Cathy speaks to PCS representative Hamish Drummond
Representatives of the 19 tax offices threatened with closure have lobbied MSPs to get their support for a campaign to reverse the closures that have been announced. On 4 December, HMRC announced it will close offices in Ayr, Buckie, Dumfries, Dunfermline, Dunoon, Elgin, Falkirk, Galashiels, Grangemouth, Greenock, Hawick, Inverness, Oban, Perth, Peterhead, Prestwick, Rothesay, Stirling and Wick. With the exception of Inverness, these closures will shut down the only HMRC Office in each location.
The photograph shows Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie talking to Hamish Drummond, who represents Revenue and Customs offices on the PCS union executive.
“I am opposed to the closures, and think that it would be particularly short sighted to close both the local offices in the vicinity of the busiest port in Scotland. This removes a valuable deterrent to criminals and the shadow economy, and reduces HMRC’s efficiency as a collector of taxes.
“Officers will still have to travel to Grangemouth – but may have to travel to work elsewhere and then coming back here as part of their working day! We should be looking for ways to reduce travel, for the sake of the environment, for the sake of the people involved, and for the sake of a better service.
“The PCS locally and nationally can count on my support.”
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
Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has welcomed the launch of a new public awareness campaign on rape.
“The campaign is intended to create debate about attitudes to rape,” said Cathy, who is Convener of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Men’s Violence against Women and Children.
“The campaign challenges attitudes that blame women for rape where they have been drinking, dressed in revealing clothing or flirting, and also addresses the issue of rape within marriages and relationships.
“I congratulate Rape Crisis on the striking images that they have used to focus attention on these issues, and I am pleased to see that the motion I have tabled in the Scottish Parliament is attracting cross party support.”
“This is an extremely important campaign to tackle society’s attitudes towards women who are raped. Even though we often don’t realise it, people do make assumptions about a woman depending on the way she dresses, how she behaves and how much she has had to drink. But nobody deserves to experience rape, no matter what she is wearing or whether she has been flirting.
“The purpose of this campaign is to make people think, and to check the judgements they make about people. We want to create debate about this issue as too many women are experiencing the harrowing ordeal of rape without getting the justice they deserve. I urge everyone to take the messages from this campaign on board.”
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.”
Michael Connarty MP, Cathy Peattie MSP and Cllr Adrian Mahoney with the Grangepans Postmaster
Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie and her colleagues Michael Connarty MP and Cllr Adrian Mahoney are asking Grangepans residents to make their voices heard in opposition to the proposed closure of Grangepans PO.
As well as encouraging people to submit individual letters to the post office consultation, they are distributing a survey to try to identify those who will be most seriously affected if they are unable or have difficulty using the central Bo’ness post office.
“The Grangepans Post Office is at the heart of the local community,” said Cathy. “It is important that the elderly, disabled, young families and carers, many of whom cannot readily travel to Bo’ness town centre, are able to access their own local Post Office in Grangepans. I urge local residents to register their opposition to this proposed closure by completing our survey and writing directly to the post office.”
Michael Connarty said that “The local postmaster is opposed to the closure and has welcomed our campaign. In a small number of cases, the decision has been revoked and the post office has remained open as a result of the public consultation. The Post Office can be influenced by people showing that closure would cause hardship or if they have overlooked prospects for local business.”
Councillor Adrian Mahoney pledged his support and said,”Grangepans Post Office provides a vital service to the local community. It is terrible that this facility is under threat. I hope local people will oppose any attempt to close this service.”