Falkirk district taxpayers are making significant savings on prescriptions compared with their counterparts south of the border, after calculations revealed that people in the NHS Forth Valley area are saving up to £160 a year on average on their medication when compared with patients across health boards in England after six years of the free prescription policy.

The Tories at Westminster recently announced a hike in prescription charges to £8.60, which came into effect on Saturday 1st April, six years to the day since charges were abolished altogether in Scotland. The SNP remains committed to ensuring that those facing illness do not have to choose between medication and other necessities such as food or heating their homes by protecting free prescriptions.

The average number of prescriptions taken out by patients across the NHS Forth Valley area each year is 19, which, if charged at the rate that has come into force in England today, would cost people £163.40 a year.

Commenting, SNP MSP Angus MacDonald, said:

“The SNP’s flagship free prescriptions policy has been an overwhelming success and is one of the reasons that people continue to put their trust in the SNP after nearly 10 years in Government.

“We have removed a significant financial burden on people who are sick or suffering from long term illness – meaning that they don’t have to prioritise heating their homes or feeding their families over their health.

“The SNP is firmly committed to providing public services that are free at the point of use – with action taken to abolish prescription charges, tuition fees, charges at NHS-run hospital car parks and bridge tolls, protection of free eye tests, investment in childcare and a firm commitment to build even more affordable housing.

“While the Tories at Westminster charge sick people a small fortune for vital medication, and the Tories at Holyrood campaign for tax cuts for the wealthiest in our society, the SNP remains committed to ensuring that people receive the medication that they need, without charge, when they need it.”


Scotland and Europe


Angus MacDonald, SNP MSP for Falkirk East, has said that the will of Scotland’s parliament must be respected by the UK government – after MSPs backed the Scottish Government’s plans to hold a referendum on independence after the terms of Brexit have become clear, but before it is too late for Scotland to choose a different future.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU last June, with 56.8% of voters in Falkirk district voting to Remain. Yesterday, the Scottish Parliament pledged its support to giving the people of Scotland the right to choose between either a damaging Tory hard Brexit or Scottish independence.

Commenting, SNP MSP Angus MacDonald said:

“The Scottish Parliament has voted in favour of holding an independence referendum, once the terms of Brexit are clear, to give people in Scotland a choice over their future. It would be undemocratic, indefensible and completely unsustainable for the Tory government at Westminster to ignore the will of the Parliament and block a referendum.

“The Scottish Government has a cast-iron democratic mandate to bring forward a referendum on independence, giving the people of Scotland the right to choose a different future from the hard Brexit that the Tories are intent on delivering. The First Minister has set out a clear, fair timescale for a future vote – and it is up to the UK government to engage with the Scottish Government over this timing.

“The lack of respect afforded by the UK government to the Scottish Government’s compromise proposals sets a worrying precedent – and triggering Article 50 before securing the promised a UK-wide agreement proves that the Tory government has no interest in working with the other administrations across the UK.

“The Tories must not ride roughshod over the will of Scotland’s Parliament and drag Scotland out of the European single market against our will. To do so would be completely ignoring the Falkirk district’s overwhelming vote to remain as part of the EU.

“The Scottish Government is committed to standing up for Scotland’s interests and giving the people of Scotland a choice on this country’s future. Anything else would be simply undemocratic, and the Tories will rue the day that they stood in the way of giving the people a choice over their future.”


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The Royal Bank of Scotland has today, 23rd March 2017, announced that they are to close the local branches in Grangemouth and Stenhousemuir in October of this year.

Reacting to this announcement, Falkirk East MSP, Angus MacDonald said:

“This announcement to close both the Grangemouth and Stenhousemuir branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland is deeply regrettable, and will clearly have an impact on customers who regularly rely on the services these local branches provide.

“Although unfortunate, it is difficult not to understand the reasons why we are seeing an increase in these closures. The impact of telephone and online banking is clear to see, with more and more customers preferring to do their banking using these methods. In turn, the move to an online 24/7 service is having an impact on the viability of local branches.

“Royal Bank of Scotland will have to ensure that their customers are given every opportunity to seek to move their accounts, should they chose to do so, but also to reach out to those customers unable to access online banking in order to meet their concerns and provide an alternative service in the time between now and these closures. I am, therefore, pleased to hear that the bank is communicating with their customers in a very pro-active way, and are deploying a team of experts across their network to give regular customers the opportunity to experience online banking, and allow time to decide upon the correct option to suit their own needs when it comes to banking, before the branches close in October.”

A spokesperson for the Royal Bank of Scotland said:

“Our world is changing rapidly, with people relying more and more on technology in all aspects of their life. Shopping and booking a holiday online has become the norm for many; banking is no different and many of our customers are looking for and using more convenient ways to bank.

“As a result of this change, since 2011 we have seen the number of transactions in the Grangemouth branch decline by 31%. These customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with 56% of customers choosing to use our digital banking. The number of transactions in the Stenhousemuir branch declined by 26%. These customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with 63% of customers choosing to use our digital banking options.

“We are following the Access to Banking protocol and we have made the decision after careful consideration of a wide range of factors, including regular branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us. We provide a range of alternative ways to bank, tailored to the needs of our customers and reflective of the way they live their lives.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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