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Category Selector
Swinney warns on EU funding
Published date : 16 Oct 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today warned of cuts to vital funding in the wake of the UK leaving the European Union.

A new publicly accessible database has laid bare the financial impact that leaving the EU will have on areas around the UK, with Perthshire and surrounding areas facing losses to funding of over £53m per year.        
                                                
The figures show that in 2017 alone, the EU has invested over £43m in farming, including £30.8m from the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. Over 1,202 farms received funding, with an average amount of £25,309 being received in 2017. 

The EU invests around £5billion a year in the UK, and the European single market is around eight times bigger than the UK market alone.

Last week, the SNP announced that up to £18 million of European cash would be used by the Scottish Government to set up an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to help small and medium sized businesses. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“As these figures show, Perthshire and its surrounding areas have benefitted hugely from the strong relationship between Scotland and the European Union.

“EU funding has made a huge contribution to infrastructure, culture, and opportunities in Scotland. This is just the latest analysis which confirms that Brexit is going to inflict major harm on our economy. 

“Far from delivering extra cash for the NHS, as was infamously promised by the Leave campaign bus, Scotland faces losing out on billions of pounds of funding with no clarity from the UK government over how this will be replaced. 

“We are being dragged out of the European Union against our will, and Perthshire will be hugely damaged because of this. The only solution is to stay in the single market and customs union.”


NOTES

https://www.myeu.uk/#/area/PH - Details of funding for Perthshire and surrounding areas
 

Funding, Farming
 
Swinney encourages Big Lottery applications
Published date : 11 Oct 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today encouraged groups within his constituency to apply to the new Digital Fund, administered by the Big Lottery Fund.

The Digital Fund is a new UK-wide £15 million funding programme to support charities and community organisations. It will be launched on October 22nd, and aims to help charities and voluntary sector groups use digital tools and approaches to support people.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I would encourage any eligible groups within my constituency to apply for Digital Fund grants. 

“Our increasingly digital world presents tremendous opportunities for charities and community groups, but can also pose significant challenges. With Big Lottery funding, organisations will be able to receive financial support to build upon the already stellar work they do across Perthshire.”

Applications for the fund open on 22nd October with a closing date of 3rd December 2018. Further details can be found at https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/digital-fund

Funding
 
Swinney and Wishart condemn Tory delays
Published date : 10 Oct 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today hit out at a letter of reply received from the UK Government.

The UK Government’s response was received on October 9th  2018 – 356 days after the MP and MSP wrote to then-Home Secretary, Amber Rudd raising serious concerns about the future of the soft fruit industry across Tayside in the wake of the Brexit vote. 

In the initial letter, Mr Swinney and Mr Wishart asked for urgent clarity over the rights of seasonal workers and action to be taken to protect Tayside’s soft fruit industry from the effects of Brexit.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am deeply unhappy both with the content of the UK Government’s response and the fact that it has taken almost one calendar year to reach our offices. 

“In the year since we sent our letter, we have seen one of Tayside’s most vital industries hamstrung by Tory incompetence, indecision and intransigence. As fruit rotted on the vines and local farmers fought for their livelihood, the Tory government was more concerned with clinging on to power than using their power to help businesses across our region.

“Whilst the UK Government is happy to meet with passive Scottish Tory MPs who refuse to stand up for their constituents, they seem incapable of meeting or engaging with SNP politicians who seek to hold them to account for their disgraceful handling of the entire Brexit debacle.”

Mr Wishart added: 

“Getting an official response from Government Ministers can sometimes take a bit of time but to take almost a full calendar year is an absolute insult to the soft fruit sector. Farmers and growers have been waiting on action from the UK Government and remain totally unsatisfied with the measly pilot study of 2,500 seasonal workers which has been put forward by Ministers. Given that the industry reckon they need closer to 100,000 workers to keep fresh UK produce on our tables, these proposals are nowhere near bold enough.

“It is fine for Ministers to sit in Government offices in Whitehall but this is real life for our farming communities and it will soon be very real for all of us when UK grown produce starts to disappear from the shelves because the workforce is not there to pick it.

“I will continue to stand up for our rural communities in Westminster and speak up against the disastrous handling of Brexit.” 
 

Local News
 
Swinney hosts Perth Academy at Parliament
Published date : 03 Oct 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has sponsored a Parliamentary event showcasing an artwork created by Perth Academy pupils.

The exhibition, entitled ‘Hand in Glove’, was originally launched in June 2017. It aims to highlight Perth’s historic glove-making trade using mixed media and photography, and was made possible through a donation by the Perth Incorporation of Glovers.

In addition to visiting the Parliament building to display their work, pupils were also delighted when the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, made a surprise visit to view their art and learn about the exhibition.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome the pupils of Perth Academy to the Scottish Parliament. 

“I was struck by the quality of their art and by how passionate they were in discussing their work. I commend both the pupils and their teacher, Alison Ferguson, on the significant contribution they have made to understanding this very important facet of Perth’s economic development

“It was great that the First Minister was able to attend, and she was clearly impressed by both the exhibition and the knowledge of the pupils.”
 

Local News, Education
 
Swinney welcomes High Constables rule change
Published date : 01 Oct 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed news that the Society of High Constables have voted overwhelmingly to allow women to become members.

The change was ratified at group’s annual meeting, with almost 90% voting in favour of the amendment to the existing membership rules.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I welcome the decision of the High Constables of Perth to change their rules to enable women to join. 

“This is the correct decision and I am glad the Society has taken it. It provides the opportunity for the Society to continue to make a constructive contribution to civic and local life in Perth and Kinross and to sustain an important local tradition into the future.”

The Society of High Constables was founded in 1830 and has approximately 100 members. They traditionally dress in top hats, white gloves and black morning coats, and seek to uphold the history and traditions of the Fair City.
 

Local News
 
Swinney welcomes PFT award
Published date : 28 Sep 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today congratulated Pitlochry Festival Theatre (PFT) on being named Scotland’s Most Welcoming Theatre for a fourth successive year.

The award, which will now see PFT compete with 11 other regional winners to be named the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre, was organised by UK Theatre and decided via a public vote. The winner of the UK award will be announced on October 14th.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:


“I extend my warmest congratulations to Pitlochry Festival Theatre for their magnificent win. Pitlochry Festival Theatre is rightly lauded as one of the most iconic venues in all of Perthshire, and this award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all those involved in its operation. 

“I wish PFT well as they now aim to be named the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre. I would also encourage my constituents to support this local institution by visiting the venue and taking in a show.”
 

Local News, Awards
 
Swinney encourages Baby Box entrants
Published date : 26 Sep 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today urged young people across Perthshire to submit their designs for the next generation of Baby Boxes.

The design, which must be submitted by October 8th by 5pm, is to be based on one of the Children’s Rights from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – namely, the Right to Play, the Right to Freedom of Expression and the Right to Education.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The Baby Box is the Scottish Government’s commitment to giving every child born in our nation a fair start to life. By supporting parents and nourishing children, the Scottish Government know that we can build a more prosperous, just nation for all.

“Over the past year, upwards of 50,000 Baby Boxes have been given to new parents, so this is a fantastic opportunity to have your design skills showcased on a large scale. I would therefore encourage any interested young person across Perthshire to pursue this opportunity.”

Details of how to submit designs, along with other qualifying conditions, can be found at https://www.youngscot.net/new-baby-box-design/ 

Health, Awards
 
Swinney and Wishart congratulate award-winning fish bar
Published date : 18 Sep 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today congratulated Dunkeld Fish Bar on winning the “Best Fish and Chips” award at the 2nd Annual Scottish Dine in Takeaway Awards.

The award, which saw fish and chip shops all over the country competing for the honour, was given to the restaurant at a gala dinner last night.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted for the entire team at Dunkeld Fish Bar and I warmly congratulate them on their victory.

“This accolade only strengthens Perthshire’s reputation as a great place for food and I am sure that many tourists will be keen to visit Dunkeld Fish Bar in order to taste their award-winning food.”

Mr Wishart added:

“I would like to extend my congratulations to Dunkeld Fish Bar for being voted best fish and chips at the 2018 Dine in Awards.

“I know that this is a particularly hard fought category and everyone always has an opinion on where the best chip shop is in Scotland. I am really pleased to see Dunkeld bring the award to Perthshire.”
 

Local News, Awards
 
Swinney supports Scottish Housing Day
Published date : 14 Sep 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has thrown his support behind this year’s Scottish Housing Day.

Scottish Housing Day will be held on Wednesday 19th September. It will seek to raise public awareness of the latest developments in housing and give people the resources they need to make informed decisions about their housing options. To mark the day, housing organisations across Scotland will be holding events and activities.

Locally, Perth Jobcentre Plus will play host to Fairfield Housing between 10:15am-12:15pm. Fairfield Housing will be available to speak to members of the public to give advice on housing and tenancy.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to support Scottish Housing Day and its mission to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities facing people today. I am particularly pleased that this year will focus particularly on young people and how we can put their housing options at the heart of Scotland’s economic, environmental and social policy.

“It is important that everyone – regardless of circumstance – is fully aware of their housing options and rights. To that end, I would encourage all of my constituents to visit the Scottish Housing Day website for more information, or to attend a local event on September 19th.”
 

Local News, Housing
 
SNP politicians warn on Blairgowrie Rec Centre
Published date : 07 Sep 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney and Councillor Tom McEwan have today criticised budget cuts and delays to the construction of the new Blairgowrie Recreation Centre.

The delay, which was confirmed in the past fortnight, will see the facility opening pushed back until 2022 – two years later than originally planned. The latest setback follows a decision taken in June by the Tory council to cut £3m from the project’s original investment of £17.7m


Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“It should come as no surprise that the Blairgowrie Recreation Centre is being beset with budget cuts and delays – such actions are, after all, the modus operandi of the Tories.

“The SNP administration made significant money available for this important new facility – a facility that would have invested in our young people, provided state-of-the-art leisure facilities for the wider community and demonstrated Blairgowrie’s place as a modern, growing town.  

“The cutting of £3m from the Rec Centre’s budget signals a reduction in the scale and ambition of this project. It is a betrayal of the people of East Perthshire, who will be rightly outraged by the mismanagement of this project.”

Tom McEwan (SNP), Councillor for Blairgowrie and the Glens, added:

“When I became a Councillor, one of the projects I was most excited about were plans to replace Blairgowrie’s outdated, tired Recreation Centre with a future-proofed, world-class facility. 

“Within a year, these plans were left in tatters by the Tory council. The need for a new leisure facility is the most important planned infrastructure project in the local area, and it is hugely disappointing that a project which was conceived following a wide-spread public consultation is being watered down by the current administration.

“Moreover, I have significant concerns regarding the dimensions of the new swimming pool, which is subject to a proposed 30% cut in size. Indeed, the swimming pool proposals do not meet Swimming Scotland’s Facilities Strategy 2017, which details the minimum standard specifications for local pools.”
 

Local News, Funding, Rural, Local Government
 
Swinney supports Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Published date : 07 Sep 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today thrown his support behind a campaign to name Pitlochry Festival Theatre (PFT) as the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre 2018.

The award, which sees over 160 theatres from across the UK vie for the honour, is organised by UK Theatre and will be decided via a public vote. PFT has a strong pedigree in the competition, having been voted National Winner for Scotland for the past three years. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was delighted to hear that Pitlochry Festival Theatre have again been nominated as one of the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatres. 

“As a long-term supporter of the theatre, I know firsthand what a wonderful facility it is and how hard those involved work to make sure that it is a place for everyone to feel welcome and comfortable.

“PFT is one of the cultural pillars of Perthshire – as evidenced by their three consecutive wins in this competition – and I would encourage those across the region to get behind their bid to be named as the overall UK winner.

“Voting is quick and easy  – simply visit http://www.uktheatre.org/vote and follow the instructions. The closing date is Tuesday September 18th 2018, with the winner to be announced shortly thereafter.”

Giles Conisbee, Head of Sales & Marketing at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, commented:

“We were delighted to win the Most Welcoming Theatre in Scotland Award again last year. It’s incredibly exciting, and humbling, to win it three years in-a-row. 

“We work incredibly hard to ensure Pitlochry Festival Theatre is a place for everyone and that everyone is welcome in this special place. I do hope Scottish theatre-goers in their thousands continue to vote for us as we as strive to achieve a magical four-in-a-row. 

“For me, there’s simply no place like Pitlochry. If you feel the same, I urge you to cast your vote.”
 

Local News, Awards
 
Perthshire politicians warn on RBS service
Published date : 22 Aug 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart and Councillor Mike Williamson (SNP) have called on RBS to review their rural services, following complaints from local Perthshire communities.

Their latest intervention comes as rural Perthshire customers express their dissatisfaction at the scarcity of service offered by mobile branches and the failure to co-ordinate mobile branch visits with public transport.

Moreover, the lack of full banking facilities offered by mobile branches and the recent rural branch closures have meant that constituents staying close to Rannoch Station and reliant on public transport are quicker getting a train to Fort William if they require access to a full branch. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The negative feedback regarding the RBS mobile branch service is an inevitable consequence of the bank’s decision to erode rural services.

“The actions taken by RBS were unwarranted, unnecessary and unfair to those in rural Perthshire. 

“I have spoken to a large number of constituents who are desperately unhappy with the current RBS service on offer. RBS senior management must now take on-board this feedback and work constructively with local communities to improve both the quality of and access to their service.”

Mr Wishart added:

“The service provided by RBS across Perthshire has been totally run down and I know that many communities are feeling abandoned by the bank. With no fast deposit service for business customers in Perth and a failure to link up mobile branch visits with the bus timetable in our most rural areas, it really feels like the bank are trying to do everything they can to lose custom.”

Mike Williamson stated:

“As a local councillor for the Highland ward, I hear every day of the problems local residents face when trying to bank with RBS.

“It really seems to me – and to those in rural Perthshire – that RBS have turned their back on their customers. 

“I echo the sentiments of John Swinney and Pete Wishart, and hope that concrete steps can be taken to rebuild trust between the bank and its rural customers”

Local News, Local Communities, Rural, Banking
 
Swinney to make closing remarks at Perthshire Pride
Published date : 06 Aug 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, will be making the closing speech at the first ever Perthshire Pride event.

The event, which takes place on August 11th at Perth Concert Hall, will play host to live music and stalls, whilst also offering space for local councillors, employers and health officials to engage and network with attendees. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am hugely honoured to be providing the closing remarks at this year’s Perthshire Pride event

“Perthshire Pride is an important landmark in Scotland’s ongoing fight for equality. I am proud to be part of a Scottish Government which has sought to address injustice and promote tolerance, love and respect towards and amongst the LGBTQ community.

“There has undoubtedly been progress made both socially and in legislative terms – most notably the legalisation of same sex marriage. It is important to acknowledge, however, that those within the LGBTQ community still experience discrimination and harassment far too frequently.

“I will therefore be joining my fellow Pride attendees both in celebration and in protest. I would encourage all those within the Perthshire to attend the event and stand in solidarity with our friends in the LGBTQ community.” 

The Deputy First Minister’s attendance comes just weeks after the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, was named the honorary grand marshal of Pride Glasgow. In doing so, she became the only serving prime minister or first minister in the UK to have led a Pride event.
 

Local News, Local Communities
 
Swinney welcomes rise in tourism
Published date : 25 Jul 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed news that visits and spending by overseas tourists in Scotland have risen to the highest ever recorded level.

The figures, released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), showed the number of overseas tourists visiting Scotland rose by 16.9% to 3.2 million, while expenditure increased by 23% to £2.3 billion. These increases were significantly higher than the UK as a whole.

Across Tayside, meanwhile, the number of visitors rose from 219,000 in 2016 to 252,000 in 2017 – an increase of 15%. Spending, meanwhile, increased from £69 million in 2016 to £116 million in 2017 – an incredible rise of 68%. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“These are a magnificent set of figures that clearly show Scotland’s appeal to people around the world. By far outstripping the growth of other parts of the UK, Scotland is clearly demonstrating its potential on the global stage.

“The Scottish Government recognises that tourism is one of our most important industries, employing 207,000 people, creating jobs, supporting the local economy and building on our strong international reputation. The figures released today show that our bold, forward-thinking strategy of promoting Scotland is paying rich dividends.

“I am particularly pleased by the news that Tayside has enjoyed a 68% increase in tourist spending since 2016. This is a remarkable statistic, and one that will be welcomed by people across the region. 

“Today’s figures are a rebuke to the Tories, who would rather indulge in grievance politics than get behind our successful efforts to increase Scotland’s profile to the wider world. Instead of playing political games, I look forward to the Tories welcoming these figures and supporting the Scottish Government’s tourism strategy going forward.”

The release of today’s ONS figures comes on the same day that the Tories have criticised the Scottish Government for including the Queensferry Crossing – a landmark infrastructure project which holds multiple world records - and the Baby Box in a video aimed at attracting visitors to Scotland. 
 

Local News, Business
 
Swinney and Wishart call for Universal Credit halt
Published date : 23 Jul 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today called on the UK Government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit.

Their intervention follows claims from whistleblowers that the IT system upon which Universal Credit is built is “fundamentally broken and poorly designed”. As a result, this has led to significant delays and mistakes to claimants’ benefit payments. These delays are adding on average an additional three weeks to the initial 35-day waiting period for an initial benefit payment, thereby pushing claimants further into debt, rent arrears and reliance on food banks.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The latest news regarding the roll-out of Universal Credit is as worrying as it is unsurprising. The SNP have consistently warned that the migration to Universal Credit would be expensive, damaging to claimants and would not provide value for money.

Our fears were confirmed with the publication of last month’s National Audit Office report, which concluded that Universal Credit had been an expensive disaster.

With more than 7 million people due to be migrated over to the Universal Credit system, it is vital that steps are taken to address the very serious flaws that currently exist. No one within Perthshire region should be forced into food poverty or rent arrears because the Tory Government are too proud to hold their hands up and admit their mistakes.

Accordingly, I am calling for the UK Government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit, until such times as the system is fit for purpose. I will be writing to the Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, to put forward my concerns.”

Mr Swinney’s concerns were echoed by Pete Wishart MP, who stated:

“This is yet another example of the feckless Tory Government causing chaos with the lives of everyday people.

“From Brexit to benefits payments, this is a government which is happy to cause misery to the people of Perthshire, as long as it suits their right-wing ideology.

“I have already heard horror stories from my constituents regarding their experience of Universal Credit. Theresa May must recognise that she has got it wrong on Universal Credit and take steps to address this fiasco.” 
 

Benefits
 
Swinney welcomes fall in weapons offences
Published date : 19 Jul 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed news that cases of handling offensive weapons have continued to fall across Perth and Kinross.

Cases of handling of offensive weapons across the region have fallen by 60% since the SNP came to power in 2007, latest figures have revealed – proving that the SNP’s approach to crime and justice in the community is working.

The latest figures back up Tory Justice Minister Rory Stewart’s comments that the rest of the UK “has a lot to learn from Scotland” – and are a further indication that SNP efforts to tackle issues such as knife crime have worked.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is welcome news – and proof that the Scottish Government’s approach to issues such as knife crime are paying dividends for our communities across Perth and Kinross.

“Thanks to our approach to justice, and well-supported police in our communities, there has been a marked drop in the number of weapons offences across the region. People across Perth and Kinross can feel safer in their communities on the back of this excellent set of figures.

“Given this sharp drop in weapons offences – 60% since 2007, it is no wonder that the UK Government are looking to Scotland for answers on how to tackle crime. Indeed, the Tories have publicly admitted that they have ‘a lot to learn from Scotland’.

“The SNP has made justice one of its top priorities since coming to power in 2007 – putting more police on the streets and taking decisive action to reduce reoffending, meaning crime is at its lowest level in over 40 years and our communities are as safe as ever before.”

As Perth and Kinross – and Scotland as a whole – welcome a reduction in cases of handling offensive weapons, figures published today by the Office of National Statistics have revealed that knife crime has soared by 16% in the last year alone across England and Wales.
 

Local News, Police, Legal
 
Swinney supports Carers Week
Published date : 11 Jun 2018


Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has pledged his backing for Carers Week which began on Monday 11th June, by committing to support local carers across his constituency,

Mr Swinney has signed up to the Carers Week pledge to take carer friendly action – highlighting the tireless work of the 6.5 million unpaid carers across the UK and offering them any support they need. There are an estimated 788,000 unpaid carers across Scotland – with 44,000 of them under the age of 18.

The Scottish Government has taken decisive action to support unpaid carers – investing over £135 million in a range of programmes and initiatives to support carers and young carers, as well as passing a new Carers Act, which has come into force this year, which extends the rights of carers and ensures better support.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am continually amazed by the compassion, skill and humanity displayed every day by carers within my constituency.

“Across Scotland, there’s an estimated 788,000 unpaid carers, with tens of thousands of them being under the age of 18. It is our duty to support them in whatever way we can.

