Category Selector
John Swinney video message
Published date : 20 Nov 2020

Local Communities
Scottish Child Payment opens early for applications
Published date : 05 Nov 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has encouraged eligible parents and carers in Perth and Kinross to apply for the Scottish Child Payment.

The payment - which has been described as a “game-changer” in the fight to tackle child poverty - will open early for applications this month and start in February of next year.

The SNP Government has prioritised the early introduction of the new benefit, which will provide eligible families on low incomes with a child under six an extra £10 per week for each child. 

Latest figures estimate that 194,000 children aged under-six in Scotland will be eligible for the new Scottish Child Payment – with over 4,800 children set to benefit in Perth and Kinross.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The Scottish Child Payment is an ambitious, game-changing new benefit that will directly tackle child poverty in Perth and Kinross and across Scotland. 

“This support is needed more than ever, and its early introduction for those aged under-six - almost two years ahead of the original commitment for a new payment - will be a lifeline for so many families across the region.

"While the SNP does everything it can to tackle poverty, the Tories at Westminster are still trying to defend their shameless decision to deprive children of free school meals over the holidays. 

“Children and families simply shouldn’t have to depend on the whim of Boris Johnson’s callous Tory government to get through this Covid-19 crisis. 

“This benefit will be a lifeline for many children, young people and their families in Perth and Kinross. Accordingly, I would encourage anyone who is eligible to apply as soon as possible.”

Local News, Benefits
Swinney welcomes Birks funding
Published date : 04 Nov 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed news that the Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy has been awarded £68,500 funding from the Scottish Government’s Independent Cinema Recovery and Resilence Fund and the National Lottery.

The Recovery and Resilence Fund, which totals £3.5m with an additional £50k provided by The National Lottery, will help 30 independent cinemas across the country.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The news of this funding will be a significant boost not only for The Birks Cinema, but for Aberfeldy as a whole.

“The Birks is an integral part of Aberfeldy, and its re-launch in 2013 was a testament to the desire and perseverance of the local community. It would have been hugely damaging to the town, both economically and emotionally, if Covid had forced a permanent closure.

“The Scottish Government recognises the value of independent cinemas, and the power of film to bring us all together. To that end, I am hopeful that this funding will secure the future of The Birks and that we will continue to be able to visit this much-loved rural cinema for many years to come.”

Local News, Funding, Local Communities
Perthshire politicians urge fireworks consideration
Published date : 03 Nov 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today urged those hosting private firework shows to be mindful of the impact on animals and others in the community.

With the cancellation of public fireworks, it is likely that there will be an increased amount of personal firework displays on Bonfire Night. a recent survey by the Kennel Club, 20% of Scottish residents stated that they planned to either host or attend a private fireworks display.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Public firework displays on Bonfire Night are a much-cherished part of our calendar. However, due to the risk of Covid it is entirely appropriate, though unfortunate, that they have been postponed this year.

“As a result, we are likely to see an increased number of households across Perthshire buying and setting off their own fireworks.

“I would ask those who plan on holding private fireworks displays to reflect upon whether the enjoyment that fireworks bring is worth the significant trauma that they can cause to individuals and, particularly, animals.

If you do decide to proceed, please show consideration for neighbours – particularly those with pets. It may be prudent, for example, to give a pet-owning neighbour advanced notice of your plans, in order to allow them to take steps to minimise any trauma to their pet.”

Mr Wishart added:

“I would urge constituents to consider whether holding a private firework display is entirely necessary and to consider the impact on other residents, pets and the potential impact on our emergency services.

I understand the excitement that comes from seeing a fireworks display, but with all major displays cancelled this year, we have to consider if we will experience the same at home. If people do decide to hold a private display, I would ask them to consult the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website for safety tips ahead of the event.”

Local News
Swinney demands furlough support guarantee
Published date : 02 Nov 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today urged the UK Government to ensure that Scotland has full access to the furlough scheme at any point during the COVID pandemic.

Mr Swinney’s comments come after it was revealed that the UK Government will extend the furlough scheme until December 2nd to coincide with a national lockdown in England, but had refused to make it available to devolved administrations should they be required to take similar steps in the future.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The UK Government’s stance on furlough support is outrageous and indefensible. 

“In a so-called United Kingdom, the ability of all three of the devolved administrations to handle a pandemic is being knowingly damaged by a UK Government that seems to only concern itself with the plight of England.

“Businesses and workers across Perthshire are contacting my office on a daily basis to emphasise the need for the furlough scheme to continue. If the UK Government refuses to offer Scotland access to this vital lifeline in the event of a future lockdown, it will be evidence of a complete disregard for businesses and families across the region and Scotland as a whole.

“True to form, Perthshire Tory politicians have been completely silent on this matter. It is past time that they put the needs of Perthshire families ahead of their desire to tow the Westminster party line. Accordingly, they must publicly condemn the UK Government’s stance and put pressure on their colleagues to reverse their hugely damaging position.”

Local News, Business
Mobile testing centre to visit Perth
Published date : 29 Oct 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed news that a COVID testing centre is to visit McDiarmid Park.

The centre, which will operate from Monday 2nd-Sunday 8th November and Monday 16th-Sunday 22nd November between the hours of 10am and 5pm, will offer pre-booked and ad hoc testing to the local public.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The news of this mobile test centre will be welcomed by Perthshire residents, and will ensure that testing continues to be readily and conveniently available.

“Whilst the centre is able to offer tests on an ad-hoc basis, I would encourage people to pre-book a test in order to ensure the service operates as smoothly as possible.

“As ever, the option to have a test delivered directly to your home remains available. The completed test will then be picked up the following day by a courier, with the aim of having results sent directly to you within 48 hours.”
More information on testing can be found via:

Local News, Health
Swinney comments on Perth and Kinross tiering
Published date : 29 Oct 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today urged local residents to be vigilant, following confirmation that Perth and Kinross has been placed in level 2 of the Scottish Government’s COVID framework.

Perth and Kinross Council will be required to adhere to the new level from 06:00am on Monday 2nd November. The first review of local authority levels will then take place during the week beginning 9th November.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“COVID is a significant threat to us all and members of the public have done so much to help to tackle the virus. 

“Perth and Kinross has been placed at Level 2 in the Scottish Government framework but the data shows the virus poses a significant threat to our community. I would encourage everyone to follow the guidance that is available and to be particularly careful to ensure we all take steps to avoid transmission.

“The fact that our neighbours in Dundee have been placed in Level 3 demonstrates the need for vigilance and care, especially as we depend on acute hospital services in the City of Dundee.”

Local News, Health
Swinney urges engagement with bus pass consultation
Published date : 25 Oct 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed news that the Scottish Government has launched a consultation on new proposals to offer free bus travel to young people resident in Scotland aged under 19.

If taken forward, the Scottish Government’s proposals would extend free bus travel to approximately 770,000 young people. Currently, around one-third of people living in Scotland benefit from free bus travel.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“These are exciting proposals that will make a tangible difference to the lives of young people.

“Free bus travel will ensure that young people are able to access education and employment opportunities, whilst also fostering a greater sense of independence. We also know that this proposal would be particularly beneficial for those from lower income backgrounds.

“I would encourage all my constituents to engage with this consultation and share their thoughts on this very important issue.”

The consultation closes on Monday 7th December. It can be accessed online via:

Swinney and Wishart welcome Rannoch Community Trust funding
Published date : 26 Sep 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today welcomed news that the Rannoch Community Trust (RCT) have secured £134,660 of funding from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF).
The funding will facilitate the purchase and regeneration of the Kinloch Rannoch Outdoor Centre, with a view to turning the building into a community hub. The news follows Perth and Kinross Council’s decision to approve the transfer of the Outdoor Centre to RCT for £75,000. The funding from SLF includes £123,260 of capital funding to cover the purchase price plus associated legal and other fees as well as a contribution towards essential repairs, and £11,400 of revenue funding to help with initial set up costs including specialist business development support and training.

 Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“I am thrilled to hear that Rannoch Community Trust have been successful in their application for funding.

“The transformation of the disused outdoor centre into a community hub will have a profound impact on the local community, offering a variety of services for both residents and visitors. It is particularly exciting that a pub will be included on the premises, meaning that locals will now have a place to meet and socialise within Kinloch Rannoch. 

“I look forward to once more visiting with the team when circumstances allow, and I will continue to offer any support I can in their efforts to secure further funding.”
Mr Wishart added:
“This is great news for the Rannoch and Tummel community. 

“The Outdoor Centre is a building of significant size and potential, and it was a shame to see it lying unused. In addition to providing employment opportunities, this project will have a galvanising effect on the local area. I warmly congratulate the team at RCT who have worked so hard to make this happen.” 

As well providing a base for local community activities and services, the hub will also operate a number of income generating enterprises including a pub serving drinks and bar meals, bunkhouse style guest accommodation, and office and meeting space hire. 

Local News, Funding
Perthshire politicians congratulate Fountain Bar & Restaurant
Published date : 25 Sep 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, and Cllr Mike Williamson (SNP) have today congratulated Fountain Bar & Restaurant on being named “Greene King Pub Hero of the Year” at the Great British Pub Awards.

The awards, which took place last night via an online stream, featured a variety of categories aimed at showcasing the UK’s best pubs. Fountain Bar’s award was in recognition of the Feldy-Roo food delivery service, which operated from their premises and which has provided meals to the socially isolated and vulnerable during lockdown.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“I am delighted to learn of the Fountain Bar’s success, and cannot think of a more fitting recipient of this award.

“The efforts of Feldy-Roo over the past few months have been a real bright spot during what has been a dark time for us all. It is only right that their sense of community spirit and selflessness was recognised on a wider scale, and I hope that the entire team are enjoying this richly-deserved victory.”
Mr Wishart added:
“I am absolutely thrilled, but not surprised, that the team at the Fountain Bar & Restaurant have been awarded Pub Hero 2020 at the Great British Pub Awards. The work that the team at the Fountain have been doing to coordinate the Feldy-Roo project has been absolutely amazing and they totally deserve this recognition. I pay tribute to every business and volunteer who was part of the Feldy-roo project, but the team at the Fountain should very much enjoy their moment in the limelight. The work they did will not be forgotten.”

Cllr Williamson added:

“The news of the Fountain Bar’s win is hugely welcome, and will be a lift for the whole community. Feldy-Roo managed to provide a vital service over a huge geographical area during lockdown. This service required the organising of a huge team of volunteers and extensive fund raising. Everyone who was involved should be proud of this recognition of their achievement.”

Local News, Funding, Charity
Perthshire politicians call for seasonal workers clarity
Published date : 22 Sep 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today called on the UK Government to provide clarity on the future of the Seasonal Workers Scheme for 2021 and beyond.

Their intervention comes after the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFU Scotland) urged the UK Government to quickly confirm what steps they will be taking to allow growers to recruit non-UK staff following the cessation of freedom of movement next year. NFU Scotland made clear that they supported the continuation of a fully-functional Seasonal Workers Scheme, and that significantly more non-UK staff than the current pilot scheme allowed would have to be recruited to meet demand in 2021.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The UK Government’s indecision is posing significant problems for local farmers. At a time of unprecedented uncertainty for the soft-fruit sector as a result of the Tories’ self-inflicted, damaging Brexit, soft-fruit farmers across Tayside need to know where they stand well in advance of next year’s season.

“The UK Government must extend and massively expand their Seasonal Workers Scheme in order to ensure that farmers across the region have sufficient access to labour. The decision to extend this scheme must be taken and publicly confirmed as a matter of urgency, and it is a disgrace that the SNP, in addition to the National Farmers Union, are again having to spell out this obvious fact to Westminster. 

“If the Tory Government are not competent enough to rectify the damage that their immigration policies are causing to Tayside farmers, then they should devolve these powers to the Scottish Parliament and allow the SNP to prioritise the needs of farmers.”
Mr Wishart added:
“We need immediate action from the UK Government in relation to the rules for seasonal workers in 2021. Farmers are making decisions now about what sort of crops will be grown and in what quantities. Without certainty from the UK Government, this job is like having one hand tied behind your back.
“We have had the pilot seasonal workers scheme this year, but we need a permanent scheme so that our food producers and growers have the certainty they need to do forward planning. Failure to protect our domestic growers will only lead to a greater reliance on imported food. We must do everything we can to support high-quality local produce.”

Business, Local Communities, Rural, Employment
Perthshire politicians meet with Rannoch Community Trust
Published date : 25 Aug 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney and Councillor Mike Williamson (SNP) met yesterday with representatives of Rannoch Community Trust to discuss their acquisition of the Kinloch Rannoch Outdoor Centre building.

The meeting, which took place following Perth and Kinross Council’s agreement to sell the building to the local community for £75,000, allowed those in attendance to discuss the Trust’s development plans and possible funding streams going forward.

The Rannoch Community Trust’s plans include repurposing the building with a pub, restaurant, meeting spaces and a bunk house.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was pleased to meet with representatives of the Rannoch Community Trust, and to learn more about their exciting plans for the former Outdoor Centre building.

“The Trust’s plans could have a transformational impact on the local village, providing a multi-purpose hub that will benefit individuals, local groups and the community as a whole. I am particularly drawn to the idea of establishing a local pub and restaurant, which is something that the village has lacked for a number of years.

“I am thankful for the Trust’s commitment to this project, and will be supporting them in their efforts to raise the necessary capital both to finalise the purchase of the building and to refurbish it to the necessary standard.”

Mr Williamson added:

“This an exciting opportunity for Kinloch Rannoch, and I’m sure the whole community are supportive of the efforts of the Rannoch Community Trust.

“I welcome the council’s agreement to sell the building to the local community, and I truly believe that it can act as a focal point for the village for years to come.

“I will continue to do all I can to ensure that this project progresses as quickly and smoothly as possible.”

Local News, Funding, Business
Perthshire Politicians hear dirty camping concerns
Published date : 06 Aug 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, and Councillor Mike Williamson (SNP) met yesterday with constituents affected by recent instances of dirty camping.

The meeting, which took place on the banks of Loch Tummel, gave constituents an opportunity to share their experiences of the past few weeks, and also to discuss steps that can be taken to reverse the trend of anti-social behaviour. Following this meeting, the three SNP representatives took part in a Zoom call with residents from all across the constituency to continue discussing this topic.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“It was useful to speak with affected locals about the negative impact that dirty camping is having on their lives. 

“This is a complex problem, and one that cannot be solved with one action or by one organisation. Rather, it needs a genuinely collaborative approach with continued engagement on the issue. I am confident that there is now an acceptance from all stakeholders that the current situation is not sustainable, and that substantive action is required.

“I am thankful to Police Scotland for their continued engagement on this issue, and for the additional resources that they have allocated to policing dirty camping hotspots. However, I will be looking to speak directly with the Chief Inspector to advocate for tougher enforcement of existing legislation. A key part in tackling this issue is demonstrating clearly that there will be repercussions for those who behave in an unacceptable manner.” 

Mr Wishart added:

“We know that there are significant issues with irresponsible camping at various locations across Scotland. Whilst it is not a new problem in Perthshire, the lack of other options caused by coronavirus has seen an increase in people coming to camp irresponsibly. Let me be clear that I am not talking about genuine wild campers. Those who stick to the rules and leave no trace should be welcomed.

“We are seeing significant problems at places like Loch Rannoch, Loch Tummel and Clunie Loch. Issues include abandoned cars, pollution caused by incorrect disposal of human waste and people choosing to just abandon camping equipment rather than bother to take it home with them. There is no silver bullet to resolve this issue, but I am quietly confident that they work we have started in coordinating a multi-agency approach will have a significant impact.”

Mr Williamson added:

“It seems that there is now a real willingness from all involved to take action on this important issue.

“It is absolutely clear that the current situation is not acceptable. To that end, I will continue to advocate for common sense solutions that balance the rights of people to come and enjoy Perthshire with the rights of local residents to live their lives free from fear and disturbance.

“I am grateful for the continued support of John Swinney and Pete Wishart in tackling this issue, and also to my affected constituents who have chosen to proactively work with us to arrive at a long-term solution.” 


Local News, Roads, Local Communities, Environment, Law and order
Progress on dirty camping
Published date : 29 Jul 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Councillor Grant Laing (SNP) have welcomed agreed-upon actions by Perth and Kinross Council to tackle dirty camping around Clunie Loch.

The actions, which were agreed at an online meeting attended by Mr Swinney, Mr Laing, council officials and local residents, are the most concrete steps taken so far to tackle the issue.

It was agreed by Perth and Kinross Council to make the A923 (the main road passing by Clunie Loch) a clearway, thereby prohibiting any vehicles from parking by the road. To ensure access to the loch is still available, a drop-off point will be created and alternate parking arrangements will be set up nearby. 

Looking ahead, steps will be taken to prohibit parking on all the roads directly surrounding the loch. It was further agreed that temporary signage would be erected in the coming weeks, with more permanent signs to be put in place in the months ahead.

To monitor and continue driving this progress, land owners, local residents and users of the loch will form a steering group. This will be chaired by Cllr Laing.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This concrete commitment by Perth and Kinross Council officials is welcome, and I thank them for taking seriously the concerns of local residents.

“Dirty camping is a blight on our communities and damaging to the local environment. Having engaged with this issue for a number of years, I am pleased to see a fresh impetus to tackle it at council level.

“I will continue to put forward the concerns of my constituents, with a view to ensuring further action is taken around other dirty camping hot spots across Perthshire.” 

Cllr Laing added:

“As elected representatives, we have a responsibility to safeguard the environment and reputation of rural Perthshire.

“To that end, I’m glad that council officers have been able to work with myself, John Swinney and local residents to take tangible action to address this issue. This is not a silver bullet, but it is a clear sign of intent.

It is important that we carry this momentum forward to ensure we are doing all that we can to protect our beauty spots.”

Local News, Local Communities, Environment, Local Government, Law and order
Swinney and Wishart promote small shops competition
Published date : 16 Jul 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have encouraged small shopkeepers across their constituency to enter the Best Small Shops Competition, celebrating the successes of small shops and the central role they play in their local community, particularly in response to COVID-19.

The Best Small Shops Competition is open to any small shop* operating in the UK. The competition is free to enter and all shops who enter will be promoted to consumers through an online Indie Retail Directory. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The current pandemic has highlighted just how important a role small shops play both in our communities and as part of the wider economy. To that end, I am delighted that small shops are now getting the recognition they deserve.

“There are so many wonderful small shops across Perthshire, and I would very much encourage my constituents to put forward their business for this award.”

Mr Wishart added:

“Small shops have played a vital role in helping people to get through the COVID-19 crisis and it is about time that we recognise the role that they play in our communities. When many of the supermarket aisles were empty at the start of this crisis, it was often our small shops that came to the rescue. 

“I would call on small shops across my constituency to consider applying for this competition. The work that you do in our communities is very much appreciated.”

Shopkeepers can nominate their businesses until Friday 11th September 2020 via A shortlist will be announced in October with winners announced in November. 

The judges will be looking for evidence of a small shops’ entrepreneurial spirit, ways that they have been innovative in their business and what they have done to have a lasting positive impact on their community.  

