Tag Archives: Scotland

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 http://www.culture.gov.uk/freetoair/Consultation/introduction.html

Scottish Safety Anomaly

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called for action to address the “Scottish Safety Anomaly”

The latest HSE figures show that Scotland’s workplace injury rate remains persistently above the UK average.

“I have raised this issue before, but it has not yet been properly addressed,” said Cathy.

“The latest figures show that that the rate of fatal and major injuries in Scottish was 115.1 per hundred thousand, compared to 105.8 for the UK as a whole. We also have less success with prosecutions.

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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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Antonine Wall – World Heritage Site

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, whose constituency includes the easternmost section of the Antonine Wall, at Kinneil in Bo’ness, has welcomed the announcement that the Wall has been given World Heritage Site status.

“This has been a long campaign, launched over five years ago,” Cathy said.

“A concerted effort by all concerned has seen us through the various stages, and I hope that we can now build on the newly confirmed World Heritage Site status, to increase international awareness and appreciation of our Scottish heritage.

“One end of the wall and some of the best preserved remains are in my constituency, so I’m naturally very pleased by the announcement, and keen to see the cooperation that has brought this success continued with further study and preservation of the wall and the development of local educational and tourist resources.”

motion: Antonine Wall – A World Heritage Site

That the parliament welcomes the confirmation of the Antonine Wall’s status as a World Heritage Site; congratulates all those who have contributed to this achievement, including Historic Scotland, campaigners from Bo’ness to Old Kilpatrick, Falkirk Council and other local authorities, the Scottish Executive past and present, and the UK government; notes that this will focus international attention on the area, helping to promote tourism and increase awareness of Scotland’s roman heritage; and looks forward to a continuing partnership approach to ensure the preservation, study, and development of educational and tourist resources highlighting the global importance of Scotland’s heritage.

Rosyth Ferry

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Cathy Peattie began by declaring her constituency interest.

“Forth Ports is based in Grangemouth, and many hauliers who use the Rosyth ferry are based in Falkirk East. They carry paper, forest products, seafood, electronics, whisky and other spirits, and many other manufactured goods. Rosyth is easily accessible and, contrary to what some have claimed, the Rosyth to Zeebrugge service has been a success for passengers and freight traffic. It is popular with hauliers in my constituency, and I have heard many good reports about it from passengers.

“The service is an attractive alternative to air travel—the growth in passenger numbers shows that—and we need such services if we are to meet our climate change targets.

“In many ways, the freight operation is important to, and dovetails neatly with, freight movements through the port of Grangemouth. Together, both operations are essential to the health and growth of the Scottish economy. They handle a huge proportion of Scotland’s exports; indeed, I have been told that a tenth of Scotland’s gross domestic product moves through Grangemouth.

“With appropriate development, the Rosyth market could be significantly expanded. Many lorries and car transporters still travel hundreds of miles from ports further south, but they could come direct to Scotland from the continent, and vice versa. As fuel costs rise, the competitive advantage of using Rosyth will increase. Moreover, extending sea transport services and reducing road miles results in environmental benefits.

“What goes through Rosyth could treble if we get things right. The market is there for the taking. I was in Rosyth last week and was impressed by the capacity and facilities there. It has a skilled and trained workforce.

“The ferry service should represent an attractive opportunity for any new operator. Things may take time, but I call on the Scottish Government to ensure that doors are not closed before solutions can be found. I am sure that back benchers will want to do whatever they can. In that context, I suggest that we set up a cross-party working group to consider what we can do to move things forward.

“I look forward to a successful Rosyth ferry service in the future.”

Other contributions to the debate can be found here

The Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change committee, of which Cathy is Deputy Convener, has published its report on Scottish Ferries.

News release on the publication of the reportReport on Ferry Services in Scotland (HTML version) | PDF version of the report – 2.14MB | Further Information on the Inquiry into Ferry Services in Scotland

Stop the Scots Culture Cuts

Following cuts in funding for many Scots language and Scottish Traditional Arts groups, Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has tabled a “motion of no confidence” in the Scottish Arts Council and its proposed successor, Creative Scotland. She also highlighted the cuts in the Creative Scotland debate, and at Scottish Executive Questions.

“Unless there are safeguards included in the Creative Scotland Bill when it returns to Holyrood, I don’t think Scottish Culture will be safe in its hands. The Bill, which fell because of government incompetence, envisaged little change to the current regime, and unless we can change that when the Bill returns, I think we’d be better off with a separate body to look after Scots and traditional arts,” said Cathy.

“The organisations that have had their budgets slashed cannot wait for amendments to the Bill. They will have to hand out redundancies and mothball or abandon projects later this year. They urgently need interim measures put in place by the Scottish Government now to ensure their continued activity..

“We are inviting those of Scots descent to return from around the world, and what will they find at the Homecoming? Scottish culture under attack from the Scottish Government!

“Other countries, such as Ireland, give a much higher percentages of their arts and culture budgets to language and traditional arts. Scotland was improving, but now we have taken a nose-dive.

“The Ministerial mantra is ‘the audit will sort it”, but by the time it reports, the damage will already have been done, and the Scots Language audit won’t do anything for the traditional arts groups anyway.”

The motion: S3M-02073 Supporting Scottish Culture

– That the Parliament recognises the valuable work of Scottish cultural organisations, including the Traditional Music and Song Association, the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust, the Scots Music Group, Voluntary Arts Scotland, the Scots Language Centre, and Scots Language Dictionaries, which promote and support extensive voluntary participation in Scottish traditional arts and culture; notes the extreme difficulties these organisations now face as a result of their loss of funding from the Scottish Arts Council; further notes that while existing funding runs to March 2009, the reality of redundancies and the termination of accommodation and office facilities means that their activity will be severely curtailed later this year; recognises that the audit of Scots language provision, even if completed in time, is unlikely to provide more than a partial solution to the problem; believes that the Scottish Arts Council cannot be trusted to support and promote the Scots language and Scottish traditional arts and sees no reason to suspect that Creative Scotland will be any different, and therefore believes that a separately constituted and funded body should be set up for this purpose and interim measures put in place to safeguard existing provision until this is done.

Creative Scotland Bill speech