“The Scottish Government has been leading the way in providing this support for unpaid carers – investing over £135 million, as well as passing the new Carers Act in 2016, which came into force this year.

“And through the new Social Security Agency, the Scottish Government plans to increase Carers Allowance to the level of Job Seeker’s Allowance, giving carers that little bit extra support that can go a long way.

“Carers Week gives us all the chance to show our support and appreciation for the work carers do in our local communities – and I am committed to playing a positive role in this inspiring annual event.” 
 

Local Communities
 
Swinney backs Marie Curie call
Published date : 09 Jun 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has lent his support to help improve the lives of people in Scotland living with terminal illness.  

Meeting with representatives from Marie Curie, the terminal illness charity, Mr Swinney heard about efforts to encourage people to think about their wishes for the end of their life and the importance of discussing their preferences with loved ones. 

The charity has published a free information resource to support conversations called ‘You Matter’, available to download from mariecurie.org.uk/youmatter.

Marie Curie believes that starting with a simple conversation over cake and a cuppa can help tackle the stigma that exists around dying, death and bereavement. Coinciding with their fundraising campaign Blooming Great Tea Party this month Marie Curie is encouraging people to ask friends, colleagues and family round for a tea party, bake sale or ‘Bake off’ style competition. Every donation raised at events help Marie Curie provide vital care and support to people living with terminal illness.  

Last year there were over 600 Blooming Great Tea Party events in Scotland raising over £86,000, equating to over 4,300 hours of Marie Curie Nursing care.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Whilst death may be an uncomfortable topic of conversation, it is vital that we all have plans in place to ensure we receive the end-of-life care that we need.

“The work that Marie Curie are undertaking to end the stigma that exists around this subject is massively important, and I wholeheartedly support their efforts. I was delighted to sign their pledge to improve the lives of those in Scotland living with a terminal illness, and I look forward to supporting Marie Curie as they continue their excellent work.”

Susan Lowes, Marie Curie Policy & Public Affairs Manager Scotland added:

“Sadly one in four people in Scotland aren’t getting the care they need at the end of their lives. By encouraging people to start with a simple conversation about their wishes we hope that we can empower everyone to play their part in improving end of life care. There’s only one chance to get this right at the end of someone’s life, and everyone matters in making that a reality.” 
 

Charity
 
Swinney welcomes HEEPS equity loan pilot extension
Published date : 05 Jun 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed news that the Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland (HEEPS) equity loan pilot has been extended until 31st March 2019.

The Scottish Government scheme, which was originally piloted in three local areas including Perth and Kinross, allows homeowners on low incomes to borrow up to £40,000 for energy efficiency improvements and essential repairs, including the installation of a new boiler, double glazing or repairs to reduce heat loss – which will be repaid when they sell their home or transfer ownership.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I enthusiastically welcome the extension of this pilot scheme, which is great news for the people of Perthshire.

““The HEEPS equity loan pilot is yet another clear indication of the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting those on low incomes, and to tackling rising energy costs.

“This worthwhile scheme has already helped many of my constituents to improve their home’s overall energy efficiency, thereby lowering bills. I would therefore encourage anyone within Perthshire who is eligible for the HEEPS pilot to consider applying for the scheme.”

Notes:

Those wishing to apply for the scheme or enquire about eligibility can contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 


 

Funding, Local Communities, Energy
 
Swinney to visit Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance
Published date : 01 Jun 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, will this week visit Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) organisation. 

The visit, which will take place at Perth Airport, will honour the near 100 volunteers of Scotland’s only air ambulance charity.

In addition to meeting volunteers and David Craig, SCAA’s Chief Executive, Mr Swinney will speak at the event and present certificates to those in attendance.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“As a long-term supporter of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, I was delighted to be invited along to meet its volunteers.

“The service provided by SCAA is of paramount importance, and I pay tribute to the extraordinary work of their heroic volunteers.

“National Volunteers’ Week offers us all an opportunity to recognise the dedication of those who choose to give their time and energy to others. It is only right that we celebrate their hard work, and let volunteers across Scotland know how valued they are.”

SCAA Chief Executive David Craig added:

"We have over 80 active volunteers who give thousands of hours each year to help SCAA not only run efficiently and effectively but also to secure a wider public profile through events and presentations.

"We are grateful that Mr Swinney recognises the worth of this unsung band of heroes and has joined us to mark the start of National Volunteer Week and thank those involved with our life-saving service."
 

ATTACHED: A picture of John Swinney MSP with SCAA staff and volunteers.

Local News, Charity
 
Swinney blasts road closure plans
Published date : 31 May 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has denounced as “disastrous” plans to close the A827 between Aberfeldy and Grandtully.

The closure of the road, which is the main artery between the A9 and Aberfeldy, will allow repairs to be made to Cultulluch Bridge. The repairs are due to take place for seven weeks, therefore closing the road from 27th August until October – a peak time for local businesses.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“These ill-thought out plans will prove disastrous for local businesses. It is inconceivable that, during peak season, the council would take such a reckless course of action.

“The proposed road closure will endanger jobs, lower profits and severely damage the local economy. 

“I, and my SNP colleagues in the council, fully support the construction of a bailey bridge to ensure that there is minimal disruption to local communities. It is frankly ridiculous that such a proposal has not yet been signed off by the Tory administration, and I urge them to join us in supporting local businesses, rather than sitting on their hands.”

Mr Swinney’s concerns were echoed by SNP Councillor Mike Williamson, who stated:

“Any plans to close the A827 would cause economic carnage to Aberfeldy and the surrounding areas. The Tory council must offer reassurances to those affected by the potential closure, and take decisive action to prevent such needless damage being inflicted on local businesses.”
 

Roads, Local Communities
 
Swinney welcomes extension of pilot
Published date : 30 May 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed news that a pilot to provide free sanitary products to women from low-income households will be extended nationwide. 

The pilot scheme, which ran in Aberdeen between September 2017 and February 2018, sought to address the issue of “period poverty”. An evaluation of the pilot showed that two thirds of those who took part had experienced difficulties in accessing sanitary products in the past. 

Following the successful pilot, the Scottish Government will now provide the charity, FareShare, with over £500,000 to distribute free sanitary products to an estimated 18,800 more women across the country.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is an important, progressive step forward – one that I’m sure women across all of Perthshire will welcome.

“Access to sanitary products is a basic right, and I am proud that the Scottish Government is taking bold action to ensure that no female will have to worry about the affordability of such items. 

“This is another example of the Scottish Government taking tangible steps to improve the everyday lives of people across Perthshire, and the nation.”

The extension of this pilot is the latest step in the Scottish Government’s efforts to tackle “period poverty”. From August, Scotland will be the first national government to make sanitary products available to those at school, college or university.
 

Education, Local Communities, Benefits
 
Swinney hosts memorial event
Published date : 28 May 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has hosted an event in honour of Niel Gow, the 18th century Perthshire fiddler.

The event, which took place at the Scottish Parliament, was highlighted by musical performances from Pete Clark (fiddle) and Muriel Johnstone (piano), who wowed those in attendance with recitals of Gow’s music. 

In addition to keeping the memory of Gow alive, the event sought to raise funds to erect a permanent memorial to the musician in Dunkeld.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was honoured to host an event celebrating the work of Niel Gow. Niel composed some of the most notable melodies in the Scottish fiddle repertoire, and had a profound impact on his contemporaries, including Robert Burns and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

“The musical performances by Pete Clark and Muriel Johnstone were stunning, and so vividly brought Niel’s music to life. I thank them both for attending, and for their tireless efforts to ensure Niel’s work is fully recognised.

“It is only right that a figure of such cultural importance to Perthshire is honoured, and I therefore fully support efforts to establish a permanent memorial to Niel Gow in Dunkeld.”

In addition to the memorial event, each year a festival is held in honour of Niel Gow. The 16th annual Niel Gow Scottish Fiddle Festival will be held from the 15-17th March 2019, in Dunkeld and Birnam, with proceeds from the event going towards the establishment of a permanent memorial.

ATTACHED: A picture of John Swinney MSP with musicians Pete Clark and Muriel Johnstone.

Local News, Funding, Local Communities
 
Swinney visits Kinclaven Bluebell Wood
Published date : 18 May 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, will today be given a tour of Kinclaven Bluebell Wood by Carol Evans, Director of Woodland Trust Scotland.

Kinclaven Bluebell Wood, which comprises 204 acres of woods and grassland, was purchased by Woodland Trust Scotland last year thanks to a financial gift from a long term supporter. The wood is home to a variety of wildlife, including red squirrel and stoat, and was said to have sheltered William Wallace and his army.

Mr Swinney, who has been a significant supporter of Woodland Trust Scotland’s attempt to purchase the wood, will visit at an exciting time for the area. His visit coincides with the completion of a new car park in order to handle increased visitor numbers. Woodland Trust Scotland have also undertaken ambitious plans to reforest grassland within the wood that was cleared of trees in the 1940s and 50s,  

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“As a long-term supporter of Woodland Trust Scotland’s attempts to purchase Kinclaven Bluebell Wood, I am delighted that it is now in their ownership.

“Their ambitious plans to improve an iconic Perthshire location are heartening, and I am confident that Kinclaven Bluebell Wood’s future is in good hands

“The wood is truly stunning – especially so during the summer months – and as such I would encourage everyone to visit this beautiful area.”
 

ATTACHED: A picture of John Swinney MSP with Woodland Trust staff.

Local News, Funding, Environment, Charity
 
Swinney welcomes Castle Water expansion
Published date : 15 May 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed news that Castle Water is to acquire 50,000 business customers from South East Water.

The acquisition of these new customers, who are due to be transferred over in July, comes just two months after it was revealed that a new Castle Water service centre would open in Blairgowrie, creating up to 60 jobs. The centre is due to open next month.

Commenting on the news, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted by the news of Castle Water’s latest expansion. The growth and success of a local company should always be celebrated – particularly one that has firmly tied itself to the community and invested money in to the area.

“With the opening of Castle Water’s new Blairgowrie service centre in June, this is an exciting time for the company and the local community. 

“I look forward to continuing my strong support of Castle Water, and I wish them every success going forward.”
 

ATTACHED: A photo of John Swinney visiting Castle Water's offices in Blairgowrie.

Local News, Business
 
Swinney to visit historic battlefield
Published date : 14 May 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, will today visit Killiecrankie Battlefield.

Mr Swinney will meet with James Rattray, chairman of the Soldiers of Killiecrankie group, for a personal tour of the battlefield.

The visit comes ahead of the Soldiers of Killiecrankie two-day event this summer, where members of the public will be able to witness battle re-enactments, dress in traditional costumes from the period and enjoy market stalls. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to visit Killiecrankie Battlefield, and to receive a personal tour from James Rattray – one of the foremost experts on the history of this particular battle. 

“The Battle of Killiecrankie is one of the most famous in Scottish history, and it is only right that its memory is kept alive. I would therefore encourage my constituents – and those from even further afield – to visit the Soldiers of Killiecrankie two-day event this summer.”

The Soldiers of Killiecrankie event will take place from 28-29th July from 11am-5pm each day. Tickets are priced at £7 for adults, £6 for concessions, £3 for children with children under five entering for free. Family tickets and discount passes are also available.
 

Local News, Transport, Roads
 
Swinney welcomes new fund
Published date : 09 May 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed a new Scottish government initiative to help organisations put forward their views on Brexit. 

The £150,000 stakeholder engagement fund will provide grants to Scottish organisations that would not otherwise have the resources to gather and promote the views of their members on preparing for the UK leaving the EU.

The new fund will focus primarily on enabling community and third sector organisations to consider the impact of Brexit, highlight their concerns and plan for the future – giving them a greater platform to be heard at a Scottish, UK and EU level.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“With the disastrous impact of Brexit becoming clearer by the day, it is vitally important that organisations within my constituency have their concerns and views heard.

“Accordingly, I am pleased that the Scottish government is giving a megaphone to those that may lack the resources and budget to effectively have their voice heard.

“From speaking to organisations and communities across my constituency, I know that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is causing significant economic damage. The Scottish Government’s new fund is an acknowledgment that, in order to mitigate the damage of Brexit, we must help raise the concerns of all groups.”
 

Awards, Funding, Local Communities, Charity
 
Swinney urges RBS clarity
Published date : 08 May 2018


Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today rounded on the UK government, accusing them of “apathy” over the issue of RBS branch closures.

Mr Swinney’s comments came after the revelation that RBS had received “no representations” from the UK government, and that the government considered the decision to close branches as purely a “commercial matter”. 

The Tory government’s inaction was revealed by Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of RBS, during Tuesday’s meeting of the Scottish Affairs Committee. Mr McEwan faced questioning from MPs, along with Les Matheson, Chief Executive of Personal & Business Banking and Jane Howard, Managing Director of Personal Banking.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on 13th December 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the Secretary of State for Scotland had raised concerns over branch closures during a meeting with RBS chiefs.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The comments of Ross McEwan have laid bare the Tory government’s apathy towards the plight of rural Scottish communities. 

“Theresa May has previously stated that her government raised the issue of branch closures with RBS. Ross McEwan seems to have directly contradicted the Prime Minister, and as such she must clarify what actions – if any – the Tory government have taken to help the communities affected by these closures.

“Whilst the UK government continue to ignore the concerns of rural Scotland, I, along with my SNP colleagues, will continue to fight against these needless branch closures.”
 

Local News, Local Communities, Banking
 
Swinney supports MS Society
Published date : 27 Apr 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has joined with the MS Society to promote multiple sclerosis (MS) Awareness Week, which runs from the 23-29th April.

As part of their efforts to raise awareness of MS, the MS Society have launched the ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’ campaign. The initiative encourages participants to give up their guilty pleasure for the month of May in order to raise funds for MS research. 


Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to lend my support to the ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’ campaign. I have been a long-term backer of the MS Society and I pay tribute to the outstanding contribution they make in the battle against this disease.

“I would encourage people across the nation to learn more about this disease and to consider taking part in the ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’ campaign.”

MS affects over 11,000 in Scotland and can impact on an individual’s ability to walk, see, feel, think and move.  Those taking part in the campaign can document their fundraising efforts on social media using the hashtag #KissGoodbyetoMS. The MS Society are available to support those suffering from MS and can be contacted via their website or via telephone.


 

Funding, Charity
 
Swinney condemns Tory vote
Published date : 26 Apr 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has condemned the Tory-led Lifelong Learning Committee over a vote taken last night. 

The vote, which sees independent councillor Xander McDade removed from the committee in favour of newly-elected Tory councillor John Duff, has provoked widespread anger within the committee.

The vote, which consolidates the Tory majority to eight (including one Liberal Democrat) out of 13 members, also raises new questions regarding the future of Pitlochry High School. Councillor McDade, who drew a significant amount of his support from Pitlochry, had pledged to oppose any steps to close the school.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was both surprised and disappointed to hear that Councillor McDade had been voted off the Lifelong Learning Committee. Cllr McDade was a passionate voice for his local community, and was particularly committed to ensuring that Pitlochry High School remained open.

“I am deeply concerned that John Duff has been voted on to the committee with a view to easing the closure of Pitlochry High School. This would be a gross betrayal of the community that, just weeks ago, Cllr Duff vowed to stand up for.

“I note that Cllr Caroline Shiers recently hit out at my colleague Pete Wishart MP for seeking assurances over Pitlochry High School’s future. Following this recent act of skulduggery, Cllr Shiers must finally make clear the Tory administration’s position on this important matter.”

Mr Swinney’s concerns were echoed by SNP Councillor Mike Williamson, who stated:

“As Pitlochry’s local councillor, I know first-hand how important this school is to the local community. Forcing children to spend hours travelling to and from school every day is clearly unproductive and, in the winter months, potentially a safety hazard.

“It is therefore essential that Pitlochry High School remains open, and that parents and pupils are re-assured over its future”

Councillor John Rebbeck, the SNP’s education spokesman, questioned the legality of the Tories’ actions.

He said:

“I am very angry at the actions taken by the Tories on the Lifelong Learning Committee. This was an unfair and undemocratic decision which poses serious questions regarding the integrity of the committee.

“I am also unclear as to the legality of the Tories’ actions, and am currently liaising with Legal Services to seek clarity on this matter.”

The decision of the Lifelong Learning Committee to remove Cllr McDade comes less than two weeks after the Convenor, Cllr Caroline Shiers, accused Pete Wishart MP of “scaremongering” over the school’s future. Pitlochry High School’s future is due to be reviewed by the council over the coming months, 
 

Local News, Education, Local Communities, Local Government
 
Swinney praises local project
Published date : 25 Apr 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has praised a local effort to commemorate those that died during World War I. 

Scone Remembers, the brainchild of Dr Peter William Stenbro-Olsen and Mrs Dawn Olsen, will host a memorial walk around the village of Scone, with lamp posts bearing individual plaques of the 72 individuals from the village that perished during The Great War.

The walk, which will officially launch on 17th November 2018, will be complimented by a book chronicling the lives of the 72 local souls lost during the war. The research contained in the book was compiled by a small team of researchers across the country, with one based in Malta.

Additionally, the books will contain a QR code which, when scanned, will open an audio file containing an individual soldier’s life story, as narrated by a member of the local community.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was overwhelmed by the time, effort and passion that Dr and Mrs Olsen have put in to this project. The book in particular is a remarkable piece of work, and a wonderful tribute to those who tragically perished during the First World War.

“I am also conscious that this has been a project which has involved the wider Scone community, and I congratulate all those involved in bringing this initiative to fruition.

“I am honoured to be attending the opening of the memorial walk in November, and I would encourage all those within the local community to participate in this important event. In the meantime, I look forward to continuing to read each individual soldier’s life story, which is documented so movingly within the memorial book.”

Scone Remembers was initially envisioned in 2014, and over the subsequent years has received Heritage Lottery funding as well as being the subject of fundraising within the local community. The book was compiled by Dawn Olsen and John MacDuff, with an initial print run of 250 books. The book can be purchased for £25 at Scone Palace or at The Sweetie Shop on Perth Road, Scone. Orders can also be submitted via the official Scone Remembers website, subject to an inclusive shipping charge.
 

Local News, Funding, Local Communities, Charity
 
Swinney pleased with broadband rollout
Published date : 20 Apr 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed the news that more than 95% of Scottish homes and businesses are now able to connect to superfast broadband. 


The Scottish Government’s Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) scheme has seen a £280m investment from the public sector to improve Scotland’s broadband network. It is estimated that without this scheme, superfast broadband access would sit at 66% nationwide.


The 95% connectivity rate was reached at the end of 2017, ahead of the initial target of March 2018, but this figure was only officially ratified today. The project’s next aim is to have achieved 100% connectivity in every Scottish premise by the end of 2021.


Commenting, Mr Swinney said:


“I am delighted to hear that the Scottish Government’s ambitious goal of providing superfast broadband access to 95% of the nation’s homes and businesses has been met ahead of schedule. 


“This bold scheme – the largest ever public investment made in a single UK broadband project – has enshrined Scotland’s place as a world-leading digital nation at the forefront of innovation, technology and business.


“As an MSP representing a rural constituency, I have seen first-hand the tremendously positive impact that better internet access can have on the lives of my constituents. I am also aware that whilst to this date the DSSB scheme has been a great success, there are still some across the nation – and within my constituency – who do not yet have access to superfast broadband.


“I would therefore urge those involved in overseeing this project to continue their excellent progress, and I look forward to all of Scotland benefiting from superfast broadband by the end of 2021.”
 

Funding, Local Communities, Rural
 
Swinney welcomes Diageo investment
Published date : 16 Apr 2018


Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed the news that Diageo will invest £150m over three years to transform its Scotch whisky visitor experiences.

The investment, which will be the biggest concerted programme ever seen in Scotland’s whisky tourism sector, will result in all 12 distillery visitor centres being upgraded. Additionally, a state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker visitor experience will be developed in Edinburgh.

Amongst the visitor centres to benefit will be that of Blair Athol, based within Mr Swinney’s constituency.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is great news for Blair Athol Distillery and Scottish tourism as a whole. Scotland is the home of whiskey, and Diageo’s investment will ensure that spirit enthusiasts from around the world will continue to flock to our country.

“It is further evidence of the success of the Scottish Government’s tourism policy, with figures showing record growth in this sector. Just last week, the Scottish Government launched Scotland is Now – a campaign which aims to put forward Scotland as a leading destination for tourism and business. Diageo’s investment is proof that Scotland both deserves and can benefit from the bold approach to tourism offered by the SNP.

“I am sure that the people of Perthshire, and Scotland as a whole, will extend a warm hand of friendship to those visiting our shores, and that we will all benefit from this significant investment.” 

Local News, Funding, Business
 
Swinney and Wishart criticise RBS
Published date : 11 Apr 2018

John Swinney MSP and Pete Wishart MP today blasted the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for scheduled cuts to their mobile banking service.

The timetable changes, announced via a solitary sentence on the “Perth” section of the RBS mobile branch webpage, will see existing services in Coupar Angus and Meigle cancelled from 14th May.