The shortlisted small shops will then be in with the chance to win one of five awards, including the newly launched award for small shops response to COVID-19. 

Local News, Awards, Business
Perthshire politicians welcome EU citizens guidance
Published date : 25 Jun 2020

Perthshire politicians John Swinney MSP, John Nicolson MP, Roseanna Cunningham MSP and Pete Wishart MP have welcomed the publication of online factsheets detailing the rights of EU nationals living in Scotland.

The factsheets are the result of a Scottish Government partnership with the legal and human rights organisation JustRight Scotland. They are published in English, Polish, Romanian, Lithuanian, Spanish and Italian, with more translations being considered in the future.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“The Scottish Government has committed to supporting EU citizens as much as possible in the face of a cruel Tory Brexit. We will continue to make sure that EU citizens feel valued and welcome in Scotland, whilst ensuring that we protect their rights to the fullest extent of our powers.”

Mr Nicolson added:

“Scotland is an open and inclusive country and our fellow EU citizens are much-appreciated members of our society. They are our friends and our neighbours. They make vital contributions to our economy. And, as a No Deal Brexit looms, each of us has our part to play to ensure that Scotland remains a welcoming country.”

Ms Cunningham added:

“With the UK Government apparently determined to drag us over the precipice of a hard Brexit, come what may, I am pleased that the Scottish Government has taken the important step of supporting EU citizens at this unsettling time.  We need to know that they are welcome here and that we want them to continue to contribute to our communities and our country.”

Mr Wishart added:

“With the UK Government’s seeming eagerness to pursue a damaging No Deal Brexit, it is more important than ever that we do what we can to assist EU citizens. Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have regularly been contacted by constituents who are terrified at the prospect of Brexit and what it means for their rights. I am hopeful that these factsheets will provide useful guidance in such an uncertain time.”

Local News, Local Communities
Swinney warns on Tory-Trump trade deal
Published date : 18 Jun 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has renewed calls for the Tory government to remove the threat of lower food standards in any future trade deal – after a poll found that 83% of Scots are against US-style hormone-fed chicken entering the UK market.  
The latest polling from YouGov has also revealed that 80% of Scots consumers are also against US demands such as imports of chloride washed chicken, 81% are against imports of vegetables grown with EU-banned pesticides and 90% say we shouldn’t remove the labels showing origin of meat products. 
Local products also at risk from cheap, sub-standard imports with the Tories so far refusing to ensure geographically limited produce will protected in a US trade deal. 
Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 
“It’s absolutely clear that the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland do not want to see chlorine chicken, hormone-injected meat or vegetables riddled in pesticides on our supermarket shelves. 
“The threat to our local food and drink industry here in Perthshire from a Tory-Trump trade deal is growing by the day as the US ramps up its demands to flood the UK market with lower standard imports. 
“Once again Scotland is an afterthought for the Tories, as the interests of Scottish farmers and producers are being sacrificed so Boris Johnson can pander to the demands of Donald Trump. 
“Enough is enough – the UK Tory government needs to enshrine in law that Scotland’s world-class food and drink sector will be protected.” 


Local News, Farming, Rural
Swinney welcomes student support
Published date : 11 Jun 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney has welcomed the Scottish Government's announcement of extra financial help for students facing financial hardship over the summer months. 

The Scottish Government has brought forward early access to £11.4 million of discretionary funds - which will be administered by colleges and universities - to support higher education students. 

Students are, due to UK government rules, unable to claim Universal Credit or other benefits.

Scottish students studying in Europe as part of EU Portability or historically arranged schemes will also be able to access a £100,000 emergency fund administered by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Many students in Perthshire will have expected to find paid work over the summer to cover their rent or save for the following term – but are now, through no fault of their own, unable to do so. 

"This Scottish Government support will be welcome news for those students who rely on part-time jobs over the summer months, who could find it difficult to cover their living costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"No student should face financial hardship as a result of this crisis - and these new measures will support students until the start of the next academic year when bursary, grant and loan payments will begin again."


Awards, Education
Swinney welcomes tourism clarity
Published date : 10 Jun 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed plans to allow tourism and hospitality businesses to open from July 15th. 
The announcement was made today in the Scottish Parliament by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP.

Mr Ewing confirmed the Scottish Government’s intention to give the greenlight to the tourism and hospitality sector’s re-opening on the July 9th review of existing guidelines This cannot yet be guaranteed, however, and is subject to continued suppression of COVID-19.

Mr Ewing also announced the formation of a Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce to take forward strategic oversight of the recovery from COVID-19. 
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“I am pleased that, after an unprecedented period of disruption, our tourism and hospitality sector can begin planning for the future.

“Whilst we acknowledge that the July 15th date cannot yet be definitive, and is dependent upon our continued progress in battling COVID-19, I would encourage businesses across Perthshire to begin preparing for re-opening.

“As the Cabinet Secretary made clear, this will not be a return to “business as usual”. Rather, all businesses will be required to make adaptations to ensure that the health of visitors, workers and the local community are not endangered by the re-opening of this vital sector. I would therefore encourage all relevant businesses across Perthshire to carefully read the Scottish Government’s guidance on the necessary changes that will be required. This will be published in the near future.

“I also welcome the announcement of a Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce. Tourism is a vital part of Perthshire’s economy, and a sector that has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. To that end, I am pleased that the Scottish Government recognise the importance of getting this sector back on track as quickly and safely as possible.”


Local News
Perthshire businesses benefit from Scottish Government support
Published date : 01 May 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed new figures showing that 2095 businesses in Perth and Kinross have received Scottish Government grants to support firms through the coronavirus crisis.

A total of £23.8m has been awarded across Perth and Kinross through a Scottish Government scheme to support small businesses and the retail, hospitality and leisure sector. 

This grant support is worth over £1 billion to business, and is part of the wider business support package worth £2.3 billion.

So that funding can be distributed as quickly as possible, eligibility for the grant scheme is linked to the non-domestic rates system.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is a very difficult time for businesses.

“This Scottish Government funding is designed to support firms and ensure that our economy is on the best possible footing when we get through this health crisis. 

“Our support for business is now worth £2.3 billion, which is more than we have received from the UK Government and actively works to fill the gaps in the UK schemes with tailored support for the Scottish economy. 

“I encourage all businesses across Perth and Kinross to ensure they are receiving the support they’re entitled to.”

Local News, Funding, Business
Swinney welcomes further business support
Published date : 30 Apr 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed news that a £100 million package of additional grant support for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and newly self-employed people will open for applications later today.

The three separate funds, which will be administered by local authorities and Scotland’s enterprise agencies, will begin to pay out grants in early May. They include a £34 million hardship fund for the newly self-employed, a £20 million fund for small and micro enterprises in the creative, tourism and hospitality sectors and £45 million for viable SMEs crucial to the Scottish economy.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is good news for businesses across Perthshire, and will offer further peace of mind to those who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is particularly noteworthy that we will now be able to help the newly self-employed who do not qualify for the UK Government’s scheme and are currently facing financial hardship.

“It is also important to recognise the impact of COVID-19 on our creative, tourism and hospitality sectors at what would normally be their busiest period. This funding seeks to relieve the hardship faced by smaller firms that were ineligible for other forms of support.

“The Scottish Government will continue to listen to businesses in Perthshire and across the country, as we aim to ensure that help is given to as many businesses as possible.”


Funding, Business
Swinney warns of increase in scams
Published date : 22 Apr 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has encouraged people in Perthshire to be aware of scams and fake news following an increase in reports across Scotland about scam emails, text messages, and doorstep callers. 
Across the UK there is evidence fraudsters are increasingly targeting members of the public, as well as organisations of all sizes, with emails, texts, telephone calls, social media messages and online shopping scams relating to the outbreak.

Police Scotland have now launched a new Shut Out Scammers resource to protect the public and businesses from COVID-19 related scams. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has also launched an email reporting service, which the public can use to report any suspicious activity.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 
"While the community response across Perthshire to the coronavirus outbreak has been overwhelmingly positive, it's disappointing to see a few individuals taking advantage of the situation with unsolicited emails, phone calls and text messages. 
"During this coronavirus crisis, everyone in Perthshire should take extra care to ensure that they only share information from trusted sources, ask for identification from all doorstep callers, and never hand over any personal information.
"It’s vital that people across the region remain vigilant against scams during this challenging time and report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities."


Local News
Swinney and Wishart congratulate Feldy-Roo
Published date : 19 Apr 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today congratulated Feldy-Roo on their fundraising success.
The organisation, which delivers meals to over 70s and vulnerable people across parts of Highland Perthshire, has now received a total of £88,300 in funding since it was set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“One of the few positives to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has shone a light upon the kindness that exists within our society.

“Feldy-Roo is a perfect example of this community spirit, and I am therefore delighted that the organisation’s hard work and positive impact is being recognised with such significant levels of funding.

“The entire team at Feldy-Roo deserve our heartfelt thanks and gratitude for the steps they are taking to help those most acutely affected by the current crisis. It is my hope that they continue to go from strength-to-strength, and be able to build upon the incredible contribution they have already made to households across Highland Perthshire.”

Mr Wishart added:
 “I am absolutely amazed by the work that has been done in such a short period of time by the great group of volunteers at Feldy-roo. The sheer number of meals and papers they have managed to deliver has been staggering and they are really helping some of the most vulnerable and isolated people right now. I would also like to thank the public for their amazing generosity when it comes to helping with the fundraiser that they are running, it says a great deal about the community spirit of the area.”

Gavin Price, founder of Feldy-Roo, added:

“It has been brilliant to watch the community come together, and particularly to see different generations and groups rally around a common cause.

“One of the striking things about Feldy-Roo is the happiness that it brings both to its beneficiaries, but also to its volunteers. There’s a genuine warmth on display when we deliver meals, and our volunteers love bringing smiles to the faces of the people they are helping.

“The interactions we are able to have with those we are helping are a boost us all. It’s wonderful to see the positive impact we are having on their lives, and to have a chance to ensure that elderly and vulnerably people are receiving some form of social contact.”

To date, Feldy-Roo have delivered over 3300 meals, and are still in the process of applying for more funding. Their GoFundMe page is still open and can be found via 

Local News
Swinney welcomes £220m business support package
Published date : 16 Apr 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed further steps by the Scottish Government to secure the future of businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new package of measures includes £120 million to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business ratepayers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.

A further £100 million fund is also being made available to protect self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses in distress due to COVID. This fund will be channelled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes.  

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is good news for businesses across Perthshire, and further proof of the Scottish Government’s commitment to helping those hit hard by the current pandemic.

“Our support for business now exceeds the £2.2 billion passed on from the UK Government and actively works to fill the gaps in the UK schemes.

“Furthermore, with UK Government support not being available until June, we are determined to secure the future economic viability of Scottish firms and applications will therefore be open by the end of the month.

“This is an unprecedented package of support, and I am hopeful that it will offer security and peace of mind to business owners across Perthshire.”

Applications for the £100 million fund will be open by the end of the month, and the new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on 5 May.

Funding, Business
Swinney and Wishart welcome farm support
Published date : 10 Apr 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today welcomed a Scottish Government scheme to support beef farmers.

Around 7,000 specialist beef producers will benefit from payments worth around £40 million in the coming weeks, ensuring money is still going to farmers and crofters during these unprecedented and challenging times. A further 469 convergence payments worth £768,500 have also been processed this week, mainly for new entrants to farming.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that Perthshire farmers will receive further Scottish Government support during this period of uncertainty.

“All of these payments will aid business cash flow, helping to support farmers and crofters to continue to produce the quality meat products that Scotland is globally renowned for – and which we now need on our supermarket shelves more than ever.

“This is further proof of our commitment to the agricultural sector, and I am hopeful that this support will provide increased financial security to farmers across Perthshire.”

Mr Wishart added:

“At this critical time, it is hugely welcome to see this package of funding for our vital farming communities. Given the combination of the pressures of COVID-19, our departure from the European Union and difficulties in securing seasonal labour, the agriculture sector needs support from Government, but also from consumers. Alongside this funding from the Scottish Government, our famers and growers need the support of consumers who can help by buying as local as possible.
“I have spoken to a number of farmers in my constituency to listen to their concerns and I will be continuing to offer assistance and advice if they need support. I am pleased to see this year’s crop of Perthshire produce already making its way into farm shops and supermarkets.”

Local News, Funding, Farming
Perthshire politicians demand insurance support
Published date : 09 Apr 2020

Perthshire SNP politicians Mr John Swinney MSP, Ms Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Mr Pete Wishart MP and Mr John Nicolson MP have written to the Association of British Insurers urging full support for Perthshire businesses affected by COVID-19.

The intervention comes after multiple businesses across the region have contacted their elected representatives with concerns over the conduct of insurance companies. In particular, several businesses had been told that their business disruption cover would not pay out under the current circumstances, despite clear UK and Scottish Government instructions to close down. The most common reason given for this is that COVID-19 is not specifically listed in their policy fine print.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Too many businesses across Perthshire are facing uncertainty due to the stance of some insurance companies. It is vital that business owners, who have paid their premiums in good faith, are given the proper support from their insurers.

“To that end, I am hopeful that the ABI will provide clarity on this issue and ensure that businesses across the region are provided with the help they need to get back on their feet.”

Mr Wishart added:

“It is clear that people remain deeply unsatisfied with the response from their insurer. Businesses take out this sort of cover specifically to protect them in times of crisis and to be told that they will not be covered because this virus is not specifically mentioned in their policy is causing real financial hardship for many. If insurers do not think again on this, it is perfectly plausible that they will have fewer businesses to insure going forward.”

Ms Cunningham added:

“I completely appreciate that this is a difficult time for insurance companies, just as it is for all sort of other businesses across all economic sectors. 
“Nevertheless, I would urge them to recognise the impact of this crisis on their customers whose businesses have suffered massive disruption and that is why we are writing to the insurance industry’s representative body, the Association of British Insurers to ask what they can do to ensure that their members support businesses who have taken out insurance against business disruption.”

Local News, Business
Swinney and Wishart thank constituents
Published date : 02 Apr 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today thanked their constituents for the steps they are taking to limit the damage done by COVID-19.

Their comments come after more than a week of lockdown measures.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is an unprecedented situation for our country, and the biggest challenge that the vast majority of us have faced in our lifetimes. It is therefore a source of great pride that the people of Perthshire have risen to the occasion so admirably.

“Following conversations with key local stakeholders, constituents, elected officials and Police Scotland, it is clear that the vast majority of individuals and businesses across the region are strictly adhering to the UK and Scottish Governments’ instructions. These sacrifices are quite literally saving lives and ensuring that our NHS is in the best possible position to deal with the challenges that the weeks and months ahead will bring.

“Whilst we are currently living in a state of uncertainty, I am confident that my constituents will continue to do their part in our nation’s battle against COVID-19.

“I know that what is being asked of us all is difficult, but I wish to reiterate how profoundly grateful I, and the Scottish Government, are for the daily sacrifices my constituents are making.”

Mr Wishart added:

“I really want to thank the people of Perthshire for the way that they have so readily and co-operatively gone along with the new instructions from Government around social distancing and staying at home. It is a big ask of people to turn their normal working and social arrangements on its head, but Perthshire has not been found wanting. As always in a time of crisis there are those that go beyond the normal call of duty and make a massive contribution to all of us in the community. Our health service, council staff and those that continue to serve the public have been magnificent and are to be congratulated for doing this in extraordinary circumstances.
“We don’t know yet how long these measures will be in place or whether further measures will be necessary but what everyone in doing is helping to save lives. Our NHS is coping with the demands placed on it, and so far Perthshire has escaped from the worst of the cases of infection. We will get through this by working together and doing everything possible to keep each other safe.”


Local News, Health, Local Communities
Perthshire Politicians condemn Sports Direct move
Published date : 24 Mar 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have tonight swiftly denounced a move by Sports Direct to keep their stores open in the face of an unprecedented nationwide lockdown.

Sports Direct, which operates a store within Mr Swinney and Mr Wishart’s constituency, sent an e-mail to staff tonight in which they claimed to be an essential service, due to their wide range of exercise equipment and clothing available in store.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is an outrageous move that cynically seeks to put profit before people.

“I will be writing directly to Sports Direct management to urge them to voluntarily reverse this decision, and to remind them of their responsibilities to their employees and to the wider public.

“Both the First Minister and the Prime Minister have been absolutely clear that our country, barring legitimately essential services, is fundamentally in lockdown. This is an unprecedented moment and the biggest challenge we have faced in generations.

“To get through the difficult times ahead, we all need to pull together and do our part. To see a business so brazenly try and flout these necessary restrictions is, to put it mildly, incredibly disappointing and frustrating.”

Mr Wishart added:

“'The guidance on what sorts of businesses should remain open is pretty clear and I am of the view that Sports Direct doesn't fit any of the essential criteria

“I am furious that bosses would even consider putting staff and customers at risk in this way. 'I am sure that Sports Direct could continue to supply good via an online only model, but the desire to put profit above public health will not go down well with customers. 

“They should do the right thing and close before they are forced to do so by the authorities."

Local News, Health, Business
Swinney and Wishart welcome Business Support Fund launch
Published date : 24 Mar 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today welcomed the launch of the Scottish Government’s Business Support Fund.

The fund, which has a total value of £1bn and is to be administered by local authorities, aims to provide certainty to businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. It forms part of a package of measures worth £2.2bn

Two types of grant are now available to ratepayers - a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses or a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999

The list is not exhaustive and if businesses think they may be eligible for one of these grants, they should contact their local authority.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“It is important that businesses are fully supported during this period of uncertainty, and that they have confidence that their Government is fully behind them.

“Accordingly, I am pleased that the Scottish Government’s Business Support Fund is now live for businesses across Perth and Kinross.

“I would urge all businesses within my constituency to consider applying for this fund, and I am hopeful that this will provide certainty during these unprecedented and difficult times.”

Mr Wishart added:

“These are deeply troubling times for businesses, many of whom we rely on for providing essential services and important employment opportunities.

“The Scottish Government has provided businesses with access to a package of measures to help them cope with the impact of COVID-19 worth £2.2 billion. I would encourage business owners in Perth and Kinross to make contact with Perth and Kinross Council who are administering this on behalf of the Scottish Government and I understand that the aim is to make payments within 10 days. 

“We are utterly determined to keep companies in business at this difficult time and support them and their staff. Alongside the 80% wage support promised by the UK Government, this package should go some way to ensuring that we mitigate some of the most serious economic impacts of the virus.”

Funding, Business
Swinney urges against Perthshire influx
Published date : 23 Mar 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today warned against members of the wider public travelling to Perthshire during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Swinney’s comments come after several constituents raised the issue of a large number of people travelling to rural Perthshire to try and escape the impact of COVID-19. These concerns were later backed up by social media photographs and media reports.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Normally, such a large influx of people flocking to Perthshire would be cause for celebration. Sadly, however, we are living in extraordinary times.

“Accordingly, it is vital that people do not travel to the rural parts of Perthshire in an attempt to outrun or mitigate the effects of Coronavirus.

“Travelling to Perthshire puts significant strain on local retailers, could potentially spread the virus to the local populace and may put pressure on a rural health service that is not equipped to handle the number of people it subsequently would have to treat.

