Monthly Archives: January 2009

Public urged to support Bus Regulation

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie is calling for support for a Bill to regulate Bus Services.

Cathy said: “I have dealt with numerous complaints about bus services. We have had some successes, but I am convinced that there would be fewer problems and that they would be dealt with more easily if the buses were properly regulated, and I have called for this in the past.

“I have also called for free bus travel to include all people in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, and for free travel to cover users of buses run by community transport organisations,

“So I welcome and support the Bill which is being proposed by my colleague, Charlie Gordon MSP.

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Campaigning for Winter Warmth

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie is urging people worried about their energy bills or about keeping warm enough this winter to follow the advice of Energy Action Scotland, the charity working for warm, dry homes.

In its winter warmth campaign, Energy Action Scotland is urging people to be energy efficient, to check their benefits and tax credit entitlement, and to make sure that they get the best energy deal.

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DEC Gaza Crisis Appeal: help save lives

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie is backing the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Crisis appeal, and has called for more help for those who are struggling to survive as a result of the armed conflict.

“Thousands of innocent people have been caught up in the unfolding crisis in Gaza. They are vulnerable and suffering and need our help in this very difficult time,” said Cathy

Cathy said that she was disappointed that the BBC had chosen not to broadcast the DEC appeal.

“Gaza is where the help is needed. Humanitarian assistance doesn’t take sides – it just recognises need. The destruction in Gaza has left people without homes, children without schooling, and there are shortages of power, food, medicines and water supplies. That is why I am backing this appeal and hope others will do likewise. I have written to local pharmacies seeking their help with medical supplies, and I’m asking people to send in their donations urgently.”

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Unfair Fares

Falkirk Politicians Michael Connarty, Cathy Peattie and Eric Joyce have all lent their name to the campaign for fair fares for Falkirk residents following an expose by the Falkirk Herald.

Cathy Peattie MSP , Vice Convenor of the Transport Committee at Holyrood said “I raised this issue with Scotrail both before and after FirstGroup took over, so I’m glad that the Falkirk Herald is taking up the campaign. I had hoped that FirstGroup could be persuaded to take a fresh look at the fare structures, but clearly they are sticking with the same old response on the issue, and refusing to take on board the arguments about the unfairness of the current fares, and the social and environmental case for a review.

“Understandably, shorter journeys tend to cost more per mile, and some lines are busier than others, but neither explains the discrepancies. Just look at Dumfries to Carlisle at £5 return for a 60 mile round trip, compared to Polmont to Glasgow at £9.90 for 45 miles.

“This campaign will help by putting pressure on First Scotrail, both directly and through the Scottish Government, to persuade them to rethink their policy. I was very disappointed that the Scottish Government allowed the Scotrail franchise to be extended without consultation, because the unfairness of fares would certainly have been raised, giving us an excellent opportunity to force First ScotRail to address the issue under scrutiny from the parliament and the public.””

Michael Connarty MP said “These fares are unacceptable at a difficult economic time. I was appalled when Alex Salmond extended Scotrails’ franchise without a word of complaint about fares”

Eric Joyce MP said “this is rank hypocrisy from Michael Matheson. Perhaps if his SNP Administration in Edinburgh had properly scrutinised the terms of the franchise we would not be in this situation”

See also ScotRail Franchise extension process condemned
http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/a_nod_and_wink_government,2008-12-04
http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/labour_calls_for_suspension_of_secret_scotrail_deal,2008-12-02

Homecoming: Scots and traditional arts groups struggling

The Year of Homecoming is in danger of being a disappointment if traditional arts and culture are not properly supported, says Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie.

Cathy Peattie, who is a prominent supporter of Traditional Arts and the Convener of the Cross-party Group on Culture and Media, highlighted the problems facing traditional arts and language in Scotland. She warned that people coming to Scotland for the Homecoming will get limited access to traditional music and culture as part of their visit due to funding problems for traditional arts and language groups.

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Recycle your cards and fund tree planting …

recycling Christmas cards

recycling Christmas cards - with Tesco Duty Manager Caroline Jarvie

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie wants people to help the Woodland Trust Scotland create new woods by recycling their Christmas cards.

Cards can be recycled, throughout January, in bins at WHSmith, Tesco, TK Maxx and Marks & Spencer.

In the photograph, Cathy is seen at the Grangemouth Tesco store with Duty manager Caroline Jarvie.

All of the cards collected during the campaign are taken to paper mills where they are recycled into brand new paper products, with money raised helping the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity plant thousands of trees.

Cathy said that “Since the scheme was founded 12 years ago more than 600 million cards have been recycled which has enabled the charity to plant 140,000 trees. Last year 73.6 million cards were recycled which enabled the Woodland Trust plant 17,000 trees in some of its 1,000 UK woods. I think that this year we can do better still – please take advantage of the collection to recycle your cards.”

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Threat to future of Scottish Newspapers

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has warned that the Scottish Newspaper Industry faces difficult times if the Herald and Times Group, publishers of the Sunday Herald, Herald and Evening Times, is allowed to force through drastic cuts in its workforce and changes in working practices. Staff are being dismissed and invited to apply for fewer jobs on poorer pay and conditions.

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The Future of the Arts in Scotland

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, who is Convener of the Cross Party Group on Culture & Media, has tabled a motion drawing attention to the criticisms of current plans for the arts in Scotland made in a letter signed by 440 people.

Commenting on the motion, Cathy said:

“The problem is not Creative Scotland as originally conceived, but the way in which the plans have been developed by the current Scottish Government, with important aspects being diminished or dropped. For example, as the letter notes, the current proposals ignore cultural entitlements, and setting up Creative Scotland clearly needs additional expenditure, but funding is being squeezed. Ultimately this will be at the expense of our arts and culture.

“We are being asked to believe that the cut-down cut-price version will be an improvement, but the 440 people who have signed this letter have looked carefully and dislike what they see. I don’t think it’s too late to sort the problems, but we can only do so if the Scottish Government stops ignoring them, takes on board the criticisms, addresses the funding issues and works to build an arts organisation that is more in tune with artistic communities, recognises cultural entitlements and expands public access and involvement in our arts and culture.”

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