Understandably, recent political headlines have been dominated by Brexit. However, the day-day issues that affect our lives such as education, the NHS and public transport often get forgotten in those headlines.
That is why I will continue to focus on those real-life day-day issues which I believe matter most to readers across the Stirling area – issues that the SNP government in Holyrood and the SNP-led Council in Stirling are neglecting.
Concerns over local schools is a consistent issue which many constituents raise with me. People are righty concerned about declining teacher numbers, limited subject choice and mixed-age classes – where pupils of different ages and subject levels are taught in the same class.
Everyone is supportive of the hard work that teachers are doing but they feel that the system is letting them down. Teachers are facing massive demands on their time away from teaching – there is way too much paper-work and form-filling that is distracting teachers away from their main job of teaching our children.
That is why one of the main changes we propose is to stream-line the current system so that teachers can spend much more time doing the job they do best – teaching our children. We want to restore Scotland’s education system to being one of the best in the world – which it was before the SNP came to power 11 years ago.
Likewise with the NHS. We are seeing declining numbers of GPs, nurses and specialists across all areas in Scotland. This is despite the UK Government providing £1 billion of additional funding for Scotland’s NHS. The reality is that the SNP is not spending all of this extra money on Scotland’s NHS – and that’s why we are seeing the NHS in Scotland under the SNP in decline.
Public transport is another area which constituents have expressed concerns over. Many people contact me to complain about the unreliable or non-existent bus and train services which they used to rely on. The SNP have failed to deliver the public transport that Scotland needs – both in terms of train links and rural bus services. To address these issues, we need to see a much more strategic and long-term approach being taken to public transport in Scotland.
Here in the Stirling area, the SNP have also failed to address local concerns over transport issues. I have been campaigning for a permanent solution to the dangerous road junction near to Blair Drummond Safari Park, where only last month there was a serious road traffic incident.
Following a meeting between community representatives in December 2017, Transport Scotland commissioned BEAR Scotland to commence a feasibility study into potential road safety solutions.
This article was originally published in the Stirling Observer on Wednesday 24th and Friday 16th April 2019.