“The First Minister has been very clear that this behaviour is not acceptable, and I wholeheartedly endorse her message. I hope that anyone currently considering such a journey will reflect carefully upon the potential ramifications of their actions, and the impact it will have on their fellow citizens.”

Local News, Health, Local Communities
Swinney highlights COVID-19 guidance
Published date : 20 Mar 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today urged his constituents to continue to follow the NHS guidance in relation to tackling the Coronavirus.

The guidance, which can be found in full at, provides key information to individuals and families on how best to respond to COVID-19.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“In COVID-19, we are facing the biggest public health challenge in living memory. 

“Accordingly, it is vital that we all do our part to slow the spread of this virus and relieve pressure on our frontline services.

“I therefore encourage my constituents in the strongest possible terms to regularly check the NHS website and to pay attention to the regular Scottish Government briefings, in order to ensure that they have the most up to date information.

“This is an unprecedented moment for our nation, and I understand completely that there is currently a great deal of fear and uncertainty about the weeks and months ahead. But by acting responsibly and following official guidance, I am fully confident that we can overcome this challenge together.”

Swinney commends SNP house-building record
Published date : 16 Mar 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed figures showing the Scottish Government’s commitment to house building.

The figures were highlighted by Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning. They show that 91,840 affordable homes have been built across Scotland since the SNP came to power in 2007, including 63,048 for social rent.

In Perth and Kinross over the same time period, the Scottish Government has delivered 3,374 affordable homes, including 1,909 for social rent.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Ensuring that the people of Scotland have access to affordable, high-quality housing is one of the Scottish Government’s key goals.

“Accordingly, I am delighted to see the progress the SNP has made since we came to power 13 years ago. This is further evidence of our investment in communities, and the tangible steps that we are taking to build a fairer, more secure society.

“Ensuring that people are staying in good quality homes will ensure that we have a happier, healthier population, and I am sure that in the years ahead the Scottish Government will continue to build on the strong progress that we have made.”

Local News, Housing
Swinney makes submission to Harris Academy consultation
Published date : 16 Mar 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today formally submitted his views to Dundee City Council on the future of Invergowrie pupils attending Harris Academy.

Mr Swinney has written directly to Paul Clancy, Executive Director of Children and Families Services at Dundee City Council, to set out his views. Over the previous weeks, Mr Swinney has also met with parents of Invergowrie pupils and held discussions with elected members of Dundee City Council.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am pleased to formally submit my views to Dundee City Council’s consultation, and to reaffirm once more my strong support for pupils and families based in Invergowrie.

“The current Harris Academy arrangements pay appropriate heed to the unique set of circumstances faced by families living in Invergowrie, and ensure that children from the area are given the best chance of success.

“Within my submission, I have set out a number of reasons as to why I feel Dundee City Council’s proposals are flawed. I have also outlined potential options that can be explored in order to safeguard the future educational opportunities of pupils based both in Invergowrie and the wider Dundee area.

“From working closely with parents based in Invergowrie, it is clear that there is huge opposition to Dundee City Council’s proposals and that a concerted, community-led effort is underway to highlight the damage they will cause. I am hopeful that the strength of this feeling will be properly conveyed, and that Dundee City Council will show a willingness to significantly alter their plans.”

Local News, Education, Local Communities
Swinney warns over Pitlochry funding
Published date : 10 Mar 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today emphasised the need for further consultation with Pitlochry residents over the allocation of £383,000 of funding.

The funding, awarded by the Scottish Government as part of their Town Centre Fund, originally required projects to be submitted by the end of March 2020. Following an intervention by Mr Swinney this deadline was extended until March 2021, in order to give the council more time to decide upon a proposal that commanded wide backing from across the town

However, there has been no indication that Perth and Kinross Council are planning to re-open the consultation process and fully engage with the local community.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am disappointed by the lack of urgency shown by Perth and Kinross Council over the allocation of this funding.

“I was delighted to secure a twelve month extension for Pitlochry’s funding application because I believed this would give local residents the chance to have their views properly heard, therefore ensuring that the final proposal enjoyed wide support across the community. 

“However, there has thus far been no indication that the council are willing to re-open the consultation process. Rather, they seem content to press forward with the existing proposals that failed to win significant backing from local residents.

“Indeed, I have even heard talk of the funding being re-allocated to other towns across Perth and Kinross, should one of the existing projects not be seen as acceptable. Such a move would be an affront to the residents of Pitlochry.

“It is therefore imperative that Perth and Kinross Council immediately guarantee that the full £383,000 of Scottish Government funding will be allocated to Pitlochry.

“Furthermore, I would expect to see the council move quickly to take advantage of the twelve month extension that I secured on their behalf. This extended deadline was not granted merely to delay the existing proposals for a year, but rather to give the council the necessary time to fully engage with the local community over how best to use this funding. Thus far, I have seen no evidence that this extra time is being used productively.”

Local News, Awards, Funding, Local Communities
Swinney secures Pitlochry extension
Published date : 27 Feb 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has secured the Scottish Government’s agreement to extend a key funding deadline for Pitlochry until March 2021.

Pitlochry, which secured £383,000 funding from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund, originally had until March 2020 to put forward a proposal. However, several constituents had contacted Mr Swinney to inform him that the local community had not been properly consulted and that there was no consensus over a final project.

Moreover, Mr Swinney was concerned by the likely re-allocation of the funding to another town within Perth and Kinross, should a project not be agreed by the March 2020 deadline. 

Last month, Mr Swinney wrote to Perth and Kinross Council to emphasise the need to fully engage with local residents over the allocation of this funding. Additionally, Mr Swinney wrote to the Scottish Government to request an extension to the deadline, in order to allow Pitlochry additional time to select a project that the entire community could support.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that, following my intervention, the Scottish Government has agreed to extend Pitlochry’s application deadline by one year.

“In my correspondence, I emphasised to the Scottish Government that their funding allocation of £383,000 could have a transformative effect on Pitlochry. Accordingly, it would have been a great shame for this money to be squandered or lost completely.

“With the threat of an imminent deadline now removed, it is my expectation that this money should be spent locally, as was originally intended. Any attempt to re-allocate the funding elsewhere across Perth and Kinross would be a betrayal of Pitlochry.

“Rather, it is now vital that Perth and Kinross Council take advantage of this extension, and that they engage with locals to arrive at a final project that can enjoy wide support across the town.”

Councillor Mike Williamson added:

“This is great news for Pitlochry, and gives us vital breathing room to ensure we arrive at a final project that everyone can get behind.

“I have consistently argued for a more open consultation over how this funding is allocated, and I am hopeful that we can now bring the entire community on-board with this process.

“I thank John Swinney for his important work in securing an extension, and the Scottish Government for the flexibility they have shown to ensure that Pitlochry does not lose out.”

Local News, Awards, Funding, Local Communities
Swinney secures update on Errol Medical Practice
Published date : 11 Feb 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed a letter from the Chief Executive of the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, which confirms that steps are being taken to open Errol Medical Centre as “a matter of urgency”.

The letter to Mr Swinney, dated 6th February, confirms that the only outstanding issue remaining relates to the requirement for the building to have updated legionella risk assessment/water compliance. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am pleased to hear that progress is being made towards the opening of Errol Medical Centre.

“I have been in dialogue with the Health and Social Care Partnership since November to emphasise the concerns of my constituents, and to press for positive action as soon as possible.

“The entire process of securing a new medical practice has taken too long, and has been a source of deep frustration for people living in Errol and the surrounding areas. To that end, I will continue to engage with stakeholders to ensure that the medical practice opens as soon as reasonably possible.”

Local News, Health
Swinney blasts hapless Tories over rates U-turn
Published date : 04 Feb 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today claimed that the credibility of the Tories “lies in tatters” following their flip-flop on the issue of devolving non-domestic rates to local authorities.

The Tories, who today voted against Andy Wightman MSP’s amendment to devolve business rates, had previously supported his proposal at stage 2 – a move that would have removed rates relief and seen small businesses facing a rates hike of over £7000. In the last year alone, over 100,000 Scottish businesses saved nearly £300m from rates relief introduced by the Scottish Government.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is a humiliating U-turn by the Tories, and highlights the strength of opposition from the Scottish business sector to their initial decision to support the devolution of business rates to local authorities.

“Whilst I am glad that the Tories have finally come to their senses, it is a damning indictment of their lack of commitment to Scottish businesses that they would be willing to cause such uncertainty in an attempt to score cheap political points.

“At stage 2 of the bill, the Tories voted to jeopardise local funding for councils and abolish rates relief worth £300m for over 100,000 businesses across Scotland. Between this shocking decision, and the untold damage and uncertainty that Brexit is causing to businesses across the country, the reputation of the Tories as “the party of business” lies in absolute tatters.

“Far from being a party fit for government, the Tories show with each passing day that they are not even fit for opposition.”


Swinney calls for consultation with residents over town centre
Published date : 29 Jan 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has urged Perth and Kinross Council to better engage with local residents as they seek consensus over how to spend £383,000 of Scottish Government funding.
Mr Swinney’s intervention comes after multiple constituents have contacted him to express concerns at the lack of consultation with the local community over how to allocate the funding, which was awarded as part of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund.
Accordingly, Mr Swinney has written to Karen Reid, Chief Executive of Perth and Kinross Council, to emphasise the need for a meaningful dialogue with residents of Pitlochry in order to ensure the money is spent in a beneficial way. 
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The Scottish Government has allocated a very significant amount of funding to Pitlochry, and this is hugely welcome news.
“However, I am concerned that this funding may not be used in the most effective way due to a lack of consultation between the council and local residents.
“It is vital that the final project enjoys wide support, and that it draws from the views of a broad cross-section of the local community. Accordingly, I urge Perth and Kinross Council to engage in constructive dialogue with local stakeholders to ensure that this money is put to the best use possible.”


Local News, Awards, Funding, Local Communities
Swinney and Wishart urge local Tory to break with Boris
Published date : 28 Jan 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today penned a joint letter to regional Tory MSP Murdo Fraser.

The letter challenges Mr Fraser to urgently back proposals for a new Scottish Visa after Westminster dismissed the plans out-of-hand, stating that: “immigration will remain a reserved matter”. 

A range of stakeholder groups have backed the Scottish Government’s plan for a devolved Scottish visa system – piling pressure on the UK government to engage seriously with the proposals.

Support for the proposals include the Federation of Small Businesses, the National Farmers Union Scotland, and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The Home Office’s dismissive attitude to the Scottish Government’s plan for a devolved Scottish visa system is sadly not surprising. It is simply more evidence of the UK Government’s willingness to put their own narrow interests above the needs of the people of Perthshire.

“This is yet another example of the requirement for decisions over the future of Scotland to be taken here in Scotland - not by arrogant, out-of-touch Westminster governments that we didn’t vote for.

“Accordingly, Pete Wishart and I have written to Murdo Fraser urging him to put aside blind party loyalty and join us in supporting a devolved Scottish visa system.

“The choice for Murdo Fraser is clear: he must decide between standing up for his constituents, or stepping aside and allowing Boris Johnson to harm our local businesses, communities and farmers.”

Mr Wishart added:

“Having just fought a general election and having had conversations with literally thousands of local people, I know first-hand how unhappy Perthshire voters are with Boris Johnson imposing his reckless Brexit on us all.

“Murdo Fraser would be wise to heed these warnings – and the outcome of the election locally. 

“Perthshire people are simply not willing to accept Tory politicians who will choose the path of least resistance and bend to the will of Boris Johnson at the expense of local communities.

“I understand that Boris Johnson has hard-right Brexiteers in his thrall, but Scotland – and Perthshire – do not share these values. Murdo Fraser’s first responsibility is to his constituents, and I therefore hope that he will find the courage to speak up for their interests by supporting the Scottish Government’s scheme.”


Local News, Local Communities, Rural
Swinney concerned by proposed catchment changes
Published date : 20 Jan 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today raised concerns at proposed changes to the catchment area for Harris Academy in Dundee.
The changes would mean that pupils from Invergowrie Primary School, which falls within the boundaries of Perth and Kinross Council and Mr Swinney’s constituency, would no longer automatically be offered a place at Harris Academy, which is situated 2 miles from Invergowrie. As a result, the nearest high school would be Perth Academy, located over 20 miles away.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“I am concerned by these proposals, and about the negative impact they will have on pupils and families based in Invergowrie.
“Historically, Invergowrie pupils have attended Harris Academy. This is a sensible arrangement that recognises the unique circumstances that Invergowrie pupils face regarding access to secondary education.
“As a result of this tradition, and the village’s geographical location, pupils from Invergowrie have formed close ties to Dundee and to Harris Academy specifically. I am concerned therefore that the proposed change to the catchment area will cause significant unrest and worry to parents and pupils alike.
“Indeed, the current proposals will lead to a situation where older siblings are enrolled in Harris Academy but their brothers and sisters will be forced to undertake a daily 40 mile round trip to Perth. It is difficult to see how such an arrangement will benefit families in Invergowrie.
“I have already spoken to several constituents regarding this situation, but I am keen to hear from as many voices as possible. I would therefore ask that any parents who are concerned by these proposals make contact with me directly. I will also be looking to arrange a meeting with parents at the earliest possible convenience.

“I have already spoken to Cllr John Alexander, Leader of Dundee City Council, to raise my concerns and I will have further discussions with the City Council to pursue the concerns of my constituents.”

Local News, Education, Local Communities
Swinney presents Scarf Calendar certificate
Published date : 10 Jan 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has congratulated a local school pupil on their contribution to the Scarf 2020 Schools Calendar.

The calendar, produced in conjunction with Scottish Water, seeks to raise awareness over how to tackle the climate emergency and in particular how to be efficient in our water usage.

Pupils from across the North East were invited to submit drawings around the theme of using water wisely, with 13 drawings in total being selected for the calendar.

Local pupil Maya King, of Abernyte Primary, was one of the entrants whose artwork was chosen to be included in the calendar. 

She visited the Scottish Parliament yesterday for an award ceremony, and was presented with a certificate of achievement by Mr Swinney. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“I am delighted that Maya’s entry has been recognised with a place in this year’s Scarf calendar.

“With the climate emergency more pressing than ever, it is vital that we all take simple, everyday steps to reduce our carbon footprint. More efficiently using water is one such step that we can all take.

Maya’s artwork raises awareness of this vital issue, and it is great to see young people across Scotland taking the lead on this matter. Maya, and all entrants to the competition, should be rightly proud of their efforts, and I extend my warmest congratulations to them all.”

Local News, Awards, Education
SNP politicians raises budget concerns
Published date : 09 Jan 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today blasted the UK Government’s decision to publish its budget on the same day that Scottish local authorities are legally required to set their Council Tax levels.
The Accounts Commission, the public spending watchdog for local government, has warned Holyrood’s Local Government Committee that the decision will be “problematic” for councils.

The UK budget has been pushed back to March 11th, causing major uncertainty for the Scottish budget, which cannot be set without knowing UK spending plans. This delay will have a knock-on effect to local councils.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The UK Government’s inability to manage their own budget process will have potentially significant consequences for the people of Perthshire.
“It is utterly unacceptable that Perth and Kinross Council will have to set their Council Tax rates without any guidance regarding their financial settlement for the year ahead.

“As a result, Council Tax rates may be set at a rate either higher than necessary, thus putting an unfair burden on the tax payer, or lower than necessary, thereby endangering vital local services.
“This is simply another example of the hapless Tories’ inability to govern and their inattention to the issues that matter to Scotland.” 

SNP Group Leader, Cllr Grant Laing, added:

“It is unfortunate that Perth and Kinross Council will be forced to take hugely consequential tax decisions without being given all necessary information.

“The SNP will work with all council officers and other parties to ensure that an orderly process is followed, and that sensible decisions are taken for the residents of Perth and Kinross.
“I would hope that, given the backlash to the UK Government’s budget timetable, steps are quickly taken to clarify the financial footing of the Scottish Government, and by extension local authorities.”


Local News, Local Government
Swinney to present National Lottery award
Published date : 09 Jan 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, is to present a cheque of £9328 to Scotland All-Strong, a Perth-based not-for-profit fitness studio.

The cheque, from the National Lottery Community Fund, will go towards Scotland All Strong’s “Fitness to Feel Better” project, which provides personal training to those with mental health issues. 

Mr Swinney will meet with carers currently training at the fitness studio and benefitting from Scotland All-Strong’s training programmes. He will also meet with Andy and Jess Douglas, the married couple behind the organisation.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was delighted to hear that Scotland All-Strong have received such a sizeable award from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Andy and Jess are passionate about improving the well-being of those across Perthshire. They have correctly recognised that there is a clear link between physical exercise and improved mental health, and I am sure that they will put this funding to good use.

“I am pleased that their hard work is being rewarded, and I look forward to witnessing the transformative impact that their programme will have on the lives of service users.”

Andy Douglas, Director and Instructor at Scotland All-Strong said:

“Thanks to National Lottery Players and the Community Fund, Awards for All, Scotland All-Strong will be able to deliver subsidised places on our 'Fitness to Feel Better,' referrals programme for common mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, chronic stress and low mood."
"By bringing together multiple tools of recovery, self-management and prevention, including physical activity, relaxation techniques, and peer support, Scotland All-Strong's innovative approach combined with their unique set-up will help many in the local community get started in exercise and wellness. This will ultimately empower them with the ability and knowledge to take more control of their own mental and physical health and overall wellbeing in the longer term."

Neil Ritch, The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland Director, added: 

“The New Year is traditionally a time when people are most likely to set themselves health related goals. 

“Thanks to National Lottery players, All Strong Scotland will be able to help many people in Perth to achieve these goals by providing them with the tools to manage their mental health and wellbeing.

“As well as introducing people to physical exercise, the project is a great way of bringing people together to sustain physical activity through peer support.”

Local News, Awards, Funding
Swinney welcomes Perth and Kinross broadband availability
Published date : 09 Jan 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed the positive impact that the Scottish Government’s leadership and investment have had on broadband availability across Perth and Kinross.

Mr Swinney’s comments come on the same day that Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, revealed that without Scottish Government intervention only 39% of premises across the region would have access to superfast broadband. Because of Scottish Government action, that figure now stands at 86% - an increase of 47% points.

The Scottish Government have committed over £600m to their R100 programme, which aims to ensure that every property in Scotland can access superfast broadband by the end of 2021. The previous target of 95% connectivity by March 2018 was met ahead of schedule in December 2017.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“The Scottish Government’s R100 programme has ensured that homes and businesses across Perthshire are able to enjoy all the advantages that superfast broadband provides.

“Whether for leisure use, study or business purposes, superfast broadband is an absolute necessity. Accordingly, I am pleased that 86% of premises across the region are now able to benefit from a fast, stable internet connection.

“This is further evidence of the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting rural Perthshire. 

It is also worth noting that, under the Scotland Act 1998, broadband is a matter reserved to Westminster. With the UK Government unwilling to reach into their pocket, it has fallen to the Scottish Government to take ownership of this issue and provide the financial support and leadership that was so clearly lacking from Westminster.”

