As part of Scottish Apprenticeship week, Central Scotland SNP MSP Clare Adamson visited Bellshill based Edge Testing Solutions. During the visit Ms Adamson met with the Modern Apprentices and learned about the work they do. The group are Edge Testing’s second intake of Modern Apprentices and they talked about their experiences as apprentices including the six week ‘fast-track’ Edge Academy, which forms part of the overall training programme. The programme comprises classroom and real world hands-on training, together with on-going mentoring over a two year period. The Scottish Government has grown the Modern Apprenticeship programme from 15,000 starts in 2007 to more than 25,000 newRead More →

Ahead of the Queen’s Speech, the SNP has made clear that it will fight the Tories’ plans for £12bn in welfare cuts ‘every step of the way’ – and that promoting an alternative to continued cuts will be the party’s key priority at Westminster. The Tory’s commitment to further welfare cuts comes as new statistics published last week show that around a third of the UK population experienced poverty in at least one year between 2010 and 2013 – higher than the EU average of 25 per cent. During the General Election campaign, the SNP promoted an end to austerity with modest increases in publicRead More →

Dave Thompson, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch Announces Retirement Dave Thompson, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch has announced he will be standing down at the next Scottish election. Dave, an MSP since 2007, firstly as a Regional MSP for the Highlands and Islands from 2007 to 2011 and then as the constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch since 2011, has formally notified the SNP’s National Executive Committee of his decision and a candidate will be sought to replace him with nominations open in June. Dave said, “It has been a great privilege to serve as an MSP, firstly as a Regional MSPRead More →

Following the appointment of six senior Tories to the House of Lords the SNP have today criticised David Cameron’s government and called on other parties to back the SNP in condemning the Tories’ Lords appointments. The six peers appointed this week are; Ros Altmann, Minister of State for Pensions, Jim O’Neill – Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Dunlop – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland, George Bridges – Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude – Minister of State for Trade and Investment and David Prior – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health. The SNP has long believed the House ofRead More →

Scottish Agriculture headlining at European Parliament Alyn Smith MEP has joined Scottish Agriculture expert Brian Pack in calling for reform of the Common Agriculture Policy, focusing less on penalties and providing a more supportive regime. Brian Pack was joined by international experts and raised issues such as; Need for more consistent auditing standards The end of member state “gold – plating” of regulation through additional guidance. The case for more in the interpretation of eligible land for EFA. More time to implement the new rules. A call for tolerance in the application of new penalties while the new system is bedding in.   Welfare ReformRead More →

SNP MEP Alyn Smith welcomed a major report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which backed minimum pricing and called for further efforts to tackle alcohol abuse. The report emphasised that while Minimum Unit Pricing had the potential to reduce drinking among heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers of all levels of income would be largely unaffected. Adults in Scotland consumed an average of 10.1 units of alcohol per week (13.7 units for men and 6.8 units for women) in 2013. Alyn said: “The OECD’s comments on the Scottish Government’s minimum pricing are great news. Minimum pricing is a proportionate, evidence-based policy to cutRead More →

Commenting on the appointment of David Mundell as Secretary of State for Scotland, SNP MP Pete Wishart said: “The Tories’ share of the vote in Scotland at the General Election – at under 15 per cent – was the lowest they have ever had, while the SNP achieved 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats. The days of business as usual are over, so it is a pity that David Cameron did not take the opportunity to scrap the post-devolution anomaly that is the Scotland Office, and invest the £7 million that is spent on it on public services instead. “David Mundell is the sole representative ofRead More →

Introducing Scotland’s 56 newly elected Scottish National Party MPs earlier today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am absolutely delighted – bursting with pride even – to introduce to you for the very first time as one assembled group the fifty six men and women elected on Thursday to make Scotland’s voice heard. “The people of Scotland have spoken and the people have placed their trust in the SNP to represent Scotland at Westminster as well as at Holyrood – and just as voters in almost every part of this nation of ours chose the SNP – our pledge is that these 56 SNP MPsRead More →

SMITH COMMISSION IGNORED AHEAD OF EU MEETING Scotland has been stopped from having a direct voice at the top table in key EU Fisheries talks tomorrow despite the Smith Commission pledge that Scotland should lead when it has the “predominant policy interest”, and despite the UK Minister for the Marine Environment, George Eustice, being unable to attend. The SNP’s Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead had demanded Scotland lead for the UK in the crucial talks at the European Union’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council. However in a letter to Mr Lochhead the UK Government have now confirmed that instead an unelected Tory peer with no involvementRead More →