Tag Archives: Aberdeenshire

Income Tax Cut for Thousands in Angus & Mearns

Liberal Democrat Candidate Sanjay Samani for Angus North and Mearns has revealed that 102,500 in Aberdeenshire and 53,200 people in Angus will pay reduced income tax from April this year, thanks to the Liberal Democrat-led increase in the personal tax allowance.

In addition, over 2,500 people in Aberdeenshire and 1,560 people in the Angus will not pay ANY income tax.

Liberal Democrats in the UK Government will be increasing the personal tax allowance to £10,000, meaning no-one will pay any tax on the first £10,000 they earn.  The allowance will rise by £1,000 this April, with a further £600 rise next April, as just announced in the UK budget.

Commenting, Sanjay Samani, said:

“Thanks to the Liberal Democrats, over 4,000 people across Angus, Mearns and Aberdeenshire will not pay any income tax and more than 155,000 people will pay much less than they did before.”

“Liberal Democrats promised at last year’s General Election to increase the personal allowance.  I am proud that my colleagues in Westminster are delivering on that promise.”

“Labour put an incredible income tax burden on the poorest in society.  It is not fair that people on the lowest incomes paid so much of their income in tax. “

Montrose councillor  David May added,

“Liberal Democrats have put money into the pockets of Montrose families.”

“In just 11 months, 54,760 people in Angus have benefited from Liberal Democrats in Government.  This figure will now increase as the tax system gets fairer under Liberal Democrats.”

Stonehaven councillor Peter Bellarby added,

“Liberal Democrats are delivering on their promise to help residents in Stonehaven, Laurencekirk and Mearns.”

“Over 105,000 people in Aberdeenshire will gain from April thanks to Liberal Democrats in Government.  The number who will benefit will rise again next year with the further increase in the allowance and more, year on year through the lifetime of the Coalition Government.”

Scottish Budget boost for Colleges

Angus and Mearns candidate Sanjay Samani has welcomed the major concessions to this year’s Scottish Budget secured by Liberal Democrat MSPs which will help Aberdeen, Angus and Dundee Colleges.

Concessions made to the Liberal Democrats include:

  • Additional funding for FE bursaries of £15 million, spread across 2010-2011-12 to provide additional student support for current student numbers.
  • Additional funding of £8 million in 2011-12 that would support an additional 1,200 college places and associated student support.
  • 1,500 additional Modern Apprenticeships, including 500 places for the renewables sector, at a cost of £2 million
  • 2,000 additional flexible training opportunities

Sanjay commented,

“40,000 students across Scoltand were going to have their budgets slashed by the SNP Government, but this has been reversed thanks to the Lib Dems working hard for you at Holyrood.”

“This is a better budget than the SNP presented in November.  It is better for young people in the Mearns wanting the skills they need to find jobs, helping our local economy.  It is  better for colleges in Angus, Dundee and Aberdeen, that will be able to provide more opportunities.   And it is better for Angus and Mearns businesses that will be able to take on more apprentices.”

“It is also great to hear that the National Union of Students support what we have done.”

Commenting Liam Burns, President of NUS Scotland, said:

“This is great news and testament to the hard work of thousands of college students across Scotland and the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Students across colleges and universities have mobilised fantastically well, with over 32,000 letters and emails sent to MSPs on this issue.

“To win £15m college bursaries, and £8m for college places, in a budget which is being cut is a fantastic result.  We hope this will now end the yearly ritual of college bursaries running out and end the threat of cuts to 40,000 of our poorest students.”

Sir Robert Smith Column 18th March 2011

Friday morning’s news was one of those stories where you sense the outcome will be far more devastating than the initial headlines suggest.   The extent of the destruction caused by the tsunami in Japan is still being revealed.   It is on a scale that is difficult to come to terms with.  I certainly join with others in expressing my deepest sympathy for all the victims of this tragedy.

It is certainly time for the international community to rally round and offer all possible assistance to Japan at this time.  Only recently Japanese experts were helping with the rescue mission in New Zealand.  Japan has great expertise in preparing for earthquakes, but the scale of the task they face will be beyond their domestic resources.   As well as the human suffering it will be a real shock for their fragile economy.

Natural disasters such as this remind us of the potentially devastating power of nature and the importance of global cooperation in our response.   In a different way we were reminded of the importance of global cooperation during the recent Fair Trade fortnight.

One of the ways we can improve the lives of those in some of the poorest countries is ensuring fair trade rules apply to the products they produce.  Developing fair trade can do far more to tackle third world poverty on a long term sustainable basis than just providing development aid.

Mike Rumbles MSP and I were very pleased to be invited to share in Alford Primary’s Fair Trade Assembly last Friday.  Each class gave a presentation on what they had learnt about Fair Trade Cotton.  They had all cleverly adapted their class projects so as to show an aspect of the lessons learnt about cotton farming and trade.  There were some excellent confident performances that impressed us both.

The high price of crude oil is giving mixed blessings to the North East of Scotland. It is boosting investment in jobs dependent on oil and exploration. This is good news for the local economy but we do need to act to ensure that those jobs stay in this area. Many of those jobs are now in the export market and could be based anywhere in the world.

We all have to work hard to ensure those exporting companies remain located locally.  That is why the Scottish Government must respond positively to the Fair Share campaign when it comes to funding of our council and health services.

Currently the North East looses out in the way the Scottish Government distributes funding for vital local services.  These services are important when companies decide where to locate their investment.

When it comes to oil and gas companies if they do not invest in the north east they will not be going elsewhere in the UK, but to other oil and gas provinces abroad.  The UK Energy Department and Treasury currently have a good relationship with those investors.  It is vital that the Scottish Government recognises the important role this investment can play in both Scotland’s and the UK’s recovery and provide fair funding for North East services.

The downside of high oil prices is the relentless rise in the cost of fuel at the pumps.   I have been pressing the Chancellor to recognise the concerns of rural motorists by not implementing the last Government’s proposed increase in fuel duty this April.

For many here the car is a necessity and not a luxury given that public transport is not a sustainable alternative in many rural areas.   In the long run we need a more sophisticated way to tackle the environmental impact of car use that recognises the vital role it plays in rural areas.   For now not implementing the duty rise would be of immediate assistance.