Angus MacDonald Welcomes Scottish Government's Reclassification Proposals For Forth & Clyde and Union Canals

The SNP's transport spokesperson at Falkirk Council, Councillor Angus MacDonald has welcomed a proposal by the Scottish Government's transport agency, Transport Scotland, to reclassify the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals as cruising waterways which will ensure they are kept in a navigable condition.

Union Canal - Muiravonside

Commenting, Councillor Angus MacDonald who is also the SNP's candidate for Falkirk East at May's Scottish Parliament elections said:

"I very much welcome this proposal which tidies up some anomalies caused by the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals not being fully operational when the Transport Act introduced in 1968 classified canals in the UK as either commercial, cruising or 'remainder'. The two canals here were classed in the 'remainder' category, so this proposal to include them in the 'cruising' category will help to secure the important statutory protections given to cruising waterways that are not given to remainder waterways.

"This move will also help British Waterways (Scotland) and other partners like Falkirk Council realise the long-term goal of developing tourist facilities along the canals, which will ultimately bring long term economic benefits to the area.

"While the canals are currently maintained to a standard in line with cruising status, the proposed reclassification will ensure that there is a statutory obligation to keep the canals in a condition suitable for navigation."

SNP call for the sacking of Tory MSP

Falkirk Council’s SNP Group Leader, Cllr David Alexander, has called on the Conservative party to sack local Tory MSP, Margaret Mitchell ahaad of next May’s Scottish Parliamentary elections.

The call comes as the Falkirk Herald can reveal that Mrs Mitchell threatened a disabled member of her staff with a reduction in her contracted hours from 37 per week to 15 after the secretary had undergone surgery. The staff member lodged a grievance against Mrs Mitchell in July of this year claiming that she had financial commitments that meant she could not afford to drop so many hours..

The staff member, Ms Summers, advised the MSP that she believed the MSP was in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act, something the SNP believes was based in fact. However, the matter was resolved when the staff member accepted a redundancy package that included a confidentiality clause in August.

However, the SNP claim that Mrs Mitchell, who ironically chairs the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee is not fit to hold office and should be removed by party bosses.

Said Cllr Alexander,

“It is bad enough that any employer should treat a disabled member of staff in such a disgusting manner but for that employer to be the chair of the nation’s Equal Opportunities Committee just beggars belief.

"Margaret Mitchell can not claim ignorance of the law, she has unprecedented access to legal advice within the parliament and no one is in a better position to understand the Disability Discrimination Act.

"However, legal opinion aside, Margaret Mitchell has shown a cold and callous attitude towards her own staff and so how can we expect her to demonstrate compassion and understanding fo the needs of people with disabilities within the wider community.

"At present we have Tory Councillors introducing new charges for disabled people for essential services, a Tory / Liberal Government cutting benefits to disabled people and now a Tory MSP bullying a disabled member of staff.

"It is no wonder support for the Tory party continues to shrink locally and anger against Labour for their partnership with the Tories within Falkirk Council continues to rise.”

Angus MacDonald welcomes Falkirk Herald's move to Grangemouth

Grangemouth SNP Councillor Angus MacDonald has welcomed the move by the Falkirk Herald from its Camelon HQ in Redbrae Road to the Gateway Business Park in Grangemouth's Beancross Road.

Cllr MacDonald, who is also the SNP's Scottish Parliamentary candidate for Falkirk East said:
"While this is clearly a cost-cutting exercise as Johnston Press struggle to reduce its net debt from £388 million, with this year's cost savings expected to be in the region of £20 million, the move by the Falkirk Herald to Grangemouth is none the less very welcome indeed. Given that the Johnston Press group was originally founded in Falkirk over 150 years ago, it is imperative that the Group retain their links with the district.

"We have already seen the printing of our local newspaper moving down south as part of drastic cost-cutting measures by the Johnston Press group, so it is good news that the editorial and advertising teams are retaining their presence in Falkirk District, particularly in Grangemouth.

"I welcome the team to the Port and I hope the Falkirk Herald and its sister paper The Advertiser (which closed its Grangemouth office a couple of years ago) remain in Grangemouth for many more years to come."

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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