Under the new RBS schedule, there will now be a twice-weekly stop at Pitlochry. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am disheartened both with the substance of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s changes, and the way in which they have introduced them.

“Whilst I note the implementation of services to Pitlochry, it really is robbing Peter to pay Paul if it comes at the expense of Coupar Angus and Meigle. It’s also worth noting that the mobile banking service will be scant consolation to residents of Pitlochry, who would much prefer their existing branch to remain open.

“Almost as troubling is the underhanded way that RBS have tried to introduce these changes – with no official announcement and no public consultation. Those in charge of RBS would do well to remember the debt they owe to the people of this country, and to treat their customers in this manner is frankly pathetic.”

“The Tory government, as the majority shareholder of RBS, should finally stand up for the people of Scotland and put a stop to these continued service cuts.”

Adding to this, Mr Wishart said:

“I am disappointed to see cuts to the mobile banking service in East Perthshire. 

“Coupar Angus and Meigle will miss out on their current weekly visit if these proposals go ahead. I understand the bank feel the need to include more visits in Highland Perthshire but many people in East Perthshire will feel cheated that there is to be no provision at all for them. 

“As part on my on-going talks with RBS, I will be raising these issues with them to see if they are willing to reconsider plans to stop providing the mobile service in Coupar Angus and Meigle.” 

Local councillor Fiona Sarwar (SNP), whose ward includes Coupar Angus and Meigle, stated:

“I am disappointed to hear that RBS will be cancelling its mobile banking service to Coupar Angus and Meigle.

“Such steps only further isolate rural communities and it is often the most vulnerable who are most deeply affected. I would urge RBS to reconsider their position. “


The changes to the RBS mobile branch service comes against a backdrop of increased pressure on the bank from both politicians and customers in Scotland. Last December, RBS announced the closure of 62 branches – many in rural areas. After fierce criticism, RBS announced in February that 10 branches would remain open. 

Despite this concession, branches with Perthshire North, including Aberfeldy and Pitlochry, are still scheduled for closure. 
 

Local News, Business
 
Swinney pleased with additional funding
Published date : 07 Apr 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, today welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to allocate an extra £10 million to fund road maintenance and repairs, following an extended period of bad weather.

The cash boost will benefit all 32 councils, with details of the distribution to be agreed by the Convention of Local Scottish Authorities (COSLA).

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government has taken quick, decisive action to address the damage that the recent spate of bad weather has caused to our roads. 

“This move once again shows that the SNP are committed to tackling road repairs head-on, and that we take seriously the safety and comfort of all road users.”
 

Transport, Roads, Funding, Local Government
 
Swinney welcomes new employment support service
Published date : 04 Apr 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed the launch of Scotland’s first devolved employment support service, Fair Start Scotland.

The programme, which will offer personalised support to all that participate, will provide pre-work support for 12-18 months and in-work support for a further 12 months. It will also provide help to those that require intensive or specialist support. The service is entirely voluntary, therefore ensuring that those choosing whether or not to participate will not be subject to sanctions or any limits to their benefits.

Fair Start Scotland will receive up to £96 million of Scottish Government funding, with contracts worth £7.3 million awarded in the Tayside region. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The new Fair Start Scotland service is rooted in respect, dignity and fairness. I would encourage any eligible constituents in Perthshire North that are currently out of work to consider enrolling in this first-class scheme.

“The Scottish Government realises that the way to help people find work is not through punishment and intimidation, but rather by supporting individuals and nurturing their talents. 

“This is yet another example of the SNP’s desire to provide support to those most in need, and I look forward to seeing the benefits Perthshire North will reap from this exciting service.”

Fair Start Scotland launched on 3rd April 2018. To be eligible for the service, an individual must be: living in Scotland and eligible to work in the UK; over 18 and out of work; or 16-17 and either disabled or in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit. Those interested should speak to their Jobcentre Plus work coach in the first instance.
 

Funding, Benefits, Employment
 
Swinney to host Football Memories event
Published date : 03 Apr 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, is to host an evening of poetry in aid of Football Memories Scotland.


Football Memories Scotland seeks to train volunteers to spend time with people with dementia who have an interest in football. By talking about teams and matches from the past and using images and memorabilia, they aim to stimulate memories within dementia sufferers.  


The event will be held on 18th April within the Scottish Parliament building, and will see recitations of poems from ‘Mind The Time’, an anthology of football-related poetry.


Commenting, Mr Swinney said:


“I am honoured to support Football Memories Scotland and to help raise awareness of the great work they do. This event promises to be a night of laughter, joy and reflection and I can’t wait to be a part of it.


“Talking about football memories can bring people suffering from dementia together, and lead to wonderful, untold stories and anecdotes emerging from within the group.


“As a football fan myself, it’s great that Football Memories Scotland are not only keeping the memories of our beautiful game alive, but doing so in a way that is of massive benefit to those living with dementia.”


Football Memories Scotland is a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Football Museum, and is supported by the players of the People's Postcode Lottery and BUPA Care Homes. Last month, the Scottish Government announced that it would enter into a match-funding agreement with the project to facilitate the creation of football memory boxes.
 

Health, Charity, Sport
 
Swinney encourages local communities to apply to £6m rural tourism fund
Published date : 02 Apr 2018

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney is calling on local groups in his constituency to apply to the Scottish Government’s new £6m Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund that is now open for applications.


The Scottish Government announced the fund in response to increasing visitor numbers across rural Scotland and in order to help provide the services and facilities that are needed to improve visitor experiences.


The new fund will support a wide range of improvement projects – such as parking, camping facilities, recycling points and footpath access, in areas such as the North Coast 500 route as well as at Historic Environment Scotland sites. 


Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“The tourist industry is vital to Perthshire North’s economy, which attracts visitors from all over the world each year. Indeed, earlier this month some of Perthshire North’s tourist attractions received prestigious industry awards, highlighting just what an attractive location this area is for tourists from near and afar.


“The new £6m Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund can help improve the visitor experience for the increasing number people visiting this area and alleviate pressure on transport, services and facilities across rural Scotland. 


“This support for infrastructure will enable even more people to enjoy this most beautiful country and is an example of the SNP Scottish Government listening to and responding to the needs of rural Scotland. 


“I would encourage local groups to consider making early applications for this funding in order to avoid disappointment.”
 

Local News, Awards, Funding, Business
 
Swinney welcomes energy drink ban
Published date : 28 Mar 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today praised a local high school for taking bold steps to improve its pupils’ health.

Blairgowrie High School has announced a complete ban on caffeine energy drinks, whilst also prohibiting bottles of fizzy or sugary drinks larger than 500ml.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am very pleased by the bold steps that Blairgowrie High School has taken. It has been clear for some time that energy drinks have a negative effect on young people’s health, whilst also impacting on their ability to concentrate throughout the day.

“These new rules will ensure that students are healthier, more engaged and better prepared for the daily challenges of school life. I would strongly urge other schools within Perthshire North to follow Blairgowrie High School’s example.”

Blairgowrie High School’s ban is the latest step taken in efforts to limit energy drink consumption amongst children. Recently, supermarket giant Tesco announced their “Think 25” campaign, which bans the sale of energy drinks to those under 16. This policy follows similar moves made by Asda, Sainsburys and Waitrose.

Local News, Health, Education
 
Swinney and Wishart urge Post Office solution
Published date : 27 Mar 2018

John Swinney MSP and Pete Wishart MP today expressed hope that Blairgowrie will be able to maintain its Post Office. 

The current operator, the Co-op’s Wellmeadow branch, is due to close in the next few months.

A local shop, Pricekracker, had been in negotiations to take on the Post Office operations, but recently pulled out due to requirements that would force the proprietor, Mr Sandy Sarwar, to take on five members of the existing Co-op staff.

Describing the issue as having “serious implications”, Mr Swinney outlined the importance of maintaining this service.

Mr Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, commented:

“I was saddened to hear that Pricekracker has been unable to reach a deal to take over the local Post Office. I completely understand that Mr Sarwar would be unable to afford to hire five additional members of staff and I pay tribute to his willingness to explore the possibility of continuing this vital service.

“This is an issue which has serious implications for the local community. It seems absurd that Perth’s largest town will soon be without a Post Office. This will prove a major inconvenience for my constituents in the area, particularly the elderly and those not able to travel. 

“I would encourage any local business that feels they could operate the Post Office service to come forward, and I am hopeful that a positive solution can be reached for the people of Blairgowrie.”

Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Wishart, added:

“I am disappointed to learn that plans to continue Post Office services in Blairgowrie have fallen through. This is a well-used service and it is vital that a town the size of Blairgowrie has access to a Post Office. It is vital that everything is done to find a suitable site to ensure that Blairgowrie does not lose this service permanently. 

“I understand that Post Office Ltd will conduct a further consultation and I will be in regular contact with them during this period. I will also be making representations to Co-Op to see what this means for the 5 staff members employed at the current Post Office site.”
 

Local News, Business, Local Communities
 
Swinney up to speed on broadband issues
Published date : 27 Mar 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, is continuing to press for the rollout of superfast broadband within his constituency. 

The Scottish Government’s Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) scheme has led to 95% of Scottish communities, businesses and homes having access to fibre broadband. The project aims to achieve a 100% connection rate by 2021.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I have heard first-hand, over a number of years, from constituents regarding the difficulties they have faced in obtaining a stable internet connection.

“The Scottish Government’s investment programme has led to more people receiving faster broadband connections than ever before. Through a bold approach to broadband connectivity, 83.4% of properties in Perth and Kinross now have access to superfast broadband. Without our investment, that number would stand at less than 66%. There is still work to be done but the Scottish Government is committed to providing 100% coverage of superfast broadband to every home and business in Scotland by 2021.

“Access to fibre broadband isn’t just about home entertainment – it is now vital to running a business in the 21st century. So, while I am pleased with the overall success of the DSSB scheme and am fully confident that it will achieve its target of full connectivity by 2021, I would welcome any steps that Digital Scotland could take to expedite this process within my constituency.”

 

Local News, Local Communities, Rural
 
Swinney welcomes National Lottery funding
Published date : 27 Mar 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed news that five organisations within his constituency have been successful in applying for National Lottery funding.

The groups – Perth and Kinross Association of Voluntary Service, Highland Perthshire Cycling Group, Alyth Arts and Crafts Guild, Perth and Kinross Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Association and Wild Sparks Outdoor Play CIC, have received funding totalling £35,372.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that these worthwhile organisations are to receive funding. Each of these organisations play an important role in providing opportunities for their local community and I am sure that they will put their awards to good use.

“I would also encourage any eligible groups in the Perthshire North area to consider applying for National Lottery funding.”

National Lottery Awards for All Scotland gives groups a chance to apply for a National Lottery grant of between £300 and £10,000 for projects that aim to help improve local communities and the lives of people most in need. National Lottery Awards for All Scotland awards grants to community, arts and sports groups on behalf of Big Lottery Fund Scotland, Creative Scotland and sportscotland.
 

Local News, Funding, Charity
 
Swinney and Wishart demand clarity from UK Government
Published date : 26 Mar 2018

John Swinney MSP and Pete Wishart MP today urged the UK government to end uncertainty within the soft fruit sector, following the publication of a Scottish Rural College (SRUC) report.

The report, which seeks to examine the patterns and behaviour of seasonal migrant labourers, highlights the challenges facing the industry. 

The report found that 46% of migrant soft fruit pickers were unsure if they would return in 2018, with only 40% claiming they would definitely return. Additionally, it found that there was a 15% reduction in migrant soft fruit workers coming to Scotland in 2017.

It was also revealed that of Scotland’s approximately 10,000 seasonal migrant labour workforce, almost 75% were based in Perthshire and Fife.

 Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This report only reinforces the damage that Brexit is already doing to the Perthshire economy. Local farmers have been clear: they require the UK Government to take decisive steps to safeguard their livelihoods and bring clarity to this entirely preventable situation.

“Rather than cleaning up this mess of their own making, the Tories have spent their time briefing against each other and quarrelling like children. This must end today. The Tories must fully engage with the Perthshire farming community and take meaningful action to assuage their concerns.”

Adding to this, Mr Wishart said:

“We have been warning about the implications of Brexit on the soft fruit sector for some time now and the UK Government need to take immediate action to ensure that Perthshire farmers can continue to operate normally post-Brexit. Seasonal labour is key to making sure that produce gets from the fields of Perthshire to shop shelves as quickly as possible and the current rules regarding seasonal workers puts this at risk.

“It is time for the UK Government to start working constructively with the National Farmers’ Union to address their concerns about Brexit. It would be unforgivable if we had to rely on imported food whilst farmers struggle in Scotland as a result of government inaction.”

Almost two-thirds of employers surveyed in the report stated that, should they be denied access to the migrant workforce, they would likely be forced to switch to other agricultural activities.

The report categorically cites Brexit as a chief cause of uncertainty, stating: “Brexit has undoubtedly affected the confidence of a proportion of workers and therefore their expectations about returning to Scotland in 2018.

“To date, there have been no certain answers for workers’ concerns (e.g. the strength of Sterling,
potential visa costs, more limited access to the UK labour market), as the businesses themselves are equally uncertain over Brexit issues.”

 

Local News, Business, Local Communities, Farming, Rural, Employment
 
Swinney praises local company for flexible working award
Published date : 24 Mar 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, today praised a local company that aims to put families first.
Gillies and Mackay, a Perthshire-based shed design company, was “highly commended” at the Scottish Top Employers for Working Families Awards 2018. 

The awards, which seek to recognise companies that promote innovative approaches to flexible working, were organised by Family Friendly Working Scotland and held on 22nd March 2018 at an event in Glasgow. 

Commenting on the news, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to hear that Gillies and Mackay have been recognised for their approach to flexible working. This award is another example of Perthshire North being both a great place to work and raise a family.
“Helping employees successfully manage their work-life balance isn’t just best for workers – it’s best for business.

“There is clear evidence to suggest that workers that are employed by companies which offer flexible working options are more motivated, more loyal and more productive. I am sure that the family-friendly approach of Gillies and Mackay will serve as an inspiration to other businesses not just in Perthshire North, but across Scotland” 

The success of Gillies and Mackay, founded in 1989, comes at a time when 46% of Scots say they currently have the option to work flexibly. Of those, 77% state that they are more productive and will “go the extra mile” for their employer.

Family Friendly Working Scotland is a social start-up in Glasgow that receives funding from the Scottish Government. As recently as 2015, funding was doubled from £100,000 to £250,000.
 

Local News, Awards, Business, Employment
 
Swinney welcomes Pride festival to Perth
Published date : 24 Mar 2018


Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, today welcomed news that the first Perthshire Pride event will take place this summer.

The event, which will celebrate Perth and Kinross’ LGBT community, will play host to live music and stalls, whilst also offering space for local councillors, employers and health officials to engage and network with attendees. 

Commenting on the news, Mr Swinney said:

“I am very pleased to hear that Perth will hold its first Pride event this summer. 

“This event, and the wide welcome it has received, proves once more that Perthshire is an open-minded, caring community that values the principles of equality and tolerance.

“It is clear, however, that members of LGBT community – particularly young people – can still be subject to horrendous discrimination, bullying and intimidation. Events like Perthshire Pride play a key role in standing up to such hatred and ensuring that LGBT people receive the respect and opportunities they deserve.”

Perthshire Pride will look to follow on from the success of Fife Pride, which was held for the first time in 2017. The event was widely viewed as an economic success, with estimates suggesting that approximately £150,000 in additional revenue was raised by the event.
 

Local News, Business, Local Communities
 
Swinney praises local foodbank volunteers
Published date : 23 Mar 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, today paid tribute to local foodbank volunteers within his constituency.

Describing their actions as “selfless”, Mr Swinney also sought to promote various methods of accessing foodbanks.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The sense of decency and community shown by foodbank volunteers represents the very best that Perthshire North has to offer. Their selfless actions deliver a vital lifeline to those hit hardest by the cruel political choice of austerity. 

“I am also particularly keen to ensure that no one in need of food goes hungry due to their geographical location. If a foodbank user is unable to make it to a foodbank, deliveries to their home can be arranged by contacting Perth and Kinross Council’s Welfare Rights team.

“I would encourage any constituents who know of people in need to make them aware of this particular service.”

Perth and Kinross Council’s Welfare Rights team provide free, confidential and impartial benefits advice, as well as information about other additional assistance available. They can be reached via telephone at 01738 476900 (Option 1) from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday.
 

Local News, Benefits, Charity
 
Swinney congratulates award nominees
Published date : 22 Mar 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed news that two local buildings have been nominated for this year’s Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Awards.

The two buildings – Guardswell Farm and Perth Theatre – are part of a 25-strong shortlist from an initial 75 entries with the winner to be announced later in the year. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that both Guardswell Farm and Perth Theatre have been recognised for the outstanding quality of their design. 

“These nominations are evidence that Perthshire North a forward-looking area, home to exciting, innovative works of architecture. 

“I am sure that the RIAS’ decision to recognise the quality of these buildings will only add to their appeal to the wider public. I welcome the potential increase in business that will result from this news and wish them the best of luck in the competition.”

The nominations come less than six months after the re-opening of Perth Theatre, following a £16.6m refurbishment that took place over a four-year period. Since it’s re-opening, the venue has played host to performances such as Shakespeare’s “Richard III” and David Harrower’s “Knives in Hens”.
 

Local News, Awards, Business
 
Swinney contacts Theresa May regarding Holodomor
Published date : 21 Mar 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has written to the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, to enquire about the UK Government’s position on recognising the Holodomor as an act of genocide.

Following a debate at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 20th March on the subject of the Holodomor – an act of man-made famine imposed on the people of Ukraine by the Soviet regime during 1932-33, which was responsible for the estimated deaths of between 2.4 and 7.5 million people – Mr Swinney was contacted by constituents with family ties to Ukraine asking for assistance in having the UK Government recognise it an act of genocide.

Describing the atrocity as “an appalling time in human history”, Mr Swinney expressed his deep sorrow at the events and called for a renewed focus on the suffering inflicted upon the people of Ukraine during this period.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The Holodomor was a horrific period of starvation and suffering and a particularly dark chapter in the 20th century. It was quite simply an appalling time in human history. 

“I was very interested to learn of the personal interest some of my constituents have in the Holodomor, specifically through having had family members who survived, or perished. Their stories will be shared by the Ukrainian diaspora throughout Scotland and it is therefore vitally important that the people of this nation and beyond continue to remember and honour the suffering of the Ukrainian people.   

“I am pleased that the Scottish Parliament recently debated this matter but I have written to the Prime Minister in order to clarify the steps the UK Government is taking to commemorate the millions of deaths during the Holodomor. I have also sought guidance on what consideration is being given to recognising the events in Ukraine as a genocide.”

The Holodomor has been recognised as an act of genocide by 16 countries, including Australia and Canada. A further five countries, including Spain and the United States, recognise the events of 1932-33 as a criminal act of the Stalinist regime.

AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD: John Swinney MSP's letter to the Prime Minister.
 

Local News
 
Swinney meets with school pupils
Published date : 21 Mar 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, paid a visit to local students last Friday, 16th March 2018. During his visit to St John’s RC Academy, Mr Swinney took questions from Modern Studies pupils currently studying for their National 5 qualification.

Commenting on his interactions with the students, Mr Swinney said:

“I really enjoyed my visit to St John’s RC Academy and, in particular, meeting its pupils. It was obvious from the time we spent together that they are bright, engaged and enthusiastic about politics.

“Their well-thought-out questions and general level of knowledge were a tremendous reflection both on themselves and the efforts of the hard-working teaching staff, who are playing a key role in ensuring their students are prepared for their examinations.”

St John’s RC Academy was formed in 2009 following the merger of St John’s Primary and St Columba’s High School, and provides education for those aged between 2 and 18 years of age.
 

Local News, Education, Local Communities
 
Swinney supports CRY campaign
Published date : 20 Mar 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has paid tribute to the hard work of local campaigner Abby Lang, for her work with Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in seeking to raise awareness of Young Sudden Cardiac Death (YSCD).

Miss Lang, who is from Longforgan and is currently the Head Girl at Harris Academy in Dundee, is studying for her Scottish Baccalaureate in Science. Her work seeks to publicise the dangers of YSCD, which has been found to kill at least a dozen people aged 35 and under every week in the UK, with 80% of those dying displaying no prior symptoms.

Commenting on Abby’s efforts and the CRY campaign, Mr Swinney said:

“I am very impressed by Abby’s knowledge and passion about what is clearly a very serious issue. Her tireless efforts to raise awareness of this condition could literally save lives.

“CRY do very important work throughout the country. It is vital that young people are aware of the risk of heart problems and I commend Abby for her work in attempting to bring this subject to the public’s attention.

“With 2018 being the Scottish Government’s “Year of Young People”, there is no better time for this issue to be highlighted. I am looking forward to welcoming Abby to the Scottish Parliament later this year to deliver the Time for Reflection speech and to work further with her in order to raise awareness of the CRY campaign.”

