Joan Welcomes Scottish Land Fund Community Buyout Support

SNP MSP’s from across Scotland have welcomed today’s announcement that the Scottish Land Fund is backing community buyouts with grants to empower communities.

The funding from the Scottish Government’s Land Fund was announced by First Minister, Alex Salmond, at First Minister’s Question Time today.

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine welcomed the announcement that Upper Nithsdale Arts and Crafts Community Initiative Ltd will receive a Scottish Land Fund award of £62,442 to allow the purchase a vacant three storey building and garden on Main Street in Sanquhar.

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Joan Leads Debate on Fairness In Local Television

As the launch of the first local TV service in Scotland fast approaches, South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine will this Thursday lead a debate in the Parliament on fairness in local television.

Members will debate Ms McAlpine’s motion welcoming the establishment of new services for Scotland but expressing concern that they will be disadvantaged by their positioning on the electronic programme guide (EPG).

 Whereas in England, new local channels will be provided on channel 8 - in Scotland (and Wales) the services will be on channel 23 of the EPG. This means that Scotland’s new local services will be lower down the EPG listings than shopping, music and movie channels.

STV - which holds the licenses for local services in Glasgow and Edinburgh due to be launched this year - has expressed concern that the lack of prominence for local channels will lead to customer confusion and mean that funds which could be spent producing high quality programmes, will instead have to be used to advertise the existence of the services. 

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Another Project Fear Story Rubbished as Danny Alexander Confirms no Border Checkpoints

This week’s admission by the UK government that there would be no border checkpoints between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK serves as further embarrassment to the No campaign and is the latest in a long line of backfiring scare stories.

Comments from Danny Alexander yesterday debunk various threats – including one from Home Secretary Theresa May in March – from Westminster that there would be border checkpoints between an independent Scotland and its border with England. 

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Alan Bissett to Speak at Yes Dumfries Event

One of Scotland’s leading writers will speak at a Dumfries community 
centre this week as part of a series of meetings for voters undecided 
about the independence referendum.

Alan Bissett, author of Boy Racers, Death of a Ladies Man and the Moira 
Monologues will be at Locharbriggs Community Centre on Friday 9th May at 
7pm at the invitation of Yes Dumfries, the local campaign for a yes vote 
in September.

The event is free to attend.

Bissett will be joined by Richard Arkless of Business for Scotland, 
which recently hit the headlines for forcing the bosses union the CBI to 
register as an anti-independence group.

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Watch Joan's Speech marking the 25th Anniversary of the Poll Tax

Watch Joan move her motion to SNP Spring Conference 2014, on the Poll Tax 

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Joan's Plea as World's Oldest Post Office Goes up for Sale

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has appealed for a "white knight" to save the world's oldest Post Office.

 Sanquhar Post Office – the oldest continually operating post office in the world – has been put up for sale by Post Office Ltd.

If it cannot be saved the "oldest post office" title will go to Sweden.

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Joan Welcomes £500'000 Flooding Help for Dumfries and Galloway

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the announcement by John Swinney that Dumfries and Galloway will receive £500,000 funding to carry out repairs following severe flooding in January 2014.

 The Scottish Government will provide a contribution of additional capital grant funding to make repairs to the river bank, the sea walls and coastal paths damaged as a direct result of the recent flooding.  

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Joan Welcomes Sports Minister to Dumfries and Galloway

Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison this week paid a visit to Dumfries and Galloway.

 The Minister was welcomed to the region on Monday by South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine who accompanied Ms Robison to see the work of Johnstonebridge Community Development Trust near Lockerbie.

 Ms McAlpine has been championing the work of the Development Trust since she was contacted by Chairman Fred Dale regarding the community driven project to create a sports hub where community, leisure, sport and education facilities are on the same site. 

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Joan Welcomes Commonwealth Legacy Funding for Dumfries and Galloway

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine today welcomed news that several projects in Dumfries and Galloway are to benefit from the latest round of funding allocations from the Legacy 2014 Active Places Fund.

