Swinney to appeal to Councils over jobs cuts

Finance Minister John Swinney is to meet council and trade union representatives in an attempt to sign local authorities up to the Scottish Government's policy of no compulsory redundancies.

Mr Swinney told Holyrood's Local Government and Communities Committee he is set to discuss the issue tomorrow with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC).

While giving evidence on his draft budget for 2011/12, he told the committee he wanted to avoid compulsory job losses across the public sector "at all costs".
jswinneyWhile Mr Swinney admitted he has no control over local authorities' deployment of compulsory redundancies, he said he wanted to persuade council leaders to follow the Government's lead.

He said: "The characteristics of the Government's pay policy, which I am encouraging other public sector bodies to follow, are to protect head count and support those on low incomes.

"The meeting is to ensure we have dialogue with local authorities on how we can get to a point where all areas of the public sector are prepared to sign up to the Government's approach on avoiding compulsory redundancies."

Mr Swinney said other measures such as a pay freeze and severance pay schemes had to be looked at as an alternative.

He added: "If we don't constrain pay then we will have to go to head count.

"I want to avoid that at all costs."

Scottish councils are faced with a funding cut of at least 2.6% next year, and so far have not ruled out the option of compulsory redundancies.

Mr Swinney also faced questions from MSPs over whether the Christie Commission - set up to carry out a wide-ranging review of the delivery of Scotland's public services - could deliver plans for a redesign of services by June 2011.

He said he believed it could, and defended the Government's decision to launch the commission and set the deadline of June for it to report back.

He said: "If you say we'll give it 18 months, it will take 18 months.

"My view is, let's just get on with it."

Angus MacDonald welcomes awarding of first major Helix construction project

The Helix project has taken an exciting leap forward with the award of its first major construction contract.

Raynesway Construction has been appointed to build a new access road into the Helix site. The Helix is a £43 million development which will transform 300 hectares of land between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a high quality parkland featuring the following elements:

•the Kelpies® - two Landmark sculptures in the shape of horse’s heads
•a central park with a plaza linking to a lagoon and events space
•pathways and cycle networks
•a blend of new and existing woodland areas
•a canal extension connecting the Firth of Forth and the River Carron with the Forth & Clyde Canal, alleviating some of the navigational issues on the River Carron
•new community allotments

Cllr Angus MacDonald in Grangemouth Town Centre beside replicas of the 30 metre tall Kelpies, which will be in place between Grangemouth and Falkirk by 2012.

Grangemouth SNP Councillor Angus MacDonald, who is also the SNP's candidate for Falkirk East in the forthcoming Holyrood election said:

"As a member of Falkirk Council's Planning Committee and as a Grangemouth Councillor I was very pleased to see planning permission approved which will now allow this work to commence. This is another piece in the jigsaw which will ultimately see 300 acres of scrubland transformed into high quality parkland, and will be of enormous benefit to the residents of Grangemouth, Falkirk and beyond.

"I very much look forward to the work on the access road starting in January, which will be a significant milestone in this £43 million development."

Helix project manager Mike King said: “We are delighted to be working with Raynesway Construction on this vital contract, which is a significant milestone for the Helix. The road will allow other important areas of the Helix to be constructed, such as the central park and canal hub elements. It will also act as the main access road for the many visitors expected to visit the completed Helix site every year.”

Work on the road will get under way in January 2011 and will take 24 weeks to complete.

The new road will enter the Helix from the existing Etna roundabout spur off the A9 in Falkirk. It will run adjacent to an existing seasonal wetland area and the Forth & Clyde Canal before finishing up at canal Lock 3 and the gateway to the new canal hub.

Raynesway’s contract also includes the provision of parking facilities adjacent to the Etna roundabout entrance.

Stephen Scott, Managing Director of Raynesway Construction, said: “As Civil Engineering contractor for the Helix project, it will be a pleasure to work with the Helix and their partners on such a high profile and important project in the area which we trust will be a welcome boost for the local community.”

Raynesway Construction is an operating unit within the Northern Division of Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering. It specialises in carrying out small civil engineering projects in Central Scotland. The company has its head office in Paisley and currently employs over 115 staff.

More info: www.rayneswayconstruction.co.uk

Matheson and MacDonald welcome success of Alexander Dennis in securing green bus orders

Millions of pounds of orders for new low carbon buses will boost Falkirk bus manufacturing firm Alexander Dennis.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson, whose constituency includes Alexander Dennis and the SNP's Economic Development and Transport spokesperson Councillor Angus MacDonald today welcomed the news that the majority of work to produce 50 new low carbon buses has been won by the Scottish firm demonstrating Scotland’s place at the centre of the low carbon economy.

Mr Matheson said:

“Alexander Dennis is a market leader in this technology and the contracts they have secured demonstrate this.

“The SNP’s support for low carbon transport will not only benefit the environment it is helping to build one of our best companies.

“Green jobs are not just in areas like renewable energy, they exist in all parts of our economy.  Scotland and Falkirk have expertise in building green buses and the fact that Alexander Dennis have won the majority of this work is testament to their skills.

“Protecting and delivering jobs as we are recovering from recession is a key part of the SNP’s economic strategy and these contracts do just that.

“The work force at Alexander Dennis are very dedicated and I have no doubt they will be delighted at this announcement.”

Welcoming the announcement that Alexander Dennis in Camelon has secured millions of pounds worth of orders for green buses through the Scottish Government's 'Green Bus Fund', the SNP's Economic Development & Transport spokesperson Councillor Angus MacDonald, who is also the SNP candidate at the forthcoming Holyrood election said:

"The news that Alexander Dennis has secured the lion's share of low carbon bus orders through the Scottish Government's 'Green Bus Fund' is testament to the excellent world-class product manufactured by Alexander Dennis in Camelon.

"I am sure management and staff are very pleased with their success to date and I look forward to ADL securing more contracts in the future."

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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