The CRY campaign seeks to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research, as well as supporting affected families. CRY also offers mobile screening facilities for people aged 14-35 and conducts research into sudden cardiac deaths in young people.

Abby, a member of the Delivery Panel for the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards 2018, will attend the Scottish Parliament on 19th June 2018 to deliver the Time for Reflection speech, following sponsorship from John Swinney MSP and Joe Fitzpatrick MSP.

Local News, Health, Education, Charity
 
Swinney visits V&A Museum
Published date : 20 Mar 2018


Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has praised the team behind the V&A Museum during a visit to the new facility ahead of its opening in September.

Describing the museum as “simply stunning”, Mr Swinney has claimed that the opening of Scotland’s first ever design museum is further proof of Scotland’s continued ability to innovate whilst being true to its rich cultural roots.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was delighted to visit the new V&A Museum today. It is simply stunning and a huge asset for Dundee and Tayside. The building is a tremendous work of architecture and will prove a huge boost to the local economy.

“Scotland has a storied history of design from Charles Rennie Macintosh to more contemporary names like Holly Fulton, and I am very pleased that this has been reflected in the V&A Museum’s decision to have a permanent gallery showcasing Scottish designs throughout the years.  

“Moreover, the building of the only design museum in the world outside of London is a further example of Scotland's potential as a forward-looking, cutting-edge nation. I am confident that this brilliant new building will only seek to increase Scotland’s appeal across the wider world.”

The V&A Museum will open to the public on 15th September 2018. The building was designed by the renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who is also behind the design of Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Stadium. In addition to providing career opportunities within the local community, the museum will prove the centrepiece of Dundee City Waterfront’s £1bn redevelopment – a long term plan to ignite culture, tourism and business within the area.

Notes:
 

Local News, Business, Local Communities
 
Swinney seeks clarity on charges for baby scan photos
Published date : 19 Jul 2017

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, is seeking early answers from NHS Tayside in relation to charges for antenatal scan photographs after members of the public questioned a statement from the health board, suggesting that scan photos were free to expectant parents.

In a Freedom of Information statement, NHS Tayside advised that “For routine antenatal screening and dating scans women can offer a donation, they are not formally charged”. Mr Swinney soon received reports from new parents in his constituency who advised that they were charged £1 per photograph, and that they were not informed of the charge being a voluntary donation.

With FOI requests from all 14 health boards in Scotland showing that only NHS Highland seeks mandatory payment for scan photos, and only NHS Lothian seek a voluntary donation, the practice of NHS Tayside, as reported by parents in the area, appears to be contrary to the majority of health boards in Scotland while also different to that set out in their FOI response.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am concerned that a number of my constituents have made me aware that they do not believe the charges for their baby scan photos, that were carried out in NHS Tayside facilities, were voluntary.

“Most parents who have contacted me have informed me that they were asked for payment for all of their scan photos and do not believe they received any information to advise them that such payment would be a donation, and not mandatory.

“I have asked NHS Tayside to confirm their position in relation to this matter. I am concerned that their position, as set out in their FOI response, does not match with the experience of recent service users.

“If it is the case that charges are voluntary I believe it would be helpful for NHS Tayside to make this very clear to all expectant parents, as soon as possible, in order to help avoid this sort of confusion in the future.”

Local News, Health
 
Swinney concerned by fall in fruit picker numbers
Published date : 22 Jun 2017

Perthshire North’s SNP MSP, John Swinney, has today revealed his concern about staffing levels in the soft fruit industry after figures revealed that fruit growers have reported problems in employing sufficient, seasonal staff to help pick their produce, since the EU referendum.

Sources suggest that some 80,000 seasonal employees work in the fruit and veg picking and processing industry, every year. A majority of the estimated 80,000 seasonal workers who are employed across the UK arrive from the EU. Early reports for the 2017 season suggest that more than one in five growers have indicated that they have fewer pickers than they require. The leading industry body in the soft fruit growers market has suggested that staff shortages are at their worst levels since 2004 – prior to the expansion of membership of the EU.

Seasonal labour provided by EU nationals is viewed as a critical resource to the soft fruit market and some growers fear that, without sufficient seasonal workers, the industry may need to reduce their production in the UK and import its produce – risking price increases of up to 50% on soft fruits.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Perthshire is famous for being home to quality, soft fruit produce. Its reputation has resulted in it becoming a vital part of the local economy.

“Concerns regarding the availability of seasonal labour following the Brexit vote were well documented during, and immediately following, the EU referendum. It is very concerning that our local farming industry will be directly affected by this. I am also worried that some fruit growers are predicting even greater staff shortages post-Brexit. This will particularly be the case if EU nationals’ rights are not guaranteed by the UK Government during the Brexit negotiations. 

“The Tory Party has dragged us into this mess and still appear to have no plan. Their shambolic approach to Brexit negotiations is causing direct damage to the soft fruit industry, and the farming sector more generally, as this latest evidence shows. The Scottish Government has made it clear that EU nationals are welcome in Scotland and that we value the contribution they make to our society, and our economy. It is vital that the UK Government urgently confirms the status of EU Nationals, going forward.”

Adding to this, Pete Wishart MP for Perth and North Perthshire said:

“Almost a year to the day since the referendum result was declared, the Tory Government has not made any meaningful progress in relation to the status of EU nationals currently living in the UK. Due to the very obvious effect this would have on industries such as the soft fruit sector I would have hoped that they would have taken this matter more seriously and treated it with urgency.”

Local News, Farming, Rural, Employment
 
Swinney receives fire safety assurances from Perth and Kinross Council
Published date : 22 Jun 2017

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has welcomed reassurances from Perth and Kinross Council that external wall insulation on properties throughout the Perth and Kinross area is fire retardant.

Following the catastrophic fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower in London, Mr Swinney made early contact with the local authority to seek confirmation that residents in Perth and Kinross would be provided with fire and safety security. In response, the local authority confirmed that the type of cladding used on Grenfell Tower had not been used on any properties in the local authority area. Mr Swinney was also advised that residents of 6 multi-storey blocks that are overseen by the Council’s Housing service had been visited since the Grenfell disaster in order to discuss fire safety.

2,650 homeowners who recently benefitted from the installation of external wall insulation as part of the Energy Efficiency programme and the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland (HEEPS) will also be contacted by the local authority, in the near future, to assure them that the insulation used has been classified as either flame retardant – Class “0” or non-combustible.

Commenting on this, Mr Swinney said:

“The Grenfell Tower disaster was an absolute tragedy that resulted in a horrendous loss of life. It is important that lessons are learned, however in the meantime it is vital that residents throughout Perth and Kinross receive assurances that their properties are safe.

“I wrote to seek assurances from the Chief Executive of Perth and Kinross Council in relation to the fire safety of buildings throughout this area. I am very pleased to have received confirmation that the type of cladding used on Grenfell Tower has not been used on any properties in Perthshire North, and Perth and Kinross more widely. I also welcome the local authority’s swift action in seeking to make contact with residents of multi-storey properties and anywhere that has recently had external wall insulation fitted.”

 

Local News, Housing, Local Communities
 
Swinney takes part in Cabinet visit to Pitlochry
Published date : 07 Feb 2017

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, joined colleagues in the Scottish Government by participating in a Cabinet visit to Pitlochry, followed by a public discussion event in the Festival Theatre on Monday 6 February.

Following previous successful visits all across Scotland, members of the public were invited to attend a public discussion event where they would have the opportunity to question the First Minister, and the Cabinet, and give their views on a host of local and national issues.

The theme for the day focussed on the rural economy, but a number of issues were raised during the discussion including rural bus services; ambulance services; Donald Trump’s Presidency of the United States of America and the potential loss of funding to Universities, post-Brexit.

Commenting on the Cabinet visit, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that Pitlochry has, once again, hosted a meeting of the Scottish Cabinet.

“The Scottish Government has, since 2008, made it very clear that we want to reach out to communities throughout Scotland. We have visited places across the country from Cupar, Alloa and Dingwall to Pitlochry, Aberdeen and Dumfries. It is important that we make ourselves approachable and open to the public. The First Minister has made it clear that, as a Government, we will listen to people’s concerns and use the feedback we get to shape our policy decisions to build a more inclusive and prosperous country.

“I was particularly pleased that so many people filled the Pitlochry Festival Theatre for the public discussion and that so many local people were able to raise issues that are important to them, directly to Cabinet Ministers.”

The Cabinet visited Pitlochry on the day that the new SSE Visitor’s Centre at Pitlochry Dam was opened by the First Minister and Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, and Mr Swinney.

The £4Million visitor centre will help tell the story of how the dam was originally built by the “Tunnel Tigers” who moved hundreds of kilos of rock to form tunnels. Joined by some of the men who worked on the tunnels, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP unveiled a plaque at the centre to mark its official opening. It is anticipated that the new centre will attract more than 80,000 people in its first year.

Adding to this, Mr Swinney said:

“Perthshire is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the country – something my Cabinet colleagues were keen to point out during the public discussion. It is one of the area’s biggest attractions for tourists and I am excited to see the new visitor’s centre officially opened.

“This new facility will allow tens of thousands of people – and hopefully more, in future years – to not only enjoy the fantastic scenery but also to learn about the history of the dam and the extraordinary work of the “Tunnel Tigers”, who laid the foundations decades ago. It was a privilege to meet some of those men and speak to them at the opening of the new centre.”

 

Local News
 
Swinney visits Scone gas site
Published date : 06 Feb 2017

John Swinney visits Scone gas site

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, today visited the site of the loss of gas supply in Scone. He met with Scottish Gas Networks (SGN), Scottish Water, Perth and Kinross Council and local residents as work goes on to resolve the problem.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

"This has been a major incident over the last few days in Scone where a leak in the water supply has fed into the gas network. It has caused a great deal of inconvenience to members of the public who have been without gas since Tuesday.

"The response of SGNgas has been outstanding with an army of engineers and staff deployed to distribute cooking and heating equipment, provide welfare support to vulnerable customers and to resolve the original problem. The team have been working night and day to support local residents.

"After supplies were re-connected last night, nearly 800 households were visited to turn on gas supply. More activity is underway today to complete the task.

"I am very grateful to SGNgas, Scottish Water and Perth and Kinross Council for working together to resolve this problem as quickly as possible. I would also like to thank local residents in Scone for their patience through these difficult few days. In their conversations with me, a number of local residents have praised SGNgas staff for their exemplary handling of this incident and I echo that praise today."

Local News, Energy
 
Swinney comments on Scone housing proposals
Published date : 03 Feb 2017

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has added his voice to the debate surrounding a proposal that could see 700 new homes build in Scone.

Following a number of objections from local residents to proposals to build an initial 100 new homes on the Northern edge of the town, Mr Swinney attended a specially constituted public meeting, in January, that had been arranged for local residents to learn more about the plans. His Westminster colleague, Pete Wishart MP, attended a similar event the following week due to high demand to attend the initial meeting.

The deadline for submissions on the planning application closes on Friday 3 February. Mr Swinney has added his voice to the debate with his own submission to the consultation, following representations from a number of people in the local community,

Commenting, he said:

“The housing application in Scone has sparked vigorous debate within the community. I have previously met with representatives of Scone and District Community Council to discuss this matter and have raised a number of concerns directly with Perth and Kinross Council.

“There are significant concerns surrounding this application and I hope the local authority will agree to my offer to facilitate a discussion between their representatives, and those of the community council, in order to help resolve some of the issues that have arisen. I am particularly aware of concerns that have been raised by some in the community regarding the timing of any housing developments, and the timing of the development of the Cross Tay Link Road.

“Of course, a number of other issues including the impact that new houses could have on air quality in the area, local drainage and local services including the local school and doctor’s surgery must also be carefully considered by the Council during the progress of the application. I hope the community’s concerns will be taken into due consideration as it progresses.”

Mr Swinney’s comments follow a dispute regarding the construction of the Cross Tay Link Road, and whether the proposed construction of the new homes in Scone was to commence when the CTLR project was “constructed”, or “committed”.

The Local Development Plan that was submitted for consultation originally stated that the CTLR required to be “constructed”, whilst the final version that was unanimously approved by the Council on 18 December 2013 stated that the project needed to be “committed”.

Commenting further, Mr Swinney said:

“It is very disappointing that this matter continues to cause such a significant dispute and it is something that I would hope could be resolved by means of a discussion between Perth and Kinross Council and Scone and District Community Council. I have previously offered to facilitate such a discussion and I have re-emphasised this offer in my most recent correspondence to the local authority.”

Local News, Housing, Local Communities, Local Government
 
Swinney welcomes budget and massive boost for education
Published date : 03 Feb 2017

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has welcomed the Scottish Budget and the massive boost it represents to Perth and Kinross and local education.

As a result of the Budget, schools in Perthshire North will receive, directly from the Scottish Government, over £700,000 in new money to spend on closing the attainment gap. In addition, Perth and Kinross Council will receive £4.544 million more as a result of the agreement reached to implement the Budget. As a result of the entire budget the amount of money available to spend on local services in Perth and Kinross, including social care, increases by £13.845 million (5.40%).

Commenting, Mr Swinney said :

"The Scottish Budget is excellent news for Perthshire North. There is a boost to schools of £700,000 directly to tackle the attainment gap, more money for police services, and an extra £4.544 million for Perth and Kinross Council to invest in local services.

"The Budget delivers record investment in our health services with £304 million in new funding, supports the roll out of broadband, means 100,000 small businesses pay no business rates at all and delivers the funding to dual the A9. The Budget freezes income tax rates and asks the 10% highest earners to forego a tax cut.

"The Scottish Government has to reach agreement with other parties to secure support for the Budget. The Scottish Greens engaged in serious discussions and secured benefits for people. The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats played a pathetic game of party political posturing.

"The Conservatives voted against reductions in small business rates and against investment in broadband. The Conservatives voted against dualling the A9 and they voted against investing £4.544 million more in local services in Perthshire. The Tories have ill-served the people of this area.

"I am glad a responsible SNP Government has been able to deliver a Budget that invests in our communities, public services and our economy and has defeated the posturing of the local Tories."

 

Health, Transport, Education, Funding, Business, Law and order, Tax
 
Swinney comments on loss of gas supply in Scone
Published date : 01 Feb 2017

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has expressed his concern about a gas supply problem in Scone that has disrupted services to some 1,300 homes in the village.

As a result of water entering the network of pipes in the area, gas supplies to the village have been severely disrupted. Engineers from Scottish Gas Networks are on-site attempting to resolve the issue that arose late on Tuesday (31 January) evening.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I have spoken to Scottish Gas Networks about the loss of service to some 1,300 households in Scone. I am very concerned about the impact this will have on people in the village and appreciate the need for services to be restored as quickly as possible.

“I understand that engineers are working to resolve the problem, but I have encouraged Scottish Gas Networks to mobilise all their available resources in the area, in order to help restore services as soon as possible.

“I have been assured that services are in place to help people whilst the gas is disconnected. If anybody has particular concerns, I would encourage them to contact the dedicated customer service line that has been set up, on 0800 912 1717, or visit the customer services van at the Old Parish Church, in Scone.”

Updates on the loss of supply are available via Scottish Gas Network’s website:

https://www.sgn.co.uk/News/Incidents/Incident/

Local News, Energy
 
Swinney reveals £1.6Million funding boost for Perthshire schools
Published date : 01 Feb 2017

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has today announced that 65 Primary schools and 10 secondary schools throughout Perth and Kinross will receive a share of over £1.6Million in extra funding as part of the Scottish Government’s drive to improve standards in schools.

The share each school is due to receive from the Scottish Government’s new £120 million Pupil Equity Fund was revealed by Mr Swinney, earlier today (Wednesday 1 February 2017). Schools in Perthshire North, including North Muirton Primary School, Rattray Primary School and Coupar Angus Primary School, are set to benefit from tens of thousands of pounds of additional funding as a result of the Funding announced.

It will be up to teachers and school leaders to decide the best way of using the funding to close the poverty related attainment gap in their schools.

Speaking about the funding, Mr Swinney said:

“Every child in Scotland should have the best possible start in life, and it is unacceptable for children from the poorest backgrounds to have their chances limited by circumstances outside their control.

“The SNP in government has made closing the poverty-related attainment gap our number one priority, and our new £120 million Pupil Equity Fund is aimed at doing just that – supporting 65 primaries and 10 secondaries in Perth and Kinross and 1928 primaries and 358 secondaries across Scotland.

“I am very pleased that schools throughout my constituency will benefit from this additional funding. Parents, teachers and school leaders will now have the opportunity to use this funding to help both reduce the poverty related attainment gap in their schools and also help to drive up standards and tackle the inter-generational cycle of deprivation in their school.”

 

Local News, Education, Funding
 
Swinney encourages charities to apply for new funding from People’s Postcode Lottery
Published date : 24 Jan 2017

People's Postcode Lottery image

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, is encouraging local charities to apply for funding from a brand new scheme announced by the People’s Postcode Lottery.

With £3Million available in this funding round, charities are being invited to submit applications from Monday 23 January to have a chance of benefiting from a grant from one of three trusts that have been set up to administer the money – the People’s Postcode Trust, the Postcode Local Trust and the Postcode Community Trust.

With applications for this funding closing on Friday 10 February, Mr Swinney is asking local charities to begin their applications as soon as possible. Commenting, he said:

“This is an excellent opportunity for deserving, local charities to apply for funding to help them continue with their work, or start new projects that could benefit people across Perthshire.

“The People’s Postcode Lottery has generously funded projects in this area in the past and I am delighted that they are providing an opportunity for local groups to benefit from up to £20,000 in this latest round of funding.

“With funding available for a wide range of charities – from wildlife and volunteering initiatives to sports and arts groups – I hope that local groups will take this opportunity to submit an early application for funding that could help their projects.”

The application process starts with organisations being encouraged to submit an 'expression of interest' form. Charities will then be shortlisted to complete a full application for funding.

In August, interested groups and organisations can apply or re-apply when a second pot of £3million will become available. The maximum a project can receive is £20,000.

For more information on how local charities can apply please visit the following websites: www.postcodetrust.org.uk, www.postcodelocaltrust.org.uk, www.postcodecommunitytrust.org.uk.

 

Funding, Local Communities, Charity
 
Swinney promotes local businesses for Burns night celebrations
Published date : 23 Jan 2017

Burns Night poster

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has praised local businesses for their work in helping to encourage local people to help toast the national bard this week, as Burns Night takes place on Wednesday 25 January.

Hundreds of events are taking place across Scotland all week with dozens across Perthshire, including the annual dinner by the Perth Burns Club which has been listed as a national event by VisitScotland. A number of local restaurants are also hosting formal Burns Nights while the Black Watch Castle and Museum will host a special Burns Lunch in their award winning café on the 25th.

Local shops are also helping people have a “do it yourself” Burns night, with offers in shops including local butchers’ Simon Howie and Exel Wines in Perth, among others.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to see so many establishments in Perth, and across Perthshire, getting involved in Burns night and helping to celebrate the life and work of our national poet.

“Across my constituency, dozens of Burns nights, or events, will be taking place - from schools and restaurants to shops and local Burns clubs. It is very encouraging to see so many people getting involved to help remember, and celebrate, the work of Burns as well as the profound impact his life has had on Scottish culture.

“Whether you’re supporting a local restaurant, or helping a local club’s event, or simply raising a dram in your own home this Burns night, I hope people will take this opportunity to support local businesses in their celebrations.”

For those seeking a more unique Burns dining experience, Murrays the Bakers are offering haggis pies while China China is offering such delicacies as haggis fried rice. Other restaurants across the area are also providing more Caledonian variations on their menus, in tribute to Burns night.

Adding to this, Mr Swinney said:

“We all have our own favourite treats when it comes to Burns Night, and it is excellent to see local businesses putting their individual twist on some of the more traditional food and drink enjoyed at this time of year.”

 

Local News, Business, Local Communities
 
Swinney promotes money saving incentive for local sports clubs
Published date : 20 Jan 2017

Scottish GovernmentPerthshire North MSP, John Swinney, is reaching out to local sports clubs to encourage them to submit early applications to save money on water charges for 2016/17 and 2017/18.

The Scottish Government’s Water and Sewerage Charges Exemption Scheme is open to charities and amateur sports clubs, with those receiving an income of less than £200,000 exempted from all water and sewerage charges, while those with an income of between £200,000 and £300,000 can receive a 50% discount on their wholesale charges. Since 2015, over 7,700 charities and sports clubs have saved some £4million, every year.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The New Year is often seen as a time to check the finances and possibly tighten the purse strings, so there is no better time for local charities and sports clubs to apply to save money on their water and sewerage charges.

“Thousands of charities and sports clubs are already benefiting across Scotland and I hope that every organisation in Perthshire North that is eligible for this scheme is taking full advantage of it. The more money that these local organisations can keep to reinvest in their activities, and their local community, the greater level of service they will be able to provide.

“Applications for 2016/17 can still be made, but time is running out. I would encourage any local groups to get their applications in for this year, and next year, if they haven’t already done so.”