Further funding of £2.4 million will benefit 45 more projects across Scotland in the third round of funding from this national Legacy 2014 programme to ensure that the Commonwealth Games secures a lasting legacy in Scotland.

The Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison MSP, today visited Dumfries and Galloway which will receive support for four more projects in the area. These include a new water sports facility to introduce young people and adults to canoeing and kayaking, a new purpose built skate park designed for use by scooters, skateboards and BMXs, and a new shared path between Dalbeattie and 7Stanes mountain bike centre as well as funding for Maxwelltown High School to purchase gym equipment. 

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Labour's Double Whammy for Tourism Slammed

Labour’s unravelling Devolution Commission proposals faced further criticism today – as it was warned that the plans would see a double whammy blow for the Scottish tourism industry.

The proposals would see local authorities given the ability to levy a Tourist Tax on hotel stays – despite a similar plan that had previously been considered for Edinburgh being widely condemned by hoteliers amidst fears it could put the city at a competitive disadvantage.

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MSP Welcomes Planned Introduction of Meningitis B Vaccine for all Infants

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed news that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reversed its decision not to recommend that the new meningitis B vaccine be made available on the NHS.

The original decision by the body not to recommend the vaccine on the grounds that it is not cost effective was challenged by Ms McAlpine after she was contacted by constituents who have lost children to the devastating disease.

Following the JCVI’s revised decision the Scottish Government is now working with health departments across the UK to ensure that the vaccine is introduced as quickly as possible into Scotland’s routine childhood immunisation plan. 

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Joan Backs Children's Brain Tumour Campaign

MSPs from across the political spectrum joined forces last night (Wed) in the fight against childhood brain tumours.

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine and Cabinet secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil were among those who pledged their support for the HeadSmart campaign, which aims to cut the time between first symptoms and diagnosis of brain tumours in children. 

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Joan Welcomes Government Assurances on Gas Extraction Zone

Joan McAlpine MSP has welcomed assurances from the Scottish Planning Minister that he will consider her demand for a 2km buffer zone around unconventional gas extraction sites.

 The minister Derek McKay’s pledge came after South of Scotland member Ms McAlpine told MSPs about the problems faced by her constituents in Canonbie, where Dart Energy and Buccleuch estates propose to drill for Coalbed Methane.

Ms McAlpine highlighted the most recent FOI request by Canonbie Residents Against Coal Developments that revealed faulty boreholes at Canonbie and the risk of polluting aquifers.

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Joan Welcomes Investment in Dumfries By-Pass

SNP MSP for the south of Scotland Joan McAlpine has welcomed the news that Transport Scotland will be investing in major repairs to the Dumfries by-pass this spring.

The repairs are part of a £10 million extra investment in roads up and down the country, with new funds allocated as part of the 2013/2014 budget.  Transport Scotland’s operating companies are fitting the extra work into their current maintenance programmes for the trunk road network.

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Tourism in Scotland Could see Boost from Yes Vote

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed a poll which shows that tourists in the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland would not be deterred from visiting Scotland after a Yes vote – and that tourism would actually receive a boost after independence.

A poll carried out by Dunira Strategy surveyed 1834 adults across the British Isles and found that 85% of respondents said “it would make no difference”.  Of the 15% who said it would make a difference, a large proportion (43%) said that independence would make them “want to visit even more”.

 

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Reassurances on Cross Border Health Care Kept Hidden by Tories

A freedom of information request has revealed a letter from the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service, which manages organ transplants across the whole UK, confirming that it expects cross-border healthcare agreements to remain in force after Scotland becomes independent.

The letter was sent to Tory MSP Nanette Milne in August 2013, but was not made public by the Conservatives at any point.

The letter states that “NHSBT would expect this reciprocal agreement to continue if Scotland does agree to independence as the arrangement offers additional security to all four blood services.”

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SNP Freeze Council Tax for Seventh Year in a Row

Households across all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities will benefit from a freeze in their council tax payments for the seventh year in a row.

 The latest Scottish Government figures show that Band D properties in Dumfries and Galloway will have saved an average of £1,535.60 between 2007-2017 due to the freeze. 


