Author Archives: admin

Richard Moore Raises Concerns over Teacher Shortages and College Cuts

There are unfilled vacancies for teachers in key subjects in both the Arbroath secondary schools.
Richard Moore said: “This is a serious concern. Under-staffed departments mean overworked teachers and less contact time for pupils.
If subject choices are limited and exam results suffer, opportunities are affected for a pupil’s lifetime.
We are already facing shortages of certain skills, such as in the trades, and this needs to be addressed.”

Richard is also worried by cuts in courses at the Arbroath campus of Dundee & Angus College.
“When part-time courses are not on offer in Arbroath,” he says, “it’s people with family caring obligations who miss out most.
Travelling to Dundee or Perth is just not an option for them.
Further Education should be within reach for all who want it, regardless of their stage of life or responsibilities.”

Richard Moore Calls for Affordable Housing

Richard Moore wants to see more affordable housing built in rural communities.
The ongoing development in Friockheim should have provided 16 affordable homes but instead, the Council is  letting the developer provide funds for housing elsewhere.
Only the immediate neighbours were consulted – no site notice, no press notice – so hardly anybody knew what was happening.

Richard said, “For rural communities to stay alive, they need housing for young families, and for people wishing to downsize.
‘Commuted sums for development elsewhere’ sounds reasonable, but where is ‘Elsewhere’? Not a rural community I suspect.”

“When local people can’t afford to buy or rent houses in their villages, they have to migrate to the towns. Housing should be built where people choose to live.”

Richard Moore offers solutions to “School Run” parking

Residents near schools have complained to Richard about “school run” parking.
Richard said, “Residents are annoyed at their drives being blocked and road restriction markings being ignored.
Of course parents want their children to get to and from school safely, but we have to make sure that other children are not put at risk by thoughtless parking.”

“There are solutions to address the problem. For example, there are walking buses, ‘Park and Stride’, using a local car park as an assembly point.
We have to raise awareness of the dangers and educate parents about the risks of careless parking.
My aim is to address the problem sensibly without resorting to draconian measures such as parking fines.”

Richard Moore is the Scottish Liberal Democrats candidate for Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim.

Richard Moore criticises Council’s “Attack on Recycling”

Arbroath West, Letham, & Friockheim candidate Richard Moore is committed to protecting the environment for future generations and has criticised the recent cuts to recycling.
“The attack on recycling is counter-productive,” he said. “If recycling centres are only open when people are at work, the centres will be less used and more recyclables will go into landfill. Has the charge for green bin emptying covered the cost of the service? Or are we in for another service reduction this summer?”

“The council has to pay £86 for every tonne that goes to landfill,” he added. “Collecting recyclate and garden waste is the sensible way to reduce that cost. I hope the administration has learned from the monumental blooper last July, when thousands of households opted out of the garden waste collections. Or must the taxpayer continue to pay for dumping recyclable material at the tip?”

“The council has chosen to reduce the number of household amenity sites, creating less opportunity to recycle. Did the administration not realise that it has to work with residents to improve recycling rates? People need to be able to access the site in the evenings, longer at weekends, and in locations that are local and sensible.”

Richard Moore on IndyRef2

 

Richard Moore is worried by the direction Angus Council is taking. He sees the SNP in Angus following the Scottish Government’s austerity agenda as the First Minister moves toward IndyRef2.

Richard and the Scottish Liberal Democrats are against the idea of a second independence referendum. “There are many issues requiring the urgent attention of Angus Council – job shortages, especially teachers and NHS staff, but also road and footpath repairs and the need for affordable homes – which should take priority. Where is the will to address these issues?”, he said.

Richard understands that a nation can achieve whatever it wants. He simply believes that it can achieve more by not working in isolation. “The practical way to achieve more for Angus,” he added, “is to concentrate on delivering effective local solutions.”

