Monthly Archives: June 2009

Grangemouth campaign meets Minister

Representatives of the Grangemouth Transport Forum have met Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson to discuss Grangemouth transport needs – and what Grangemouth has to offer to Scotland’s economy and Scotland’s climate change strategy.

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Should Scotland qualifiers be free to air?

Do you think that the UK should continue to protect live and deferred coverage by free to air television of major events such as the Scottish FA Cup Final?

Were you annoyed that Scotland’s qualifying games were not protected?

If you want your views heard on these issues, Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie wants you to submit them to the current consultation on free to air events.

As part of the consultation, Cathy, who chairs the Cross Party Group on Culture & Media, organised a series of meetings in the Scottish Parliament with Advisory panel members David Davies (chairman), Dougie Donnelly and Professor Chris Gratton, who are looking at the issue.

Cathy said: “The panel met MSPs, broadcasters, sporting organisations, and members of the Cross Party Groups on Culture and Media and Sport. The message from MSPs and CPG members was clear – protect what we have and add Scotland’s qualifying games to the list. That message will be strengthened if more people submit their views.

“So far the UK has only listed sporting events. But other events can be listed too – examples include opera and music festivals in Austria, Belgium and Italy. So if you think that events other than sporting events should be listed, let them know.

“The consultation exercise runs until 20 July 2009. The Panel will then make recommendations to the Secretary of State, who will make the final decision. Note that listing an event doesn’t guarantee that it will be broadcast on free-to-air television, but the rights cannot be sold exclusively elsewhere. Also, remember that events don’t have to be listed UK wide – the Scottish FA Cup Final is listed in Scotland alone.”

The consultation documents are available on

Speaking up for Carers

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called on the Scottish Government to do more to support carers.

Cathy, who is the Convener of the Cross Party Group on Carers, spoke about the difficulties faced by carers dealing with bureaucracy and the costs that they face for respite charges, heating and travel to access health and other services.

Penalising Working Carers
Reminding the Minister that the Executive policy was that “carers should not be adversely affected as a result of their caring role”, Cathy highlighted local authorities which “are now considering assessing, or are beginning to assess, the income of parent carers when considering the services that it will provide to a disabled young person aged 18 or under.”

“Transport is a problem for many. It is costly, if it is available. People who cannot travel on their own are entitled to be accompanied by a companion, but only on buses, whereas the blind persons scheme permits a companion to travel also on rail and ferry journeys. Anyone who needs to be accompanied by a companion should be allowed that. Of course, not everyone has access to public transport. Services are sometimes not suitable and in some areas do not exist. Private transport is expensive and unpaid carers rarely have big incomes because many must give up work to provide care. Demand-responsive community transport can provide much-needed services and should be included in the national concessionary travel scheme.

Respite Care
“Respite care is in short supply. The Government is committed to providing an additional 10,000 weeks of respite care, but thanks to the concordat, the commitment is reliant on the good will of councils. To their credit, some councils are providing respite care, but others are not—or have different ideas about how the weeks should be counted.

“It would cost a lot to pay carers from the public purse for the services that they provide. Through their unpaid work, they make a major contribution to the economy, which we should recognise by ensuring that the support and services they can access are as good as possible, right across the sectors. We need to recognise carers’ needs in our health service by providing decent breaks and respite care. We must also provide adequate benefits, in recognition of the additional expenses that carers face as a result of their work.

“Carers are everywhere and all of us may become carers at some time in our lives, so we must ensure that carers are seen and supported and that their voices are heard. As politicians, we are responsible for ensuring that carers are supported in every way possible, and for ending the dreadful situation that leaves them living in poverty.”

See also

Ineos investment

Commenting on the announcement of government support through Regional Selective Assistance (RSA), for modifications to the KG Ethylene Cracker at INEOS Chemical site, Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie said:

“Grangemouth is hugely important to the Scottish Economy, and I have been calling for this to be properly recognised within the Government’s strategy. It is crucial that improvements such as the cracker upgrade are given support, particularly in the midst of global economic problems.

“I would welcome a discussion with Ineos about their plans for Grangemouth. We need assurances about jobs and consultation with the workforce, and I hope the First Minister will take this on board in his discussions with the company.

“I will of course also be looking for assurances from the First Minister that the Scottish Government will build on this investment through a continuing commitment to the sustainable development of the industry and infrastructure of the Grangemouth area.”

Welcoming Alex Salmond’s first official visit to Grangemouth, which followed cent visits to Grangemouth by Jim Murphy, the Secretary of State for Scotland and by the China UK Business Council. Local MP Michael Connarty said:

“The need for substantial investment in the chemical processes at INEOS were part of the discussions with Jim Murphy, and have been part of my ongoing dialogue with the company as the gases coming to Grangemouth from the North Sea have changed. I welcome the decision of INEOS to commit to investment in the Ethylene Cracker upgrade and the support being offered by Scottish development through Regional Selective Assistance. This shows how important our campaign to retain RSA for the Grangemouth area was when RSA areas were reviewed by the UK government in 2006. I look forward to further commitments to investment on the INEOS site in the future”