Local authorities have confirmed that in setting their budgets for 2014-15 they have included full provision to deliver on the joint priorities agreed with the Scottish Government to continue the council tax freeze, maintain teacher numbers in line with pupil numbers, and secure places for all probationers under the teacher induction scheme. 

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Industry Body Accused of Misleading Parliament over Unconventional Gas Dangers

The unconventional gas industry – which is already at the centre of a row over fracking dangers –was today accused of misleading a parliamentary committee over the potential risks from coal bed methane extraction.

Mr Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of The UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG), told the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee of the Scottish Parliament that coal bed methane extraction did not produce surplus water requiring disposal.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine questioned Mr Cronin about the production of water during the extraction of unconventional gases when he was giving evidence to the committee of the government’s new planning framework, NPF3 on 5th February 2014.

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Joan Welcomes Scottish Government Grants for Third Sector in D&G

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has today welcomed news that Scottish Government grants totalling over £100’000 have been awarded to enterprising third sector organisations in Dumfries and Galloway.

 The grants will come from the £6 million Enterprise Ready Fund, which opened to applications in September – and builds on a number of current initiatives the Scottish Government has in place to continue to support a sustainable, capable and enterprising third sector.

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McAlpine Urges Sir Stephen House to "Think Again" About Control Room Closures

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has called for Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House to think again about the closure of Dumfries control room – warning that the single police force should not become the central police force.

 The SNP MSP has requested a meeting with Sir House to see what can be done for the dedicated staff of the Dumfries and Galloway police control room which is set to have its work moved to Motherwell and Glasgow.

 She will also ask Sir House and fire chiefs to relocate a centre of excellence in the south west – pointing out the areas considerable expertise in fire and rescue as well as policing - gained through experience of dealing with issues ranging from rural crime and flooding - to the biggest criminal investigation in Scottish history after the Lockerbie disaster. 

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Joan Welcomes NHS Funding Boost

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the announcement of a real terms increase in funding for Scotland’s health boards. The SNP MSP hailed the news as further demonstration of the priority that the Scottish Government is putting on protecting the NHS.

In the next financial year NHS Dumfries and Galloway will receive an allocation of £259.7 million from the Scottish Government, which represents a 2.5% increase in funding.

In total Scotland’s 14 regional health boards will benefit from an £248 million increase in funding for 2014/15. 

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More Action to Mitigate 'Bedroom Tax', But only a Yes Vote can Scrap It

The passage of the SNP Government’s budget in the Scottish Parliament today will boost Scotland’s economy, help with the cost of living and deliver vital action to mitigate Westminster’s disastrous Bedroom Tax.

With a majority of parliament endorsing additional funds to help combat the Bedroom Tax SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said it showed Scotland should have the powers to scrap the Bedroom Tax.

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Dumfries Launch "The Year of Yes"

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine joined local volunteers and activists at DGOne on Saturday (1st February) as Yes Dumfries launched the “Year of Yes”.

 With recent polls showing a surge in support for independence, and the Financial Times highlighting that an independent Scotland could expect to start with healthier state finances than the rest of the UK, 2014 is off to a good start for the pro-independence campaign.

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Joan Outlines Benefits of Yes Vote for Agricultural Funding

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has outlined how a yes vote this summer will benefit rural economies like Dumfries and Galloway by ensuring they receive a fair share of the EU farming budget.

Ms McAlpine made the comments while speaking in a parliamentary debate last Wednesday about the importance of the new EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in Scotland.

As part of the UK, Scotland is currently at the bottom of the funding tables for Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 CAP payments – If Scotland had been an independent country when the latest CAP budget was decided, Scotland’s farmers would have been €1 billion better off by 2020 -funding that could have supported 2,500 jobs. 

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McAlpine urges SPA Board to delay decision on Dumfries Control Room

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has written to the Scottish Police Authority in an effort to persuade them to delay a decision, due to be made today (Thursday) about the closure of Dumfries Control Room.

