Monthly Archives: September 2008

Mind the Gap

Cathy Peattie has called on the Scottish Parliament to heed the recommendations of the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity – and of its own report published before the last election.

“Leonard Cheshire have published a very good report highlighting the problems that disabled people face when travelling,” said Cathy.

“Transport is one of the biggest barriers to work, study and leisure. I know just how big a problem it is, because when I chaired the Equal Opportunities Committee we spoke to people from all over Scotland, and produced a report to the Parliament containing recommendations for action to remove the barriers and create new opportunities for disabled people. The report was well received, and made similar recommendations to Leonard Cheshire’s, as well as further recommendations to address issues such as the accessibility of buildings, tackling negative and obstructive attitudes, and improving how institutions deal with disability.

“That report is available to the current parliament if it wants to pick up the baton and run with it, but so far, little has been done. I welcome the pressure from the Mind The Gap report, and hope that it will be followed up by a concerted campaign to get action. It would of course be better if the parliament and the Scottish Government led the way instead of being pushed, but one way or the other it needs to move, so that disabled people find it easier to get where they want to go, to take up employment, education and leisure opportunities.”

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Council pay dispute.

Cathy Peattie has tabled a motion calling on the Scottish Government to intervene in the local government dispute.  

“The problem is a direct consequence of the Scottish Government’s actions,” said Cathy.   “The Scottish Government negotiated a council tax freeze, in return for a reduction in ringfencing, but that has left local government struggling to maintain services AND meet new obligations AND find money to meet rising costs AND pay some of our lowest paid workers a living wage. Local authority workers, like the rest of us, have rising costs, but are being told they must accept a settlement well below inflation. In effect, they are being asked to pay the cost of freezing the council tax.  

“Ministers are quick enough to say that other people should take responsibility for their actions. What about them? The Scottish Government should not be allowed to ignore its responsibilities, leaving local authorities, hard working employees and the public to suffer the consequences. The Scottish Government has a duty to stop passing the buck.”

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Traditional arts cuts

Cathy joins protest against cuts

Cathy joins protest against cuts

Cathy Peattie has called on the Scottish Government to ensure that Scottish Traditional Arts and language organisations are adequately and sustainably funded.

National organisations such as the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust, the Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland (TMSA), and the Scots Music Group (SMG) which between them, bring together over 1,500 individuals and 30 organisations with a commitment to maintaining and building the grassroots Scottish traditional arts – face severe curtailment of their activities following funding cuts by the Scottish Arts Council.

Having highlighted the issues in the Creative Scotland debate before the summer recess, Cathy Peattie has continued to support the campaign against the cuts, and raised the issue again during questions to Culture Minister Linda Fabiani.

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MSPs reported missing

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has tabled a motion calling on the Scottish Parliament to address the issue of 21 missing women MSPs.

Cathy explained that “this year’s Equality and Human Rights Commission report looks at the underrepresentation of women amongst senior public sector posts.

“There are very few senior women police officers or judges. Less than one in seven Scottish MPs are women. The Scottish Parliament does slightly better, but even here, numbers fell at the last election. Labour has 50% women MSPs – but other parties remain male dominated, with the SNP and Tories both less than 30% and the Liberals only 12.5%. Add to that, two Green men and Margo Macdonald, and the total is 45 women, less than 35% of the 129 MSPs..

“The report looks at how many women are missing – that is, how many more would have positions if there were equality. So for example, there are 130 women missing from public appointments, and 85 missing women headteachers in secondary schools. In parliament, we are missing 10 SNP, 6 Liberal Democrats, 4 Conservatives, and a Green – 21 women MSPs.

“This year is the 90th anniversary of women getting the vote, and eighty years since full equality in voting was achieved, but we are still far from equal in the political process.

“I believe that politicians have a duty to address the underrepresentation of women, not least in their own parties. I hope MSPs – men and women – will sign this motion and that we can get a debate in parliament, but it must not end there. We need to be proactive in making sure women are fairly represented and given truly equal opportunities in their careers.”

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On the Ferries

Summing up in the Scottish Parliament debate on the TICC Committee report on Ferry Services in Scotland, the Committee’s Deputy Convener, Cathy Peattie said:

I thank our committee clerks and back-up teams for their commitment, hard work and patience throughout our inquiry.

The debate has highlighted the vital role that ferry services play in our island communities’ economic and social lives. The committee’s report concluded that “ferries represent much more than simply a transport link.” They “play an active role in promoting diverse communities and encouraging families and young people to live on our islands” and “they help promote inward investment in these communities to sustain their economic well-being and development.”

The report contains key messages that the debate has reinforced. We have heard several interesting speeches. I cannot cover them all, but they raised lots of ideas, such as connectivity, the European inquiry, the importance of PSOs and an increase in services. The committee received information from many people, which I will speak about.

In closing the debate on the committee’s behalf, I will say a few words about our inquiry, which—as other members have noted—was a substantial and wide-ranging piece of work. It was the first major inquiry in the Scottish Parliament into ferry services. The committee heard from almost 50 witnesses at seven public committee meetings. We received 100 written submissions and more than 330 people took part in online surveys. We publicised our call for views by placing leaflets in English and Gaelic on board ferries throughout Scotland. We were certainly not short of information or suggestions on how to improve ferry services. The committee felt that it was important to hear at first hand from ferry users, trade unions and other stakeholders. In that respect, our inquiry was a good model of how to engage with the public.

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Dare to Wear Pink

Cathy wears pink for the Breast Cancer Campaign

Cathy dares to wear it pink

Cathy Peattie MSP is joining forces with Breast Cancer Campaign for its award winning fundraising event, wear it pink, on Friday 31 October 2008

This year’s theme is ‘dare to wear’ and Cathy is urging residents, young and old to get their craziest pink outfits on,  be it a pink lab coat, feather boa, or simply a tie.

Taking part in wear it pink couldn’t be easier. Whether you are in an office, at school, or simply popping to the shops, on 31 October donate £2 and wear an item of pink, the more daring the better! Your donation will allow Campaign to continue funding innovative world class research across the UK.

Cathy Peattie MSP says “Every year over 4,000 people in Scotland are diagnosed with breast cancer. Like many others, I know people who have lost friends and family members to breast cancer. I would like to encourage everyone in Falkirk East and throughout the country to support wear it pink on October 31, to raise valuable funds for breast cancer research.”

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