Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell is delighted with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement yesterday that The North West Mull Community Trust have been granted the right to register an interest in buying the Isle of Ulva.

During her keynote speech to the SNP’s 83rd National Conference on Tuesday, the FM confirmed that after the Scottish Government took “careful consideration” they have now granted permission for the people of Ulva to start the process which could end up in a Community purchase of the island. take their island into community ownership.

Commenting-local MSP, Michael Russell said:

“The First Minister’s Speech was full of important things for all the people of Argyll and Bute. But given my own strong support for land reform it was a particular pleasure to hear the confirmation of permission to proceed for a ground breaking buyout proposal in my own constituency, something that is needed for the bid to begin to gain momentum.

The North West Mull Community Trust have worked incredibly hard for the community of the area and whilst there is still work to be done on this massive next step I am greatly looking forward to supporting them in any way I can.

From taking young care leavers out of council tax, creation of a rural tourism infrastructure fund to a publicly owned not for profit energy company Nicola Sturgeon clearly outlined how the Scottish Government will continue make Scotland the fairest and best that it can be and how she will put the people of this country back in the driving seat, creating our own, better, future.”

 

SNP MSP Michael Russell has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that fracking will be banned.

The eastern edge of the Argyll & Bute Constituency, including part of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, was one of the areas originally identified as having potential for fracking, something that has been consistently opposed by local people and by Michael Russell.

The Scottish Government previously announced a moratorium while it ran a public consultation and examined evidence over health and public safety.

The consultation was the second largest ever run by the Scottish Government, receiving 60,535 valid responses – of which 99% were opposed to fracking.

Commenting, SNP MSP Michael Russell said:

“People in Argyll & Bute and across Scotland had deep concerns about the development of fracking, which is why the Scottish Government put in place a moratorium while the evidence was carefully examined.

“The Scottish Government has now undertaken one of the most far reaching investigations into unconventional oil and gas of any government in the world.

“The judgement is now clear – we could not pursue fracking in confidence that it would not undermine public health or our climate change targets.

“And, importantly, the public consent in the communities like Argyll & Bute that would be affected simply isn’t there.

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Government are putting the interests of communities such as Argyll & Bute first.”

 

SNP MSP Michael Russell is encouraging all expectant mothers in Argyll and Bute, whose babies are due on or after 15 August 2017, to register for a baby box at their next midwife appointment.

These boxes, containing various essential items for a child’s first weeks and months, signal the SNP Government’s commitment to ensuring that every child in Scotland, regardless of their circumstances, should get the best start in life.

This comes on top of the SNP Government using new powers to create new Maternity and Early Years’ Allowances, the Best Start Grant, which provides expectant mothers on low incomes with £600 for their first child, £300 for second and subsequent children and a further £250 grant when their child starts nursery, and £250 again when they start school.

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said:

 “The Scottish Government is proudly gifting a Baby Box to every child in Scotland to help tackle deprivation, improve health and support parents – just one part of our determination to ensure that every child has an equal start in life.

“For mothers in Argyll and Bute looking forward to welcoming a new born into the world on or after 15th August this summer, all they need to do to be gifted a Baby Box is apply through their midwife in advance, supplying their preferred delivery address.

“The Baby Boxes are full of useful items such as books, clothes, blankets, a bath towel, a changing mat, a bib and a thermometer, while also providing a safe space for babies to sleep near their parents, to promote bonding and early attachment, and send a signal that every child, regardless their background, matters.

“And with the new powers coming to Scotland, the SNP Government will also provide targeted support of a significantly higher level than elsewhere in the UK, to help low income families via our new Maternity and Early Years’ Allowances- replacing the UK Sure Start grant with our Best Start Grant.

“The new Best Start Grant will be introduced in 2019.”