 Ms McAlpine expressed her concern that there has been a lack of local consultation on the issue.  The SNP MSP also added her support to a motion put down in Parliament by Dr Elaine Murray, urging the Board to put back their decision in order to undertake a full consultation on the issue, meaning that the motion is now backed by all four major parties in the Scottish Parliament.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said: 

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Joan Welcomes Victory for National Tree Campaign

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the news that the Scots Pine is to be designated the National Tree of Scotland.

The announcement made today (Wednesday) by Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse follows a consultation by Forestry Commission Scotland which saw members of the public vote in favour of designating the native pine species as Scotland’s National Tree.

 The idea caught the public imagination, as well as gathering support from organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Trees for Life after environmental campaigner Alex Hamilton submitted a petition to parliament last year pressing the case for a national tree.

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Joan Lends her Support to Young Carers

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine last week lent her support to the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Care. Fair. Share. campaign.

The campaign seeks to highlight the adverse financial effects that many young people experience as a result of caring for a relative.

Ms McAlpine launched the campaign at an event in Edinburgh, along with her colleague Claudia Beamish MSP, with whom she co-convenes the Cross Party Group on Carers in the Scottish Parliament.

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Dumfries Police control room – SNP MSPs put pressure on Police Scotland

South of Scotland MSPs Dr Aileen McLeod and Joan McAlpine have written to Chief Constable of Police Scotland Sir Stephen House and Chairman of the Scottish Police Authority Vic Emery to express serious concerns over the proposed closure of the Police control room in Dumfries.

The pair also raised the issue with the Cabinet Secretary Kenny MacAskill in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon during topical questions.

 

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Joan Leads Debate Celebrating Big Burns Supper

 

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine led a debate in the Scottish Parliament to celebrate the Opening of the Big Burns Supper Festival in Dumfries.

Members Chic Brodie, Elaine Murray, Hanzala Malik and Alex Fergusson; spoke alongside Ms McAlpine and Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop MSP to congratulate the organisers of the world’s biggest Burns festival. 

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Joan Welcomes Life Saving Dog to Holyrood

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine, has welcomed Duncan Carmichael from K9 Response and his fire-investigation dog Billy to the Scottish Parliament to highlight the benefits of using accelerant dogs to sniff out wilful fire-raising

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Joan to Lead Big Burns Supper Debate

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine will next week lead a debate celebrating the 2014 Big Burns Supper festival in Dumfries.

Members will debate Ms McAlpine’s motion congratulating festival organisers – Graham Main, Creative Scotland, Homecoming Scotland, Winter Festival Burns Night, 8020 and Dumfries and Galloway Council on the diverse programme of music, carnival, cabaret and theatre.

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Joan Condemns Labour MSP for Voting Against School Meals

4'387 Children Are Eligible to Benefit from the Scottish Government Policy in Dumfries and Galloway

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has today condemned Labour MSP Elaine Murray’s decision to vote against the Scottish Government’s decision to provide healthy free school meals to all pupils

As part of a £114 million package for young people over two years, every one of Scotland’s P1 to P3 children will have the option of a free meal in school from January next year, improving health and wellbeing, increasing attainment and saving families at least £330 a year for each child.

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Joan Shows Support for Nursery Milk

Joan McAlpine MSP was delighted to act as honorary milk monitor for the day at a local nursery to promote the benefits of milk for one to five year olds.

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Independence "Needed to Tackle Fuel Poverty"

The Scottish National Party has highlighted a “tale of two futures “over the level of fuel poverty in the UK and called upon Westminster to take stronger action as thousands of households continue to face fuel poverty this New Year.

A report has warned that a UK government scheme to improve the energy efficiency of homes could take 30 years to succeed and add to energy prices in the meantime, yet the number of households in fuel poverty in Scotland has fallen.

Whilst 300,000 more households in the UK have been plunged into fuel poverty, the latest figures from the Scottish Government show the number of households in Scotland in fuel poverty have decreased from 721,000 (30.5%) in 2011 to 647, 000 (27.1%) in 2012.

