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
"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
"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
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
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
· 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
Ø Under the SNP, the 62 day
maximum waiting time target for cancer patients has been met by the
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
Dumfries & Galloway 97.8
Forth Valley 96.2
Greater Glasgow 95.8
Western Isles 100
Source: ISD Scotland Cancer Waiting
Times Statistics updated 28th
September 2010, table 1A:
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
Dumfries & Galloway 100
Forth Valley 91.8
Greater Glasgow 97.2
Western Isles 100
Source: ISD Scotland Table 2A:
Cancer patient waiting time – SNP v.
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
Dumfries & Galloway 29
Source: SNP figures taken from ISD
Scotland: ISD Scotland Cancer Waiting Times Statistics, Table 1a,
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.
recorded by the police in 2006-07 and in 2009-10
Local authority area 2006-07 2009-10
Argyll & Bute
Clackmannanshire 4,932 3,273
Dumfries & Galloway 9,547 6,897
East Dunbartonshire 4,874 4,047
East Renfrewshire 4,164 3,120
Edinburgh, City of 48,385 39,867
North Lanarkshire 26,157 23,422
Perth & Kinross
Scottish Borders 5,402 4,065
Shetland Islands 782
South Lanarkshire 20,969 17,271
West Dunbartonshire 9,160 7,585
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.
Have a healthier, safer and smarter
Christina McKelvie MSP