Michael Russell the SNP MSP for Argyll and Bute has welcomed the announcement of a further £1.75 billion Scottish Government investment in affordable housing across Scotland, which includes £50.576m investment in Argyll and Bute.
Councils and house-builders across Scotland’s 32 local authorities will have the opportunity to plan ahead with grant subsidies guaranteed, for the first time, for the next three years until 2021.
In 2018-19, £532 million will be shared amongst local authorities – rising to £591 million in 2019-20 and £630 million in 2020-21.
Michael Russell MSP for Argyll and Bute said:
“The announcement that Argyll and Bute will receive £50.576 over the next three years provides the certainty that Argyll and Bute and the sector needs to keep progressing and ensure we keep up the momentum to reach the Scottish Government’s target of 50,000 new affordable homes by 2021.
“Increasing the supply of affordable homes is a key SNP commitment and plays a vital role in helping to tackle poverty and inequality in Argyll and Bute.
“Committing funding until the end of this parliament will help ensure that Scotland leads the way in building homes that are high-quality, efficient and affordable, and will strengthen our house-building sector and the estimated 14,000 jobs that the affordable housing supply programme supports each year.
“The SNP believes that everyone in Scotland deserves a warm, affordable home and with a huge number of affordable homes approved last year, we are making great progress towards that aim.”
Tiree Community Council, Tiree Development Trust and their local MSP, Michael Russell met with the Minister for Transport and Islands, Humza Yousaf today, Tuesday 24th January in the Scottish Parliament.
The Minister opened the meeting by confirming that he will take up the Community Council’s offer to visit Tiree in early summer.
The Community Council firstly took the opportunity to acknowledge the positive improvements to sea and air transport links they have seen with Transport Scotland. The Minister was able to announce that there will be increased capacity of eight flights to be added to the Glasgow to Tiree route, spread between the Twin Otter aircraft and larger 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft. Three more flights normally scheduled for the Twin Otter will be flown by the larger Saab 340s to provide extra seats around the time of the Tiree 10K in April, the Tiree Music Festival in July and the ultra-marathon in September.
Following negotiations with BT the Minister advised that a further green cabinet is to be fitted in Tiree. The go ahead has also been given by planning for the erection of a 4G mast. Housing issues were also raised and Michael Russell MSP confirmed he will write to Argyll & Bute Council about planning permissions for new entrant croft housing.
Following the meeting Tiree Community Council Secretary, Ian Gillies said:
“This was an extremely useful and constructive meeting for the Tiree Community.
“We were extremely pleased to be given the chance to cover so many issues that are important to Tiree.”
Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute said:
“This meeting was very successful and gave the opportunity for the Minister to hear from the Tiree Community.
“I look forward to the Ministers visit to the Tiree and hope to join him to follow up the important points raised today.”
The Scottish Government announcement that there will be an extra £1.5 million investment for more nursery teachers and graduates in deprived areas across Scotland has been welcomed by local MSP for Argyll and Bute, Michael Russell – with Argyll and Bute set to receive three additional teachers or graduates.
The new staff in Argyll and Bute, part of 435 nationwide, is part of the wider strategy of tackling the attainment gap and giving every child an equal start in life. The provision of extra high qualified childcare professionals will ensure that Argyll and Bute young people benefit from the highest quality care and early years education.
The Scottish Government is taking decisive action to improve early years learning and childcare, including expanding guaranteed free provision to 1140 hours by 2020– which will have a positive impact for families across Argyll and Bute.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Argyll and Bute, Michael Russell said:
“This new funding is very welcome news for Argyll and Bute, helping to ensure that more children in our most deprived communities are able to benefit from specialised childcare and high quality early years learning.
“The Scottish Government is committed to closing the attainment gap, and targeting funding in this way, as well as expanding the guaranteed free childcare provision to 1140 hours by 2020, is important in making this happen, and to ensure that every child across Argyll and Bute gets an equal start in life.
“The three new graduates or teachers that will be joining our workforce in Argyll and Bute will help improve childcare provision in our communities, and I look forward to seeing the Scottish Government continue to invest in our children’s futures.”
The MSP for Argyll & Bute, Michael Russell, has called for the current review of Oban Hospital to consider increasing services available at the facility rather than decreasing them.
Following last week’s public meeting Mr Russell said:
“The terms of reference of this review have made the community feel very uncomfortable. There seems to be an assumption that the Health Board is lining up Oban Hospital for further cuts and even fewer services.
“I am of the opinion that the opposite needs to happen. Oban is a key hub for the West Highlands and is in reasonable travelling distance for most of my constituents. A hospital that had an increased range of services including dialysis and which was used by consultants from Glasgow and elsewhere to meet patients and conduct examinations is what everyone in the area wants and is certainly what they need. In addition the excellent work in places like Lochgilphead shows that ambitious teams of GPs can extend services in new ways and help their patients avoid having to leave the area for a range of treatments.
“There are great staff in Oban and great GPs. With the proper resourcing Oban Hospital could become a model of community provision but that won’t happen if the Health Board and the Health and Social Care Partnership continue along the present route of endless reduction in services and endless centralisation.
“We should make a resolution for 2017 to have a new ambition for every organisation and facility in our area to deliver as much as possible, as well as possible, as locally as possible. The current review of Oban Hospital could give a kick start to such a process, building as it can on existing first class facilities and a supportive, positive community.”