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Scottish Government will Contribute £60k for Lockerbie Students to Study at Syracuse

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed an announcement by the First Minister that the Lockerbie Syracuse Scholarship programme is to receive a £60K funding boost from the Scottish Government.

Alex Salmond made the announcement during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday.

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Joan Welcomes News that the First Minister will Visit Lockerbie on Anniversary of Disaster

Joan McAlpine MSP has welcomed news that First Minister Alex Salmond will attend a ceremony at Dryfesdale Cemetery to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing. 

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Joan Welcomes Promise of Continued Funding for Dumfries Arts

The head of the Scottish Government arts agency Creative Scotland has reassured MSPs that Dumfries and Galloway will continue to get generous levels of funding despite a change in management at the agency.

Janet Archer was questioned by Joan McAlpine MSP at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee.

Artists from Dumfries and Galloway wrote a public letter to the press last December pointing out that Creative Scotland had shifted its focus from the central belt to areas like Dumfries and Galloway.

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Joan Welcomes Lochinvar Coal Project Community Benefit Assurances

Joan McAlpine MSP has sought reassurances from an Australian deep mining company that local people will benefit from any developments through jobs training and community benefit.

 Ms McAlpine met with Gary Fietz from New Age Exploration in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday to hear more about the company’s plans to mine for coking coal in Annandale and Eskdale.

There is an estimated 112 million tonnes of high quality coking coal in the area which would be used in the making of steel which currently relies on imported supplies. 

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White Paper Launch Sparks Weekend of Action

SNP MSPs Joan McAlpine and Aileen McLeod will join activists across Dumfries and Galloway over the weekend and take to the streets to spread the positive message about Scottish independence.

Following the publication on Tuesday of the Scottish government white paper “Scotland's Future: Your guide to an independent Scotland” local groups are keen to engage with the public across the region.

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Joan Welcomes "Victory for Common Sense" as Home Office Drop Threat to Deport Dumfries Teacher

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine today welcomed the news that the Home Office has dropped its threat to deport the head teacher of a local primary school as a "victory for common sense". 

Ms McAlpine has campaigned tirelessly to ensure the Home Office drops its case against David MacIssac, who has been in charge of Ae Primary School for seven years. On Thursday Ms McAlpine, accompanied by local councillor Andrew Wood, introduced Mr MacIssaac to Michael Russell, Scotland's Education Minister, in a bid to aid his case which had cross party support.

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McAlpine Welcomes 25.73% Drop In 16-19 Year Olds Claimant Count As Reason for Optimism


South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine today welcomed figures showing a drop of over a quarter in the number of 16-19 year olds claiming Job Seekers Allowance between last year and this year in Scotland.

The picture from the figures (comparing between September 2012 and September 2013) is reflected nationwide with not one rise in the number of 16-19 year old claimants in any one of Scotland’s 32 local authority council areas.

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Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell Throws his Full Support Behind Ae Primary Headteacher David MacIsaac



Scotland’s Education Secretary yesterday threw his full support behind local headteacher David MacIsaac.

American Mr MacIsaac and his wife Susan met the Cabinet Secretary, Mike Russell MSP, in this office in Holyrood with local MSP Joan McAlpine and local councillor Andrew Wood also in attendance.

Mr Russell offered to visit the children at Ae Primary School to offer his support and also to see at first hand the award inning international education programme there. 

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Joan Welcomes £1 million Community Bus Fund

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the announcement this week by Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown of a new £1 million community bus fund.

 Ms McAlpine has made repeated calls for capital funding to help community transport operators buy new vehicles. 

The announcement comes after an Inquiry by the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee identified a lack of capital funding for fleet replacement as the biggest challenge faced by operators. 

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Joan Welcomes Empowerment Bill as A Major Development for Local Self-Determination

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine welcomed the launch of the consultation of the Community Empowerment Bill today, describing it as a major development for local self-determination.

The bill proposes to build upon Scotland’s world leading community right to buy legislation by making it fit for all communities in Scotland and making it more straightforward for communities to take on public sector lands and buildings.

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Joan Welcomes Major New Contract for Annan Boilermakers

MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the announcement of a new contract for an Annan based firm as part of the First Minister’s trade mission to China this week.

