Don't stop believing!
Last Friday I had the privilege of visiting
the Citizens Advice Bureau in Hamilton, the breadth of work they
undertake is astonishing. I met with the whole team and was briefed
on this issues they are involved with. By and far the biggest issue
is debt and the bulk of the work is undertaken with individuals and
families who find themselves in difficult circumstances with
finance. Another project they have is Families Outside this
fantastic project supports the families of men who are currently in
Addiewell prison. It is easy to judge someone on the crime they have
committed but it is with support and compassion that we can break
the cycle of criminality. Families outside supports the families of
these men with advice on financial support and in some cases
emotional support to cope with the impact on the family with having
someone in prison. It is as very difficult job to do but the
commitment and hard work of the staff there can be a real difference
made to the difficulties these families experience. One of the great
things about our legal system and our civic system is that
compassion and support play a very important role in changing
attitudes of those who have committed a crime and supporting the
families affected by it, it is only in this civilised way that we
will support real rehabilitation. CAB explained to me that they had
some challenges with funding and I have pledged to support them as
much is possible but as they know budgets are tight and not only are
people feeling the detrimental effects of personal debt the last
governments approach to 'buy now pay later' has meant that we will
all pay the price for this financial mis-management in ways that
will cause great pain to us all.
This is some of the fantastic staff at CAB
Hamilton with me outside their office last Friday and here is the
link to their website;
I had a lovely evening at Chatelherault with
Linda Fabiani MSP and the Earnock and Hillhouse art group they had a
wonderful exhibition of their work and this photo is Linda and
myself with the art teacher and one of her wonderful paintings which
is of course Chatelherault.
On Saturday following a trip to Perth for SNP
National council I joined some of my friends for a wee fundraiser in
South of Scotland. We had a brilliant BBQ with talented young fiddle
players and pipers. It was all in a good cause, to raise some much
needed campaigning money for the election next year. A big thank you
goes to Gloria and Tom Mitchell for a most excellent night and a
timely reminder that we need to get organised for next year as I
believe it will be the fight of our lives. But it will be a fight
where we will stand on our record for being a responsible,
responsive and competent government who has taken decisions based on
what's best for Scotland.
Sometimes it is hard to see the good news for
all the nonsense spouted by our opponents and it was with interest
that I read the GERS report for this year which yet again showed
that Scotland was in surplus and that this was siphoned off into the
treasury in Westminster never to be seen in Scotland again. I was
also amused at the reaction of the unionist's in the Parliament when
my friend and colleague Linda Fabiani suggested that Independence
would see Scotland flourishing instead of floundering under the drag
from Westminster. Here is the text of Linda's question;
Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): Labour cut Scotland's funding and the Lib Dems
and Conservatives are cutting it even further. Scottish growth is
seriously threatened by all the UK parties. Meanwhile, as the
cabinet secretary said, the latest "Government Expenditure and
Revenue Scotland" report shows that Scotland's public finances
generate far more income than we spend—a Scottish surplus, as
opposed to a UK deficit. Does the cabinet secretary agree that now,
more than ever, the case is made for Scottish independence?
I agree with Linda Fabiani. The inherent issue, which I raised in
response to Mr Purvis, is that if we have control of the financial
levers, we can take responsibility for delivering the type of
economic growth that can deliver the prosperity for which people in
Scotland are crying out. That is the very straightforward prospect
that the Government offers the people of Scotland.
The publication of the latest Government
Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) report for 2008/09 not only
fatally undermine the scaremongering by the London parties about
Scottish independence but also makes the case that Scotland should
have financial responsibility – particularly with Tory cuts
threatening Scottish growth – Today’s report shows that Scotland’s
public finances are in a very healthy position, and generate far
more income than we spend - even in a period of recession and
including a share of the UK Government’s Financial Sector
Interventions to support the banking sector.
They show that Scotland’s financial position
in 2008/09 was a current budget surplus of £1.3 billion, or 0.9% of
GDP, including a geographical share of North Sea revenues. At the
same time, the UK was in current budget deficit of £48.9 billion, or
3.4% of GDP, including 100% of North Sea revenues.
The cumulative value of Scotland’s current
budget surplus over the four year period from 2005/06 to 2008/09 now
stands at some £3.5 billion. Over this same period, the UK built up
a deficit of £72.3 billion.
“These are the strongest GERS figures ever
published – it is game, set and match for the case for Scotland to
be responsible for our own resources.
“Today’s statistics make the case for Scotland
to achieve financial responsibility. With the Tory/LibDem budget
threatening Scottish growth and the Labour party unable to protect
Scotland – having created the mess in the first place – only
financial responsibility for Scotland can help Scotland’s economy
grow more strongly and build recovery.
Coming the day after a budget in which
Scotland has been dealt a share of the pain for the UK's debts these
figures show Scotland's potential if we were in charge of our own
“Today’s statistics also fatally undermine all
the scaremongering from the London parties. Whilst they have been
talking down Scotland – and running the economy down – the
statistics demonstrate beyond doubt that Scotland has built up a
surplus of 3.5 billion over a four year period, while the UK as a
whole racked up a deficit of £72.3 billion.
“The GERS report conclusively proves that the
flow of resources in the UK is from north to south – not south to
"The Calman proposals have been overtaken
politically and economically and it is time to move on to real
financial responsibility for the Scottish Parliament and a
referendum on independence."
I believe we can do it I hope you do too.
And talking about believing I was back at
Motherwell College yesterday and met the winner of this years VQ
award Marie Hanley. It was a smashing day with a number of young
folk and not so young folk being recognised for using vocational
study to enhance skills and develop employment opportunities. Marie
is representing Scotland at the UKSkills competition and I think we
all should wish her the best of luck. Marie does all sorts of
complimentary therapy and has opened her own small business in
Coatbridge. I think with campaigning season upon us again I will be
using her services to help me with my sore feet
This is Marie and I just after she received
her award. Marie puts her success down to having a dream, something
to believe in and the encouragement of her tutors to realise that
dream. I think Marie hits the nail on the head and demonstrates
quite clearly that if you have a goal, a dream and something to
believe in you can be a success so don't stop believing and hold on
to that feeling.
Take care you all…..
Christina McKelvie MSP