Angus MacDonald welcomes reprieve for Charlotte Dundas replica

Falkirk East Scottish Parliamentary candidate and Grangemouth SNP Councillor Angus MacDonald has welcomed a decision by Falkirk Council’s Leisure, Tourism and Community Committee to pursue a final attempt at establishing a project that would preserve the replica of the Charlotte Dundas ship as a monument.

The replica hull of the world’s first navigable steamship has been lying in storage for a number of years at Grangemouth docks, the Falkirk Wheel and now at MacKay’s boatyard in Arbroath. Attempts were made to include the ship in the plans for the Helix, however funding was not available. Attempts were also made to secure Heritage Lottery funding however, as the hull is a replica it did not qualify.cdreplica

Council officers have looked at a number of other options including transfer of ownership to the Scottish Maritime Museum however that was not possible on the grounds of cost. It has not been possible to identify an alternative potential owner. Other options include:

  • completing the original project at an estimated cost of £350,000
  • leaving the hull at the dockyard in Arbroath at an annual cost of £7,200,
  • retain and preserve the ship at a cost of £116,000 plus annual running costs of £18,000
  • destruction and replacement of the replica with a new memorial to be incorporated in the regenerated Grangemouth Town Centre

Welcoming the latest development Grangemouth SNP Councillor Angus MacDonald said:

“I am pleased that the committee has opted to look at a final attempt to preserve the replica as a monument. While this is not the original ship, many Portonians have an attachment to the replica as it is a reminder of Grangemouth’s proud maritime history and its contribution to the industrial revolution. The Charlotte Dundas helped put Grangemouth on the map and Portonians are rightly proud of that fact.”

“I am also encouraged to see the suggestion of the creation of a new memorial to the ship and its creator William Symington, which would be a high-profile public art commission and could be integrated into the regeneration of Grangemouth Town Centre.”

There are still a number of options to pursue with a further report coming to Councillors later in the year.

Falkirk District's Hauliers Up In Arms Over "Highway Robbery"

SNP Candidate for Falkirk East, Councillor Angus MacDonald has backed calls by local hauliers for fair play on fuel duty. Commenting on yesterday’s fuel duty rise which puts another 1p on the cost of a litre of petrol and diesel Angus echoed SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson, Angus MacNeil MP, who warned the Treasury over the impact soaring fuel prices on economic recovery.
Falkirk East SNP Candidate Angus MacDonald with Grangemouth Haulier Iain Mitchell (MD of John Mitchell Haulage), Jamie Hepburn MSP and Tam Smith of the FSB.
Mr MacNeil said:

“This increase will have a crippling effect on businesses and households and threatens the wider economic recovery. Instead of stopping Labour’s highway robbery, the Con/Dem coalition is pushing up
the cost of living for Scottish households.

“It’s a national scandal that, in an oil rich country like Scotland, we are paying the highest fuel prices in Europe. The Treasury cannot justify hammering hard pressed motorists and businesses. This duty increase is bad enough, but will be compounded with the VAT increase in January.

“What Ministers in London forget is that for people in rural areas, a car is a necessity and not a luxury. Pushing up fuel prices is absolutely the wrong thing to do as we emerge from recession and these increases will actually hinder economic recovery.

“Action to bring down fuel prices will be a key test for the coalition, and in particular for Danny Alexander as Treasury Secretary and Highlands MP. This is the real test for the Lib Dems and their deal with the Tories.

“In Opposition, both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats were vocal about soaring fuel prices and frank in their criticism of the Treasury. Now they are in government they must honour their word and cut fuel costs.

“A fair fuel regulator is the only way to ensure that Scotland’s essential industries and households are not continually hit by rising prices.

“Scottish motorists and our hard pressed haulage industry need immediate action to bring down fuel costs and the coalition government will be held to their word.”

Backing Angus MacNeil, Councillor Angus MacDonald said:

"Keeping regular contact with local businesses is part of my remit on Falkirk Council as the opposition spokesperson on Economic Development and Transport. I have listened closely to the issues local hauliers have raised and they claim the move to add 1p to the price of fuel is a 'smash and grab' approach which will seriously affect their running costs.

"Above-inflation fuel duty rises since 2009 has resulted in the freight industry feeling it is taking a harder hit than other industries and is having to take a disproportionate burden in narrowing the public sector deficit.

With another rise due in January and above-inflation rises set for the next three years, many hauliers hit hard by the recent recession now feel like they are on borrowed time.

"The price of oil is the highest it's been for three months and is set to rise further as we come into the autumn peak period of oil demand. With economic recovery still so fragile and the possibility of a double dip thanks to the ConDem government's excessive cuts, now is not the time to compound the problem with artificial price hikes."

Gray exposes his ignorance of Norway's oil fund

Commenting on Iain Gray’s blunder at First Minister’s Questions yesterday where he claimed Norway had an oil fund because the oil industry was nationalised the SNP's candidate for Falkirk East, Councillor Angus MacDonald said:

“I was astonished to see the Labour Leader in Scotland display such ignorance over the Norwegian Oil Fund. Iain Gray has exposed his ignorance and arrogance about other countries and Scotland's oil when he makes such ludicrous statements.
“The money for Norway’s oil fund doesn’t come from Statoil – it comes from tax revenues from all the oil companies that work in the Norwegian oil sector. Norway’s oil fund is now worth around £300 billion (equivalent to 1,000 new state of the art Larbert Hospitals)  and simply underlines why – in the face of savage London cuts – it is essential that Scotland similarly benefits from its own resources, with a Scottish oil fund to secure the nation’s wealth for future generations.

"Norway has shown the way, and with massive oil reserves still in the Scottish sectors of the North Sea and the Atlantic it is not too late to create a Scottish Oil Fund for future generations. Currently the Norwegian Oil Fund is using its strong position to buy up government bonds in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. It is also buying up large amounts of commercial real estate in the USA and other countries around the world. Norway's oil fund has allowed it to take advantage of the global economic downturn while Scotland wrestles with savage cuts being imposed by the ConDem government in London.

“Iain Gray just makes himself look foolish when he makes such remarks and shows that no one can trust a word he or his party say. He shows he is more interested in talking Scotland down than helping Scotland up.

“He just shows why at the next election voters will have a choice between an experienced SNP Government led by Alex Salmond putting the priorities of the Scottish people first against an inexperienced Labour party who get their facts wrong.”

The Scottish Government's "An Oil Fund for Scotland" can be read here:

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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