Industrial boiler plant makers Cochran Ltd signed a three year partnership with Hong Kong and China Gas Ltd to upgrade Industrial Systems across China to make them more environmentally friendly.

Cochran estimates the new deal to be worth more than £3 million with up to 20 new jobs created in Annan over the next three years. 

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Joan Expresses Disappointment at Scotland Losing out on CAP Funding

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has reacted with disappointment to the figures produced by the Scottish Government, highlighting the extent to which Scottish farmers are losing out as a result of the Westminster Government’s failure to negotiate a favourable deal on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).  The figures demonstrate that payments to Scottish farmers are likely to be the lowest in Europe for both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2.

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Joan Welcomes Positive News for Community Transport Charities

Community transport charities in Dumfries and Galloway could be in line for new vehicles after SNP ministers said they were seriously considering campaigners requests for capital.

The good news was given to Annandale Transport Initiative’s AGM by keynote speaker Joan McAlpine MSP.

Ms McAlpine spoke at the AGM shortly after contributing to a Scottish parliamentary debate on community transport.

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Joan Welcomes Cash Back Boost for D&G Multicultural Centre

Scotland’s Justice Minister has praised a plan for young people’s facilities at Dumfries and Galloway multi- cultural centre.

 And Kenny MacAskill told the Scottish Parliament he hoped to come and visit the centre at some point in the future. 

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Joan Signs Epilepsy Pledge

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has signed the Epilepsy Consortium Scotland’s pledge for equal access to care. She joins 31 fellow SNP MSP supporters, including the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil and Public Health Minister Michael Matheson in backing a fair provision of services for the 54,000 people living with epilepsy across Scotland.

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Council Boss Demands Report on Canonbie Gas Drilling Debacle

The man in charge of planning at Dumfries and Galloway council has asked his staff to compile a comprehensive report on how decisions were reached to allow drilling for coalbed methane in the village of Canonbie.

Planning director Alistair Speedie took the action in response to a complaint from Joan McAlpine MSP.

Ms McAlpine is furious that councillors were by-passed in the decision making process which happened behind closed doors.

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Joan Praises Dumfries Community Choir's Performance at Edinburgh Castle

Dumfries Community Choir stunned audiences at Edinburgh Castle last week when they travelled en masse to perform at the Brave@Heart awards hosted by The First Minister Alex Salmond.

Mr Salmond heard the choir sing in Dumfries High Street during a visit last year to the local parliamentary office of MSPs Joan McAlpine and Aileen McLeod. He joined in their singing and then invited the choir, led by the Electric Theatre’s Graham Main, to perform at the castle.

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Joan Praises Dumfries and Galloway Cancer Waiting Times

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed statistics published last week showing that Dumfries and Galloway Health Board is out-performing most areas across Scotland on cancer waiting times.

The latest statistics show that for the period April to June 2013 97.7% of patients across the country started treatment within 31 days of the decision to treat.

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MSP Joan McAlpine Requests Planning Permission Review for Coalbed Methane Extraction in Canonbie

Joan McAlpine has written to the Chief Executive of Dumfries & Galloway Council, Gavin Stevenson, asking that the planning permission for coalbed methane extraction in Canonbie be reviewed.

 Ms McAlpine decided to take action after attending meetings with Canonbie Community Council and Buccleuch Estates. Ms McAlpine said that the original planning permission, which was given several years ago by council officers without reference to elected members, was null and void. 

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Joan Joins the Fight Against Breast Cancer

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s biggest (and pinkest) fundraiser, wear it pink day.

 Over the last 10 years wear it pink has raised a staggering £23 million and on Friday 25October 2013 people will come together in schools, colleges and businesses across Scotland to raise vital funds for Breast Cancer Campaign’s lifesaving research. 

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Campaign Led by Joan McAlpine MSP Prompts Law Society Review of “Unfair” Rule

 A campaign led by Joan McAlpine MSP to scrap a new rule allowing solicitors to hold on to interest accrued while they deal with inheritance money has been successful in winning a review of the practice.

