Greenock Telegraph 30th December

The ongoing debate around Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom has continued throughout 2022 and while the U.K. Labour Party continued to rehash their old ideas around constitutional reform it is clear that winning ‘red wall’ seats in England and remaining outside the European Union (EU) , European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) were more important. 

Meanwhile both the Conservative and Unionist Party and the U.K. Labour Party are wedded to Brexit. Despite the fact that it has caused the Scottish economy to shrink and the U.K. has the worst economic growth in the G20 bar Russia.

An independent Scotland shall have choices to make, including whether we want to join the EU, EEA and EFTA. Those that oppose Scotland’s right to make these choices dusted off the old chestnut that we would need to use the Euro to be in the EU despite the fact that it will have taken 15 years for Bulgaria to adopt the Euro in 2024, and Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Poland still use their own currency with no plans to change. 

As the year progressed energy prices soared and consumers felt the pain, while energy producers announced record profits. In Scotland we pay higher standing charges to connect to the grid, a privatised grid and our bills are on average £800 more.

Because the U.K. government has failed to invest in clean green renewable energy we find ourselves looking enviously to the Nordic countries where bills are much lower thanks to plentiful, cheap renewable energy. Scotland has the capacity to produce even more energy than the average of the Nordic countries. The U.K. government will not support Scotland to fulfil its energy potential and we are all paying the price.

As we look forward to 2023 I shall reiterate my belief that the best people to make decisions for Scotland are the people of Scotland and the sooner we take on that responsibility the sooner we can start to build an independent nation that we can all be proud and supportive of. 

Christmas Message 2022

This year the headlines have been dominated by inflation, war, recession and financial instability. Most people are faced with soaring energy prices and a precarious future. A winter of discontent has been marked by strikes and industrial action. And yet set apart from the hardship and sanctions, remote from the worry and uncertainty there are companies making record profits, paying little or no tax and paying the minimum wage. Aspects of the media vilify the working class for exercising their right to withdraw their labour and Conservative politicians are trying to turn public opinion against frontline workers. The very same people we applauded during Covid. The voices of the right wing are becoming louder and ordinary people are being asked to believe that immigration is a bad thing. Peace, love and understanding are thin on the ground.

Closer to home I am continually engaging with people who bring problems to my office. Initially it may seem like a trivial problem but after investigation it’s clear that it is just the latest in a long line of issues that have combined to wear someone down until they find themselves at their wits end. It is against that background that the many charities and voluntary organisations throughout Inverclyde continue year in year out to offer guidance, support and kindness in a non judgmental environment. This isn’t a seasonal offering, it’s all year round and doesn’t require reciprocation. I would like to thank all those organisations and individuals who contribute to the better wellbeing of Inverclyde and for providing daily the goodwill and loving care that we too often only associate with this time of year.

Written question – Levelling up [20/12/2022]

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to announce how the funding for the Levelling Up Parks Fund will be allocated in Scotland. (108261)

Tabled on: 12 December 2022

Dehenna Davison:

Allocations of the Levelling Up Parks Fund within Scotland is a devolved matter. The overall allocation for Scotland will be announced in due course.

The answer was submitted on 20 Dec 2022 at 17:13.