but I think you can handle that excitement. In 2007 I campaigned on a manifesto that promised safer streets additional police officer and an overhaul of the criminal justice system and that’s what we did.

Figures published this week show that recorded crime is down. We have the lowest rates for decades another fine example of SNP policy creating a safer Scotland.

Crimes1 recorded by the police in 2006-07 and in 2009-10       

Local authority area    2006-07 2009-10
 
Aberdeen City             23,322  18,729 
Aberdeenshire             10,527   8,088  
Angus                          6,099   4,872  
Argyll & Bute                5,303   4,133  
Clackmannanshire        4,932   3,273  
Dumfries & Galloway     9,547   6,897  
Dundee City                15,512 11,924 
East Ayrshire               8,544   7,967  
East Dunbartonshire     4,874   4,047  
East Lothian                5,232   4,643  
East Renfrewshire        4,164   3,120  
Edinburgh, City of       48,385  39,867 
Eilean Siar                   1,125      642    
Falkirk                      10,148    8,046  
Fife                           30,304  21,120 
Glasgow City             75,387  61,165 
Highland                    14,872  12,120 
Inverclyde                    7,040   5,521  
Midlothian                   6,325   5,246  
Moray                         5,900   4,103  
North Ayrshire             9,871   9,313  
North Lanarkshire       26,157  23,422 
Orkney Islands                497     543    
Perth & Kinross            7,634   5,963  
Renfrewshire               14,672  11,603 
Scottish Borders           5,402   4,065  
Shetland Islands              782     847    
South Ayrshire              7,531   5,688  
South Lanarkshire       20,969  17,271 
Stirling                         6,150    5,083  
West Dunbartonshire     9,160   7,585  
West Lothian               12,890  11,122 
SCOTLAND               419,257 338,028
Source: Scottish Government Justice Analytical Services                        

1.      Crimes include the categories Non-sexual crimes of violence, Crimes of indecency, Crimes of dishonesty, Fire-raising, vandalism etc. and Other crimes

This week my Equal Opportunities Committee continued with its evidence taking on the migration and trafficking inquiry. We had evidence from Alex Neil Minister for Communities and Kenny MacAskill Cabinet Secretary for Justice. We will be putting together the report over the next few weeks.

At Education Committee we continued with the Children’s Hearings Bill at stage 2, there are a huge amount of amendments but we will have a system to be proud of.

On Wednesday night I got together with some of my colleagues and an organisation that I personally think is great. Rathbone work with young people who need more choices and more chances and support them to realise their potential. It is a difficult job but the commitment, care and attention Rathbone gives these young people will benefit not only the young person but also their communities and the economy as they are more likely to get that much sought after job.

Just to finish up here’s a wee bit of fun, follow the link and hook up to SNP TV.

http://www.youtube.com/user/theSNPchannel

Have a healthier, safer and smarter weekend.

Christina McKelvie MSP
Central Scotland


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