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Joan Welcomes News That Scotland Could Act Alone in Vaccinating Children Against Meningitis B

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed news that the Scottish Government will not rule out the introduction of a new meningitis B vaccine - despite the refusal of the UK Government to back the life-saving drug.  

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Joan Welcomes Scottish Government Support for Those Affected by Westminster Welfare Cuts

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the £20m extra support for people affected by the bedroom tax outlined by Finance Secretary John Swinney in his Budget statement on Wednesday.  The move to mitigate the effects of the iniquitous tax comes as a UN Special Rapporteur called for the policy to be abolished. The SNP are the only party committed to scrapping the Bedroom Tax in an independent Scotland. 

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Joan Welcomes Consultation on National Tree for Scotland

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the launch of a consultation to find Scotland’s national tree.

The idea of having a national tree for Scotland was put forward by environmental campaigner Alex Hamilton earlier this year and caught the public imagination, as well as gathering support from organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Trees for Life.

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Joan Lends Support to Bluegrass Festival

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has lent her support to a local festival, by tabling a Parliamentary motion.

 The Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival is a developing community music festival that specifically seeks to promote bluegrass music and encourages people of all ages to learn how to play an instrument associated with the genre.  The festival has reached its fifth year due to the commitment of a group of volunteers from across Scotland.

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McAlpine Welcomes Government Commitment to Langholm

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the news that Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney, will work with key stakeholders in Langholm to overcome recent economic difficulties in the town and surrounding areas.

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Joan Urges Applicants for “Best Package of Support in the UK” to Apply Quickly

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine is encouraging local young people studying at Scottish universities after summer to complete their application for financial support now, if they have not already done so.

The Scottish Government pays the fees and a combination of bursaries and loans, based on household income, for all Scottish students studying in Scottish universities. 

A record number of Scots have been accepted to Scottish universities this year and in order to receive their package as quickly as possible, students should complete their applications and send them to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) immediately.

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Farming for Yes at Dumfries Show

A new group representing farmers in favour of an independent Scotland makes its local debut at Dumfries Show this Saturday...

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Joan Says Wait for D&G Mobile Coverage Unacceptable

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine says it is unacceptable that residents of Dumfries and Galloway will be among the last to receive improved mobile phone coverage as part of a UK Government project.

Details of the plans revealed this week by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) have named parts of the country and the order in which they will receive the investment. The map published by DCMS shows that the south west of Scotland is not scheduled to receive the upgraded infrastructure until phase 5 – the final phase – of the Mobile Infrastructure Project. 

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Finance Minister to Meet Gretna Landmark Campaigners

The man in charge of Scotland’s purse strings will meet local campaigners next week to discuss a landmark of international significance at Gretna.

The Star of Caledonia is a shimmering sculpture that could transform the border crossing at Gretna and become Scotland’s own Angel of the North.

Mr Swinney will meet the campaigners from the Gretna Landmark Trust at his Edinburgh office on Tuesday 6th August, after an intervention by south of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine.

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Improved Scottish Coverage Victory for TV Campaign

Joan McAlpine MSP has welcomed today's announcement from Ofcom on the future of channel 3 TV in Southern Scotland as a step in the right direction.

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MSP Concerned Over Low Flying Jets

A local MSP has expressed concern over the sharp increase in low flying aircraft operating over the town of Langholm, which falls under one of three Ministry of Defence’ (MoD) Tactical Training Areas.

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has written to the MoD asking for an explanation, after local residents expressed unease that low flying jets were passing over head ‘hour after hour, day after day’ all last week.

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MSP Welcomes £264 Million Scottish Government Investment for High Speed Broadband

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the announcement of a Scottish Government led initiative that will ensure 95 per cent of Scottish properties have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2017.

The Scottish Government will work with local authorities; BT and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to co-ordinate a £264 million investment in the roll out of high speed broadband using the Scottish model of procurement.  

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Bollywood Star in Dumfries for Yes Campaign

The first of many independence conversations will be coming to Dumfries next week.