Local News, Local Communities, Rural
Swinney welcomes fire safety guidance
Published date : 07 Jan 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed the news that all Perthshire residents living in high-rise properties will receive fire safety documentation.

The fire safety guidance, developed by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, has now been posted to all high-rise properties in Perthshire, and is available in libraries and community centres.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Fire safety is a critical issue for all homes, and this is particularly true for high-rise buildings.

“I am therefore pleased that the Scottish Government has taken proactive steps to raise awareness of this vital issue. The guidance provided contains practical fire safety advice on how to prevent fires and reduce the risk of fires in high-rise buildings.

“I would strongly encourage all of my constituents living in high-rise properties to take the time to read the guidance when it arrives at their home.”

Local News, Emergency services
Swinney supports Age Scotland survey
Published date : 19 Dec 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today encouraged his constituents to share their views on housing and household energy with Age Scotland.

Mr Swinney’s call comes as Age Scotland launch a new survey for those aged 55 and over. The survey, which aims to provide better understanding of the housing priorities and habits of older people, will help Age Scotland continue to build their evidence base on how well older people are living in their homes.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Age Scotland play a vital role in representing the interests of older people. We know that ensuring that older people have a home that meets their requirements is vital for their health and happiness, and I would therefore encourage all of my constituents to engage with this survey.

“The results of Age Scotland’s survey in 2017 played a substantive role in influencing national housing strategies and relevant legislation in the Scottish Parliament. I am hopeful that there will be an even more enthusiastic response to this latest survey, so as to ensure that the needs of older people are properly identified and represented.”

Paper copies of the survey are available from Mr Swinney’s constituency office at 17-19 Leslie Street, Blairgowrie, PH10 6AH. A digital version can be filled in via A paper copy can be ordered via 0333 323 2400. 

Local News, Charity
Swinney intervention leads to A90 flyover re-opening
Published date : 17 Dec 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed news that the A90 flyover has re-opened to two-way traffic.

The crossing, which will be temporarily managed by four-way traffic signals, was first closed after being hit by a truck carrying an excavator at the end of October. The prolonged wait for the flyover to re-open has been a source of frustration and inconvenience for both local business owners and commuters.

On 7th December, Mr Swinney met with businesses and constituents to discuss their concerns. Following this meeting, Mr Swinney liaised with Transport Scotland to raise the concerns of his constituents and emphasise the need for a speedy resolution. He has been consistently kept up to date on the progress of the repairs, and advocated for the installation of traffic lights to allow traffic to travel in both directions.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am pleased that, following a constructive dialogue with Transport Scotland, the A90 flyover has now been re-opened to traffic in both directions.

“It was clear from speaking to local residents and businesses that this situation was not sustainable and that action was needed to ensure the crossing was re-opened as quickly as possible, subject to the necessary safety checks being completed.

“I emphasised the concerns of locals to Transport Scotland and have ensured that I was regularly updated on the progress of the crossing’s repairs. I am glad that my intervention on behalf of my constituents has helped to ensure that all possible steps were taken to expedite the re-opening of the flyover.”

Local News, Transport, Roads
Swinney visits Royal Mail staff
Published date : 16 Dec 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today visited Blairgowrie Delivery Office to pass on his thanks to local Royal Mail workers.

Mr Swinney met with staff and was given a tour of the site floor, allowing him to witness first-hand the hard work on display to ensure that an efficient Christmas service is provided.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to continue my annual tradition of visiting my local delivery office.

“Postal staff work tirelessly throughout the year, but their efforts are particularly important during the run up to Christmas. 

“This Festive period has carried with it the additional complication of a general election, and the significant increase in mailings from political parties as a result of this process. Royal Mail staff deserve our gratitude for the tenacity and dedication they have shown to ensure that an efficient and reliable Christmas service is provided for all, despite this additional workload.

“I pay tribute to their extraordinary efforts, and thank all of the team for their hard work over the course of 2019.” 

Local News
Swinney condemns Tory/Labour attack on small businesses
Published date : 04 Dec 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has condemned an opposition party attempt to end crucial rates reliefs schemes that benefit 5,560 of businesses in Perth and Kinross and 100,000 businesses across Scotland.
Tory and Labour MSPs have voted for an Andy Wightman amendment to the Non-Domestic Rates Bill that would remove the ability of Scottish Ministers to set the business rates poundage.
Amendment 9, lodged by Andy Wightman, sets out to devolve powers to set business rates to councils. The effect is that rates would no longer be set nationally and business rates reliefs – including the Small Business Bonus and rates relief for nurseries – would automatically end.

Businesses in Perth and Kinross would lose £10.9m of relief under the plan. 
The Federation of Small Businesses, CBI Scotland and the Scottish Retail Consortium have all raised concerns over the impact of the proposed changes, warning it will create added costs and deter investment.
SNP MSPs were the only members of the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government Committee to oppose the move.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“Businesses across the region need an escape from Brexit - not yet more uncertainty and unnecessary cost.
“The Scottish Government offers the most generous package of business rates reliefs anywhere in the UK, worth nearly £750 million to Scottish business. Astonishingly Tory and Labour MSPs have voted to withdraw nearly £300 million of relief in a move that would devastate Scottish business.
“More than 100,000 businesses across Scotland – and 5,660 in Perth and Kinross – benefit from the Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus. That would disappear, alongside other reliefs affecting including support for nurseries, under the proposals being forced through by opposition parties.
“A majority of Scottish businesses benefit from the lowest poundage anywhere in the UK and incentives that only exist in Scotland. All that is under threat, as ministers would not be able to set a consistent rate and provide national reliefs.
“These plans would deliver a hammer blow to Perth and Kinross businesses and would put at risk the delivery of local services. The Tories and Labour must back track on this disastrous move at the final stage of the bill.
“The opposition’s economic credibility was already in tatters, but this is just reckless. It is now crystal clear that the SNP is the only party that will stand up for Scottish business.”


Local News, Business
Swinney and Wishart challenge Tories over NHS Tayside
Published date : 02 Dec 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire SNP candidate, Mr Pete Wishart, have reacted to today’s news that NHS Tayside is anticipating a shortage in medicine and supplies as a possible consequence of Brexit. 

Planning documents released under Freedom of Information legislation have confirmed that stockpiles of medicine will only last for six weeks before the region could experience a shortage of supplies.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“These latest revelations are yet more evidence of the damage Brexit will do to our health service.

“Whilst the long-term threat to our NHS is a Tory/Trump trade deal that will carve up and sell off our most cherished public institution, it beggars belief that we may face shortages of medicine and supplies in the short term.

“Whilst the Tories’ toxic Brexit obsession threatens to endanger the health and wellbeing of those across the region, the SNP will always stand up for our NHS and will never treat it with the cavalier disregard displayed by the Conservatives.” 

Mr Wishart added: 

“The news of NHS Tayside’s potential medicine shortfall brings sharply into focus the stakes in this General Election.

“I have been steadfast in my commitment to supporting the NHS and its heroic staff. I will never support Brexit for a whole host of reasons, but the untold damage it would do to our health service and to my prospective constituents is chief amongst them.

“Boris Johnson’s Tory candidate must now answer for the chaos that his leader seeks to inflict upon the Perth and North Perthshire constituency. To date, the Tory candidate has cravenly avoided talking about Brexit – indeed, his election leaflets makes no mention of the biggest issue facing Scotland.

“It is beyond time that he shows some backbone and stands up for those he seeks to represent. I am therefore challenging him to confirm that, if elected, he will not vote for any Brexit deal that would put pressure on our NHS”

Mr Wishart’s challenge comes on the same day that Jackson Carlaw, the interim Scottish Conservative leader, repeatedly refused to rule out leaving the EU without a deal at the end of the transition period during an interview with BBC Good Morning Scotland.

Local News, Health
Swinney in dialogue with MJ Ventilation liquidators
Published date : 04 Nov 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today spoken with representatives from Campbell Dallas, the appointed liquidators for MJ Ventilation.

This is the latest step Mr Swinney has taken to offer support to former employees of MJ Ventilation. Last week, he raised their case directly with Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, in addition to liaising with former employees.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The discussions with representatives of Campbell Ogilvie were informative and productive.

“I was assured that information is being made available to former staff regarding support services available, such as Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE). I also stressed the need for continued communication and an open dialogue with former employees.

“In the days and weeks ahead, I will continue to liaise with both the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise to ensure that all available support is made available for former MJ Ventilation staff.

“I am also keen to explore every chance to support any new business opportunity to fill the gap left by the loss of MJ Ventilation and to create employment for those who have been affected by this difficult situation.”

Local News, Business
Swinney and HEAT Project warn on door-to-door sales
Published date : 31 Oct 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has joined forces with the HEAT Project Blairgowrie, Rattray and the Glens to warn Perthshire residents to be vigilant of door-to-door energy salesmen.

Mr Swinney’s intervention follows several elderly constituents contacting his office to report visits by cold calling salesmen. All of the constituents stated that they were concerned by the evasive nature of the salesmen and their pushy approach.

In response, Mr Swinney contacted the HEAT Project, a Blairgowrie-based organisation that provides free, expert and impartial energy saving advice. The HEAT Project confirmed that they had received similar complaints from local residents.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“Over the past fortnight I have been contacted by multiple constituents, who have all expressed similar concerns regarding door-to-door sales practices from cold calling energy salesmen. 

“Perhaps most worrying is that several of the constituents that have been in contact with me could be described as vulnerable, and as a result some were quite distressed following their experience.

“Accordingly, I would encourage all of my constituents to be particularly vigilant. If you have any concerns or feel that you have been the victim of such sales tactics, please contact my office or the HEAT Project directly and we will be happy to provide further guidance.”

Martin Mathers, Project Manager of the HEAT Project, added:

“Energy bills are an increasing concern for a lot of people, so the offer of free insulation or even a new gas boiler can be very tempting.

“It’s worth noting that there are genuine schemes to help households become more energy efficient, and The HEAT Project can offer advice regarding these initiatives. Moreover, we can also help anyone dealing with cold callers.”

Local News, Energy, Charity
Swinney celebrates CAP funding victory
Published date : 29 Oct 2019

Perthshire farmers and crofters will benefit from the first instalment of convergence funding – addressing an “historic injustice” which the SNP government has long campaigned for. 

The funding is the first tranche of an £160 million package the UK government has finally returned to Scottish farmers after pocketing EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding intended for Scotland since 2014.

The initial £80 million will be distributed to support active farming, with a focus on those who farm in marginal uplands, hill farms and island areas. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“This is money that was hard fought for over many years, and I am delighted for farmers in Perthshire that the £160 million of convergence money that the UK government tried to appropriate from Scotland has been returned.

“Scottish farmers have been short-changed by the UK government for years, and the SNP has argued long and hard for that injustice to be addressed. 

“This funding will play a vital role in helping us meet our agricultural commitments, and will make a crucial difference to the future viability of Scotland’s farming industry.  

“Whilst Brexit remains a massive threat to Scotland’s farming and crofting communities, this funding will help to provide some security to Perthshire farmers during these uncertain times. 

“With future arrangements for agriculture still unclear amidst the turmoil of Brexit, it is absolutely vital that Perthshire agriculture benefits from the EU support to which the sector is entitled, while it still can.

“We now need real commitments over future funding, and an end to the attempted power grab over farming powers that should rightfully be at the Scottish Parliament.”

Local News, Farming, Rural
Swinney welcomes climate change action
Published date : 26 Sep 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has voted in favour of the Climate Change Bill, meaning that Scotland will now have the most ambitious statutory targets in the world and its contribution to climate change will end, definitively, within a generation.

The landmark legislation commits Scotland to becoming a net-zero society by 2045 – five years before the rest of the UK and in line with the advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change. 

The Scottish Government also adopted an ambitious new target to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 – the toughest statutory target of any country in the world.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Scotland is rightly recognised as a world-leader in tackling climate change – we were one of the first countries to declare a climate emergency, and the SNP is now leading by example by committing to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. 

“Ending our contribution to climate change will enable us to grow Perthshire’s economy and productivity, and improve the wellbeing of everyone who lives here. 

“While Westminster is consumed by chaos and the Tories have abandoned any pretence of a domestic agenda, the SNP government is ready and willing to take necessary steps to improve people’s lives and take the action scientists tell us is necessary.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity, and the defining political issue for all of us. 

“We have a moral duty to future generations to tackle climate change now and the forthcoming Climate Change Bill delivers on that commitment.”

Local News, Energy, Environment
Swinney and Wishart comment on James Hutton Institute
Published date : 23 Sep 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today commented on the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the James Hutton Institute.

The company, which has one of its two bases located in Invergowrie, has publicly confirmed the need for redundancies. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I have been a long-term supporter of the James Hutton Institute, and have seen first-hand the positive impact of their work.

 “Accordingly, I was very sorry to learn about the prospect of job losses, and I am mindful of the fact that this news will cause significant worry to their workforce.

“I have been in regular contact with management and staff at the James Hutton Institute regarding these difficulties and I will continue that dialogue, in addition to the trade unions and the Scottish Government.

 “In the days ahead, I will be formally meeting with the management team at JHI. I will also continue to engage with the Scottish Government to explore any potential support that can be offered to this important local employer.”

Mr Wishart added:

“The James Hutton Institute are an important employer in my constituency and I understand there have been a number of recent funding issues. James Hutton have received significant support and advice from the Scottish Government. The work that the Hutton Institutes does is stellar and I am proud that they are based in my constituency.”

Local News, Funding, Business
Swinney and Wishart host Pitlochry public meeting
Published date : 23 Sep 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have hosted a public meeting for constituents in Pitlochry.

The meeting, which allowed members of the public to quiz the pair on any areas of concern, took place on Thursday 19th September.

Brexit proved to be the main talking point for most local residents, with the politicians fielding several questions surrounding the issue.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Public meetings are an important chance for local residents to speak to their elected representatives, and to raise with them issues of importance. Moreover, it is an extremely beneficial exercise for politicians, as it allows us to stay attuned to the concerns of our constituents.

“What was absolutely clear from last night’s meeting is that public concern over Brexit has in no way abated. Rather, the haphazard actions of Boris Johnson – and the willingness of Scottish Tories to enable his damaging actions – has only increased the sense of anger and injustice amongst residents of Highland Perthshire.

“Pete Wishart and I will continue to stand up for all areas of Perthshire, and fight to ensure that the much-cherished rights of our EU citizenship are protected and maintained.”

Mr Wishart added:

“‘I was delighted to hold a public meeting in Pitlochry and have the chance to speak to members of the public about a whole host of diverse topics. The people of Pitlochry had a real interest in asking their elected members about a number of local issues, but also about Brexit.”

Local News, Local Communities, Rural
Swinney submits Stone of Destiny views
Published date : 18 Sep 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has formally put forward his views on the Stone of Destiny’s future.

Mr Swinney’s official submission, made via the Scottish Government’s website, formalises his support for bringing the Stone back to Perthshire.

Mr Swinney’s submission makes the case that returning the Stone to Perthshire is appropriate from both a historical and logistical point of view. Moreover, he argues that the return of the Stone will “consolidate and enhance Perth's stature and reputation.”

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“For over two decades, I have campaigned for the return of the Stone of Destiny to Perthshire. I am therefore both thrilled and proud that I have been able to formally submit my views on this subject to Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia.

“The campaign to bring the Stone back to Perthshire has been vigorous, forward-thinking and engaging. I am confident that this strength of feeling, and the powerful arguments for bringing the Stone home, have been properly evidenced in the broad range of submissions put forth in this consultation. I am hopeful that Perth’s bid will ultimately prove successful, and that we will soon be able to celebrate a significant cultural coup for the region.”

Local News, Local Communities
Swinney raises school meal concerns
Published date : 11 Sep 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has written to the Chief Executive of Tayside Contracts to raise concerns about the quality of their school meals.

Mr Swinney has written to Tayside Contracts following conversations with several concerned constituents, along with local media coverage that highlighted the poor quality of meals being served to pupils at Blairgowrie High School.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am very concerned by recent media coverage relating to the quality of food being served to pupils at Blairgowrie High School. This concern has only deepened following conversations with several constituents.

“Given the very clear guidance that exists around the quality of school meals, I am keen to understand Tayside Contracts’ interpretation of their responsibilities, and whether they believe that the food they are currently offering lives up to the requirements of this guidance

“I have therefore written directly to the Chief Executive of Tayside Contracts to seek his views on this clearly unacceptable matter. Given the seriousness of the issues raised, I hope to receive a quick and substantive response. In the interim, I will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Local News, Education
SNP politicians supporting Killiecrankie Visitor Centre
Published date : 10 Sep 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Cllr. Mike Williamson (SNP) have met with key stakeholders to discuss future plans for Killiecrankie Visitor Centre.

The meeting, which was attended by members of Killiecrankie Community Council, the National Trust for Scotland and visitor centre staff, presented an opportunity to discuss future opportunities and challenges for the centre, as well as ways to maximise potential commercial gains. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This was a productive meeting, and I am pleased with the level of engagement displayed by all stakeholders.

“The tone of the meeting was positive, highlighting the important role that the Killiecrankie Visitor Centre plays in promoting local history and re-affirming our commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the facility.

“Going forward, I will work with those involved to ensure that the visitor centre can continue to provide an excellent service to those visiting Killiecrankie.”

Cllr. Williamson added:

“Killiecrankie Visitor Centre is a vital local resource and source of information for tourists. In addition, it is a significant employer within the area.

“To that end, it is important that we continue to support the facility and its staff, in order to allow it to continue to provide a quality, sustainable service.

“I know first-hand how important this facility is to the area and to Highland Perthshire as a whole, and I will continue to engage with key stakeholders going forward.”

Local News, Rural
Swinney and Wishart congratulate Kinnoull Tennis Club
Published date : 04 Sep 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today congratulated Kinnoull Tennis Club on receiving a £5,000 National Lottery Awards for All Scotland grant from SportScotland.

The club will use the funds to make improvements to their tennis clubhouse in Perth. These improvements will make the facility more accessible for disabled players and spectators.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

I am delighted to learn that Kinnoull Tennis Club have received this significant lottery grant.

“The £5000 funding will widen access to the club and improve the overall facilities. This is good news for tennis players across the constituency, and I will be keen to visit the club upon completion of these works.”

Mr Wishart added:

“I congratulate Kinnoull Tennis Club on receiving £5,000 from the National Lottery. 

“I am particularly pleased to hear that they intend to use the grant to make the tennis club more accessible for disabled players and spectators. I wish them all the best with their plans and I would encourage any other community groups to look at what funding may be available to them through the National Lottery.”

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.

Funding, Charity
Swinney welcomes Hamish Henderson debate
Published date : 23 Aug 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed confirmation of a Scottish Parliament members business debate to commemorate the life and work of Hamish Henderson.

Dr Henderson, who was born in Blairgowrie, was one of the most influential Scots of the past century. A noted poet, war hero, gay rights activist, musician and lecturer, Dr Henderson was also a significant and effective campaigner for the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 82.

The debate, which follows on from a parliamentary motion put forward by Joan McAlpine MSP (SNP), is further recognition of Dr Henderson’s contributions to Scotland. It comes in advance of this year’s Hamish Matters Festival, which will celebrate the centenary of his birth, in 1919.

 Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

 “I am delighted that the contributions of Hamish Henderson are to be formally recognised by the Scottish Parliament.

 “It is a source of enormous pride for Blairgowrie, and Perthshire as a whole, that one of Scotland’s greatest sons was born locally. Hamish was not only a poet, a solider or an intellectual – rather, he was a figure who fundamentally altered the tapestry of our nation. Scottish culture has been enriched thanks to the influence of Hamish, and we are a better nation for his work.

 “Although my role as a Government minister meant that I was unable to formally support Joan McAlpine’s motion, I pay tribute to her for the work she has undertaken to honour the legacy of Hamish Henderson. As we celebrate the centenary of Hamish’s birth, it is right that we as a country reflect upon the enormous contribution that Hamish has made to Scottish culture.”

Local News
Swinney and Wishart welcome Stone of Destiny news
Published date : 15 Aug 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today welcomed news that the Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia are to commence a public engagement regarding the future location of the Stone of Destiny.

The engagement, which will run for six weeks, will consider a bid from Perth and Kinross Council for the Stone to form the centrepiece of Perth City Hall, which will undergo a programme of extensive refurbishment. A further proposal is being put forward by Historic Environment Scotland to keep the Stone in Edinburgh Castle.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am grateful that the Commissioners are willing to consider the very compelling case for returning the Stone of Destiny to Perthshire.

“The Stone of Destiny is widely regarded to have been quarried from Perthshire stone, and was used for the coronation of the Kings of Scotland at Scone for many years. It is therefore highly appropriate that the Stone should return to Perthshire.
“The arguments for returning the Stone to Perthshire are not just historical, but also logistical. Perth is within 90 minutes travel time for  over 70% of Scotland’s population, and is therefore ideally located to capitalise on the desire of both everyday Scots and tourists to visit the Stone. Moreover, the Stone will be presented free of charge in a newly renovated Perth City Hall.
“When the Stone was proposed to be moved from Westminster to Edinburgh Castle in 1996, I campaigned for its return to Perthshire. I am therefore delighted that a significant step has been taken towards achieving this goal, and I am sure that the entire region will get behind this campaign.

“I would urge local residents and organisations to submit their views to the consultation making the strong case to return the Stone of Destiny to Perthshire.”

Mr Wishart added: 

“It is welcome news that consideration is now being given to the Stone of Destiny returning to its ancestral home at the heart of Scotland.

I have long supported and championed the claim that Perthshire is the right location for this critically important historical artefact. 

Perth as an ancient capital of Scotland provides the appropriate geographical and historical context for this national treasure, which would be made freely available for all to see as the centrepiece of cultural investment in the City. 

I will be submitting my own view to the consultation strongly in favour of Perthshire’s claim and would encourage those like minded to do the same.”  

Local News, Business, Local Communities, Local Government
Swinney visits Support Choices
Published date : 14 Aug 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has visited Support Choices, a new project from Outside the Box that helps people across Perth and Kinross to get the social care and support that they need.

The project, based out of Dunkeld, is a partnership between Outside the Box and the Care and Wellbeing Co-op.  This complements a new initiative based at the Carers’ Hub at PKAVS and Self-Directed Support (SDS).

Mr Swinney met with Nicky Bolland and other members of staff to discuss their work and the impact they are having across Perthshire.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“It was a pleasure to meet with Nicky and the team at Support Choices.

“Support Choices offer a valuable service to those across Perthshire, ensuring that people are fully aware of the ins and outs of the social care process and the help to which they are entitled.

“I am hopeful that this excellent service expands beyond its current base in Highland Perthshire, and I am fully supportive of the excellent work they are undertaking.”


Local News, Funding, Charity
Plans for Pitlochry toilets confirmed
Published date : 07 Aug 2019

SNP politicians John Swinney MSP and Cllr Mike Williamson have today welcomed the confirmation of plans to extend the opening hours of Pitlochry public toilets.

The toilets will open an extra hour each evening, until 7pm, from Thursday 15th August. The extended opening hours will be trialled in a three-month pilot scheme, under the proviso that it must prove to be self-financing in order to continue.

The move to extend the toilet opening hours comes following a sustained campaign by SNP politicians and local businesses, who have lost out on thousands of potential customers due to coach tour operators by-passing Pitlochry in favour of a town with more readily-available toilet facilities.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am pleased that, following a campaign from the SNP, Perth and Kinross Council have now confirmed plans to extend the opening hours of Pitlochry public toilets. 

“This is hugely welcome news, particularly for the local economy, and I am hopeful that it will go some way to resolving the issues surrounding a lack of toilet facilities for tourists visiting the town.

“It is disappointing that a proactive solution could not be found, and that it took a significant loss of footfall to the area to spur the Tory council into action. It is my hope that, going forward, the council will offer greater support to Highland Perthshire and its businesses.”

Mike Williamson added: 

“I am delighted that a positive solution has been found to a very serious challenge for Pitlochry and its businesses.

“I have strongly advocated the extension of toilet opening hours and, from speaking to business owners, I know that such a move will be hugely welcomed. 

“I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that Pitlochry is best-equipped to take advantage of the increased number of tourists visiting the town on a daily basis.”

Funding, Business, Local Communities, Rural, Local Government
Swinney and Wishart call for Purple Flag accreditation
Published date : 25 Jul 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today urged Perth and Kinross Council to renew Perth’s Purple Flag status.

 The prestigious Purple Flag accreditation, similar to Green Flag status for parks and Blue Flag for beaches, aims to raise standards and maximise the appeal of centres between 5pm and 5am. In 2016, Perth became only the second city in Scotland to be awarded Purple Flag status.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am disappointed that Perth and Kinross Council have chosen not to renew Perth’s Purple Flag accreditation. 

“The Purple Flag status was symbolic of the progress that Perth has made over the past decade, particularly since regaining city status in 2012. 

“The SNP have been at the forefront of this push to maximise Perth’s potential, and it is disappointing to see this progress being undone by the Tories’ parochial approach. I hope that the Tories will reflect on the wider message the loss of accreditation sends about our city and our wider ambitions as a region.”

Mr Wishart added:

“I am saddened to see that the Tory led administration have opted to row back on the great work that was previously done in achieving Purple Flag accreditation. Much like similar schemes which exist to promote the safety of parks and beaches, the Purple Flag scheme highlights town & city centres that offer an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.

“Perth has made significant progress over the years, it is vital the Tories are not responsible for this trend reversing.

“All too often this council have proved that they understand the cost of everything but the value of nothing. These sorts of schemes help to attract visitors into our city centre and I would ask that the administration look again at this matter”

Awards, Business, Local Government
Swinney hails school uniform initiative
Published date : 25 Jul 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today thrown his support being a campaign to provide free school uniforms to families.
The scheme, set up and run by Councillor Tom McEwan and his family, allows parents to donate their child’s old school uniforms, which are then available free of charge to other families.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is an excellent, community-based initiative that will make the lives of local parents easier, whilst reducing the local area’s environmental footprint via the re-use of uniforms.

“Cllr McEwan shares the Scottish Government’s aim of making sure that no parent should have to worry about the cost of school uniforms. It is for this reason that the Scottish Government introduced a school clothing grant to help those on low incomes.”

“I congratulate Cllr McEwan on the successful rollout of this scheme, and I am sure it will prove popular with parents and children alike.”

Cllr McEwan added:

“I have been in close contact with the Parent Councils in Rattray, Newhill, St Stephens, Coupar Angus and Blairgowrie High School to ensure that there is broad support for this scheme.

“I am delighted with the level of enthusiasm that has been displayed by parents, and for the overwhelming amount of donations that so far been received.

“This is a scheme that benefits our children, our community and our environment, and I am hopeful that it can become a yearly tradition.”

Items of clothing can be dropped off at the Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust office at Wellmeadow, Blairgowrie or at Blairgowrie Library. The next date to pick up items is Wednesday, August 7th at Rattray Connect between 10am-3pm and 5pm-8pm. For more information, please call Donna McEwan on 07960442026.

Education, Local Communities
Swinney visits Marie Curie bus
Published date : 23 Jul 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has visited the Marie Curie Bus during its latest stop in Perthshire.
The bus, which seeks to promote the work that Marie Curie undertake within the community and to offer free help to those with concerns about terminal illness, is currently on a 12 week tour of Scotland.

Mr Swinney met with Marie Curie Nurse Manager Lesley Middleton and Nurse Ruth Cameron, along with Marie Curie fundraisers to discuss the importance of their work. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Marie Curie provide an invaluable service to those battling terminal illness, in addition to offering valuable support to their families.

“I was a pleasure to meet with Marie Curie staff and fundraisers to learn more about their hugely important work in the local area and across Scotland as a whole.

“I pay tribute to Marie Curie’s extraordinary impact, and I am hopeful that this great charity can continue to prosper in the years ahead.”


Health, Local Communities, Charity
SNP politicians welcome toilet hours extension
Published date : 21 Jul 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Highland ward councillor Mike Williamson (SNP) have today welcomed news of an extension to the opening hours of Pitlochry’s public toilets.

The toilets, which currently only stay open until 6pm, are at the moment unable to be used by the hundreds of coach tourists who stop in Pitlochry every evening on their way to and from the Highlands. This has resulted in businesses that have signed up to a “comfort scheme” being put under unsustainable pressure, with lines of up to 40 minutes to use the bathroom.

Mr Swinney and Mr Williamson have been vocal in their calls to extend the opening hours of the toilets, and have met with local business owners to hear their concerns. Following these meetings, the SNP politicians liaised with Perth and Kinross council to put forward their view that failing to address this issue would be to the economic detriment of Pitlochry.

Following a meeting on Friday, the council have confirmed that they aim to extend the opening hours until 7pm at the beginning of August. It is the council’s belief that the cost of extending the hours will be offset by the revenue raised from tourists using the facilities.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that, following a period of persistent SNP pressure, the council have reversed their position on extending the opening hours of Pitlochry’s public toilets.

“The situation in Pitlochry was clearly unsustainable. Indeed, some tour bus operators had already begun making plans to bypass their stop at Pitlochry in favour of a town with better facilities.

“Such a decision would have had significant economic repercussions for the town’s economy, with over 10,000 tourists a year no longer being given the opportunity to shop and dine in Pitlochry’s local businesses. 

“I am therefore glad that Cllr Williamson and I were able to successfully convey the depth of concern surrounding this issue, and I am sure news of this move will be greeted positively.”

Mike Williamson added:

“I have been in constant contact with tour bus operators and the council to try and broker a solution to this problem.

“I am pleased that the council have seen sense and heeded the calls of John Swinney and I to engage positively on the issue.

“This extension of opening times will cost nothing but, for the local economy, is worth everything. 

“The SNP will continue to monitor this issue, in order to ensure that local businesses are given the best chance to benefit from the increased footfall that the town is experiencing.”

Business, Local Communities, Rural, Local Government
Tayside oral health improving under SNP
Published date : 15 Jul 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has hailed the latest NHS figures that show NHS dentist registrations have rocketed under the SNP – with 90.7% more adults registered in NHS Tayside since 2007. 
The number of children across the region registered with an NHS dentist has also risen dramatically with 91% now registered - a 32% increase since 2007.  

Previous Labour and Lib Dem administrations at Holyrood oversaw a decline of 4.5% in adults registered with a dentist in NHS Tayside– while the amount of children registered fell by 1.6% 

Across Scotland there are now 107% more adults and 43% more children registered with an NHS dentist than before the SNP came into power.  

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This Scottish Government has taken huge strides in improving the oral health of people in Tayside and across Scotland.

“Since the SNP came to power, efforts to increase the number of people receiving regular dental check-ups is paying off, with the number of adults registered more than doubling across Scotland. 

“Here in Tayside, we’ve seen 91% more adults and 31% more children registered with an NHS dentist since 2007. 

“Of course there’s always room for improvement, and I hope to see more people across Tayside ensuring they are able to access a local NHS dentist.” 

Local News, Health
2950 Perthshire children to be hit by two-child cap
Published date : 10 Jul 2019

17% of the total number of children in the Perth and North Perthshire constituency could be affected by the two-child cap, according to new research  – prompting more calls for the UK Government to scrap the “heartless” policy. 

The “two-child policy” allows low-income families to claim child tax credits or universal credit for their first two children only. 

New research from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has revealed that 160,000 families have had their income slashed by the two-child limit to-date. 

The charity estimates that the benefit cap could eventually affect more than 3 million children. 

MSP for Perthshire North, Mr John Swinney, said: 

“Social security should be a safety net for all of us, but the two-child limit is having a devastating effect on families up and down the country, with 2950 children in Perth and North Perthshire set to be affected by it. 

“All families are valuable and worthy of support, but this heartless policy turns people away when they most need help, and leaves children to grow up in hardship – which can have lifelong consequences for their health and wellbeing. 

“The SNP government has been left to pick up the pieces, investing over £125 million to mitigate callous Tory welfare policies. 

“In addition, we are introducing a Scottish Child Payment to tackle child poverty. Without the two-child cap, this payment could go so much further. 

“The next Tory Prime Minister should make it a priority to tackle poverty and enable children to thrive, starting with reversing the two-child limit and horrendous ‘rape clause.’”

Local News, Benefits
SNP politicians welcome hearing aid service
Published date : 07 Jul 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Highland ward councillor Mike Williamson (SNP) have today welcomed at scheme which aims to make hearing aid maintenance easier for those living in Highland Perthshire.

The scheme, proposed and organised by Cllr. Williamson, will see NHS Tayside partner with Perth and Kinross Council and Culture PKC. Around 30 volunteers will now be available in once monthly in Pitlochry and Aberfeldy to perform maintenance on hearing aids, including cleaning and replacing of tubes and batteries. 

Because of this scheme, those in Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and the surrounding areas who are in need of hearing aid maintenance will no longer be required to either post their hearing aids away or undertake long round-trips.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“This is an excellent, common-sense scheme that will bring tangible benefits to those living in Highland Perthshire.

“I congratulate Cllr. Williamson on bringing this scheme to fruition, which I am sure will prove popular. I am hopeful that this scheme can be built upon and extended across the more rural parts of Highland Perthshire in the months ahead.”

Mike Williamson added: 

“This is an important scheme which will make life much easier and more convenient for those with hearing aids in Highland Perthshire.

“I am delighted that there has been such a positive response to my proposal, and I would like to extend my thanks to the near 30 volunteers who have now received NHS training to service hearing aids.

“Going forward, I will be working to extend this scheme to mobile library buses. This will ensure that those with hearing aids in Highland Perthshire can have access to this service on their doorstep, regardless of location.”

The new services will be available at Pitlochry Community Hospital on the first Tuesday of every month and at Aberfeldy Library on the first Friday of the month. These drop-in clinics are part of a Tayside-wide service delivered by specially trained NHS Hearing Aid Support volunteers.

Local News, Health, Local Communities
Coupar Angus one of top 10 healthiest places to live in UK
Published date : 05 Jul 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today welcomed research that has ranked Coupar Angus as the eighth healthiest place to live in the UK.

The research, undertaken by Liverpool University, examined a number of factors including proximity to fast food outlets, off licences and pubs, alongside access to health services, parks and recreational spaces. The research also found that eight of the ten healthiest places to live in the UK were in Scotland.

The University worked with the Consumer Data Research Centre and Public Health England to collect data including air pollution statistics from the Environment Agency and information from GP surgeries, health centres, fast food shops.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“These findings are further proof that the Scottish Government’s sustained focus on improving public health is succeeding. 

“From minimum unit pricing to ensuring our NHS receives record-high funding of £13.9bn - £4bn more than when we took office – the SNP is committed to making all parts of Scotland healthier, happier places to live.

“I am delighted that the benefits of these policies are being felt so close to home in Coupar Angus, and I am hopeful that we can continue to build upon this excellent progress.”

Mr Wishart added:

“I was pleased to hear that 8 out of the top 10 places to live in the UK are in Scotland and that one of those is right here in my constituency.”

“We obviously must all do more to eat healthily and have an active lifestyle, but I am thrilled that Coupar Angus has been voted as one of the healthiest places to live in the whole of the UK.

“Alongside my colleagues in the Scottish Government, I am keen to do all we can to promote healthy living and to encourage people to make choices that are of the most benefit to their health.”


Local News, Health, Local Communities
Swinney welcomes lottery boost
Published date : 03 Jul 2019

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

The groups – Perth and Kinross Youth Football Association (£7920), Perth Chamber Music (£1068) and Wild Sparks Outdoor Play CIC (£9965) have received a total of £18,953 of funding from the National Lottery Awards for All Scotland.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was delighted to learn of the extra funding that will be benefiting groups within my constituency. I am sure these organisations will put the money to good use, and I look forward to seeing the benefits for local communities in the months and years to come.

“I would also encourage any eligible groups in the Perthshire 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 pleased with positive school report
Published date : 27 Jun 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has congratulated Burrelton Primary School on their recent school inspection.

The Education Scotland report found that, across all quality indicators, the school was achieving “very good” marks. Additionally, no further visits were found to be necessary as part of the inspection.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was pleased to read the very positive inspection report for Burrelton Primary School. Under the leadership of Angela Thomson, it is clear that Burrelton Primary is providing a high-quality education to its pupils.

“I am confident that the school will continue to build upon the progress outlined in Education Scotland’s findings, and I am sure this inspection report will please staff and parents alike.” 

Local News, Education
Swinney congratulates award-winning charity
Published date : 25 Jun 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today congratulated Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) on winning the “People’s Choice Award” at SCVO Scottish Charity Awards 2019.

The “People’s Choice Award” category was open to the public, and saw 34,800 votes cast across all 44 finalists. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance has been recognised for the life-saving work it undertakes.
“From meeting with staff and volunteers, I have seen first-hand the commitment towards helping others that exists within the organisation.

“This award is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary impact SCAA has made on the lives of countless families. I offer SCAA my warmest congratulations and look forward to their continued success in the years to come.

Local News, Charity
School leavers across Perth and Kinross heading for work or study
Published date : 21 Jun 2019

Latest figures from the Scottish Government show that school leavers in Perth and Kinross continue to go on to positive destinations after finishing secondary school.

The latest figures show 95.7% of young people across the region going into further or higher education, employment or training nine months after leaving school, This is a rise on 2016/17 levels, that sat at 94.0%. 
Across Scotland, the number of school leavers reaching a positive destination has risen to 93.2% - the highest level since comparable figures began in 2009/10 when 85.2% of young people entered a positive destination. 
Of those in positive destinations across Scotland, 39% are at University and 22.7% are at college, while 28.3% are in employment. 

The proportion of looked-after children entering further and higher education is now also at a record high. The proportion of looked-after young people in positive destinations nine months after leaving school has increased to 76% over the past five years.

Commenting on the latest stats, Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, said:

“Education is the Scottish Government’s number one priority and these figures show that the SNP’s approach is working for young people here in Perth and Kinross 

“More young people across the region are going on to positive destinations than before – up from 94% to 95.7% over the last year. 