Call for action on Legal Highs

By David May

I am very disappointed to hear that Lib Dem MSP Norman Baker has resigned as Home Office minister given the superb work he has been doing on Legal Highs. It is very important that now the report on legal highs, which was blocked by the Tories, but is now published , and which has led to new proposals is continued by the government and I call on the Home Office not to delay and complete the work which was initiated by Norman Baker.
I support what Baker has said in that we need a blanket ban on new psychoactive substances across the whole of the UK, by clamping down on the suppliers and shops. This would mean the legal shops would close and action would be taken on internet sales.
Sanjay Samani who is a member of the Montrose against Legal Highs Group added “ Presently manufacturers are able to get round the legislation as it stands, by changing the chemical ingredients and creating what is claimed to be a new substance. The new approach that the government has been led by Norman Baker, was passed in Ireland and this had a massive affect on the availability of legal highs in their country and we must back this here so that the Angus legal highs shops close”

From: David May

GSK PLANS TO EXPAND

By David May

image

GSK have submitted plans to expand their operation in Montrose which if they are passed by the council committee next week will be good news for the local economy. They have sought planning permission for the erection of a new pharmaceutical and manufacturing facility, and if the councillors agree to this, would lead to 25 new jobs and will be welcomed by people in Montrose and Angus as whole. I am not on this committee but it is clear to me that the GSK plan is a tribute to the skills of the staff working there as it illustrates the confidence GSK have on them.

From: David May

Memorial benches in our area

By David May

phoenix-tm-seat-main

I have had contact recently, from residents who have enquired about a bench, like the one below, they would like to donate often in memory of someone close to them. As a result I have made contact with the local council officer responsible for this and now have met with him and anyone in the Montrose area who wishes information about the benches and costs should make contact with me about this.

From: David May

Our drugs policy should be based on what works as our present policy is not working

By David May

Having sent in Freedom of Information requests on the two reports on drugs and legal highs, it is excellent news that the Tories have now allowed the release of the reports which they had previously blocked. It is clear from one of the reports that there is no link between tough penalties and level of drug use in a country. The Lib Dem minister Norman Baker who has called for the release of the report, has commented that treating drug use as a health matter would be much more effective, as shown in Portugal, and in my view the present policy is not working and we should base our policy on evidence of what works and not on prejudice. I believe that we now need to look again at our policy and looking very closely at what seems to be the successful policy adopted in Portugal.

It is evident that in the 1990s Portugal was struggling with a heroin epidemic of almost epic proportions as one person in every 100 was a heroin addict. Not everyone agreed in Portugal agreed with the change in the approach that was adopted to try and end the problem. In fact, many on the right wing of politics were appalled when prosecutions for people using drugs were ended. They didn’t like the idea that addiction would be treated as a health issue, rather than a criminal one, that addicts would be given treatment and healthcare to help them overcome their addiction. Those voices have been silenced now. Fifteen years later, and the number of people hooked on heroin has been halved, and there have been good results in terms of Aids infection, hepatitis infection and the like. Back in the 1990s “we feared that Portugal could turn into a paradise for drug users”, says Dr Jaoa Goulao, Portugal’s national co-ordinator on drugs and drug addiction. Thanks to the policy, that didn’t happen, he says.

On the subject of legal highs I am delighted to see that this report has also been published and more especially that the government is now going to consider legislation that bans the sale of all psychoactive substances, although exempting alcohol and tobacco. I back the Lib Dem minister Norman Baker who has commented “from today we will start looking into the feasibility of a blanket ban such as they do in Ireland, on new psychoactive substances across the whole of the UK, clamping down on the suppliers and head shops rather than the users.” In my view the sooner these substances are banned the better as legal highs have caused fatalities and is a very significant problem for not only Montrose but across Angus and also in our country as a whole.

The remainder is from the BBC web site

There is “no obvious relationship” between tough laws and levels of drug use, a government report has suggested.

The research compared the UK with countries like Portugal, where possession of small amounts of drugs no longer carries criminal sanctions.

Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Norman Baker said the findings should prompt the end of “mindless rhetoric” on drugs with a new focus on treatment.

The government said it had “no intention” of decriminalising drugs.

Let’s look at what works rather than presuming locking people up is the answer”

After examining a range of approaches, from zero-tolerance to decriminalisation, the research concluded that drug use is influenced by factors “more complex and nuanced than legislation and enforcement alone.”

However, the report found there had been a “considerable” improvement in the health of drug users in Portugal since the country made drug possession a health issue rather than a criminal one in 2001.

The Home Office said these outcomes cannot be attributed to decriminalisation alone and the UK government had “absolutely no intention of decriminalising drugs.”

Mr Baker said treating drug use as a health matter would be much more effective in minimising harm.

The divisions within the coalition could not be more sharply exposed.

The official Home Office position is that its drug strategy is working.

Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat minister with responsibility for drugs, says “radical” change is needed.

