At the end of a great week of sunshine, I’ve decided to start this month’s column on a high note. Congratulations must go to the Clydebank Special Needs Forum who have been awarded £4,200 from the Bank of Scotland Foundation’s Small Grants Programme.
This cash will be a welcome boost to the Forum and I am sure there will be no shortage of things to spend it on. This is an excellent organisation whose work really cannot be valued too highly.
It was also good news to learn that Remploy in Clydebank has escaped the axe, but still worrying that it is “under consideration”.
Rather than spending money to close Remploy factories which the London Government will now have to do, this money should have been used to invest in the many workers throughout Scotlandwho will now be thrown on the scrapheap.
I have nothing but praise for the work that is undertaken at Remploy Clydebank. The protective clothing that is produced there is second to none. Local employers should always make companies such as Remploy their first port of call when awarding business.
In addition, councils should examine their procurement processes to ensure that Remploy receives their support whenever possible.
This month we have moved a little closer to securing the Minimum Pricing on Alcohol Bill which gained cross party support in Parliament, with the glaring exception of the Labour Party, who declined to vote on this vital issue.
Despite being a lifelong non-drinker, I have no hang-ups on alcohol consumption and I enjoy the social atmosphere in pubs, where my usual tipple is Scotland’s other national drink – Irn Bru.
My reasons for supporting minimum pricing are based on my own experience in business – that when you increase the price of any commodity the result will be a decrease in the amount you are selling.
I also feel we have to give minimum alcohol pricing a chance due to the well-documented effects of over consumption on people’s health, and alcohol being directly and indirectly responsible for the high levels of anti-social behaviour and violent assault. We all know only too well how alcohol can wreck lives and communities
However, as a member of the Health and Sport Committee, my views have been reinforced by the vast weight of opinion from medical authorities and the police being in favour of minimum pricing.
I find it extraordinary that Labour in Scotland still refuse to support this policy, particularly after hearing the quality of evidence from Canada – where the price was raised initially to generate revenue but reaped rewards by improving the health of their nation.
Surely anything that protects the health of our young people must be worth a try?
If you wish to contact me on any issue, large of small, phone 0141 952 9677 to arrange an appointment, email: email@example.com, or visit my Friday surgeries.
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Clydebank and Milngavie