“This is fantastic news for our community and testament to the hard work of our teachers here in Perth and Kinross and across Scotland. 

“While these figures are extremely encouraging, this SNP Government will keep working tirelessly to improve Scotland’s education. 

“It is now time for local politicians to stop sniping and get behind the SNP’s positive efforts to ensure all our young people have the opportunity to realise their full potential.” 

Local News, Education
Swinney disappointed by latest Rec Centre setback
Published date : 18 Jun 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today expressed dismay at news of a further delay to the new Blairgowrie Recreation Centre.

The centre, originally slated for completion in 2020, has been subject to a series of delays and multi-million pound budget cuts by the Tory council. Opposition to these cuts led to over 1500 local residents signing a petition demanding that the centre be fully funded to the original amount of £17.7m. Despite this, the final level of funding fell significantly short of the original £17.7m. It has now been revealed by Perth and Kinross Council that the centre is unlikely to be completed before 2023.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, by this latest setback.

“This project has been mismanaged since the Tories came to power in 2017. Indeed, the people of Blairgowrie have been let down not just by the Tories’ obsession with spending cuts, but by their inability to properly deliver this important infrastructure project.

“A significant amount of local goodwill towards this project has now been squandered as a result of Tory incompetence. It is now vital that the administration proactively engage with the local community and take steps to address the very legitimate concerns expressed regarding both the scope and timescale of this project.

“I would encourage the Tory council to take all possible steps to expedite this project. A new recreation centre is too important for the future of Blairgowrie and the surrounding area to be subject to any further delays.”

Local News, Funding, Local Communities, Local Government
Swinney commends Asda’s Happy Little Helper initiative
Published date : 17 Jun 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today (17th June) visited Asda’s Perth store to learn about steps being taken to support children with additional needs.

To help make visits to the store less stressful for children with learning and communication difficulties, Asda recently rolled out their Happy Little Helper boards with Makaton counters to all local stores throughout the UK. 
This partnership with The Makaton Charity has allowed Asda to create a visual shopping list using well-known black and white symbols that are already familiar to children through their use in school and support groups. These visual shopping lists therefore keep the children interested and engaged, thus making the shopping trip less stressful for the child.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was delighted to hear of the steps being taken by Asda to support children with additional needs.

“These visual shopping lists capture children’s interest, give them an active challenge and make the shopping trip more fun.  

“I congratulate Asda on the proactive steps they have taken to improve the experience of both children and parents. It is my hope that other businesses will follow their lead in providing support that is tailored specifically for children with additional needs.”

Local News, Business
Swinney encourages smear test dialogue
Published date : 11 Jun 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has teamed up with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust charity to encourage women to attend their smear test in order to prevent cervical cancer.

Around 220,000 women are diagnosed with cell changes (abnormalities) every year in the UK following a smear test.  Treatment for cell changes, given to prevent development of cervical cancer, is highly successful and 80% treated will not experience a recurrence.  

However, new research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has found that some women having treatment for cervical cell changes are not being informed about potential side effects. Many are unprepared for impacts such as pelvic pain, bleeding, anxiety and even loss of sex life, with the severity of some far greater than the current literature suggests. High numbers remain fearful of their cancer risk many years after treatment. 

The new report ‘Not so simple. The impact of cervical cell changes and treatment’ highlights one in five (20%) of the 1,622 women surveyed said possible impacts of treatment were not explained to them.  There was variation in the number aware of specific side effects. While 86%[1] experienced bleeding or spotting for up to 6 weeks, one in seven (15%) were unaware of this common side effect.  The charity wants to see standardised information about potential side effects. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:  

“I am pleased to support Cervical Screening Awareness Week to highlight the importance of cervical screening, a 5 minute test that can prevent cervical cancer.

“220,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cell changes from their smear test every year which can be a confusing and distressing diagnosis.  Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust have published a useful ‘jargon buster’ to explain what all the terms mean and are calling for more support for those affected.”

Rebecca Shoosmith, Head of Support Services, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: 

“While treatment for cell changes remains highly effective, we must start to see it as more than just a simple procedure and acknowledge the impact diagnosis and treatment can have on women. 

“There has been lots of focus on the needs of those attending screening, and of those with a cancer diagnosis, but this is a group who have previously been overlooked. Better information provision and support for those having treatment is essential.

“While for many women diagnosis and treatment is relatively straightforward, it is clear that for others it is the opposite. The psychological impact can be significant and feeling uninformed will only add to women feeling less able to seek support. While appointment time in colposcopy is limited, there is a clear need for greater discussion about side effects. Other health professionals such as GPs and practice nurses should also take the time to ask questions and ascertain if further support is needed.”

Marianne Wood, Nurse Colposcopist added:

“This report provides an opportunity for Colposcopists to look at their existing practice and identify where improvements are needed. This includes looking at the written information provided and how much time is dedicated to talking with patients before and after treatment.

“It is vital that women fully understand what is happening to them and feel able to manage any side effects. We must remember that every woman is different and will need an individualised approach to their treatment.”

Local News, Health
Swinney congratulates award-winning cafe
Published date : 10 Jun 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has paid tribute to the AliBob @ Cairn O’Mohr café.

Mr Swinney, who recently visited the Errol-based café and met with staff, paid tribute to the consistently high standards of the café. Last week, the café won the “Best Family Cafe in Perth & Kinross” and “Culinary Excellence in Healthy Cuisine 2019” at the Lux Restaurant and Bar Awards. In March, they also won “Coffee Shop of the Year” at the Menu Food and Drink Awards.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“AliBob @ Cairn O‘Mohr is a Perthshire institution, and is rightly receiving commendations for their consistently high-quality food and drink.

“It is no surprise that people travel from all over Perthshire to sample the outstanding food and welcoming atmosphere that has been cultivated at AliBob café. I offer my warmest congratulations to Ali, Bob and the entire team, and wish them many more years of success.”

Local News, Awards, Business
Fall in violent crime across Perth and Kinross
Published date : 05 Jun 2019

New analysis has revealed that serious violent crime has fallen by 11% in Perth and Kinross in a decade. 

The figures, published by the Scottish Government, reveal the significant fall between 2008/09 and 2017/18. Moreover, the level of violent crime has fallen by 38% across Scotland.

A separate study into the age and gender of those convicted of certain violent crimes over the same period highlands the reduction in the proportion of younger offenders, as well as an overall fall in convictions. 

Adults in Scotland are less likely to be a victim of crime than those in England and Wales – after a 40% fall in crime since the SNP came to power.  

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“These new figures are encouraging, and reflect a significant reduction in violence across Perth and Kinross – yet more proof that the Scottish Government’s evidence-based approach to justice and rehabilitation is working.  
“The fall in violent crime also coincides with a rise in police numbers since the SNP came to power – in contrast to England and Wales, where police numbers have fallen by almost 20,000. 

“It’s vital that we build on this progress. The SNP in government will continue investing in crime prevention initiatives, and working with police and others to further understand and reduce violence wherever it persists. ”

Local News, Local Communities, Police
Swinney welcomes Warmer Homes Scotland impact
Published date : 03 Jun 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed the impact of Warmer Homes Scotland on fuel-poor households in his constituency.

Over 150 households in Mr Swinney’s constituency have benefited from the scheme since it launched in 2015, with each home saving over £300 on their energy bills per annum.

The £224m Warmer Homes Scotland scheme provides a step-by-step service to help make homes warmer and more comfortable. Assistance can include installing new and more efficient boilers, fitting new radiators, insulating lofts or working with partners to install gas mains to make heating homes in hard-to-reach areas more affordable. All work is carried out by registered and accredited local sub-contractors.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: “I welcome the impact that Warmer Homes Scotland has made in my constituency. 

“The Scottish Government recognises that, for too many families, living in fuel poverty is a harsh reality. Accordingly, we have taken bold action to ensure that households across Perthshire and beyond now have access to warmer homes with greatly reduced fuel bills.

“I would encourage my constituents to check if they are eligible to receive help under this scheme, as improvements could make a significant difference this winter and for years to come.”

Ross Armstrong, Warmworks’ Managing Director, added: “The most valuable difference that Warmer Homes Scotland can make is to give people the comfort and peace of mind that they can afford to stay warm in their own home. 

“We are delighted to have helped over 150 households in John Swinney’s constituency and we hope to build on our efforts in the years to come."

Fuel poverty remains at the forefront of the Scottish Government’s agenda, having recently released the Energy Efficient Scotland route map, which outlines the path the Government wishes to take to make Scottish homes more efficient by 2040. The Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill has also recently been introduced, which makes a statutory provision to help those who are living in fuel poverty.

Local News, Funding, Housing, Environment
Swinney and Pover meet with Errol residents
Published date : 25 May 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Carse of Gowrie Councillor Beth Pover have today (Friday), met with local residents in the Errol Station area to hear of their concerns about speeding traffic in the vicinity and driver carelessness in connection with the level crossing in the area.

Local residents have seen an increase in traffic volumes in the area over the years with many heavy goods vehicles using the road to access the broad range of businesses in the locality. With this increase in traffic has come many examples of speeding cars and lorries that do not respect the 30mph speed limit and a lack of careful driving in relation to the level crossing on the road.

Mr Swinney and Cllr Pover intend to raise the concerns of local people with Perth and Kinross Council and to urge the council to take action to address the situation. They will also raise the concerns about speeding with Police Scotland.

Mr Swinney said :

“I completely understand the concerns of local residents. 

“This is a very busy road that is used by a range of car and HGV drivers. It is also a route used by many cyclists and pedestrians. It is important that road safety is paramount and that all appropriate measures are taken to address the concerns of my constituents. 

“The fact that speeding is taking place at all is a danger, but when it is combined with a lack of care in connection with the level crossing it is deeply troubling.”

Cllr Pover said :

“I am pleased that local residents have raised their concerns with me and I will take these up, with John Swinney MSP, with Perth and Kinross Council and Police Scotland. 

“It is vital that our roads in the Carse, which carry such a significant volume of personal and business traffic, are safe for all users. 

“I will take these points up with the council and pledge to work with the local community to address their concerns.”

Local News, Roads, Local Communities, Local Government
Swinney supports MS Awareness Week
Published date : 03 May 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has attended an MS Society Scotland event held at the Scottish Parliament. 

The event, which coincided with Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, sought to highlight the important research being undertaken by MS Society Scotland as they work to develop better treatments for those suffering from the disease.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“MS Society Scotland are at the forefront of the fight against MS, championing crucial research and providing support to those affected by this cruel disease.

“With over 11,000 people across Scotland currently battling MS, it is vital that we fully support any and all efforts to improve the quality of care and treatment available to patients.

“Accordingly, I am proud to back the important work of MS Society Scotland, and I pay tribute to their tireless efforts to combat this illness.”

Morna Simpkins, director of MS Society Scotland added: 

“This MS Awareness Week we are highlighting the importance of MS research. 

“For more than 11,000 people in Scotland, living with MS is a daily reality. This is why the MS Society is driving cutting-edge research into more – and better - treatments to ultimately stop MS. 

“By contributing and joining a global group of fundraisers people can help us find new treatments for people living with the often painful and exhausting condition.” 

MS Society Scotland currently funds ten research projects in Scotland, with studies receiving £3.56m over their lifetimes. For MS support and information, please contact 0808 800 8000.

Local News, Health
Swinney encourages funding applications
Published date : 11 Apr 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today encouraged local organisations, charities and community groups to apply for funding from SSE’s Perth and Kinross Sustainable Development Fund.

The fund, which is making £240,000 available, aims to supportive “transformative” projects that increase opportunities for education and employment, build resilience, protect vulnerable residents and stimulate meaningful community regeneration.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“SSE’s Perth and Kinross Sustainable Development Fund is an excellent opportunity for local groups to obtain significant funding.

“The money on offer will directly benefit communities across Perthshire, and I would therefore encourage any eligible organisations within my constituency to complete an application form.

“I would like to put on record my thanks to SSE for their financial commitment to this fund, and for their continued support of worthwhile causes across the region.”

The deadline for applications to be received is 12 Noon on 25 July 2019. Fund guidelines and an application form are attached to this email or are available at:

Local News, Funding
Swinney calls for Scottish farmers support
Published date : 05 Apr 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has said that DEFRA must choose whether to “back or betray” Scottish farmers, and has demanded that they receive £160m in funding to which they are entitled. 
The call comes as Conservative MP Robert Goodwill, the newly-appointed UK Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food visits the North-east tomorrow.  Mr Goodwill was appointed following the resignation of former Minister George Eustice, a casualty of the latest round of Tory in-fighting over Brexit.
In October 2018, DEFRA, under pressure from the Scottish Government, announced a long-overdue review into funding for farmers post-Brexit, but have repeatedly failed to address Scottish farmers’ concerns about Westminster's decision to withhold £160m in convergence payments.  This money is an uplift of EU CAP payments which the UK received because of the low per hectare rate of support received by Scottish farmers.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“Scottish farmers have not forgotten that the UK Tory Government has withheld £160m in funding rightfully due to them.  It is solely because of Scotland that the UK, as the Member State, qualified for this funding.
“The new Minister has an opportunity early in his tenure to set right this historic wrong. With future arrangements for agriculture still unclear amidst the turmoil around Brexit, it is vital Scottish agriculture benefits from the EU support to which the sector is entitled while it still can. 
“It is overwhelmingly in the interests of Scottish farmers to, at the very least, remain in the Customs Union and Single Market. The fact that we are a week from potentially crashing out of the EU with no deal at all, and with no indication of the UK’s plans for agricultural support in the medium to longer term, is causing immense anxiety to farmers. 
“Farmers will be expecting more than warm words from Mr Goodwill.  He needs to send a clear signal to Scottish farmers that he understands their distinct challenges and is prepared to pay them what is rightfully theirs.  In other words, he needs to decide whether he will back Scotland’s farmers, or betray them.”


Local News, Local Communities, Farming
Swinney welcomes Pitlochry Community Hospital assurances
Published date : 28 Mar 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed assurances from the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership that minor injury and illness services will not be closing in Pitlochry.

The confirmation comes after recent media reports claimed that these services would be shut down before the end of 2019.

Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership have also confirmed that they will be engaging with local GPs, staff and members of the local community as they develop a Community Care and Treatment (CCAT) Hub to boost services already provided in the current Minor Injury and Illness Unit (MIIU).

There was also confirmation that, following recent opening hours changes, the Pitlochry Minor Injury and Illness Unit opening times will be extended again from April 1st.
During April, the MIIU will be open through the week, Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm and will reopen over the weekend between 9am to 9pm. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“I am pleased that Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership have offered assurances over the future of services at Pitlochry Community Hospital. I also welcome the significant steps being taken to ensure that those across Highland Perthshire will continue to have access to quality, local healthcare. 

“It is regrettable that the coverage of these changes has caused significant worry to my constituents, many of whom rely upon the services provided by Pitlochry Community Hospital.  It is my hope that, following clarification directly from Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, the actions being taken to safeguard and enhance health services in Highland Perthshire will be portrayed in a more positive manner.” 

Local News, Health
Swinney concerned by fall in overseas workers
Published date : 25 Mar 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has said that the Tories’ “narrow-minded Brexit rhetoric” is to blame for the fall in the number of overseas workers coming to Perthshire – and warned of the resulting damage to the economy and public services.

The latest figures from the DWP reveal a 25% drop in the number of National Insurance registrations by overseas workers coming to Perth and Kinross between 2015 and 2018.

The figures reinforce warnings that Perthshire faces a demographic crisis that could hammer public services, as an ageing population leaves Scotland with fewer working-age taxpayers.
All of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years is projected to come from migration.  

Analysis by the Scottish Government has found that Westminster proposals to cut migration to the tens of thousands would cost the Scottish economy up to £10 billion per year by 2040.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The Tory government’s hostile approach to migration is failing Perthshire.

“Their anti-immigrant obsession and narrow-minded Brexit rhetoric is driving people away from Scotland, and putting public services across the region under needless pressure.  

“The simple fact is that without inward migration our working-age population will decline, making it harder to fund vital public services like hospitals and schools in the future.
“It is now imperative for Scotland to have the powers to set an immigration policy which suits our specific needs and recognises the huge benefits migrant workers being to our economy and society.”


Local News, Local Communities
Swinney visits Birken Tree
Published date : 19 Mar 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has visited Birken Tree – a new business within his constituency.

Founded by husband and wife team Rob and Gabrielle, Birken Tree harvest birch sap from wild birch trees to produce Birchwater. This is a revival of a Highland tradition, opening up commercial opportunities from forestry and delivering health benefits to drinkers.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“It was a pleasure to meet with Rob and Gabrielle, and to discuss their exciting plans going forward. 

“Birchwater is an often-overlooked Highland tradition, and I am therefore pleased that Rob and Gabrielle are seeking to raise awareness of its benefits.

“It was clear from our discussions that they are both exceptionally dedicated and knowledgeable, and I am confident that this passion will lend itself to commercial success.” 

Business, Local Communities
SNP rates cap saves Perth and Kinross Businesses £700k
Published date : 12 Mar 2019

New figures released by the Scottish Government estimate that businesses across Perth and Kinross will save £700,000 thanks to an SNP policy to protect small businesses.   

The Scottish Government’s decision to cap increases in poundage rates to below inflation will result in lower business rates for firms across Scotland. 

The move will save businesses in Scotland a total of £35.2 million - leaving 90% of businesses facing a lower poundage than in England.

Perthshire North MSP, John Swinney, has said small businesses in the local area will also benefit from a host of targeted rates relief measures worth more than £750 million. 

Announced by SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay in his 2019/20 budget, businesses across Scotland will continue to benefit from the Small Business Bonus, ensuring that 100,000 businesses pay no rates whatsoever. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“I am delighted that businesses across Perth and Kinross will save £700,000 thanks to the SNP’s latest measure to protect small businesses. 

“In the face of Westminster chaos, this SNP Government has delivered a package of new initiatives that deliver for Scotland’s economy while safeguarding the future for small businesses. 

“With the Scottish Government continuing to support the region through the Tay Cities Deal and £1.98m on its way to Perth and Kinross as part of the new Town Centre Fund, this policy is just one of many introduced by the SNP that ensures Perthshire remains a great best place to invest and do business.” 



Local News, Business, Tax
Swinney and Wishart welcome Lottery funding
Published date : 05 Mar 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today welcomed news that three organisations within their constituencies have been successful in applying for National Lottery funding.

The groups – Perthshire Pride, St Madoes and Kinfauns Church of Scotland and Kirkmichael Social & Recreation Hall, have secured total funding of £28,750 after applying to the National Lottery Awards for All Scotland.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that these worthwhile groups are to receive funding. Each of these organisations play an important role within the wider Perthshire community, and it is right that their good work is recognised in the form of additional funding. Cash injections of this size are hugely significant for local groups, and I am sure that the money will be put to good use.

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

Mr Wishart added:

“I am really pleased that these groups in my constituency have secured funding from the National Lottery. Historically groups in Perthshire have been very successful in getting funding this way and I would encourage anyone who is involved with local groups to consider making an application.

“Securing funding from an organisation like the National Lottery can often open up other streams of revenue which will often consider match-funding projects.”