Mr Baker’s claims have been fuelled by his department’s own report, which finds no link between how tough a country is on drugs and how many people use them.

It’s an important finding, but the study also makes clear that drug policy is highly complex – approaches which may work abroad can’t necessarily be implanted into the UK.

The Home Office barely mentioned the report in its press release, focusing instead on plans to change the law on legal highs.

Mr Baker’s intervention has ensured the report takes centre stage.

“Let’s look at what works rather than presuming locking people up is the answer,” Mr Baker said.

“People are treated as a number, they’re given a fine, they’re given a caution, they’re put in prison and none of that changes their drug habit.

“If we’re interested in changing people’s behaviour then we need to look at it from a health point of view.”

Earlier this year Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged to abolish prison sentences for the possession of drugs for personal use.

Mr Clegg challenged David Cameron to look at issues such as decriminalisation, despite the prime minister previously rejecting calls for a Royal Commission to consider the issue.

A man smokes drugs with police officers in the background
Danny Kushlick, the founder of the group Transform, which has been campaigning for the legal regulation of drugs in the UK for almost 20 years, said the report was an important step.

He added: “For the first time in over 40 years the Home Office has admitted that enforcing tough drug laws doesn’t necessarily reduce levels of drug use.

“Decriminalising the possession of drugs doesn’t increase levels of use.”

A separate Home Office report calls for a blanket ban on all brain-altering drugs in a bid to tackle legal highs.

Currently, when a legal high is made illegal, manufacturers are avoiding the law by tweaking the chemical compound and creating a new substance.

The government is going to consider legislation introduced in Ireland four years ago that bans the sale of all “psychoactive” substances but exempts some, such as alcohol and tobacco.

Mr Baker said: “From today we will start looking into the feasibility of a blanket ban on new psychoactive substances across the whole of the UK, clamping down on the suppliers and head shops rather than the users.

“This approach had a dramatic impact on the availability of legal highs when introduced in Ireland, but we must ensure it would work here too.”

Drug laws in some parts of the world have been relaxed in recent years.

Last year, Uruguay became the first country in the world to make it legal to grow, sell and consume marijuana.

From the start of this year, Colorado became the first US state to allow stores to sell cannabis for recreational purposes.

From: David May

Hume is correct that drugs policy should be based on evidence and not on what sounds tough

By David May

HUME: HIGHEST RATE OF DRUG MISUSE HOSPITAL STAYS SHOWS NEED FOR CHANGE IN APPROACH

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP has said that figures published today recording the highest rate of hospital stays due to drug misuse recorded in 18 years, shows a need for a change in approach to drug policy. As an Angus Lib Dem Councillor “I back the comments from Hume as our drugs policy should be based on evidence and not on what sounds tough. I am waiting for the response from the government on my Freedom of Information requests on what the Tories have blocked being published both with the international comparisons and on legal highs.”

Official figures published by ISD Scotland today showed the rate of hospital stays with diagnosis of drug misuse has steadily increased from 40.5 per 100,000 to 123.6 per 100,000 between 1996/1997 to 2013/2014.

The disparity between Scotland’s most deprived and least deprived areas continues to grow, with 295 per 100,000 hospital stays for drug misuse accounting for those from Scotland’s most deprived areas compared to 16.4 per 100,000 from Scotland’s least deprived areas.

Mr Hume said:

“The steadily increasing rate of hospital stays related to drug misuse shows that we are fighting a losing battle. Over the past two decades the rate of hospital stays related to drug misuse has trebled from 40.5 per 100,000 to 123.6 per 100,000.

“Drug misuse relating to heavily addictive opioids such as heroin remain by far the largest cause of hospital admissions, reflecting over two thirds of all drug related hospital stays. It is worrying that those from Scotland’s poorest communities continue to suffer most from the blight of illegal drug misuse, accounting for 295 per 100,000 hospital stays compared to 16.4 per 100,000 from Scotland’s least deprived areas.

“Each person behind those figures has a life left rocked by drug misuse, which can often deeply affect their loved ones and their communities. If we are to enable more people to get on in life, we need a radical change in approach to drug policy in Scotland and the UK. Our drugs laws should be based on what works, not what sounds tough. Much more needs to be done to concentrate on reducing harm from drugs, decreasing dependency, clamping down on dealers and focussing more on treatment than punishment for those found in possession.

“These are sensible calls which would go some way to building the fairer society we all wish to see.”

From: David May