FALKIRK COUNCIL GIVEN NEW POWERS BY HOLYROOD OVER PROBLEM GAMBLING

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Falkirk Council will be given powers to tackle problem gambling after a Holyrood committee backed changes to planning rules.

Under new rules councils will be able to block any change in premises to a betting shop, allowing Falkirk Council to tackle the clustering of betting shops.

SNP MSP for Falkirk East, Angus MacDonald, has welcomed this devolution of powers, and has supported the campaign against the clustering of betting shops and fixed-odds betting terminals, which are connected to problem gambling and personal debt.

Commenting, Angus MacDonald MSP said:

“It is great news that Falkirk Council will have the power to stop the clustering of betting shops in our communities, a practice which has disproportionately affected many of our most deprived communities.

“While plenty of people enjoy a casual flutter, the proliferation of betting offices – often concentrated together – has led to serious cases of problem gambling and debt.

“Falkirk Council will now have the power to set limits that work and prevent reckless clustering – a big step forward for local communities across the Falkirk District. I hope Council officials and Councillors will make full use of these new powers.”

PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR WINTRY WEATHER CONDITIONS DUE THIS WEEK

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SNP MSP ANGUS MACDONALD ENCOURAGES TRAVELLERS TO TAKE CARE AND FOLLOW WEATHER WARNINGS

Preparations for the wintry weather expected in Scotland this week are underway and the Scottish Government’s Resilience Team has coordinated a response.

The Met Office has issued several Yellow (Be Aware) warnings for snow and strong winds from Wednesday through to Friday. Deputy First Minister, John Swinney and Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, covered planning for all major modes of transport and the utilities at the Government’s meeting. The flood risk for Scotland remains low for the next few days.

Commenting, SNP MSP Angus MacDonald (Falkirk East) said:

“We will be seeing cold and windy conditions over the next few days and I would recommend that people in Falkirk district keep the weather conditions in mind when they are making their travel plans and leave plenty of time.

“The Scottish Government is making as much information available as possible to allow the public to make informed decisions, and has met with relevant stakeholders to ensure that all of the necessary planning has been done to mitigate the impact of the snow and gale force winds.

“The conditions will lead to some difficult driving conditions and strong winds may lead to road bridge restrictions on Wednesday, especially for high-sided vehicles. When combined with the sleet and snow showers there is also a risk of snow drifts on higher routes on Thursday and Friday.

“Traffic Scotland has a webpage that will link to all of the relevant websites for updates on ferries, rail and air travel - https://trafficscotland.org/links/index.aspx?cat=3

“Take care out there.”

Met Office Yellow (Be Aware) warnings are available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings

YEAR OF HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY SET TO BEGIN

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As Scotland is set to celebrate 2017 as the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the SNP has encouraged the public to make a New Year’s Resolution to visit some of Scotland’s stunning historic sites.

Official figures show that Scotland’s historic and cultural sites continue to draw visitors in their millions.

Historic Environment Scotland’s staffed sites attracted over 3.75 million visitors in 2015 – a significant increase since 2010. The National Trust for Scotland has also reported growing numbers of visitors in recent years, with 2.65m visitors in 2016 according to figures sourced by SPICe.

The 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is expected to increase visitors even further, with events planned across the country. It is the latest of VisitScotland’s ‘Themed Years’, following on from the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, and the 2015 Year of Food and Drink.

SNP MSP for Falkirk East, Angus MacDonald, whose constituency includes sites such as the Westquarter Dovecote, Kinneil House and James Watt’s Cottage in Bo’ness, The Pineapple in Dunmore, Blackness Castle and several Roman archaeological sites including parts of the Antonine wall, said:

“It’s not difficult to see why Scotland’s historical sites continue to attract millions of visitors each year. Scotland boasts some of the best historical, cultural and natural sites in the world.

“Our impressive historical and cultural attractions continue to be a great asset to the Scottish economy, bringing in billions of pounds and creating thousands of jobs.

“Both Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland have seen visitor numbers booming in recent years, and this will only grow further as we mark the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in 2017.

“We should all make a New Year’s Resolution to visit some of the exceptional historic sites on our doorstep.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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