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 welcomes Town Centre Fund
Published date : 01 Mar 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has called on Perth and Kinross Council to make the most of its funding allocation from the Scottish Government’s £50 million Town Centre Fund. 

Announced by SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay during his budget statement, the new fund aims to drive local economic growth by helping town centres fund projects such as re-purposing buildings for retail, business and community enterprise, while improving access and infrastructure.  

After allocations were announced this week by the Scottish Government, it has now been confirmed that Perth and Kinross will receive a share of £1,983,000 from the new ring-fenced fund.  

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“This funding announcement can help transform town centres in Perth and Kinross, such as Pitlochry, Blairgowrie and Aberfeldy.

“The health of our town centres is vital to the economic and cultural life of our communities – and this new investment can make a real difference. 

“Perth and Kinross Council must now ensure that the £1.98m is spent wisely, and ensure that our local town centres reap the benefits of this huge investment. 

“The SNP’s Town Centre Fund is part of a wider package of business support measures that will help drive economic activity in Perth and Kinross, helping give our local high streets a welcome boost.” 

Local News, Funding, Local Communities
Swinney promotes Brexit readiness website
Published date : 27 Feb 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today urged business owners within his constituency to make use of – a website that features a Brexit self-assessment tool to help businesses identify how they may be affected by Brexit and what they can do to prepare. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“With continued uncertainty around Brexit and 29th March just around the corner, it is more important than ever that we do all we can to enable businesses to prepare for a variety of potential scenarios.

“ is a crucial tool for businesses.  It highlights the risks and challenges of the new economic landscape and specifies areas that a business will need to plan for, providing tailored recommendations and suggested events, services and support available.  The website is also home to a 15-point checklist, news, articles, access to experts and event listings.  

“Every business - even those that do not export to, or import from, the EU - will be affected by Brexit, and they need to pick up information as quickly as they can. The Scottish Government will continue to do all it can to support businesses during this time of uncertainty, and I would urge all business owners across Perthshire to use this excellent resource.”

NOTES  - Prepare For Brexit website

Swinney supports Hamish Henderson motion
Published date : 26 Feb 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed a Scottish Parliament motion marking the centenary of Hamish Henderson’s birth.
Henderson, who was born in Blairgowrie, is one of the most influential Scots of the past century. A noted poet, war hero, gay rights activist, musician and lecturer,  he was also one of the artists who made such a contribution to press for the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament. Hamish passed away in 2002 at the age of 82.
The motion, put forward by Joan McAlpine MSP (SNP), is further recognition for Hamish Henderson’s contributions to Scotland. It comes just three months after his birthplace of Blairgowrie hosted its annual Hamish Matters Festival – a weeklong celebration of Hamish’s life and achievements. 
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“I am delighted that the contributions of Hamish Henderson are to be formally recognised by the Scottish Parliament.
“It is a source of enormous pride for Blairgowrie, and Perthshire as a whole, that one of Scotland’s greatest sons was born locally. Hamish’s contributions go beyond merely his vocations and interests. He was not simply a poet, a solider or an intellectual – rather, he was a figure who fundamentally altered the tapestry of our nation. Scottish culture has been enriched thanks to the influence of Hamish, and we are a better nation for his work.
“Although my role as a Government minister means that I am unable to formally support a motion, I pay tribute to Joan McAlpine for her work to honour the legacy of Hamish Henderson. I am confident that the deep admiration that is felt across the nation for Hamish will be reflected in Parliament’s backing of this motion.”

Local News
Perthshire Politicians to host wild camping meeting
Published date : 21 Feb 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Councillor Mike Williamson (SNP) are to host a second meeting to discuss the environmental impact of wild camping in Highland Perthshire.

The meeting, due to take place tomorrow (22nd February), will bring together a wide range of stakeholders including SSE, The Forestry Commission, Police Scotland and local riparian owners.

This will be the second meeting held by the SNP politicians, following on from an open meeting held late last year in Pitlochry, which allowed locals to share their experience of the impact of wild camping – from grey waste dumping, to littering to antisocial behaviour. Following this meeting, Mr Swinney and Mr Williamson engaged with stakeholders to discuss potential solutions and ways to minimise the environmental damage of wild camping.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am pleased that another meeting has been convened to discuss how best to approach the issue of wild camping. 

“Whilst the increased levels of tourism to Highland Perthshire are hugely welcome, it is important that what brings many people to the area – its unspoiled beauty – is not damaged.

“This meeting will allow us to sample to views of several key groups, and to discuss what measures would be appropriate to address the legitimate concerns of the residents of Highland Perthshire.”

Mike Williamson added:

“As elected representatives, we have a responsibility to safeguard the environment and reputation of Highland Perthshire.  Accordingly, I am very happy that further attention is being drawn to the unwanted consequences of wild camping.

“In order to make any progress on this matter, it is important that all parties work together in order to balance the need to protecting the environment with the need to continue attracting people to this stunning part of Perthshire.”

Local News, Local Communities, Environment
Swinney warns of ‘No Deal’ cost to Perthshire
Published date : 21 Feb 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today warmed of the economic shock facing Perthshire in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.

His warning comes after Scottish Government figures showed that up to 19% of the workforce across Perth and Kinross is at serious risk. 

In a report published today [21st February], the Chief Economic Advisor to Scotland has warned that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would hammer Scotland’s economy, with national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) predicted to fall by up to 7%.

Rural industries are the at the most risk, with agriculture, food and fishing sectors set to be worst hit by the impact of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.   

The Scottish Government report concluded that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit has the potential to push the Scottish economy into recession, with unemployment rising and trade and investment disrupted. If prolonged, the shock of Scotland’s departure from the EU could lead to significant structural change in the economy.

Previous research has already shown the damage of the Tories’ proposed Brexit deal, which would see a 6% fall in GDP by 2031, costing each person in Perthshire £1,600. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney, said:

“A ‘No Deal’ Brexit is simply not an option for Perthshire, particularly when so much of local economy depends on the short-term seasonal employment of EU nationals. 

“We have so much to lose here with up to of 19% of our local workforce at risk from serious economic shock and possible job losses in the event of ‘No Deal’.

“This outcome is not inevitable – but we know that Theresa May’s deal is dead in the water, with even her own party refusing to accept it. The SNP has fought tooth and nail to seek an extension to the Article 50 process, and find compromise to protect Scotland’s interests. 

“But Scotland is being ignored by Westminster and it’s no wonder people have completely lost trust the UK Government. 

“While local Tory politicians continue to ignore Perthshire’s interests and stand in the way of Scotland making decisions over our own destiny, more and more people are drawn to the opportunities and hope for the future that independence offers.

“We need to stop the clock on Brexit, rule out No Deal and prevent the Tories dragging Scotland out of the EU against our will.”


No Deal Brexit – Economic Implications for Scotland -

Local News, Local Communities
Perthshire GP practices receive funding boost
Published date : 13 Feb 2019

GP practices in Perthshire will receive a funding boost this year, the Scottish Government has unveiled.

The Scottish Government has announced that an additional £20 million support will be given to GP practices across Scotland to help with the costs of running their practices. 

The ‘GP Premises Sustainability Loan Scheme’ aims to ease the financial burden associated with owning a General Practice – in turn helping to improve recruitment and retention. It means that GPs who own their own premises can apply for long-term interest-free loans worth up to 20% of their practice’s value.

A total of 172 practices across Scotland have successfully applied for loans – around 50% of the total eligible. 

The new GP contract in Scotland is backed by £110 million in 2018/19 to ensure that GPs are able to spend more time with patients, and less time on paperwork. The Scottish Government is investing a further £7.5 million to improve GP recruitment and retention in 2018/19. 

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney commented: 

“People in Perthshire will welcome this significant investment in our local NHS service, which will help family doctors deal with the costs of running their practice. 

“The extra investment will make becoming a GP an attractive career choice and encourage more people to join the profession - which will in turn make it easier for practices in Scotland to retain and recruit staff.

“This news is extremely encouraging, especially for those practices in rural areas who may struggle to recruit new members of staff. I encourage eligible GPs in Perthshire to consider whether they would benefit from this scheme. 

“The NHS is one of our most treasured institutions, and the SNP in government is absolutely committed to ensuring it stays fit for the future.”


The GP Premises Loan Scheme opened in November 2018 and is backed with £30 million of Scottish Government funding. Today’s announcement takes the total investment to £50 million before April 2021. 

Under the initiative, funding is available up to 20% of the practice’s value. The loan is repayable when the premises are no longer used for providing primary care medical services under an NHS contract, or when they are sold. 

Local News, Health, Funding
Council's statutory duty failure highlighted
Published date : 08 Feb 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Councillor Mike Williamson (SNP) have highlighted the failure of Perth and Kinross Council to list appropriately all Common Good property belonging to the Pitlochry Common Good Fund.

The register of Common Good property is required by law to be compiled by the council.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“It is of crucial importance that the Pitlochry Common Good Fund is satisfactorily audited. 

“The Common Good Fund exists for the betterment of all Pitlochry, and it is therefore unacceptable that basic steps are not being taken to protect and maximise its potential benefits for the town.

“Having now highlighted this issue, it is incumbent upon the council administration to take steps to swiftly rectify this serious oversight.”

Councillor Williamson added:

“I am astonished that the Tories running Perth and Kinross Council have allowed this omission from our statutory responsibilities to go unchecked and I call upon the Leader of the council to take urgent action straight away.

“I am also concerned at any suggestion that lack of staff or underfunding by the Conservative administration has caused this failure to provide a complete audit of the Pitlochry Common Good assets by last year’s deadline.

“Residents of Pitlochry will be outraged that their Common Good Fund committee does not have any idea which properties within the town should be included on their asset register.

“Pitlochry Common Good assets essentially belong to the town, so this failure to basically stock check property presents a direct risk to the fund which may have resulted in a lower amount of funding being available to support good causes within Pitlochry.

“This is a totally unacceptable failure within the council and I will maintain pressure on the council’s Tory leadership until they get a grip on this issue.”

Local News, Funding, Local Communities, Local Government
Perthshire politicians host public meeting
Published date : 08 Feb 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today challenged the UK Government to provide clarity to EU nationals living in Perthshire and beyond.

Their renewed call comes after the SNP politicians hosted a joint public meeting for EU nationals at the Soutar Theatre in Perth. The meeting attracted over 100 attendees, and sought to assuage the fears of Perthshire-based EU nationals.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said

“Thursday’s meeting was a sombre experience. To witness first-hand the hurt, worry and uncertainty of my constituents was sobering, and sharply brought into focus the human cost of Brexit.

“After this meeting, it is clearer than ever that there are serious concerns and questions surrounding the EU Settlement Scheme. Whilst the SNP fundamentally oppose the dehumanising process of forcing people who have lived in Scotland for years to apply for the rights they already have, if such a scheme is put in place then it is crucial that it is well organised and clear for applicants. From speaking to my constituents, this is patently not the case.

“To date, the UK Government has utterly failed EU nationals in Perthshire and beyond. No Government is perfect, and all administrations will make mistakes, but to fail the most basic test of treating people with dignity and respect is unconscionable.

“To that end, Pete Wishart and I will once more be writing to the Home Secretary to express our serious concerns regarding the EU Settlement Scheme, and to highlight the plight of our constituents.” 

Commenting, Mr Wishart said:

“At the meeting we heard from Perth and Kinross residents who have lived here for decades, some over 50 years, who are being told that they have to apply to stay in the place they call home. We heard the frustration that EU nationals face, having been told that they have the right to permanent residency one minute, to being told that they must register in order to stay here the next. It was heart-breaking to hear fellow citizens speak about the hurt, anger and misery that this whole sorry affair has brought them.

“I am determined to encourage EU nationals to stay in Perthshire and to let them know that we very much value to contribution that they make to society. Alongside writing to the Home Secretary over the disastrous application scheme, we have also promised to host a follow-up meeting to continue to offer support to EU nationals going forward.”

The follow-up meeting will take over the next couple of months, and in the interim Mr Swinney and Mr Wishart will continue to provide individual support to constituents.

Local News, Local Communities
Swinney and Wishart to hold public meeting
Published date : 01 Feb 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have invited all EU nationals within their constituencies to a public meeting.

The meeting, which takes place at the Soutar Theatre at 7pm on Thursday February 7th, will seek to offer guidance, support and reassurance to EU nationals who are worried about their future due to ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

Perth and North Perthshire MP, Pete Wishart said:

“The sheer number of EU nationals who have approached me or my office is staggering and there are many who are not aware of the UK Government Settled Status Scheme. I personally think it is appalling to ask people, some who have been here for over 40 years, to apply for the status that they already hold.

“This event will provide ample opportunity to discuss the political issues that still surround Brexit but to also provide practical advice on what EU nationals should do next to ensure they remain on the right side of Home Office rules.

“I value the contributions that EU nationals make right across Perthshire and I want them to know that they are extremely valued, despite some of the rhetoric that comes from the UK Government and sections of the right-wing media.”

Mr Swinney added:

“For the past two and a half years, almost every EU national I have spoken to has raised serious concerns regarding Brexit and their continued right to live, work and love in Scotland. 

“The Scottish Government has consistently stood up for the rights of EU nationals – indeed, we have argued consistently that no EU citizen should have to apply for status and rights they already have.

“The UK Government, by contrast, has ignored the very legitimate fears of EU nationals across Perthshire, whilst also dismissing their longstanding contributions to the area. Their treatment of my constituents – over 2000 of them - has been a disgrace.

“Accordingly, I have written to all EU nationals in my constituency to invite them to this meeting. I will be on hand to reiterate my support for EU citizens, to outline steps the Scottish Government are taking to mitigate the damage caused by Brexit and to answer questions.”


Local News, Local Communities
Swinney calls for more broadband investment from UK Government
Published date : 17 Jan 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has called on the UK Government to revise its approach to digital connectivity and invest more money delivering high-speed broadband for residents in Perthshire, after it was criticised for ‘short-changing’ Scots on high-speed broadband by a  parliamentary committee. 

The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity committee this week called on the UK government to deliver its fair share of UK broadband funding after it was revealed that the Tories have contributed just 3% of the total funding for the ‘Reaching 100%’ project.

Despite connectivity and broadband being a reserved matter, the Scottish Government has invested £600 million in the ‘R100’ programme to deliver super-fast broadband to every home and business in Scotland. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“Digital connectivity is an essential part of modern life and an indispensable tool for stimulating economic growth, which is why it is essential that the UK government stop short-changing residents in Perthshire, and across Scotland.   
“The Tories’ ambitions for broadband are extremely disappointing, and far behind those of the Scottish Government – despite connectivity and broadband being a reserved matter.

“Communities across the region have been backed into a corner due this Westminster government’s complete lack of ambition for digital connectivity. Rural areas have been especially let down by a lack of adequate broadband coverage.

‘’The Scottish Government has committed to extending superfast access to all of Scotland by 2021 – with speeds of at least 30Mbps – and committed £600 million to delivering that; it’s time for the Tories to step up to the plate and commit to joining Scotland in the 21st century.

“The Tories must step up to the plate and deliver for people in Perthshire.” 


Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee:

Maureen Watt MSP: “I take it that’s separate from the contribution that we would expect from the UK government on the R100 project. Do we know how much money we can expect from the UK government for the R100 programme.”

Cabinet Secretary: “The R100 programme is a £600 million programme which we’re taking forward. The contribution from the UK government to the R100 programme is £20.99 million, it’s about 3% of the overall budget.”

MW: “Despite them being responsible for connectivity and broadband?“

CS:  “This is a wholly reserved matter to the UK government. The reason we’ve had to step into this is because of a lack of strategy […] We’ll certainly continue to press the UK on this matter, and I would certainly welcome the support of the committee on this.”

Convener: “[…] it would be entirely appropriate for the committee to write to the UK government to ask why they have contributed that level and the justification for that.”

Local News, Business, Rural
Swinney and Wishart welcome Cross Tay Link Road
Published date : 08 Jan 2019

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have welcomed news that an additional £50 million will be invested in the Tay cities region to support manufacturing businesses and the delivery of the Cross Tay Link Road.    
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed £40 million will be invested in the new road, which will link the A9 over the River Tay to the A93 and A94 north of Scone, reducing congestion in Perth and opening up sites for housing and economic development. 
The remaining £10 million will fund an industrial investment programme to support manufacturing businesses across the region - covering Dundee, Perth, Angus and the north of Fife.
This funding is in addition to the Scottish Government’s £150 million commitment to the Tay Cities Region Deal and brings overall Scottish Government investment in the area to £200 million over the next ten to 15 years. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 

“This additional £50m investment is welcome news, and indicative of the Scottish Government’s steadfast commitment to transforming the Tayside region.
“The Cross Tay Link Road will markedly improve traffic congestion and air quality, whilst opening up Perth and the surrounding areas to further development, expansion and investment.
“I am therefore delighted that this vital infrastructure project has been approved, and I look forward to the sustained benefits it will bring in the decades to come.”

Mr Wishart added:

“It is great to hear that the Scottish Government are bringing forward an additional £40 million to see the vital Cross Tay Link Road become a reality. This is a significant investment in Perthshire, and one that will help to support the growing population in and around the Fair City.

“I am certain that the additional funding to support manufacturing businesses in the local area will also be hugely welcome. Overall, the Tay Cities Deal will be massively important to the Perthshire economy and I look forward to seeing the projects commence.”

Local News, Transport, Roads, Funding
Swinney welcomes tennis club funding
Published date : 14 Dec 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed news that Dunkeld and Birnam Tennis Club is to receive funding of £22,500.

The funding, provided by sportscotland’s Sport Facilities Fund (SFF), will allow the club to install floodlighting to their existing tennis courts. The installation of floodlighting is a priority for local tennis clubs, enabling the community and members to play tennis all year round, greatly increasing potential for participation at the facility. The floodlighting is part of a larger project to resurface the courts and introduce a practice wall for juniors.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to hear that Dunkeld and Birnam Tennis Club have been successful in applying for sportscotland funding.

“The installation of floodlights will allow the club to play tennis matches all year round, thereby increasing opportunities for members and the local community to make use of the facilities. I am also pleased to hear that the club will be introducing a practice wall for juniors, thereby ensuring that promising young players can continue to hone their skills.

“Accessible and high-quality sports facilities are of tremendous value to local communities, particularly those in rural areas. Accordingly, this investment will have a potentially transformative effect on the area, and will be welcomed by all.”

Dunkeld and Birnam Tennis Club will also be receiving funding from The Gannochy Trust and SSE Griffin & Calliacher Community Fund. 

Local News, Sport
Discretionary Housing Payments for Perth and Kinross revealed
Published date : 08 Dec 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today highlighted the millions spent on mitigating Tory welfare cuts by the Scottish Government. Mr Swinney’s comments come as new figures revealed that a total of £528,214 was paid to people in Perth and Kinross under the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme during the period 1 April to 30 September 2018.

In Perth and Kinross, the Scottish Government gave assistance to 1070 people in receipt of housing benefit or universal credit, with an average award value of £520. A massive £388,612 was spent solely on mitigating the Tories’ hated Bedroom Tax 

The Discretionary Housing Payment scheme provides financial assistance towards housing costs for those claiming housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit. 