Charities and community amateur sports clubs must apply each year to the Scheme. Applications can now be made for the 2017-18 scheme. Applications for 2016-17 can continue to be made up until 31st March 2017.

Further information on the exemption scheme is available at: https://www.mygov.scot/water-sewerage-exemption/

 

Funding, Charity, Sport
 
John Swinney thanks local postmen and women for delivering first class Christmas
Published date : 09 Dec 2016

John Swinney MSP visited the Blairgowrie Delivery Office to thank local postmen and women for their hard work during Royal Mail’s busiest period

This year Royal Mail has been celebrating its 500th anniversary, with this festive period marking half a millennium of delivering Christmas cards and parcels, The last recommended posting dates for Christmas are:  Second Class – Tuesday 20 December, First Class- Wednesday 21 December and Special Delivery -  Thursday 22 December

John Swinney MSP visited the Blairgowrie Delivery Office to see first-hand the operation of delivering Christmas post and to pass on season’s greetings to its hardworking staff.

Mr Swinney was shown around the office by Delivery Office Manager, Nicola Sawyers, and was introduced to the postmen and women, who are pulling out all the stops to sort and deliver mail in the Blairgowrie area over the Christmas period. The Festive Season is Royal Mail’s busiest period, as millions of people shop online for gifts and send Christmas cards and parcels. As Royal Mail’s 500th anniversary draws to a close, this Christmas provides an opportunity to reflect on the centuries of hard work  delivering to every single address in the UK.

John Swinney MSP said:

“At no other time is the hard work and dedication of postmen and women clearer than during the festive period.”

“I thank them for the extraordinary lengths they go to ensure Christmas cards and presents are delivered to loved ones on time, and for all they do year-round.”

Nicola Sawyers, Royal Mail Delivery Office Manager, said: “It was a pleasure to show Mr Swinney our Christmas operation and to hear his kind words of encouragement and support.”

“We are extremely proud of our postmen and women for all their hard work during the Festive Season and for continuing our proud history of delivering Christmas mail.”

The last recommend posting dates for Christmas are:

Second Class – Tuesday 20 December 2016

First Class – Wednesday 21 December 2016

Special Delivery – Thursday 22 December 2016

Notes:

Attached is a photograph of Mr Swinney at the Blairgowrie Delivery Office on Friday 9 December, along with Mark Brown and Kathleen Kippen.

Customers can also help Royal Mail ensure that all their letters, cards and parcels are delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible by taking a few easy steps:

  • Post early – Avoid disappointment by posting your cards and parcels early. 
  • Use a postcode – A clearly addressed card or parcel, with a postcode, and return address on the back of the envelope, will ensure quick and efficient delivery.
  • Use Special Delivery – For valuable and important packages and parcels guarantee delivery with Royal Mail’s Special Delivery, which means your gift is tracked, traced and insured against loss.
  • Wrap parcels well and always give a return address
  • For more information about Royal Mail’s last recommended posting dates, please visit: www.royalmail.com/greetings or call 03457 740 740.

 

 

Local News, Local Communities
 
John Swinney supports Small Business Saturday
Published date : 29 Nov 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, is encouraging local people to shop locally this weekend, and support Small Business Saturday.

The annual event, now in its fourth year, takes place on Saturday 3 December. Over a dozen small, independent businesses have signed up to take part in the grassroots, non-commercial campaign across Perthshire North.

With dozens of unique shops in Perth, and the surrounding area, Mr Swinney is asking local shoppers to take part in this year’s event and consider shopping locally more often. To mark the day, Mr Swinney will be visiting Murrays Bakers, in Perth, as one of the participating stores.

Commenting ahead of his visit, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to lend my support to Small Business Saturday. Every year, the day has become more and more successful with customer spending up 24% on the same day last year, compared to 2014. I am particularly pleased to see so many small businesses in Perth, and throughout my constituency, taking part.

“With so many small, independent traders in Perth, it is important that local people support them, and their work. We saw with the recent Christmas Lights switch on in the City centre, that thousands of people enjoy what Perth has to offer. It is excellent timing that Small Business Saturday will follow on so quickly from those events and I hope Perthshire businesses will feel the benefit from this year’s Small Business Saturday, and help to encourage more people to shop locally in 2017.”

 

ENDS

Notes:

Mr Swinney will be at Murrays Bakers, South Street, Perth, from 10.15am on Saturday 3 December.

Details of businesses signed up to the “Small Business Finder” are available here:

https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/small-business-finder

Customers in 2015 spent £623Million with small businesses on Small Business Saturday, across the UK. This was an increase of £119Million (or 24%), compared to 2014.

Local News, Business, Local Communities
 
Swinney welcomes new jobs in local supermarket
Published date : 29 Nov 2016

Local youngsters given opportunities at local Asda

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has praised the efforts of local people participating in Asda’s “Get Into Retail” youth employment initiative which has seen local youngsters move into permanent employment with the retailer.

Working in partnership with the Prince’s Trust Scotland, local, unemployed youngsters were given the opportunity to take part in a four-week training programme with the supermarket giant. As well as learning a number of retail skills whilst on placement, those taking part were also offered assistance with CV writing and interview techniques. At the end of the four weeks, three young people in Perth Asda completed their placements.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

elighted that young people in Perthshire North are benefiting from the partnership between Asda and the Prince’s Trust Scotland. I am particularly pleased for the local youngsters who have now gained a permanent contract in the store, taking them out of unemployment.

“It is important that young people learn the necessary skills to gain, and retain, employment. Programmes, such as this one, will be invaluable to some youngsters looking to get into work for the first time or who need help re-entering the world of work.

“I hope that Asda will continue to promote the value of work to young people and that their partnership with the Prince’s Trust will continue to benefit young people in Perth for a long time to come.”

Across Scotland, 11 young people participated in the “Get Into Retail” programme, with three completing their placements in Perth. Everybody who was offered work has been guaranteed 16 hours of work per week and will continue to receive mentoring and support from the Prince’s Trust Scotland.

 

Education, Employment
 
John Swinney comments on beaver decision
Published date : 24 Nov 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has reacted to the Scottish Government’s decision to allow beaver populations across Tayside, and other parts of Scotland, to remain.

In an announcement made by Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, the Scottish Government confirmed that beavers will require “careful management” in their current environments so as to “limit adverse impacts on farmers and other land users”. The Environment Secretary added that unauthorised releases of beavers will continue to be a criminal act.

Commenting on the decision, Mr Swinney said:

"Roseanna Cunningham has taken great care to consider the issue of the re-introduction of the beaver, on which there are sharply differing views. There is a large population in the Tayside area and the Government has set out what I consider to be a fair and rational approach to their management.

“I am grateful to Roseanna Cunningham for the lengths she has gone to engage with my constituents of different opinions to find a way forward."

The Scottish Government’s decision means that beavers will be added to Scotland’s list of protected species.  Whilst highlighting the “biodiversity benefits” the species can bring, the Government has also recognised the potential impact beavers can have on farmers and land users. Management techniques will therefore be permitted in order to prevent damage to land or valuable trees. The Scottish Government will also provide advice and assistance to farmers in order to help them implement mitigation and prevention measures.

Rural, Environment
 
Swinney welcomes A9 Decision on Enchanted Forest
Published date : 09 Nov 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to avoid the site of the Enchanted Forest during the dualling of the A9.

The proposed section of road, between Pitlochry and Killiecrankie, will not interfere with the existing site of the Enchanted Forest, a move that Mr Swinney has praised as being “sensible and practical” for the local economy.

Commenting on the news, Mr Swinney said:

“I am very pleased that the Scottish Government has listened to the concerns of local people, and business owners, regarding this section of the A9.

The Enchanted Forest is an excellent attraction that encourages tens of thousands of people to the area, every year. The significant, positive effect that this event has on the local economy makes it entirely sensible, and practical, to avoid this area when dualling the A9.

“I am well aware that the local community – including business owners and other residents – were keen to see this outcome. I am delighted that they will be able to celebrate this result and that the Enchanted Forest event will be able to continue in its current home, for the foreseeable future.”

The new, preferred route for the stretch of road between Pitlochry and Killiecrankie will be displayed in Pitlochry Town Hall this Wednesday 9 November (3pm – 7pm) and Thursday 10 November (11am – 4pm).

In an announcement made by Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, it was announced that the new, preferred option should result in less disruption for road users during construction as no new bridge will be required over Loch Faskally. It is also anticipated that the new option will be less expensive than alternative options.

Notes:

For further comment from the Scottish Government, and additional background information, please see the following:

http://news.gov.scot/news/a9-dualling-to-avoid-enchanted-forest

Local News, Transport, Roads, Business
 
John Swinney joins celebrations at Breadalbane Academy
Published date : 04 Nov 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, today (Friday 4 November) joined in the five year anniversary celebrations of Gaelic Medium Education starting in Breadalbane Academy Primary School. 

As part of the celebrations school pupils, from Primary 1 to S6, performed Gaelic songs and music in a school assembly in front of other pupils, staff and parents. Stars of the assembly included the Gaelic Medium Education class performing “Brocham Lom”, whilst the school’s house Ceilidh Band, Strung, Drawn and Quartered – who recently performed at the national Mod on Stornoway – also performed a number of songs.

Commenting on the visit, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to have been able to take part in today’s celebrations at Breadalbane Academy and to see the amount of work the school is putting into its Gaelic Medium Education, in particular.

“I am very grateful to Mr Devine for inviting me to today’s celebrations. The attitude of all the pupils and staff towards learning was very admirable and everybody who performed at the assembly was a credit to themselves and their school. I was particularly impressed by the performances of “Strung, Drawn and Quartered” who have recently returned from a very successful trip to the National Mod.

“I hope that Breadalbane will build on its excellent foundations in teaching the Gaelic language and hopefully there will be many more happy anniversaries of the Gaelic Medium Education at this school, in the future.”

Breadalbane Academy Primary’s Gaelic Medium Education class is taught by Mrs MacDonald and currently has more than 10 pupils ranging from Primary 1 to Primary 4. All learning and teaching takes place in Gaelic in order to immerse the children in the language, with the aim being to make the pupils as fluent in Gaelic as they are in English, by the time they leave Primary School.

Adding to this, Mr Swinney said:

“Investment in the appropriate infrastructure to encourage future Gaelic education is very important. The Scottish Government is committed to increasing the number of people learning, speaking and using the Gaelic language. There are significant potential economic and social benefits from taking this approach and I am very pleased at the success of this school and its GME programme.

Notes:

Attached are photographs of Mr Swinney on his visit to Breadalbane Academy. The photographs include Mr Swinney cutting the “birthday cake” for the GME’s 5 year anniversary as well as Mr Swinney visiting the GME class.

Further information on Breadalbane’s Gaelic Medium Education is available here:

http://www.breadalbane.pkc.sch.uk/BA/gaelic-medium-education/

Local News, Education
 
Latest constituency surgery tour
Published date : 02 Nov 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, will undertake a fresh series of constituency surgeries this November, starting on Monday (7 November).

Mr Swinney’s surgery tour will see him visit several locations, from Perth to Pitlochry, Errol to Alyth and Inchture to Aberfeldy. His visits to communities across his constituency of Perthshire North will help to make him more accessible to constituents across the area.

Speaking about his surgery tour, Mr Swinney said:

“I very much enjoy getting out and about in my constituency and meeting as many people as possible.

“It is very important that I make it as easy as possible for constituents to contact me and that is why I try to visit as many places, and speak to as many people, as possible. I would encourage anyone in the local area, who needs my assistance, to come and speak to me or to contact my constituency office to arrange an appointment.”

Mr Swinney’s surgery tour will cover ten different towns and villages between Monday 7 November and Monday 14 November. On Monday 7 November, he will visit Perth, Dunkeld, Aberfeldy and Pitlochry. On Friday 11 November, Mr Swinney will visit Errol, Scone, Coupar Angus and Alyth. His final surgeries will take place in Invergowrie and Inchture on Monday 14 November.

Appointments for surgeries can be made by contacting Mr Swinney’s constituency office, in Blairgowrie, on 01250 876576. Full details of the surgery venues and times can be found on Mr Swinney’s website: http://www.johnswinney.scot/local-surgeries/

Local News
 
Swinney opens Aberfeldy Police, Fire and Wardens Service facility
Published date : 02 Nov 2016

New Safer Community Warden Service to launch on 4 November

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, will officially open the new Police, Fire and Wardens Service facility in Aberfeldy, this Friday (4 November).

The new facility, which will be home to the town’s new Safer Communities Warden as well as the Police and Fire services, will be situated next to the town hall and will be a one-stop shop for people to go to with any problems in the local community. The work of the brand new Warden – joint-funded by the local community council and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – will be undertaken by Norma Carr.

Commenting ahead of his visit, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to be taking part in the launch of this new service in Aberfeldy and to be opening the new shared facility.

“Aberfeldy is a wonderful place but, like anywhere else, can experience problems. The introduction of a brand new Safer Communities Warden is a very interesting idea and one that I hope the community will take to. Of course there are Community Wardens in position throughout the country, but the remit of Aberfeldy’s new Warden could make it a very important position in the community.

“I know that a number of people have worked very hard to see this become a reality and I wish Norma, in particular, the very best for her initial two years in her new post as Safer Communities Warden.”

Local News, Local Communities, Emergency services
 
Swinney visits Kindrogan Centre
Published date : 02 Nov 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, recently paid a visit to Kindrogan Field Centre following upgrade work to part of the building at the site. The upgrades to the accommodation block will allow more people to use the Centre, at any given time.

As part of upgrade work at the Centre, Kindrogan now has greater overnight capacity and improved disabled access to its facilities. With future upgrading planned – including the installation of new energy efficiency measures – the local MSP visited ahead of what is hoped could be the Centre’s busiest winter.

Commenting on his visit, Mr Swinney said:

“It is always a pleasure to visit Kindrogan and to see just what activities are taking place throughout the year.  I am very pleased to see that the site has been upgraded and that the changes that have been made will allow more people to enjoy the wonderful facilities available at the Centre.

“I am also very pleased to see the strong educational connection between the Centre and the University of Edinburgh, in particular. I am equally impressed by the number of different activities taking place at the Centre which is open to school groups and families alike.

With such diverse activities taking place – from weaving classes to ambitious programmes run by University geography students using drones to survey the surrounding area – at any given time, the Kindrogan Centre is a truly excellent resource in a spectacular setting.”

Education, Rural, Environment
 
Swinney signs up to support Sue Ryder campaign
Published date : 01 Nov 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has signed up to help promote Sue Ryder’s “online community” – part of a range of services offered by the charity in helping to provide people with the support they need when coping with grief.

Signing up to promote the online community initiative at the SNP’s Annual Conference in Glasgow, Mr Swinney met with Lorraine Linton, Community Services Area Manager for the charity, who covers the entire Perth and Kinross region, and discussed the charity’s “connecting thread” initiative. Launched earlier this year, the campaign is experiential and encourages passers-by to attach a supportive statement written on a luggage label onto a large ball of wool, designed to represent the “connecting thread” people need after suffering a loss.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Sue Ryder provide extraordinary services in order to ensure people receive the support they need the most, at one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“Having the help, and support, available from charities like Sue Ryder means nobody has to go through that pain alone, however.

“I hope more people become aware of the services available from Sue Ryder – particularly their online community which can offer a safe space to talk about what they are going through.

Whilst losing a loved one, and coping with that loss, is one of the most traumatic experiences anybody will go through, having the help and support available from charities such as Sue Ryder means that nobody should need to suffer such a loss on their own.”

Visiting the SNP’s Annual Conference in Glasgow, the Sue Ryder stall was situated in the exhibition space along with the large ball of wool that has been across the UK since the campaign was launched earlier this year. Having added his tag to the wool, Mr Swinney will shortly have Sue Ryder postcards in his constituency office providing more details about the support available for people who have suffered a loss.

Health, Charity
 
Swinney congratulates Kirkmichael Primary on Green Flag status
Published date : 28 Oct 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has praised the efforts of Kirkmichael Primary School following their latest Eco Schools Green Flag Award accreditation.

The Award is the fourth that the school has received and recognises the integration of the Eco Schools ethos into the curriculum and school calendar. In receiving the Award, the growing of food in the school grounds, as well as the reinstatement of the school garden following flood damage, was also commended.

Commenting on the school’s success, Mr Swinney said:

“I am very pleased that Kirkmichael Primary School’s hard work has been recognised with the award of another Eco Schools Green Flag.

“The School has clearly worked very hard to maintain its status. I am sure the pupils will enjoy being part of a school community that actively seeks to protect the environment and I hope other schools in the area will join Kirkmichael, and the various other schools across the country, in attaining Green Flag accreditation.” 

 

Awards, Education, Environment
 
Swinney welcomes £14,000 funding for Perthshire groups
Published date : 25 Oct 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has welcomed a new raft of funding being invested in community groups across Perthshire.

As part of the Big Lottery Fund’s “Investing in Ideas” programme, Perth College will benefit from a £4,000 grant whilst Rural Housing Scotland will receive £10,000 for new projects across areas including Blackhaugh Farm and Tombreck.

The £4,000 granted to Perth College will allow a pilot project of “Digital Ninjas” to take place. The new Ninjas will be young volunteers who will be paired with older people in the community in order to offer advice or training in using digital technology or otherwise help to eliminate their digital exclusion. Rural Housing Scotland’s £10,000 grant, meanwhile, will allow small community groups to fully research prospective home ownership by Mutual Home Ownership Societies in an effort to reduce rural homelessness and poor housing conditions.

Speaking about the funding, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that groups across Perthshire North are, once again, benefiting so significantly from the Big Lottery Fund. Yet more hardworking groups, with innovative ideas, will now have the opportunity to test their ideas as a result of this funding.

“Rural housing and home ownership is obviously a matter of real importance to people in this area. I hope the studies undertaken by Tombreck and Blackhaugh Farm’s community groups can lead to some positive action in the future to help ensure people living in rural areas can do so in good quality, affordable accommodation.

“Perth College’s “Digital Ninja” project is another excellent initiative and one that I hope will benefit everybody involved. In 2016, nobody should feel overwhelmed, or left behind, because of advances in technology. I hope the new Ninjas from Perth College will be able to help any older people in our communities who are perhaps being excluded from what others might consider everyday activities, simply because they do not know how to use the latest technology. This is an excellent, community initiative and one that I hope can bring our communities closer together.”

Awards, Funding, Housing, Local Communities
 
Swinney urges constituents to get ready for winter
Published date : 24 Oct 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has encouraged constituents to get ready for winter by using services available from Home Energy Scotland.

 

Funded by the Scottish Government, Home Energy Scotland offers free, impartial advice and support to help people across the country save energy, keep warm, and reduce their fuel bills.

 

Anybody who has particular concerns about heating their home, or is worried about the cost of their fuel bills, can contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 for free, to enquire what help might be available to them.

 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

 

“With temperatures starting to fall, and the clocks going back, people will be starting to turn on their central heating more regularly, and for longer periods each night. For some people, winter can be a very expensive time of year with additional fuel costs – especially if their home is large, or otherwise difficult to heat.

 

“Home Energy Scotland offers a valuable, free service to anybody who is concerned about heating their home. If anybody in Perthshire North is concerned about how much their fuel bills will cost this winter, I would strongly encourage them to contact Home Energy Scotland, as soon as possible, to discuss what assistance they may be able to receive.”

 

As well as offering advice on home heating, Home Energy Scotland can also help with queries about home heating grants including the Scottish Government’s Warmer Homes Scotland scheme which can save householders, on average, £350 per year on their heating bills. As well as their Freephone number, Home Energy Scotland offer a website with further, helpful information: http://www.greenerscotland.org/home-energy-scotland/.

Housing, Energy
 
Swinney congratulates Perth swimmer on Olympics success at Rio Games
Published date : 11 Aug 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has added his voice to the congratulations being given to Perth-based swimmer, Stephen Milne, on his Olympic silver medal performance at the Rio Games in the early hours of Wednesday 10 August.

Swimming in the 4x200M Relay – the same event that he medalled in at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 – the former Perth Academy pupil and current Perth College UHI Student swam alongside fellow Scots Duncan Scott and Dan Wallace in the 4 person team beside Manchester based swimmer, James Guy. In a close finish behind 21-time Olympic Champion, Michael Phelps, and the USA team Stephen and his 4 person team edged out Japan and Australia to take silver.

Commenting, Mr Swinney, said:

“I am delighted for Stephen, and the entire team, following their success in the pool in the early hours of Wednesday morning. It was an excellent performance from everybody in the team and they can be very proud of their achievement.

“Stephen’s result is particularly impressive, building on his silver medal performance in the same event, at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I hope that his display, and that of the rest of the team, can inspire more young people in the area to get involved in swimming and take advantage of the same facilities that Stephen honed his skills in at a young age, in Perth.

“I wish him the very best of luck in his next event, on Friday, but hope that he gets a chance to celebrate this excellent result.”