Putting forward the case for independence at the special event entitled Conversations about Women and Independence will be Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, Chairman of the Scottish Asian Women’s Association and Euro candidate for the SNP.

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MSP Urges Minister to Consider Local Initiative for Investment

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has today (Monday) written to Minister for Transport Keith Brown, urging him to consider a local organisation for capital investment. 

Annandale Transport Initiative, which provides community transport for older and disabled people in the area, desperately need to replace their three mini-buses as they are spending more and more time off-road for repairs.

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Local Produce on the Menu for New DGRI

Thanks to the intervention of a local MSP, the new DGRI will be serving up good quality, locally sourced food.

SNP Regional List MSP Joan McAlpine wrote to Health Secretary Alex Neil on the issue following an approach by the Health Board’s Chief Executive Jeff Ace concerning a “cook fresh” option for the new hospital.

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A&E Consultants Quadruple Under SNP

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the news that the number of A&E Consultants in Dumfries and Galloway has quadrupled over the time the SNP have been in power.

In 2007, the region had one A&E Consultant, but thanks to extra funding from the Scottish Government, this has risen to four.  The funding boost has also meant that the Health Board have been able to employ an Acute Physician, and advertise for two new posts.

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McAlpine Welcomes 44 Per Cent Drop in Crime Rate

SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Joan McAlpine has welcomed figures released by the Scottish Government which show that crime in Dumfries & Galloway has fallen by 44% since 2007 and 11% in the last year alone.

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South of Scotland MSPs Chair Carers Group

Two south of Scotland MSPs are lending their support to carers across the region, by chairing a Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has stepped in as co-convenor of the Cross Party Group on Carers, following the resignation of her colleague Mark MacDonald.  She joins her fellow south of Scotland MSP, Labour’s Claudia Beamish, who convenes the group.

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McAlpine Urges Local Artists to Get Involved In Cross Party Group

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine is encouraging local artists to get involved in the newly formed Cross Party Group on Culture in the Scottish Parliament.

Ms McAlpine, along with Independent MSP Jean Urquhart, established the Cross Party Group as a means for artists from across Scotland to engage with and influence the political process.

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MSP Celebrates Region's Curling Success

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine last week used a parliamentary debate to celebrate Dumfries and Galloway’s fantastic achievements in curling.

The debate, entitled “Supporting a sporting nation—celebrating and building on Scotland’s success in youth sport” was a chance to highlight the region’s disproportionate contribution to achieving world class status in the sport.

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MSP Expresses Concern over Cuts to Job Centre Provision

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has expressed concern at plans by the Department for Work and Pensions in London to cut service provision in Upper Nithsdale.

The plans, veiled as “improving performance,” will result in cessation of services in Sanquhar and Kirkconnel and focussing them in Dumfries.

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MSP Welcomes £300,000 Investment for Youth Jobs

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed another SNP Scottish Government investment in the region, this time to support youth jobs.

Dumfries & Galloway is set to benefit from an investment totalling more than £300,000 to support youth employment initiatives.

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MSP Welcomes Boost in Hospital Consultants

A funding boost from the Scottish Government will help improve patient care and treatment across Dumfries and Galloway says an MSP.

 South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine was commenting following the announcement that the SNP Government will invest £3 million over the next three years to fund more than a dozen new consultant posts across the country. 

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SNP MSPs continue fight for improved South of Scotland TV coverage

MSPs Joan McAlpine and Dr Aileen McLeod say it’s unacceptable that residents of Dumfries and Galloway and The Borders will not see STV’s Road to the Referendum at the same time as everyone else in Scotland.

Viewers in the STV area saw the landmark programme’s first instalment at 8pm on Tuesday evening. But those living in the ITV Border region must wait until Thursday when the programme will be broadcast at the later time of 10.35pm.

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Does Ukip have a problem in Scotland?

Watch Joan on Channel 4 News discussing UKIP in Scotland


Immortal Memory For The Year of Natural Scotland - Burns The Environmentalist

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Burns was one of the first poets to highlight the importance of landscape and nature.

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