Between April and September, local Authorities in Scotland made a total 100,635 awards under the DHP Scheme, with a total value of £56.9 million and an average award of £565.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“These figures provide further evidence of the cost of protecting people from the very worst impacts of UK Government welfare reform, and make clear that the SNP will always stand up for a fairer welfare system which treats people with respect and dignity. 

“It shouldn’t fall to the Scottish Government to mitigate the impact of damaging Tory policies like the bedroom tax – but we know that providing a lifeline for families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet is the right thing to do. 

“Instead of being left trying to convince an uncaring Westminster government to recognise just how wrong their welfare cuts are, the Scottish Parliament should be making all decisions on tax and social security for ourselves.”

Local News, Housing, Local Communities
Swinney gives thanks to Royal Mail
Published date : 07 Dec 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has met with local Royal Mail employees to see first-hand the operation of delivering Christmas post.

Mr Swinney visited the Blairgowrie Delivery Office, where he was shown around by Nicola Sawers, the Delivery Manager. The visit allowed Mr Swinney to pass on his thanks to the dedicated local staff, who are working tirelessly to ensure that a timely and efficient Christmas service is provided in Blairgowrie and the surrounding local areas.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted to continue my annual tradition of visiting my local delivery office.

“Postal staff work tirelessly throughout the year, but their efforts are particularly important during the Festive period. Accordingly, it is right that we pay tribute to the extraordinary lengths they will go to ensure Christmas parcels and cards are delivered to loved ones on time, as well as thanking them for delivering our mail services throughout the year, in all weathers.”

Nicola Sawers, Blairgowrie Delivery Manager, added:

“Our postmen and women will be working extremely hard to deliver Christmas parcels, cards, letters and parcels to people in Blairgowrie. We are grateful that Mr Swinney visited the office to see our operation and to support the team.

“We’d like to remind our customers to post early this Christmas and to ensure all their mail is posted by the recommended dates, so that friends and family can enjoy their Christmas greetings and parcels. If everyone uses the postcode on every item of mail, this also helps us greatly in the job that we do at this very busy time.”

Customers do not need to travel to a Royal Mail Delivery office to pick up parcels if they cannot or do not want to. They can arrange a redelivery free of charge on a day that is convenient for them (including Saturdays), or Royal Mail can deliver the item to a different address within the same postcode area. This service can be arranged by calling the number on the “Something for You” card we leave or by visiting our website at

The last recommend posting dates for Christmas are:
Second Class – Tuesday 18 December 2018
First Class – Thursday 20 December 2018
Special Delivery – Saturday 22 December 2018

Local News
Swinney marks Small Business Saturday
Published date : 07 Dec 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has marked Small Business Saturday by visiting a local Perthshire business.

Mr Swinney visited the warehouse premises of Glaze & Save, a company which installs bespoke magnetic secondary glazing. Their innovative approach to providing energy efficiency has seen the company win multiple awards, including the 2017 VIBES Award for Environmental Product of the Year. They have been contracted to install their secondary glazing on a wide range of buildings, including houses, churches and listed premises. 

In addition to touring their warehouse, Mr Swinney was given the opportunity to meet with company staff including the company’s owner, Dr Tanya Ewing.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the immeasurable contribution that small enterprises make to our economy and society.

“It was therefore a pleasure to meet with the entire team at Glaze & Save, and to hear first-hand of their successes and challenges.

“I was particularly impressed by the inspirational leadership of Dr Tanya Ewing. Tanya is a model employer – ensuring that all staff are paid above the real living wage, promoting flexible working arrangements and committed to staff development. It is clear that Tanya’s passion for her work is shared by her employees, who have fully bought in to the ethos of the company.

“It was also particularly pleasing to see that a majority of the company staff are female – a rarity in the construction business.”

Dr Tanya Ewing added:

““Glaze & Save has a proud local tradition, having been invented by The Proctor Group in Blairgowrie, and developed and expanded here in Perth since December 2013. As a local business, we understand the importance of supporting other small local businesses: almost all of our suppliers are located within a one mile radius of our warehouse, and we have a strict policy of using local businesses wherever we travel. Not only does it have a great effect on the local economy, it is also much more environmentally friendly too.”
“Glaze & Save looks to show how all small businesses can operate. In just five years we have we have achieved Living Wage Employer status, we take on a diverse range of employees from all walks of life, and we have been committed to being completely sustainable since we started in December 2013. It’s not always the been the easiest or the cheapest route, but we’re happy to show that small businesses and sustainability can be a winning combination.” 

Local News, Business
Swinney backs #MakeSomeonesDay campaign
Published date : 24 Nov 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has urged people across to Perthshire to join the #MakeSomeonesDay campaign this St Andrew’s Day.
#MakeSomeonesDay is a Scottish Government backed social media campaign to highlight the everyday acts of kindness across Scotland. By posting their good deeds to social media using the relevant hashtag, members of the public can ensure that this St Andrew’s Day will highlight the selfless nature of our country.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I wholeheartedly back the #MakeSomeonesDay campaign, and would urge all my constituents across Perthshire to take part in this worthwhile effort.

“Whether it’s donating time, money or even just a kind word, it is easy to show others that you care. As we celebrate St Andrew’s Day, it is right that we re-affirm our bonds to each other and prove just how powerful a force compassion and kindness can be.”

Local News
Swinney visits The Workshop Aberfeldy
Published date : 21 Nov 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has praised the work of a social enterprise that seeks to widen employment opportunities for young people in a rural area.

The Workshop Aberfeldy, which particularly aims to support young people under the age of 25, provides its members with practical and technical manufacturing skills in woodworking, engineering and metal cutting. 

The Workshop has had a particularly profound influence on young people facing barriers to employment - 75% of its members are under 25 and 50% have additional support needs or rehabilitation needs. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The Workshop Aberfeldy is a fantastic social enterprise, which seeks to invest in our young people and improve both their existing skillsets and life opportunities.

“I am particularly pleased that these opportunities are being afforded to young people who may otherwise face difficulties when it comes to finding sustainable employment. As a country, it is vitally important that we continue to nurture the talent of all young people, and facilities like The Workshop Aberfeldy will play a vital role in achieving this goal.

“I congratulate Paul on the fantastic initiative he has shown in setting up this social enterprise, and I wish him all the best going forward.”

Local News, Employment
Swinney critical of Brexit deal
Published date : 15 Nov 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has labelled Theresa May’s Brexit deal as a “failure for Scotland.”

The deal, which was presented to the Cabinet last night, has already seen the Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, resign from his post in protest.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“After over two years of posturing and prevarication, the Prime Minister has achieved the unique distinction of securing a Brexit deal that is universally unacceptable.

“This is a deal which dismisses the needs and wants of Scotland. It does not take into account the overwhelming majority of voters who chose to remain in the European Union, nor does it take steps to protect the economic interests of Scotland.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that special terms can be offered to Northern Ireland, but not to Scotland. Any deal that leaves Scotland outside of the single market and customs union will leave us at a significant disadvantage, particularly when it comes to competing for investment and jobs with Northern Ireland.

“Just moments ago, news broke that Dominic Raab, the Brexit Secretary, has resigned his post in protest of the deal that he helped negotiate. This is a stunning rebuke to the Prime Minister’s deal, and shows that her current proposals are unpalatable across the board.

“The SNP have been absolutely clear that we will not stand idly by and allow this Tory civil war to engulf Scotland and our prosperity. We will continue to stand up against the economic and cultural self-harm of this deal and of Brexit as a whole, which is inarguably a failure for Scotland and its people.”

Local News, Business, Local Communities, Employment
Swinney to visit new distillery
Published date : 14 Nov 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, is to visit Highland Boundary, a new distillery set up within his constituency.

The distillery, the brainchild of Dr Marian Bruce and Simon Montador, is producing Scandinavian-style spirits using locally sourced Scottish botanicals. By using handpicked botanicals, Highland Boundary seek to capture the flavours of the Scottish wilderness. Highland Boundary received Interface funding to assist with the creation of their first spirit, which they developed in conjunction with the Heriot Watt University International Centre for Brewing and Distilling

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am very much looking forward to visiting Highland Boundary. Marian and Simon are incredibly passionate about their work, and I am confident that their first spirit will serve as a fitting tribute to both Scotland and their local community of Alyth.

“Marian and Simon have long been active in their community, from co-founding the Alyth Development Trust to operating Kirklandbank Farm. Moreover, they are passionate about developing local jobs. The latest diversification of their business portfolio is an exciting opportunity for a thriving local business to continue growing.

“I wish Marian and Simon well with their new venture, and I am delighted by the positive reviews their spirit is receiving, along with the early progress their business is making.”

Dr Marian Bruce, co-founder of Highland Boundary, added:

“After three years in development we’re excited to now launch Highland Boundary and the first of our new Wild Scottish Spirits. Our aim is to bring to life the flavours of the Scottish wilderness and, thanks to the help of Dr Annie Hall and the Heriot Watt University International Centre for Brewing and Distilling, we are confident we have achieved this goal.
“We are also delighted to announce that we have recently agreed a distribution deal with Woodwinters, one of the premiere wine and spirits distribution companies in Scotland. This deal will allow more people to enjoy our unique flavours, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to reach such a wide customer base.”

Local News, Business
Swinney pays tribute to victims of conflict
Published date : 09 Nov 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today paid tribute to those who have lost their lives in conflict. 

Mr Swinney made the remarks shortly after laying a wreath at Perth’s Garden of Remembrance.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I was both honoured and humbled to take part in Perth’s annual Dedication of the Garden of Remembrance. 

“Every year, remembrance services provide an opportunity for us to reflect upon the extraordinary courage displayed by ordinary men and women. 

“This year is particularly poignant, with Sunday marking 100 years to the day since the signing of the armistice that ended the Great War.

“As the years pass, it is important that the sacrifice of those touched by conflict is never forgotten. Rather, it is our responsibility to honour their memory and ensure that we never take for granted the life and liberty we enjoy. To that end, I am sure that the people of Perthshire will take pause over the next few days to pay tribute to those who fell or were injured in war.”


Local News
Swinney welcomes Sir Ian McKellen performance
Published date : 09 Nov 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today expressed delight at news that Sir Ian McKellen will perform at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

Sir Ian will tour 80 regional venues in 2019 to mark his 80th birthday. He will be onstage in Pitlochry on August 11th. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am thrilled to hear that Sir Ian McKellen will be performing at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

“Sir Ian is one of the UK’s most beloved actors, with his inimitable performances endearing him to millions around the globe. From Macbeth to King Lear to Gandalf, he has brought to life countless iconic characters of the stage and screen.”

“It is a real coup for PFT to attract an actor of Sir Ian’s quality and stature, and it speaks to the phenomenal job the management team are doing, along with the wonderful venue that we are fortunate to have in Perthshire. I wholeheartedly congratulate PFT on this fantastic news and would urge the public to buy tickets early in order to avoid disappointment.”

Local News, Local Communities
Swinney welcomes lottery funding
Published date : 01 Nov 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 – Locus Breadalbane Limited, Elder Voice (Blairgowrie and Rattray) and Friends of Breadalbane Academy, have received funding totalling £27,856 after applying to National Lottery Awards for All Scotland.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“I am delighted that these worthwhile groups are to receive funding. Each of these organisations play an important role in enriching 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 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.

Swinney and Wishart Comment on Tay Cities Deal
Published date : 29 Oct 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today expressed disappointment over the final funding levels for the Tay Cities Deal. 

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond MP, confirmed in today’s Budget that the UK Government would commit £150m to the Tay Cities Deal – significantly less than the £200m pledged last week by the Scottish Government. It also means that, unlike city deals for Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling, there will not be a 50:50 funding commitment between the two administrations.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Whilst news of investment is welcome news, there will be a significant sense of disappointment across Perthshire at the scaling back of the Tay Cities Deal. I am deeply concerned that the UK Government’s refusal to properly invest in the region will lead to a downgrading of the ambition, scope and effectiveness of this deal.

“The Chancellor’s announcement confirms what we have always known: that when it comes to investing in the people of Perthshire, the Tories talk a good game until it comes time to reach into their pockets.

“By contrast, the Scottish Government’s promise to invest £200m – and match any UK Government funding above that level – is a clear sign of our commitment to Perthshire and the entire region. The difference between a penny-pinching Tory Government and a bold, assertive SNP Government could not be clearer.”

Mr Wishart added:

“The Chancellor’s announcement regarding the Tay Cities Deal will be a source of frustration for those across Perthshire and beyond. 

“This deal had the potential to radically transform the region for the better – creating tens of thousands of new jobs, investing in communities and establishing Tayside as a hotbed of culture. I am worried that the UK Government’s decision to commit only £150m to this deal represents a very real missed opportunity, and does not provide the level of investment necessary to affect profound change across the region.

“After all the delay and prevarication, the UK Government’s final commitment is deeply underwhelming, and only serves to further underscore their poor track record of investing in the region.”

Local News, Funding
Swinney visits Corbenic Camphill Community
Published date : 28 Oct 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has visited Corbenic Camphill Community to meet with staff, volunteers and residents of the community.
The community, which was set up near Dunkeld 40 years ago, is comprised of approximately 100 people, 38 of whom are adults with special needs. Set in 100 acres of land, it is made up of six households and a variety of workshops. Residents live and work side by side with voluntary co-workers and employed staff.

During his visit, Mr Swinney unveiled a new bench on Corbenic’s Poetry Path – a walk through the woodlands that sees over 30 poems installed at strategic points along the route. Additionally, Mr Swinney spoke to staff about the challenges that Brexit would present for the community, particularly with regards to the recruitment of international volunteers. 

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“I was honoured to unveil a stunning new bench on Corbenic Camphill Community’s Poetry Path.

“Corbenic Camphill Community is a Perthshire institution, which has enriched the lives of countless individuals for four decades. It is an organisation centred around faith, dignity and respect, which aims to nurture the individuality and talent of all those living within the community. I am delighted to be able to offer my support to such a worthwhile organisation and to meet those who are instrumental in its success.

“I was also deeply concerned to hear of the challenges that Corbenic face, both from Brexit and from the increased level of refusals in Tier 5 Charity Visa applications. The contribution of foreign volunteers to Corbenic is profound, and it is disappointing to hear that UK Government policy is now threatening Corbenic’s capacity to deliver care and support services.”

Jon Plunkett, Team Leader at Corbenic Camphill Community, added:

“The bench has been a collaborative project between our Estate and Craft Workshop Teams and has been designed and made with input from many of the residents who live in our community as well as volunteers and students from all over Europe and beyond who come to give their time to Corbenic and support the work we do. 

“We see the new bench as a testament to value we place on creativity, individuality and diversity here at Corbenic and Mr Swinney seemed like an ideal person to unveil it for us.”

Local News, Local Communities
Swinney welcomes Tay Cities Deal funding commitment
Published date : 26 Oct 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today welcomed news that the Scottish Government will commit £200m to the Tay Cities Deal.
The deal, which has the potential to create up to 15,000 jobs, will see combined funding from Holyrood and Westminster, and was expected to be funded on a 50:50 basis. Recent statements by Lord Duncan, however, have suggested that the UK Government would only be willing to fund up to 30% of the total cost.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“The Scottish Government’s announcement of £200m funding is further proof of our commitment to the region.
“The Tay Cities Deal has the potential to radically transform the entire region for the better – spurring economic growth and further establishing Tayside as hotbed of culture. This potential will only be realised, however, if the UK Government live up to their word and fully match the SNP’s spending pledge.
“Now is not the time for timidity or penny-pinching. Rather, the Tories must show the same boldness and belief in the region that the Scottish Government has displayed with this significant funding pledge.”
Lord Duncan’s comments – 02/08/18 - 

Local News, Funding, Business
Swinney backs bid to save school
Published date : 22 Oct 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today thrown his weight behind a local campaign to save Grandtully Primary School.

The school is currently under review in phase two of Perth and Kinross Council’s school estates review. Under existing options, the school will either be closed, have its catchment area increased or be left open with no further action taken.  

Grandtully Primary is the latest school targeted by the Tory council, with Pitlochry High also faced with the threat of closure.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“Any attempt to close Grandtully Primary School must be vigorously opposed, and I am delighted that the local community has been able to mobilise so quickly against this absurd threat.

“Grandtully Primary is a fine example of a rural school providing a high-quality education to local children – indeed, its 2017 inspection report rated the school as “very good” in all categories.

“Moreover, the number of pupils enrolled in the school has increased by almost 300% since 2012. It is inconceivable that the Tory council could axe this well-attended and well-run local school.

“I, along with the entire SNP council group, will stand alongside the local community in fighting against this ill-conceived review. I urge the Tories to realise their mistake and guarantee the safety of this vital local resource. “

A local meeting in support of the school is to be held on Wednesday October 24th at 7pm at Grandtully Hall. This will be followed by a subsequent meeting on 21st November.

NOTES - Grandtully Primary School Inspection Report – 31/10/17

Local News, Education, Local Government
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 - 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

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 

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 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.” 

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

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.” 

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.”


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.


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:

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:,,


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:


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


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: 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.”




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:

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.


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

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.


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:

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:

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:

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.”


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.

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.


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

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’.


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.”



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:


Local News, Awards, Local Communities, Charity
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
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
Published date : 13 Jun 2016


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
Published date : 08 Jun 2016


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
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 -

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


Local News, Housing
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

Funding, Farming, Rural, Environment, Weather
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"


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






Local News, Transport, Roads
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


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
Published date : 21 Jan 2016


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.”


More details on the Scottish Government announcement can be found here:

More information about Help to Buy, including purchasing price limits, is available at:

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.

Funding, Housing
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
Published date : 18 Jan 2016



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
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 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:

Nomination forms:

Awards, Local Communities
Published date : 07 Dec 2015

News Release from John Swinney MSP
Attn:   News Desk                  

For Immediate release: Thursday 3rd September 2015
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”

Contact Dave Doogan: 01250 876576 / 07828886162

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

Local News
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
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
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
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
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
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
Published date : 18 Nov 2015



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: messages/protecting-yourself-from-nuisance-calls-and-messages/  or


“In addition to this guidance, Ofcom have also published a joint action plan, which can be found at: 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:


“I hope that constituents find this information of use and are reassured that the Scottish Government is taking this matter seriously.”

Local News
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.”

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:

Housing, Benefits, Tax
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
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
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: or visit

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 and scroll down to the third last group of names, which will include Schiehallion against planet ‘d’, and click vote.”

Dave Doogan 
Assistant to John Swinney MSP
Perthshire North Constituency Office 
35 Perth Street 
PH10 6DL
01250 876576

Local News
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 and show their support.”
Dave Doogan 
Assistant to John Swinney MSP
Perthshire North Constituency Office 
35 Perth Street 
PH10 6DL
01250 876576


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
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 at

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
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


Local Communities, Flooding, Local Government, Emergency services
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

Local News, Awards, Local Communities, Charity
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:



Housing, Energy, Local Government
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
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 to see if they meet the criteria for future funding which may transform their efforts within our communities.”

Local News, Awards, Local Communities
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
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, 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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