Stephen’s hopes for more Olympic glory will continue on Day 7 of the Rio Games when he swims in the 1500m freestyle heats.

 

Local News, Awards, Sport
 
Swinney to visit Castle Water
Published date : 04 Aug 2016

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, will visit Castle Water this Friday (5 August), following an announcement that the water service company will create 100 new jobs at its Blairgowrie Headquarters.

The major jobs boost, announced in July, follows an agreement between Castle Water and Thames Water that will see retail activities and customer services for 250,000 business clients from Thames Water transfer to Castle Water in April 2017.

Commenting ahead of the visit, Mr Swinney said:

“Castle Water’s expansion is excellent news for the local economy and I am delighted by the significant jobs boost that is coming to Blairgowrie. I am looking forward to meeting the staff currently on site and learning more about the company’s future plans.

“The Scottish Government has made great efforts to make Scotland a “Hydro Nation”, and Castle Water’s expansion will help to build on this work. There is significant potential to expand the country’s hydro economy and I am very pleased that a local water company will play a part in taking this work forward.”

Notes:

Mr Swinney will visit Castle Water’s Headquarters at Craighall Castle (PH10 7HR for sat navs) at 11am on Friday 5 August.

 

 

Local News, Business, Energy, Rural, Environment, Employment
 
Constituency representatives speak out against Bank branch closures
Published date : 03 Aug 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney and his Westminster colleague, Pete Wishart MP, have spoken out against the proposed closure of Bank of Scotland branches in Coupar Angus, Perth and Scone, that could affect hundreds of customers in their constituencies.

The news, announced by the Bank of Scotland on 3 August, has been greeted with dismay by the local representatives who have contacted the Bank to ensure local customers are not denied access to services as a result of the closure.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am very disappointed that the Bank of Scotland has decided to close three of their Branches in Perth, Coupar Angus and Scone. This decision will be a very damaging blow to the local economy and one that I am sure will disappoint their local customers.

“I have pressed the Bank of Scotland to ensure none of their customers are left disadvantaged by this move. It is essential that the Bank ensures there is sufficient capacity elsewhere, to cater for all the needs of the customers that will be let down by this decision.

“It is vital that local customers are not denied access to banking services, and that is why it is welcome there is a greater rollout of “mobile branch” services in the area. There are several people and businesses who will rely on the services available at their local branch and it is very important that the Bank of Scotland continues to provide these services, despite the proposed closure of their branches.

“I will continue to monitor this situation very closely, and will remain in contact with the Bank of Scotland to help ensure no local bank users are left disadvantaged by their decision.”

Speaking today (3rd August), Mr Wishart said:

“I am very concerned to hear about these planned branch closures and I will be asking Bank of Scotland to re-examine this decision. Given the number of changes to branch hours, including a recent reduction to hours in Blairgowrie, I will be seeking assurances to make sure that people still have access to local banking services.

“Whilst many people use online and mobile banking services these days, the local branch is vital for local businesses, those who prefer a face to face service and those with no access to online services.

“I will remain in contact with Bank of Scotland to ensure that those who currently use these branches are not denied access to banking services.”

 

Local News, Business, Local Communities, Employment
 
Swinney visits Perthshire outdoor nursery
Published date : 03 Aug 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, yesterday (Tuesday 2 August) joined local children on a holiday activities day at the site of a new outdoor nursery in rural Perthshire.

Operated by Wild Sparks, the new nursery will run from a site in the Keithick Estate woodland between Coupar Angus and Burrelton. Open to children aged 3-5, and with spaces for up to 14 children, the new nursery will follow an example set by the Secret Garden, in Fife, one of the very first outdoor nurseries to open in Scotland.

Visiting the location of the new nursery, Mr Swinney said:

“It was a pleasure to spend time with Wild Sparks’ staff today on one of their holiday activities days, before their new outdoor nursery is up and running. I was particularly pleased to see so many happy, energetic children enjoying their summer holidays outdoors, playing in the beautiful Perthshire countryside. 

“Eastern Perthshire is an excellent location for an outdoor nursery. I welcome the hard work the Wild Sparks team have already put in, and I am sure their new nursery will be very popular with both parents and children. 

“The Scottish Government has made outdoor learning a part of its Curriculum for Excellence, and I am delighted that Wild Sparks will soon be providing outdoor nursery education in Perthshire.”

Founded in 2014, Wild Sparks runs regular holiday sessions throughout the summer in Alyth and Atholl woods, as well as working with nearby schools to provide outdoor education.

The new nursery will be partially funded by a grant provided by the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Ideas fund. 

http://www.wildsparks.co.uk

Local News, Education, Funding, Business, Local Communities, Environment, Employment
 
Swinney Supports Trust plans for River Tay
Published date : 02 Aug 2016

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has joined forces with the Tay and Earn Trust to help promote greater public use of the River Tay.

On a boat trip run by the Tay and Earn Trust this week, Mr Swinney met with Trust members to discuss their plans to help develop public use of the river. As part of an ongoing regeneration project the Trust is seeking to build pontoons on the river bank, designed to encourage small boat and canoe owners to use the Tay for leisure and tourism activities, after receiving financial backing from the Coastal Communities Fund.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The River Tay is an excellent natural, local resource. The Tay and Earn Trust has done an excellent job in managing and maintaining the river banks and footpaths, and I am very pleased that their regeneration work is beginning to improve access to the river, for visitors.

“The pontoon project, as part of the regeneration, is an exciting prospect that will open the River up to new users and one that will hopefully encourage more people to make safe use of the River for leisure pursuits.

“I am very grateful to the Trust for taking the time to take me out onto the open water, and I hope many more people will be able to take advantage of this incredible resource in the future as a result of the work being done.”

The pontoon project is being funded by grants from the Coastal Communities Fund, whilst Perth and Kinross Council is also providing assistance to help improve access to the Tay. The work follows the completion of Phase 1 of the Willowgate Activity Centre, with Phase 2 funding secured for further work to take place.

Notes:

Further information about the Tay and Earn Trust pontoon project is available here:

http://www.tayandearntrust.org/projects/river-tay-pontoons/

Attached is a photograph of John Swinney MSP with members of the Tay and Earn Trust, ahead of their boat trip. The boat sailed from Wellowgate to Elcho Castle.

Local News, Transport, Business, Local Communities, Local Government
 
Swinney welcomes funding for Perthshire groups
Published date : 19 Jul 2016

Local community groups benefit from over £15,000 of investment

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has welcomed a new raft of funding invested in community groups across Perthshire.

As part of the Big Lottery Fund’s “Awards for All Scotland” programme, The Soldiers of Killiecrankie Group and Breadalbane Strathtay Youth Football Club shared over £15,000. The money will be spent on the production of re-enactment activities and provision of training courses for coaches, respectively.

Commenting on the funding announcement, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that more, local community groups have benefitted from the latest round of funding provided by the Big Lottery Fund.

“This year’s Soldiers of Killiecrankie event was another fabulous show and I am very pleased that the Big Lottery Fund helped to make the event even bigger, and better.

“It is also very exciting news that Breadalbane Strathtay Youth Football Club’s coaches will benefit from access to new training courses. I hope it won’t be long before they are able to pass on the new skills they learn and help to create ‘Perthshire’s Pele’.

Notes:

The Soldiers of Killiecrankie Group received a grant of £10,000, whilst the Breadalbane Strathtay Youth Football Club received a grant of £5,500.

 

Local News, Health, Funding, Sport
 
Big Lottery Fund’s “Celebrate” fund aimed at bringing communities together
Published date : 08 Jul 2016

Perthshire North’s MSP, Mr John Swinney, is encouraging local community groups to apply for the latest round of funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

The new funding available is part of the “Celebrate” programme, which aims to bring local communities together in order to celebrate events, or issues, important in their area. With funding of between £500 and £5000 available for community-led projects, Mr Swinney is urging local groups to come together and make early applications for funding for any future projects.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“From music and art festivals, to open days, galas and fetes, Perthshire North is home to a number of community led events every single year. I am delighted that, across the constituency, there is a tremendous amount of community spirit.

“The establishment of a new fund for community events, by the Big Lottery Fund, provides an excellent opportunity for small community groups to make future events even bigger, and better, or perhaps even put on new events that they might not have been able to do without additional funding.

“I would strongly encourage any community groups to consider an early application for funding from the new “Celebrate” fund and look forward to seeing what innovative events might come about if funding applications are successful.”

ENDS.

Notes:

The Big Lottery Fund’s “Celebrate” Programme is open to applications. Applications are invited from community groups, such as a voluntary or community organisation with a constitution and bank account; schools and other statutory bodies. Funding will be prioritised for projects that can demonstrate communities coming together, and that actively bring together different generations.

Funding is provided on a “first come, first served” basis from a fund of £575,000. Awards of between £500 and £5000 pounds will be made available.

Full details are available here:

https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/celebratescotland

 

Local News, Awards, Local Communities, Charity
 
SWINNEY TO MEET LOCAL NFU MEMBERS
Published date : 07 Jul 2016

Swinney to meet local NFU Members

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, will meet with NFU members at a local farm in his constituency tomorrow (Friday, 8 July).

Visiting Leitfie Farm, Alyth, Mr Swinney will discuss various issues affecting local farmers including flooding, species management and the impact of the result of the EU referendum on Scottish farming. Meeting with the NFU’S Regional Chairman, Roddy Kennedy, Mr Swinney will also be joined by local farmers including Ben Barron, the owner of the farm.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Swinney said:

“The farming industry is a crucial part of the Perthshire economy, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to discuss some pressing matters for the industry, with local farmers, this week.

“The NFU Scotland has a large number of members in this area. Their voices are crucial to knowing what is going on in the region, and it is important that I take this kind of opportunity to meet with them and discuss what is going on.

“There is, of course, a degree of uncertainty in the farming community as a result of the UK’s decision to withdraw its membership of the European Union. I am particularly keen to discuss what effect this might have on Perthshire farming. I look forward to my discussions with the NFU members, this week.” 

Local News, Farming, Rural
 
Swinney supports at-risk bus services in Carse of Gowrie
Published date : 06 Jul 2016

Swinney supports at-risk bus services in Carse of Gowrie

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has given his support to a campaign to retain bus services in the Carse of Gowrie after a public consultation by Stagecoach buses drew criticism from local businesses and residents following plans to withdraw the number 77 services.

Following meetings with, and correspondence from, concerned residents, as well as local employers such as the James Hutton Institute, Mr Swinney is now seeking a meeting with Perth and Kinross Council, and Stagecoach, to discuss the proposals to try to save the existing services.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am concerned by the proposed changes to the existing bus routes, and possible axing of existing services.

“Speaking to people in Invergowrie and Kingoodie, I understand that these bus services are vital for many people in the area, with the number 77 particularly essential for those who rely on public transport and for those working at the James Hutton Institute, for example.

“I understand the potential impact a reduction in service – let alone a loss of service – could have on people living in the area and on local employers. I hope to be able to discuss these concerns with Perth and Kinross Council, and Stagecoach, in the near future.”

Local News, Transport, Roads, Local Government
 
SWINNEY TO VISIT WEEPING WINDOWS IN PERTH
Published date : 01 Jul 2016

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, will be in Perth tomorrow [Friday], to visit the Poppies Weeping Windows installation at Balhousie Castle.   

Speaking in advance of the visit, Mr Swinney said:

“It is hugely poignant that my visit coincides with the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

“This battle took the lives of countless brave soldiers from Perthshire and beyond.  It was by far the bloodiest battle of the First World War.

“It is, therefore, fitting that this breath-taking installation has been opened at this time and at the traditional home of the Black Watch.  Balhousie Castle is also a place where we can learn more about the Great War and pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“I hope that many visitors will come to the Black Watch Museum to see the Weeping Windows and will remember our war heroes.”

Local News, Local Communities, Charity
 
SUPPORTING BREATHE EASY WEEK
Published date : 13 Jun 2016

SWINNEY TO SUPPORT BREATHE EASY WEEK

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, will be in Perth on Monday, to help celebrate “Breathe Easy Week”.  Breathe Easy Perthshire, the Perthshire support group of the British Lung Foundation (BLF), is having a manned information table at Perth Royal Infirmary from Monday 13th to Wednesday 15th June and on Friday 17th.

Speaking in advance of the event, Mr Swinney said:

“Breathe Easy Perthshire do a fantastic job in supporting those with debilitating lung conditions, through their monthly group meetings in Perth.

“The theme of this year’s ‘Breathe Easy Week’ is breathlessness.  Individuals who experience breathlessness are being encouraged to take a lung function test, or go to their doctor or respiratory nurse for a test, as so much more can now be done to help them.

 “The information stand at Perth Royal Infirmary will provide the opportunity for people to find out more about the organisation and see what help is available.

“I look forward to meeting with the group and offering them my support.”

Local News, Health, Charity
 
SWINNEY WELCOMES PKC BUSINESS RATE REDUCTION PROPOSALS
Published date : 08 Jun 2016

SWINNEY WELCOMES PKC BUSINESS RATE REDUCTION PROPOSALS

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has warmly welcomed the recent proposals by Perth and Kinross Council to extend business rates relief to hundreds of additional businesses in the area.

Mr Swinney commented :

"The £600,000 investment from Perth and Kinross Council will be of welcome assistance to local businesses.

“During the recent meeting that Pete Wishart and I arranged, retailers encouraged the council to provide support and the council has done that.

“The Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus scheme currently provides assistance to numerous businesses in Perth and Kinross, but unfortunately, some businesses fall short of the eligibility criteria.  This scheme will go some way to helping them.

“I will continue to work with the council, local businesses and stakeholders to ensure that our businesses are given the opportunity to thrive.”

 

 

Local News, Business, Local Government, Tax
 
SWINNEY UPDATED ON PERTHSHIRE HOUSE BUILDING SECTOR
Published date : 03 Feb 2016

During a recent visit to local house builder A&J Stephen’s Guildtown development local Perthshire North MSP John Swinney was updated on the trends and outlook for new house building both in Perthshire and the wider region.

The visit was hosted by Managing Director John Stephen, who updated the local constituency MSP on the development at Guildtown and the company’s broader outlook in the short and medium term.

Commenting after the visit John Swinney said:

‘’I’m thankful to John Stephen for taking the time to show me around the company’s development at Guildtown. This will be another characteristically well finished Stephen development which is appropriate for such a prominent site at the north entrance to the village.

“A&J Stephen has a long history of building excellent homes in Perthshire and this visit helped me understand a little more about how they have earned their reputation for exceptional detail and quality.

“This has been a difficult period in the economic cycle for house builders, their suppliers and employees. I hope very much the recent upturn in development continues and I wish A&J Stephen every further success going forward.”

John Stephen added:               

“‘We are delighted to be making a start with our building works here at Guildtown and appreciate that Mr Swinney was able to find time in his busy schedule to visit our Oakbank development.

“The timing of the visit was opportune given the Scottish Government’s announcement to extend the Help to Buy (Scotland) initiative for a further three years.  This initiative should assist aspiring home owners to move to Oakbank where prices start at approx. £147,000.”

Notes to Editors: More info on Help to Buy Scotland is available here - http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/BuyingSelling/help-to-buy

Pictured Left to Right are: Managing Director John Stephen, John Swinney MSP and Development Director Bruce Gordon-Strachan.

 

Local News, Housing
 
SWINNEY WELCOMES FARM FLOODING REPAIR GRANTS
Published date : 02 Feb 2016

Applications open for floodbank repair grant scheme.

Perthshire North Constituency MSP John Swinney has welcomed Scottish Government support directed at assisting farmers affected by recent flooding. Farm businesses will now be able to apply for a grant to help repair man-made floodbanks following the launch of the scheme this week by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP.

The Agricultural Floodbank Repair Grant Scheme was announced by the First Minister earlier this year, with £1 million being set aside to fund the repair of man-made floodbanks on farms in nine local authorities: Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Perth and Kinross, Stirling, South Lanarkshire, Aberdeenshire, City of Aberdeen, Angus and East Ayrshire.

The Scottish Government has worked in partnership with NFU Scotland to develop a scheme that will deliver targeted help with minimal red tape.

John Swinney said:

“Here in Perthshire North many farmers have suffered substantial damage to their fields and farm infrastructure including floodbanks following the severe weather in January and December.

“The support now available from the Scottish Government will enable the restoration costs of man-made floodbanks on farms to be grant assisted up to a cap of £20,000 per business.

“The Agricultural Floodbank Repair Grant Scheme is a very welcome intervention for the industry and will help to restore confidence. I urge local farmers in Perthshire North with damaged floodbanks to apply before the deadline closes at the end of February.”

Applications for the Agricultural Floodbank Repair Grant Scheme are available online at https://www.ruralpayments.org/publicsite/futures/topics/all-schemes/floodbank-repair-scheme/

Funding, Farming, Rural, Environment, Weather
 
JOHN SWINNEY VISITS GLEN HYDRO’S BLAIRGOWRIE HQ
Published date : 28 Jan 2016

Perthshire North MSP Mr John Swinney visited the Blairgowrie Headquarters of Glen Hydro, a Perthshire company specialising in development and consultancy of hydro powered renewable energy. The local MSP was greeted by Richard Haworth, the company’s Technical & Development Director and met up the whole team thereafter.

The company design, install, operate and own hydroelectric schemes throughout Scotland. Working as developers they offer the opportunity to generate income from smaller rivers or burns. The East Perthshire company has a strong engineering background delivering practical reliable advice about the economic viability and technical feasibility of watercourses as a hydro investment.

At the same time their approach is environmentally sensitive, resulting in efficient hydro schemes discreetly sited within the landscape. The company’s focus is on developments over 100kW and up to 2MW in capacity.

Commenting after the visit John Swinney said:

‘It was very pleased to catch up with Richard Haworth and discuss the ongoing development of this first class local business delivering world class hydro solutions.

‘Glen Hydro continues to deliver for their clients and in so doing adds valuable capacity to Scotland’s enviable green energy credentials. There are a range of challenges facing renewable energy companies in the UK at the moment particularly in relation to Feed in Tariffs which was the main area of our discussion.

‘I wish Glen Hydro every success for the future and will continue, with my Westminster colleague Pete Wishart MP, to do all I can to secure the best legislative conditions possible to assist growth in this first class Scottish business.’

 

Notes: Pictured left to right are Richard Haworth, Tim Copeland, John Swinney MSP, Lucie Thomas and Michael Woods

 

Local News, Business, Energy
 
The A9 is a Safer Place - New data published for October to December
Published date : 26 Jan 2016

Accident and casualty rates on the A9 have fallen dramatically in the first year of operation of the new average speed cameras.

New data published today shows that from the beginning of November 2014 to October 2015

• Two fewer people have been killed and 16 fewer people have been seriously injured between Dunblane and Inverness

• The number of ‘fatal and serious accidents’ between Dunblane and Inverness is down by almost 59 per cent, with ‘fatal and serious
casualties’ down by approximately 64 per cent

• No-one was killed or seriously injured between Dunblane and Perth

• The number of ‘fatal and serious accidents’ between Perth and Inverness is down by almost 45 per cent, with ‘fatal and serious casualties down’ by almost 58 per cent

More recent figures confirm that the downwards trend is continuing with no fatal accidents on the A9 in the second half of last year.

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney said:

“For the first time since parts of the A9 were upgraded in the 1970s, there were no fatal accidents anywhere on the route from July to December. These improvements are taking place with rising traffic volumes and the continuing use of this nationally important route to support the economy of the Highlands and Islands.

“We are monitoring the performance of the A9 and welcome the figures which indicate that the route continues to perform far more safely than before. ‘Fatal and serious casualties’ have more than halved and there are clear and substantial reductions in fatal casualties both between Perth and Inverness and between Perth and Dunblane.

“Every road death is one too many and that is why we remain steadfastly committed to reducing casualty numbers even further as we continue to work with all our partners to reach our ambitious targets for 2020.”

Police Scotland have also indicated that the latest quarterly data from the average speed camera system continues to demonstrate extremely low levels of drivers being reported; with the latest figures indicating an average 5 drivers a day exceeding the operational threshold.

Chief Superintendent Andy Edmonston from Police Scotland said:

"The reduction in serious and fatal injury collisions on the A9 in the first year following installation of the safety cameras is welcome. However, while the number of fatalities decreased by a quarter, the case remains that six people sadly lost their lives on the road.

It is apparent the Safety Cameras have contributed towards changing driver behaviour, particularly in respect of complying with speed limits. Since the cameras were introduced just over 6000 vehicles have been detected travelling at excessive speed and subject to enforcement action. To put some perspective on this figure, during the same period there were over 18 million vehicle movements along the route. This represents an extremely high level of compliance.

We can never be complacent and Police Scotland will continue to maintain a visible presence on the A9 to promote safety and positively influence driver behaviour. With our partners, Police Scotland will work to determine the causes of serious and fatal collisions and take collaborative action to mitigate future crashes. I would urge drivers to take responsibility for their own actions, avoid risk taking and drive in a safe and considerate manner, not just on the A9 but on all of Scotland's roads"

BACKGROUND

A three year before and after period is required to assess the safety performance of road safety schemes.

