Thursday, June 20, 2013

Willie Rennie's latest e-newsletter: Courts, Pars, a fair deal for tenants and a day with health professionals

Willie Rennie as MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife sends out a regular e-newsletter to his constituents. A copy has fallen into my inbox. If you would like to subscribe to it, email 

eNews from Willie Rennie MSP
Thanks for reading the latest edition of my eNewsletter designed to keep you informed about my activities on your behalf.  If you have any views on the subjects raised pleased don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Cupar Sherriff Court
I am frustrated that the SNP Government has secured the support of the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee to close Cupar Sherriff Court and nine other courts across Scotland.  Despite considerable opposition from local people the Committee, including local SNP MSP Rod Campbell, backed the plans.  Rod Campbell said it would have been an "abuse" of his position to vote to stand up for local constituents and save the court.  Together with Councillor Margaret Kennedy and MP Ming Campbell, I was opposed to the closure because of the economic impact on the town, access to local justice and the money wasted by moving the police station next to the court.  I pressed the First Minister in Parliament but he refused to back the courts.

Opencast coal
I have been working to deal with the consequences of the collapse of coal mining companies in Fife.  ATH and Scottish Coal collapsed last month leaving local communities, the council and government to deal with the environmental legacy with polluted water and barren land. Sites at Kelty, Crossgates and Oakley are causing particular concern.  I am a member if the Scottish Government's Coal Taskforce, have met Energy Minister Fergus Ewing and Fife Council Leader Alex Rowley. I am opposed to the proposal to introduce a 'pay as you extract' restoration scheme as a replacement for bonds as this could cause even greater problems if companies were to subsequently fold.  If you have concerns about your local opencast please get in touch. 

Police Authority Chief Executive
The Chief Executive of the new Scottish Police Authority has resigned after only months in the job causing concern that problems at the troubled organisation have not been resolved despite Scottish Government assurances.  I quizzed the First Minister on whether his Government had covered up the resignation, submitted in February, in order to conceal more serious problems.  As a result the organisation has had insufficient time to recruit a new permanent Chief Executive and are now recruiting another interim Chief.  The authority, responsible for holding Police Scotland to account for the service it delivers, will have had three Chiefs in its first year.  I will continue to press for answers.

Rethinking renting
Shelter Scotland's campaign for greater security for private tenants came to St. Andrews recently.  I am backing the campaign as it protects tenants from poor landlords who can ask them to leave the property at very short notice without good reason.  To join the campaign check out the Rethink Renting website.

West Fife Show
Farmers and visitors to the West Fife Show at Kelty were keen to update me on issues facing the rural community.

A day with health professionals
I spent the day with health professionals in Dunfermline and Dalgety Bay to get a better understanding of their work.  I spent the morning with the PACT and Hospital at Home team at Queen Margaret Hospital.  This included Care at Home, Community Rehab, and physiotherapy personnel who are tasked with supporting patients in the community who would otherwise be in hospital.  This relieves pressure on the hospital and keeps people at home where they often prefer to be.  In the afternoon I met the Learning Disability Service at Lynebank Hospital whom I quizzed about their work and explored the issues of delayed discharge and integrated health and social care. Finally, I met the Public Health Nursing Team at Dalgety Bay Clinic to see the wide range of services they provide including immunisation and maternity support.

Dunfermline Athletic Football Club
I lent my support to the campaign to buy Dunfermline football club.  After the large group of supporters successfully raised thousands of pounds to save the club they are now embarking on phase two of the campaign - this time to buy the club.  You can make your personal contribution at the Buy the Pars website. 

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