It is a huge privilege to have been re-elected to serve as an MSP in the Scottish Parliament. My sincere thanks to all those that supported me throughout the recent campaign. I will continue to represent all constituents and advocate as strongly as possible on individual issues and the many local matters that demand attention.
And there is no shortage of local matters that I have been raising with Stirling Council in recent months. The Council has been run since 2017 by an SNP and Labour administration – and there is an increasing number of concerns that it needs to address as a matter of urgency. Stirling has one of the highest council taxes in Scotland and some of most expensive waste collection services. The Council decision to cut grey and blue bin collections to monthly – starting in July – has been appalling. I and your Conservative Councillors will continue to do everything we can to stop this. We will also work closely together to try and make sure the much derided, expensive, and environmentally damaging Viewforth Link Road is removed from all plans and never gets built.
Another issue that needs to be urgently addressed is the persistent and damaging anti-social behaviour taking place in our city centre. I have written to Police Scotland urging them to deploy more resources and to re-introduce exclusion zones for those identified as being responsible. This is another issue that Stirling Council should take urgent steps to address.
As we emerge from the worst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, I expect Stirling Council and Holyrood to be doing everything possible to support our communities and businesses rebuild better, stronger, and healthier.
We desperately need a Council administration and a Scottish Government that will focus solely on this priority and take all steps necessary to help everyone impacted by the pandemic. I will do all in my power to push for this both locally and nationally.
At a national level, the Scottish Parliament has reconvened after the recent elections. However, instead of prioritising the national recovery from the pandemic, the SNP continues to prioritise its obsession with separation. At Holyrood we are now faced with a formal pact between the SNP and the Green party. Their self-declared priority to push for another independence referendum is damaging and will be opposed.
The SNP have now been in government for 14 years, presiding over significant declines in our education system and our economy. Scottish Conservative MSPs will relentlessly challenge them on their poor record and failure to act. We will champion the many excellent policies we advocate, such as providing unlimited apprenticeship opportunities, town centre and community rescue plans and a massive increase in infrastructure investment with joint UK and Scottish Government projects.
The Covid crisis has provided many real-life examples of how we are better together within a strong United Kingdom. Over £14 billion pounds of additional UK government financial support to Scotland has protected over one million Scottish jobs. And we have all benefitted from many UK-wide resources that have been deployed during the Covid response including our Armed Forces and the incredibly successful vaccination programme that is creating a path back to normality.
As we make steps towards returning to some normality, my thoughts are with all those that have suffered the loss of friends and family. During these difficult times our communities have grown closer and stronger, bringing out the very best in our society. Let’s make sure that we all we keep doing everything that has helped achieve this.
This article was originally published in the Stirling Observer.