Latest data taken from the average speed camera system was 24 October 2015 to 24 January 2016

Further information is available http://a9road.info/resources/publications/

 

 

 

 

 

Local News, Transport, Roads
 
SWINNEY CELEBRATES CARRIER BAG CASH
Published date : 25 Jan 2016

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney has welcomed a range of cash awards from the co-operative food’s 5 pence single use carrier bag charge.

With awards going to voluntary and community groups across the MSP’s Perthshire North constituency the total in this tranche of payments is a very welcome £10,800.

Some 800 community groups throughout Scotland will be receiving awards in the coming weeks with Perthshire North organisations including:

Strathmore Centre for Youth Development: £1500

PKAVS Mental Health Wellbeing Hub (Wisecraft): £900

Blairgowrie and Rattray Braemar Day: £600

PERTH & KINROSS ADHD SUPPORT GROUP: £1500

Pitlochry Pre School Playgroup: £1500

Locus Centre Aberfeldy redecoration: £2500

Highland Perthshire Crossing Borders: £1000

Dunkeld & Birnam Playgroup: £500

Dunkeld & Birnam Joint Christmas Project: £200

British Red Cross - tackling loneliness: £300

Madoch Centre - Sensory Garden: £300

Commenting on the windfall pay-outs John Swinney said:

“There are very sound environmental reasons behind the carrier bag regulations here in Scotland, carrier bags were a highly visible aspect of litter and it was right to take decisive action to decrease their number. 

“Notwithstanding the dramatic reduction in plastic bags now in circulation in Scotland, the added benefit of the policy is the funds made available by this scheme which are earmarked for local community uses.

“I am very pleased that 11 organisation in Perthshire North are set to improve or increase the way in which they support our local communities. I commend these groups on their success bidding into this fund and congratulate co-operative food on the success of their scheme.”

Local News, Funding, Environment
 
JOHN SWINNEY WELCOMES £160M SCHEME TO HELP FIRST TIME BUYERS
Published date : 21 Jan 2016

SCHEMES TARGETED AT LOW INCOME FAMILIES

Mr John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, has today welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Government will invest more than £160 million in 2016-17 on schemes that will help 5,000 people across Scotland buy their first home.

Commenting, John Swinney said:

“I am delighted that the SNP government will continue to help people in Perthshire North purchase their first home with £160 million of funding this year.

“This funding will be targeted at people on low incomes and will be vital for young people and their families looking to get on and up the housing ladder.

“These schemes don’t just boost homeownership but boost house building – creating jobs and supporting economic growth.

“Applications for the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme open on March 1st and I would encourage eligible people in Perthshire North looking to buy their first home to apply.”

Notes:

More details on the Scottish Government announcement can be found here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Fresh-help-for-home-buyers-2190.aspx

More information about Help to Buy, including purchasing price limits, is available at: www.gov.scot/htb

For OMSE, priority access is provided to social renters, disabled people, members of the armed forces, veterans who have left the armed forces within the past two years, and widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel for up to two years after their partner has been killed while serving in the armed forces. http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/BuyingSelling/lift/FTBOMSEP

Funding, Housing
 
KINNOULL PRIMARY VISIT
Published date : 21 Jan 2016

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney, will be visiting Kinnoull Primary tomorrow [Friday 22nd] to meet with class teacher Mrs Bee, her class primary 6/7 and to catch up with Head Teacher Mrs Sorrie.

Commenting on the visit Mr Swinney said, 

“I take every opportunity I can to visit the many primary schools across my Perthshire North constituency and enjoy greatly discussing the issues affecting or concerning our young people.

“In this instance I have been invited to discuss with primary 6/7 the plight of Syrian refugees and the work the Scottish Government and, closer to home, Perth and Kinross council have done to help with this very human crisis.

“Always in such visits I am struck by the insight our young people demonstrate on what are often complex issues and I expect this visit will be no different.

“I know also that some of the most difficult questions I get asked as an MSP and Government Minister emerge in Perthshire classrooms so I will ensure I am well prepared.”

 

Local News, Education
 
SWINNEY URGES TAKE UP OF FLOODING SUPPORT
Published date : 18 Jan 2016

SWINNEY URGES LOCALS TO APPLY FOR FLOODING SUPPORT

 

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed the package of flood support measures outlined by Perth and Kinross Council and has encouraged local people to apply for that assistance. The Scottish Government has allocated £1.65 million of new financial assistance to Perth and Kinross Council to enable the Council to support local residents. This will involve a payment of £1,500 to every household or business affected by flooding during the Alyth floods last July, Storm Desmond and the New Year floods.

The Scottish Government can also make a payment to businesses of up to £3,000 if the ability to trade by that business has been significantly affected. An Agricultural Floodbank Restoration Scheme of £1 million has also been established.

Mr Swinney commented :

"The recent bad weather has been a very difficult period for many local residents and it comes on top of other significant events like the Alyth flood. I was determined to make sure we put in place support for individuals affected and the Scottish Government has swiftly announced a strong package of assistance.

"I am delighted that Perth and Kinross Council, who handled the flooding challenge with such effectiveness, has now moved swiftly to announce the grant support that is available to members of the public. This is the type of immediate assistance that will be of help to local people.

“I encourage local residents to take up the opportunity and gain access to support that will be helpful in getting back on their feet."

 

 

Local News, Funding, Flooding, Environment, Weather
 
JOHN SWINNEY CALLS FOR PERTHSHIRE NORTH NOMINATIONS TO YOUNG SCOT AWARDS 2016
Published date : 11 Jan 2016

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney is encouraging his constituents to nominate a young person aged between 11 to 26 years old who has made a positive difference to people’s lives in Perthshire North.

The Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards 2016, in association with The Co-operative Food, are asking for nominations to be submitted before Wednesday 24th February to www.youngscotawards.co.uk. The Awards organisers want to hear inspirational stories, which reflect Scotland's outstanding young people. This year’s red carpet awards ceremony will take place in the EICC on Wednesday 27th April.

 

Commenting ahead of the Awards John Swinney said:

‘I know and have met many inspirational young people in Perthshire North over the years, who dedicate themselves to helping others in different ways.

‘Anyone who can think of someone they know, or a group project, which deserves recognition at national level, should submit a nomination to the Young Scot Awards.

‘There are a number of different award categories, and the more people or groups put forward the better. This is a good opportunity to flag up the good work going on in Perthshire North.’

Notes for Editors -

Categories can be seen here: http://youngscotawards.com/award-categories/

Nomination forms: http://youngscotawards.com/2015/11/29/nominate-now/

Awards, Local Communities
 
SWINNEY ENCOURAGES 16 &17 YEAR OLDS TO GET REGISTERED
Published date : 07 Dec 2015

News Release from John Swinney MSP
Attn:   News Desk                  

For Immediate release: Thursday 3rd September 2015
SWINNEY ENCOURAGES 16 &17 YEAR OLDS TO GET REGISTERED
During the week of 7 - 11 September schools and colleges across Scotland will be helping 15-17 year old students register to vote by ‘taking time out to get in’ during class time and local Perthshire North MSP John Swinney, is encouraging Scotland’s youngest new votes to get ready to register.

The Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Act 2015 enables 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland to vote at Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections.

Speaking on the Electoral Commission’s campaign John Swinney said:
“The electoral Commission is running this camping to encourage all schools and colleges across Scotland to hold a registration session during the week of 7-11 September.
 
“Schools participating in the ‘Time out to get in‘ initiative will run registration sessions where teachers will help their 15 to 17 year old students register online during class time.

The way in which our young adults engaged in the referendum was an inspiration which is why the age has been lowered now for other Scottish elections.

I call on all 15 to17 year olds to ensure they register either at session in their school or college or by independently visiting www.gov.uk/registertovote.”

ENDS
 
Contact Dave Doogan: 01250 876576 / 07828886162

Notes for news editors: For more information please contact Jonathan Mitchell, Communication Officer, on 0131 225 0202 or jmitchell@electoralcommission.org.uk
 
 
Dave Doogan 
Assistant to John Swinney MSP
Perthshire North Constituency Office 
35 Perth Street 
Blairgowrie 
PH10 6DL
01250 876576

Local News
 
SWINNEY GETS BEHIND SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
Published date : 04 Dec 2015

John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, marked Small Business Saturday with a visit to The Wee Coffee Shop in Blairgowrie

The visit celebrates and promotes the vital role small business play in Scotland’s economy. This year’s event follows on from the success of last year’s visits in Blairgowrie and recognises the tremendous successes within the town underpinned by small businesses.

The Wee Coffee Shop is owned and run by Anne-Marie Kemp, who won a “Love to Eat Perthshire” award for best coffee, homemade cakes and lunches.  Over and above this success the business has also previously won Best Light Lunch and Outstanding Customer Service awards.

 John Swinney said:

“We increasingly recognise that small businesses, exactly like the Wee Coffee Shop, are central to Scotland’s economy and it is so important that we back them by shopping local whenever we can.

“Blairgowrie is a wonderful example of what town centres can create when the right retail offering is presented to a supportive consumer community.

“Strengthening Scotland’s economy has been key priority for the Scottish Government throughout our time in office – and our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has underlined the Government’s continued commitment to this agenda.

“A strong economy is an essential part of a fairer society and we are determined to continue to provide the best possible support to Scotland’s small businesses.” 

Local News, Business
 
SWINNEY ON-BOARD WITH FOODBANK APPEAL
Published date : 04 Dec 2015

The Trussell Trust and FareShare, are hosting another food collection in Tesco’s Blairgowrie store and will be assisted this Saturday [4th Dec] by Perthshire North MSP John Swinney who has welcomed the chance to get involved in the campaign in the run up to Christmas.

Commenting ahead of the event John Swinney said:

“I am very pleased to be able to help again with this drive to get food to those families in our communities who are finding it ever difficult to make ends meet. The generosity of local people for this initiative is always heartening.

“Christmas should be a celebration but for too many families struggling through the recession and benefit cuts this Christmas could present a challenge to put food on the table.

“I am grateful to Tesco for facilitating this event in cooperation with the Trussell Trust and FareShare, two organisations who consistently help those most in need.”

The MSP added:

“This event will run across all Tesco’s large stores in UK and I welcome that Tesco will add 30% to the total value of food donated to Trussell Trust and FareShare.

“I am looking forward to helping out at this event and I would urge everyone to make whatever donation they can so as to help as many families as possible.”

Local News, Health
 
A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR POSTAL WORKERS
Published date : 03 Dec 2015

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney MSP will visit Royal Mail’s Blairgowrie delivery office tomorrow [4TH Dec] to pass on Christmas wishes and thanks to our postmen and women at this their busiest time of the year.

The local MSP will be guided through the sorting process by local Delivery Office Manager, Nicola Sawyers, and will meet the postmen and women who are working hard doing their bit to sort and deliver cards and parcels in the Blairgowrie area this Christmas.

Ahead of the visit John Swinney said:

“I enjoy the annual opportunity to catch up with our hard working Royal Mail postmen and women in delivery offices each Christmas and witness first hand just how much effort is put into delivering for people at this time of year.

“We all rely very heavily on the Royal Mail, especially so at Christmas, and I would like to thank them for their commitment and wish them all the best over the busy festive period.”

Delivery Office Manager at Blairgowrie Nicola Sawyers added:

“Christmas is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail. Our people really do pull out all the stops throughout the year to ensure mail is delivered quickly, but even more so over the busy festive period.

“Our people do a fantastic job at this time of year to ensure that friends and families stay in touch through their Christmas greetings and gifts.  And as usual, we’d like to remind our customers to post early so that friends and family have longer to enjoy their Christmas greetings”

Local News
 
LOCAL BAKERY’S ASDA DEAL WELCOMED
Published date : 01 Dec 2015

John Swinney MSP for Perthshire North has welcomed news that Perth Based Tower bakery has recently extended their contract with ASDA which will see the company supply more prod8uct lines to even more SDA stores.

The Perthshire Bakery will mark 35 years in business this year and the addition of a further seven product lines to a further ten ASDA stores will be cause for additional celebration at the company.

Welcoming the success John Swinney said:

“Well done to all the team at Tower Bakery for this continued success and business growth in partnership with ASDA.

“This commitment to quality and supply chain reliability places this local firm on a sound foundation with which to continue growing their business still further

“Tower Bakery is an exceptionally well-known brand around Perthshire and I look forward to them continuing with this success even further afield.”

Local News, Business
 
SWINNEY WELCOMES SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT’S COUPAR ANGUS FUNDING
Published date : 23 Nov 2015

John Swinney MSP has today [Monday] celebrated news that Coupar Angus in his Perthshire North constituency is to share in a £1.7 million fund aimed at helping communities across Scotland revitalise their areas.

Offers have gone out to 21 town centre groups which will help communities deliver capital projects and Forward Coupar Angus, the East Perthshire town’s volunteer led community group, has secured £66,780 form the fund.

Speaking of the investment John Swinney said:

“I’m delighted to see Forward Coupar Angus deliver yet again for the town by securing this substantial Scottish Government funding here in Perthshire North.

“This investment in community organisations across Scotland supports enterprising communities, like Forward Coupar Angus, and allows them to deliver improvements within their communities.

“This cash boost of £66, 780 can now be invested in Meg’s Café – the Heart of Coupar Angus’ creating a community asset which will help make Coupar Angus an even more attractive and thriving place to live and work.

“Funding like this ably demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to the third sector and to communities playing their part in economic and social development.”

Concluding John Swinney said:

“Well done to all the team who worked on this bid and I look forward to seeing first-hand the results of not only this investment but also the community vision which underpins it.”

Awards, Local Communities
 
PARLIAMENTARIANS SIGNAL RBS DISAPOINTMENT IN ALYTH
Published date : 22 Nov 2015

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney and Perth and north Perthshire MP Pete Wishart have signalled their disappointment at Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to press ahead with the closure of their Alyth Branch.

The decision, seen as an added blow to a community recovering from the exceptional flooding in July, has been met with resistance by the community and politicians alike.

A recent concession by RBS in their closure plan, originally scheduled for mid-November, will see the branch remain open until 18 May 2016.

Commenting on the decision John Swinney said:

"In the aftermath of the severe flooding that affected Alyth in July, the announcement of the closure of the Alyth branch of RBS was another serious blow. I asked RBS to re-consider their plans and I welcome the fact they have now agreed an extension in the operations of the branch until 18 May 2016.

“There are a range of provisions being put in place to deal with the consequences of the closure and I will continue to engage with constituents to ensure these meet their needs. This decision, combined with the changes to Bank of Scotland opening hours, will undoubtedly affects local access to banking services, on which I will continue to make representations to the banks."


Pete Wishart MP added:

“I have had many of my constituents contact me about the decision to close the RBS branch in Alyth particularly at such a challenging time when many are still organising their lives after the terrible flooding in July.

“Whilst I welcome the decision to extend the operation of the branch I will, together with John Swinney MSP, continue to engage with RBS and my constituents to ensure that the community’s needs are met after May 2016.”

 

Local News, Local Communities, Banking, Employment
 
JOHN SWINNEY WARNS OF NUISANCE CALLS
Published date : 18 Nov 2015

JOHN SWINNEY WARNS OF NUISANCE CALLS

 

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney would like to warn householders about a recent spate of nuisance calls in the area. Mr Swinney is fully aware of the distress and annoyance these calls have been causing to his constituents. These calls are reported to be making false claims about the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS): Cashback Scheme.

 

The Scottish Government is currently reviewing the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS): Cashback Scheme, and are looking to exclude from eligibility any installers who engage in telephone marketing (certainly in cases where individuals caller are on the Telephone Preference Service) or cold calling. In addition the Scottish Government can, and will, take action against installers, where there is evidence of them wrongly claiming to be ‘working for the Scottish Government’.

 

As the issue of telecommunications, including nuisance calls, remains reserved to the UK Government the Scottish Government are unable to comment on specific issues. However, the Scotland Bill is devolving wider powers to the Scottish Government in the areas of competition and consumer protection, which will give us more of a chance to shape a more effective Scottish response to consumer issues such as nuisance calls and texts. In the meantime the Scottish Government will continue to work with the UK Government to ensure that the regime governing nuisance calls and texts is made as effective as possible.

 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

 

“I would like to stress that the Scottish Government has a number of schemes which offer households in the private sector assistance with the cost of installing eligible energy efficiency measures. However, none of these schemes involve installers being permitted or encouraged to carry out cold calling.

 

“Where they can be identified, action will be taken against installers or their agents misrepresenting themselves as having been contracted to work for the Scottish Government, or giving deliberate misinformation to pressurise households into taking up their services.

 

“It is categorically not the case that households are obliged to ensure that their boilers reach certain efficiency standards by a certain time, or that they must offer access to companies working in the area for the purpose of them carrying out inspections.

 

“I would encourage all householders looking for expert, independent advice and support with respect to energy efficiency in their homes to contact the Home Energy Scotland advice line, on 0808 808 2282.

 

“Constituents may also wish to visit Ofcom’s website, which provides guidance on how to reduce the number of nuisance calls they receive, at the following links: http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/phone/tackling-nuisance-calls-and messages/protecting-yourself-from-nuisance-calls-and-messages/  or http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/files/2012/10/A-quick-guide-to-nuisance-calls-and-texts.pdf

 

“In addition to this guidance, Ofcom have also published a joint action plan, which can be found at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/silent-calls/joint-action-plan) and it aims to publish a further update on its work to tackle nuisance calls by the end of 2015.

 

“Consumer organisation Which? also offers guidance on how to deal with nuisance calls. They offer a complaints form, which can be filled out by anyone who keeps receiving the calls. Individuals can complain about a company or number making nuisance calls and texts to a number of organisations including the Telephone Preference Service, their phone operator, Ofcom (which covers silent and abandoned calls) or the Information Commissioners Office. More information is available at: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/nuisance-calls-and-texts

 

“I hope that constituents find this information of use and are reassured that the Scottish Government is taking this matter seriously.”

Local News
 
SWINNEY CRITICAL OF CITYLINK CHANGES
Published date : 16 Nov 2015

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney has signalled his dissatisfaction with recent changes to the citylink bus timetable which will see communities in his Perthshire North Constituency with a much reduced service over this winter.

Services to Edinburgh from Ballinluig, Kindallachan, Birnam and Luncarty will reduce from five to two buses per day with times around 5pm or 8pm. There will be only one return service from Edinburgh to these communities which arrives at around 11am with the result that day return to Edinburgh is now no longer possible. Services for Bridge of Tilt, Blair Atholl and Perth City have also been affected.

Speaking of the reduced service John Swinney said:

“I have discussed this reduction in service with a number of constituents and I understand very clearly the vital nature of these services and the effect that these reductions will have on connectedness within rural communities.

“All these communities are adjacent to the A9 and it seems to me that there would be little impact on the timetable to reintroduce more stops to the winter timetable.

“Even in Perth City there has been reductions in citylink services which now makes commuting to Edinburgh very challenging for some of my constituent’s.”

Concluding John Swinney said:

“I have contacted citylink to present the concerns of my constituents and to underline to the company the importance of these services within Perthshire North. I have also contacted the Minister of Transport at the Scottish Government to raise this issue with him.”

Transport
 
JOHN SWINNEY CALLS ON OSBORNE TO ‘ABOLISH THE BEDROOM TAX NOW’
Published date : 12 Nov 2015

Following the publication of new figures which show that 716 people are affected in Perth and Kinross, John Swinney MSP has called on the UK Government to immediately abolish this unfair charge. The SNP remains committed to abolishing the Bedroom Tax when new social security powers in the Scotland Bill are devolved.

The Scottish Government has now committed £90 million since the introduction of the Bedroom Tax to ensure it is fully mitigated in Scotland.

Commenting, John Swinney said:

“These figures highlight the shocking impact the Bedroom Tax could have had on families in Scotland – 716 people in Perth and Kinross would have otherwise been affected.

“While families in England and Wales continue to face iniquitous charge, the SNP government has fully mitigated its impact in Scotland.

“The SNP has consistently opposed the Bedroom Tax and is committed to abolishing the levy when the Scottish Parliament has the powers to do so.

“The UK Government must recognise the impact of this hated levy on families across England and Wales and on public finances in Scotland. The simplest and fairest solution remains for the measure to be dropped by the DWP.

“When he sets out his spending plans later this month, George Osborne should use this as an opportunity to protect the poorest and abolish the Bedroom Tax.”

The DWP figures can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/housing-benefit-caseload-statistics

 


https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/housing-benefit-caseload-statistics

Housing, Benefits, Tax
 
SWINNEY TO OPEN NEW HYDRO SCHEME IN RANNOCH
Published date : 12 Nov 2015

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney will open the new Allt Mor Hydro project in Kinloch Rannoch on Monday [16th]. The scheme is one of the highest head small hydro projects in Scotland with a gross pressure head of 251m. Utilising a Coanda screen input and a Pelton turbine the scheme which will deliver more than 1GWh to the grid each year.

