Alex Neil launches new online resource. A new online toolkit will give communities information and advice on how they can make their town centres more attractive, active and accessible. The Town Centre Toolkit has been developed as one of the key actions from the Town Centre Action Plan, a plan which sets out measures to revitalise Scotland’s town centres. Using case studies for inspiration, the toolkit is designed to give everyone the opportunity to be involved in making improvements to their local area and offers guidance on how to make best use of the assets already in place. Examples include bringing historic buildings back intoRead More →

This week a new survey for NSPCC ChildLine has found that one in five of nearly 700 youngsters said they had seen pornographic images that had shocked or upset them.  The findings of this survey tie into the campaign by Scottish Women’s Aid against revenge porn. This issue was debated in the Scottish Parliament in September 2013.  In bringing the motion and leading the debate, Christina McKelvie MSP said; “Decades ago, domestic abuse was not talked about or recognised—women walked into doors or fell downstairs. Things have moved on, although sadly there are still people in abusive relationships who are too frightened to come forward.Read More →

This week we have also seen an intervention from businessman Jim McColl, who has called for Holyrood to have full control over its finances by 2020. In an interview with the BBC, Mr McColl said; “If you have capacity to raise your own bonds – like a tartan bond or a Caledonian bond – that’s to smooth over the downturns, when you raise government finance. “And then when it’s running well that’s when you fix the roof and you tuck the money away – you don’t waste it”Read More →

From today, 1st April, the Scottish Government new agency comes into effect.  For the first time in 300 year the Scottish parliament has the authority to set taxes which will be administered by Revenues Scotland. The two new taxes which will be collected are Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, which replaces Stamp Duty, and Scottish Landfill Tax which replaces the UK Landfill Tax.  The powers to set and collect these taxes follow the passing of the Scotland Act 2012 Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP said of the launch of Revenues Scotland; “Today is historic.  For the first time in 300 years, with the launchRead More →

PARTY WELCOMES THREE WINS ON EVE OF BIGGEST CONFERENCE EVER On the eve of the party’s biggest ever conference, the SNP is today celebrating a by-election hat trick with wins in council by-elections in Fife, the North East and West Lothian. The SNP gained Glenrothes West and Kinglassie – an area considered Labour heartland – as candidate Craig Walker won 55.3 per cent of the vote. This is a 12 per cent increase in the SNP vote since 2012 and the second by-election win in Fife this year. In January, Marie Penman was elected as councillor for the Kirkcaldy East ward with 47 per centRead More →

CARERS CONTINUE TO BE PRIORITY FOR SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT The SNP is today welcoming the publication of the new Carers Bill – making clear that carers will always be a top priority for the SNP in government. The Bill launched by Jamie Hepburn today will entitle all adult carers to their own support plan and all young carers to a young carer statement, setting out the help and support each carer is entitled to. The Bill will also lead to the establishment of local carer advice and information centres and mandate all councils to publish local carer strategies. The Scottish Government has always made carers aRead More →

SNP BACK CAMPAIGN TO INCREASE POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AMONGST DISABLED PEOPLE The SNP has today signed up to the ‘One in Five’ campaign to encourage political participation amongst people with disabilities in Scotland – and has welcomed moves to make Scottish politics more reflective of Scottish society at large. The campaign calls on political parties and organisations to sign up to a charter which pledges to ensure that meetings are held in accessible venues, material is available in a variety of formats and to increase awareness and understanding of issues affecting people with disabilities.Read More →

The SNP is today accusing the UK Government of abandoning the Smith Commission – after it was revealed that the UK Crown Estate will be able to build up a new portfolio in Scotland after the devolution of the existing portfolio to Scotland.   During questioning at a session of the Scottish Parliament’s Devolution Committee today, it emerged that following an agreement with the UK Government, the UK Crown Estate would still be able to make new investments and build up a new portfolio of land in Scotland – the surplus revenue of which would flow to the Treasury rather than to the Scottish Government.Read More →

The publication of a new strategy for supporting veterans in Scotland has been welcomed today as a positive step forwards. The post of Scottish Veterans Commissioner was established in 2014 to deliver improved support for veterans in Scotland and the publication of today’s strategy sets out the work that the Commissioner will undertake. The answer to the Parliamentary Question setting out the strategy also makes clear that housing and employability issues will be prioritised by the Commissioner in 2015. Commenting, SNP MSP Gil Paterson said: “The publication of this strategy is a positive step towards improving the support that is offered to veterans in Scotland.Read More →

Thursday 29 January 2015   SNP MOVE TO SCRAP POLL TAX CLEARS MAJOR HURDLE   The SNP’s move to abolish outstanding Poll Tax debts cleared a major hurdle today as the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of the move at stage one.   Following a surge in voter registration during the referendum, several councils began to indicate that they would use the new data to pursue ancient unpaid poll tax debts. The Scottish Government has acted to prevent this move which would act as a barrier to democratic participation by introducing the Community Charge Debt (Scotland) Bill.   Commenting, SNP MSP Mark McDonald said:  Read More →