With an output of 350kW, the scheme has been constructed on the Allt Mor burn at Kinloch Rannoch. Located in a National Scenic Area and at the junction of two core paths the scheme has been designed to provide both educational and architectural interest to visitors.

The powerhouse is fitted with a large viewing window and interactive display visitors can learn about the development of hydro power in the Tummel valley, from the adjacent 18th century mill house, through large scale development of grid connected hydro under the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Act 1943, to the current developments under Feed in Tariffs.

The project is also open to educational, academic and community organisations who can request a site visit including a tour of the powerhouse and water intake. The powerhouse can accommodate up to 20 people for tours and this can be accompanied by a lecture on small scale hydro generation.

Ahead of the opening John Swinney said:

“This small hydro scheme represents one of the new generation of micro-hydro projects developed in Scotland as part of the Scottish Government’s ambitious renewables targets.

“The innovative design represents the best in contemporary design, community inclusion and protection for our landscape.

“Here in Scotland we have an endowment of renewable energy opportunities thanks to our exceptional topography. Micro hydro schemes such as Allt Mor have a crucial role in harnessing Scotland’s renewable energy.”

Local News
 
PARLIAMENTARY OFFICE OFFICIALLY OPENED
Published date : 30 Oct 2015

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, and his Westminster colleague Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire will officially open their new Parliamentary office in Blairgowrie this Saturday [31st].

The move follows almost 20 years in their former Blairgowrie office on Perth Street and represents a substantial improvement to the office environment for constituents seeking assistance and parliamentary staff alike.

A plaque will be unveiled to commemorate the opening and this will be performed by long serving office volunteer Mrs Barbara Cook.

Commenting on the move John Swinney said:

"Our new office on Leslie Street presents us with a much more modern and welcoming space for staff and constituents alike and features the most up to date equipment and services.

"As a constituency MSP I represent hundreds of constituents every year and this work load continues to grow in volume. In this excellent new office I and my staff can continue to deliver the very best support to my constituents going forward.”

Pete Wishart added:

"With the severe cuts to welfare our communities have been enduring since 2010 I have seen constituent cases increase dramatically so it was essential that I secured a more efficient office with which to work on this surge in demand.

“I would like to thank our Blairgowrie office staff for creating this wonderful new facility and making sure the case work was kept up to date over the transition period. I also pay tribute to the two decades of volunteer support from Barbara Cook and many others in our office." 

Notes for Editors:  The new office is 17-19 Leslie Street, Blairgowrie, PH10 6AH. The unveiling will be at 1300 – photographers are invited to attend.

Local News
 
JOHN SWINNEY SUPPORT FOR ACTION ON HEARING LOSS SCOTLAND
Published date : 23 Oct 2015

John Swinney MSP showed his support for Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s new Moving On service which is available to support for young deaf people in Scotland to fulfil their training or employment aspirations. Moving On, which is funded by The Big Lottery Fund Scotland, supports young deaf or hard of hearing people aged 16-25 into employment, training, education and volunteering opportunities.

The charity’s Employment Advisers, who sign to a high level of British Sign Language, provide specialist support to build the confidence of clients as well as giving practical advice about preparing CVs, interview training and ensuring that potential employers know how to book BSL / English interpreters or other communication support for job interviews. Moving On also provides information to help employers to meet their legal responsibilities to be accessible for job-seekers who are deaf or have hearing loss.

John Swinney MSP said:

“Young people who are deaf or have hearing loss often face barriers when seeking life-changing employment or training opportunities, and Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Moving On service can play a vital role in supporting them to progress towards reaching their full potential.

“I urge employers across Perthshire to contact Moving On to find out how they can make their recruitment processes accessible and ensure that talented local young deaf or hard of hearing people have the chance to progress in their preferred careers.”

For information about Moving On, email: movingon@hearingloss.org.uk or visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/MovingOn

Health
 
SWINNEY BACKS PLANET SCHIEHALLION
Published date : 29 Sep 2015

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney is backing a campaign which could see an exoplanet named after the famous Perthshire Munro Schiehallion – ‘the centre of Scotland’. 

Exoplanets are planets which orbit a star other than the sun and Schiehallion has been suggested by Ayrshire Astronomical Society as the new name for a planet currently known as ‘d’ which is in orbit around the star upsilon Andromedae, a star which is visible from Earth.

Planet ‘d’, which has a mass equivalent to 3239 Earths, is due to be named in a competition organised by the by the International Astronomical Union. The announcement on the results of the vote is expected in mid-November.

Schiehallion is often referred to as the centre of Scotland due to its midpoint location between the north, south, east and west extremities of the Scottish mainland. In 1774, Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne conducted an experiment on Schiehallion to estimate the mass of the Earth and in so doing invented contour lines used in mapping.

Commenting on the campaign John Swinney said:

“I have voted already for Schiehallion in this campaign and it seems to me to be by far the most attractive and appropriate name on the shortlist for this planet.

“Schiehallion holds a special place in the development of our understanding of space and the planets so it seems a fitting tribute for what is in any event an exceptional Scottish landmark.

“I encourage people to visit nameexoworlds.iau.org/systems/108 and scroll down to the third last group of names, which will include Schiehallion against planet ‘d’, and click vote.”

Ends
 
Contact: 
Dave Doogan 
Assistant to John Swinney MSP
Perthshire North Constituency Office 
35 Perth Street 
Blairgowrie 
PH10 6DL
01250 876576

Local News
 
WEARS IT PINK AT HOLYROOD IN AID OF BREAST CANCER NOW
Published date : 22 Sep 2015

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney has shown his support for women with breast cancer by dressing up in pink and encouraging his constituents to take part in Breast Cancer Now’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink, on Friday 23rd October.
 
‘wear it pink’, the UK’s biggest pink fundraiser, calls on supporters across the country to ditch the day-to-day colours and pull on some pink to raise money for Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving breast cancer research.
 
John Swinney joined fellow parliamentarians in wearing it pink in Holyrood this week to encourage people across Scotland to get involved. Now in its 14th year, wear it pink raises over £2 million each year for world-class research into breast cancer, and this year it is back and bigger, brighter and bolder than ever before.
 
John Swinney said:
 “Every year in Scotland around 4,600 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and sadly nearly 1,000 people still lose their lives to the disease. With wear it pink we have a fun and simple way for everyone to get involved and support Breast Cancer Now’s cutting-edge research.
 
“Together, we can make a big difference for women with breast cancer, now and in the future. I would encourage people in Perthshire North to get on board on Friday 23 October by registering for wear it pink at www.wearitpink.org and show their support.”
 
Ends
 
Contact: 
Dave Doogan 
Assistant to John Swinney MSP
Perthshire North Constituency Office 
35 Perth Street 
Blairgowrie 
PH10 6DL
01250 876576

 

Health
 
SWINNEY VISITS MOUNTAIN WAREHOUSE & NEPAL EARTHQUAKE AID
Published date : 17 Sep 2015

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney recently visited Perth’s Mountain Warehouse store on South Street to meet with proprietor Alex Tigh, mountaineer James Lamb and members of Perth’s Nepalese community,

The visit was arranged to allow Mr Swinney to see vital equipment before it gets sent out to Nepal to assist communities following the devastating earthquake which hit the country in April this year.

Amongst the supplies are a number of five man tents supplied by manufacture Vanago, high performance sleeping bags and thermal clothing which together will have a tremendous benefit for local families.

Commenting at the visit John Swinney said;

“I’m very pleased this equipment has been secured via Mountain Warehouse in Perth and its suppliers. The difference this equipment will make in Nepal should not be underestimated. There is still a great deal of hardship in Nepal following this earthquake and any help we can give will make a positive difference.”

James Lamb added:

“I am aware of the daily struggle being endured by communities in Nepal and I understood that is was important for us to do what we could to assist. It has been very productive to work with the Nepalese community here in Perth and also Mike Tigh and his team at Mountain Warehouse.”

Business, Charity, Foreign Aid
 
SWINNEY SEEKS VIEWS ON LETTING AGENTS CODE OF PRACTICE
Published date : 25 Aug 2015

Agents will have to register under new proposals.

Views are being sought across Scotland on proposals to implement a new code of practice for letting agents and local constituency MSP John Swinney wants Perthshire North residents to feed into this process.

A consultation began this week to gather opinions on the Letting Agents Code of Practice, and the requirement for letting agents to undergo training before they can be added to a register. Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed to help determine the training requirements and finalise the code of practice.

John Swinney MSP said:

“The Scottish Government wants to see a private rented sector that provides good quality homes and high management standard which inspires consumer confidence and encourages growth.

“Letting agents are vital to helping achieve this vision, and this new framework, including the code of practice, will support the industry to improve standards and provide a good service to both landlords and tenants.

“Here in Perthshire North, which includes Perth City centre, we have a significant Lettings market and I wish to see even more growth in this area with the very best industry standards being delivered.”

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 introduces a framework for the regulation of letting agents in Scotland. 

This includes: 

A mandatory register for letting agents with an associated ‘fit and proper’ person test; 

A training requirement that must be met before an applicant can be admitted to the register;

A statutory code of practice all letting agents must follow

A way for tenants and landlords to resolve complaints against letting agents for breaches of this Code through a new specialist First-tier Tribunal; and powers for Scottish Ministers to obtain information and of inspection to monitor compliance and enforce regulatory requirements.

The statutory Letting Agents Code of Practice will be fundamental to the effectiveness of the new regulatory framework.

Notes to Editors

The consultation invites written responses by November 15 2015. The consultation can be accessed athttp://www.gov.scot/consultations/current

Housing
 
SWINNEY HANDS OVER SNP FUNDRAISER CHEQUE
Published date : 30 Jul 2015

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney is delighted to hand over the cheque from the recent fundraiser organised by the local Strathmore branch of the Scottish National Party to the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance team and Perthshire’s Women’s Aid group.

Speaking before the event John Swinney said:

“The local SNP branch have always been very active locally and have used their fundraising expertise to organise a very enjoyable music night in the Red House in May, which raised £900 for SCAA and Women’s Aid.

“Both organisations need our support to undertake their vital work and I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the SNP branch to thank businesses and local people for helping make this such a successful event.”

Local News, Funding, Charity
 
SWINNEY PLEDGES CONTINUED ATTENTION ON ALYTH FLOODS
Published date : 23 Jul 2015

Special Alyth surgery arranged

Following the devastating floods in Alyth last Friday, Perthshire North MSP John Swinney has pledged his continued attention to resolve the issues of concerns to local residents. The local MSP has organised an additional drop in surgery for constituents in Alyth on Friday 31st July 2015 from 5-7pm in the Town Hall, Alyth.

Mr Swinney said:

"Having been in Alyth on the day of the floods last Friday, I saw at first hand the immediate devastation of the event. I was also able to see the work of the emergency services and Perth and Kinross Council in resolving the immediate issues and in taking forward some of the implications for local people.

"It is very important that a sustained opportunity is available for constituents to raise any concerns they may have and to resolve any outstanding problems. For that reason I have arranged an additional drop in surgery in Alyth at the Town Hall on 1 August from 5-7pm. No appointment is necessary but advance notice to my office would help to avoid people waiting a long time to see me.

"I am determined to ensure that every member of the public who needs the assistance of their Member of the Scottish Parliament is able to do so. I have already addressed a number of issues raised with me and pledge to continue to do so in the future.

"The aftermath of the flood has been marked by an outstanding level of community action to resolve the implications and I pay warm tribute to everyone who has been involved. They have all operated in the great tradition of community service that exists in Alyth."

Mr Swinney's office can be contacted at 35 Perth Street, Blairgowrie, by telephone on 01250 876576 and by email john.swinney.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

 

Local Communities, Flooding, Local Government, Emergency services
 
SWINNEY WELCOMES FUNDING BOOST FOR LOCAL CHARITY
Published date : 16 Jul 2015

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney has welcomed a £4,000 grant for local charity, Perth & District YMCA, from Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland. Every year, the Foundation distributes just under £1 million through its Henry Duncan Awards programme to grassroots charities working in their local communities.

Perth & District YMCA has been awarded the grant £4,000 to towards the salary of the Youth Worker for the drop-in for vulnerable young people aged 18 to 25 years.

Commenting John Swinney said:

“This award shows how Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland continues to be at the heart of funding local communities.

“I am delighted that the local YMCA was successful with their application. This will enable them to continue their important work in my constituency. I am aware that all the volunteers and staff at Perth YMCA put their time and energy into working with and for young people.

“As these Henry Duncan grants go on staff and running costs I am sure the additional youth worker will a valuable addition to the team”

Fiona Duncan, Chief Executive of Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, added:

 “We renamed our standard grants programme as the Henry Duncan Awards because we wanted to honour this great Scot whose actions ultimately led to the establishment of the Foundation. Today, we remain focused on funding local charities which aim to improve the quality of life for people who are disadvantaged. This and every year, we put nearly £1 million of funding into Scotland’s communities.  We are proud of the difference we make.”

Notes to Editors

1.         For 30 years, Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland has contributed to improving the lives of disadvantaged individuals and communities all across Scotland. The Foundation has given out over £97 million in grants and made almost 14,000 awards to countless charities.  In 2014, the grant maker challenged itself to be bold and pioneering when devising a new strategy to help meet the ever-changing needs of Scottish communities.

2.         The Foundation’s main grants programme, called the Henry Duncan Awards, is for grassroots charities working in local communities with people who are disadvantaged. It has six funding rounds per year and the next deadlines for applications are 20th July and 14th September. At its June 2015 meeting, the Board of Trustees agreed to make 48 grant awards putting over £177,910 of funding into communities all over Scotland. More information about the work of the Foundation is available at www.ltsbfoundationforscotland.org.uk

Local News, Awards, Local Communities, Charity
 
SWINNEY WELCOMES RIVER TAY HEAT PUMP FUNDING
Published date : 14 Jul 2015

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney welcomes a new funding package to encourage the use and local ownership of renewable energy – building on the success of community ownership in rural areas by encouraging projects in Scotland’s towns and cities. 

23 projects across Scotland will benefit from £500,000 in funding from the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund. The Perth City River Tay Heat Pump has received funding to demonstrate that it is possible to safely use water heat pumps to capture renewable energy from an ecologically sensitive river such as the Tay without damaging wildlife. The plan is to create a District Heating Network which will supply heat to buildings adjacent to the Tay including buildings, Council buildings and residencies. 

Figures published by the Scottish Government last month showed that community owned renewable energy capacity in Scotland grew by 27 per cent – with the potential to generate enough electricity to power around 100,000 homes.

Commenting, local MSP John Swinney said:

“I am pleased that Perth and Kinross Council have been successful in their bid to progress this exciting new opportunity for the city of Perth to benefit from Scotland’s incredible renewable potential.

“We know that existing community owned renewable projects in Scotland have the potential to power 100,000 homes – and this new Scottish Government funding and commitment to a distinctive approach in energy provision will see the sector continue to go from strength to strength.

“Scotland has an incredible opportunity to be a world leader in renewable energy which create jobs, help the environment and bring real benefits to our communities - and I am absolutely delighted that this funding will build on the existing successes in rural areas and ensure urban Scotland benefits from our vast renewable resources.”

Notes to editors

Further details can be found here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Renewable-energy-goes-to-town-1b1d.aspx

 

 

Housing, Energy, Local Government
 
SWINNEY WELCOMES PERTHSHIRE LOTTERY FUNDING
Published date : 11 Jun 2015

Perthshire North MSP Mr John Swinney has welcomed news that community organisations across Perthshire North have again benefited from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All. Three groups in Perthshire North have secured a total of £28,500.

Awards For All Scotland gives groups a chance to apply for a grant of between £500 and £10,000 for projects that aim to help improve local communities and the lives of people most in need. We will fund a range of projects which involve bringing local people together, helping people learn, improving local spaces and getting people more active.

Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust has recently received a £10000 Awards for All grant. This group are working with landowners, the community council and Mount Blair Development Trust to create a series of four new way markers paths in the countryside surrounding Kirkmichael. This grant will be used for path development.

The Ericht Trust Ltd has recently received a £10000 Awards for All grant from Big Lottery Fund. This group will use the funding to carry out preliminary assessments into the development of a new Community, Heritage and Cultural Centre.

Forward Coupar Angus has recently received a £8500 Awards for All grant from Big Lottery Fund. This group will use the funding to stage a cycling festival in the town in July 2015.

Welcoming the news John Swinney said:

“This is excellent funding news for our communities which will help develop cultural and outdoor pursuits locally.

“This investment is crucial for the ability of local community organisations to deliver on their ambitions and objectives.

“I congratulate these groups for boosting their projects with their successful applications and I look forward to the improved outcomes this funding will deliver.”

Local News, Awards, Charity
 
SWINNEY WELCOMES LOTTERY AWARDS SUCCESS
Published date : 15 May 2015

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney has celebrated news that three organisations within Perthshire North have been successful in their applications to the National Lottery’s ‘Awards for All’ programme.

‘Awards for All’ is the National Lottery’s small grants scheme which makes grants of between £500 and £10,000 to make a big difference in communities. In this latest round three Perthshire North organisations have secured a total of £27,298.

Commenting on the news Mr Swinney said:

“Yet again Perthshire North organisations have been proactive in engaging with the Lottery’s ‘Awards for All’ scheme and their investment in time and effort has paid off.

“The Longforgan Primary School Parent Forum has received £7786 which will be used to redevelop their playground.

“Atholl & Breadalbane Agricultural Society have received £10,000 to fund replacement of their wooden animal gates & pens with steel ones to improve public safety.

“Wild Sparks Outdoor Play CIC has received £9512 which will enable them to provide play opportunities for all children including young people with additional support needs”


The MSP concluded:

“Well done to all three organisations who benefited in this round of funding. I would encourage any group or organisation in Perthshire North to visit www.awardsforall.org.uk/scotland/apply to see if they meet the criteria for future funding which may transform their efforts within our communities.”

Local News, Awards, Local Communities
 
JOHN SWINNEY OPENS NEW GP UNIT IN BLAIRGOWRIE
Published date : 06 May 2015

With Strathmore patients now benefiting from the new GP unit at Blairgowrie Community Hospital, following the completion of a £2.36 million redevelopment project, the attention can now turn to the official opening.

This honour will be carried out by local Perthshire North MSP John Swinney, albeit in his capacity as Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, on Monday the 11th May.

Speaking ahead of the visit John Swinney said:

“I am very pleased to see the result of this investment in our Scottish NHS here in Blairgowrie. The face of healthcare is changing across Scotland as we seek to improve our service delivery models. Central to this are facilities located in communities such as this updated one here supporting East Perthshire.

“This service now offers an upgraded GP ward facility offering both single and twin en-suite rooms, a welcome advance and very appropriate to modern care standards.

“Enhanced physiotherapy and occupational therapy rehabilitation areas, together with the Minor Injury and Illness Unit (MIIU), will also now give our NHS professionals added scope to deliver appropriate treatments locally.”

Concluding John Swinney said:

“This capital investment was funded by NHS Tayside including resources from their NHS Endowment Fund but £63,000 of the £2.36m total was donated by The Friends of Blairgowrie Community Hospital group which is a tremendous gesture and reflects the value of this facility to our communities.

“This upgrade is very much appropriate for our growing population here in this part of Perthshire and it recognises the changing demands on our NHS. I am very pleased to see this improvement delivered and honoured to officially open this new unit.”

Local News, Health
 
DISCOVER BLAIRGOWRIE TAKES TOWN TO NEXT LEVEL
Published date : 24 Mar 2015

John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, and Pete Wishart, MP for Perth & North Perthshire, have together welcomed the launch of www.discoverblairgowrie.co.uk, a new website that combines information for tourists together with local news and events for residents.

The launch of the website will coincide with a TV commercial on STV aimed at promoting the town as the perfect day trip location for a considerable portion of Scotland’s population.

The new web presence will act as a one-stop-shop for both tourists and residents and users can even sign up to the ‘Discover Blairgowrie Newsletter’, which will help keep people up to date with news and events in Perthshire’s largest town.

Commenting, John Swinney said:

“I have been sighted on this enterprise for some time and I’m very pleased to see it now get off the ground. This development is a direct result of our hugely capable local business community pushing their business and their town into wider markets.

“Being based in Blairgowrie I know first-hand how hard businesses and their staff work to maintain Blairgowrie as the buzzing retail and hospitality centre that it is. This vibrancy doesn’t just happen and we should all recognise the achievements of our local traders.”

Pete Wishart MP added:

“This is a great development for Blairgowrie and helps to show case perfectly the quality and range of first class businesses we have here in the town.

“I believe this new website has the potential to increase tourist revenue while also being a useful resource for locals and I extend my warm congratulation to those who had the vision for this project and all who helped get it off to a flying start.”

Local News, Local Communities
 
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