Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

Swinney asked to support Dundee City Council’s plans to help the city during the recession

30 October 2009

Marlyn Glen is calling on Finance Secretary John Swinney to say how many of the proposals put forward by Dundee City Council to help the city to lessen the effects of the recession he would be prepared to implement.

Ms. Glen said,

” Last month Dundee City Council made its views known to the Scottish Government’s Local Government Committee in a joint submission with three other councils in Scotland on local government finance. ( Falkirk, Highland and South Ayrshire)

” The councils suggested a series of measures that would help councils to lessen the impact of the current economic downturn in their areas.

” Unenviable decisions have to be made and difficult challenges addressed in the next few years, with predictable consequences for Dundee City Council’s budgets.

” Nevertheless the council has put forward constructive propositions such as on capital investment that would help to sustain jobs as the city’s economy prepares for a return to the path of robust recovery.

” The Finance Secretary now has an opportunity to show that he shares these priorities with the city by indicating that he will agree to its recommendations.”

The councils indicated that these included :

*The Scottish Government should consider ensuring that the levels of current capital investment continue beyond this financial year.

*It should offer greater support for affordable housing

*It should provide flexibility to local authorities in delivering Concordat commitments and
Single Outcome Agreement targets.

* It should provide clarification of future grant settlements as early as possible, to allow local authorities to plan for the funding they are notified of.

*It should provide maximum flexibility in how local authorities use existing resources, for example ability to capitalise equal pay and early retirement/redundancy costs.

The councils also recommended a review of the current freeze on council tax.

The council state in their evidence to the committee :

“This measure may not be sustainable and reduces the flexibility to local authorities in relation to generation of funding, and puts added pressure on the grant settlement which is providing funding to local authorities in lieu of increasing council tax.

“Extending the council tax freeze will require additional funding to be allocated by the Scottish Government, which will in turn lead to higher levels of efficiency saving required and additional pressure on pay awards to maintain service levels.

Chief Executive David Dorward told the Parliament’s Committee :

“It will be up to the Scottish Government to determine whether or not the freeze continues. Can local authorities manage? Possibly they can, in the short term, but I think that the word “austere” has been used looking ahead to the 2013-14 financial settlement. It is difficult to see a council tax freeze in 2013-14.”

Filed under: Uncategorized

Plea for more construction work

29 October 2009

Marlyn Glen is making a fresh plea to the Scottish Government for new construction sector work for Dundee and Angus following the revelation that some 470 building trade workers in the area are registered as looking for work in their particular trades.

Scottish Parliament figures sought by Ms. Glen show that there are 320 construction sector seeking work in Dundee and a further 150 in Angus.

“The construction industry is a key sector in the recovery, and must be kept ready and prepared for it through public capital investment and the retention of skilled employees and apprentices.

” Such activity will benefit both the construction sector and its supply sector businesses in this difficult period.

” This is why the decision of the Scottish Government as to which primary schools are to be built or refurbished or should have been made at the same time last month as the decision on the secondary schools involved.

” There is no case to delay the decision on primary schools until the end of this year.”

The breakdown by trade is as follows :

Dundee figures :

Bricklayers & masons 40

Roofers, roof tilers and slaters 25

Plumbers and heating engineers 50

Joiners 110

Plasterers 15

Floorers and wall tilers 15

Painters and decorators 60

Glaziers 5

Steel erectors 0

Total 320

Angus figures

Bricklayers & masons 30

Roofers, roof tilers and slaters 15

Plumbers and heating engineers 15

Joiners and carpenters 60

Plasterers 0

Floorers and wall tilers 5

Painters and decorators 25

Glaziers 0

Steel erectors 0

Total 150

Filed under: Uncategorized

MSP calls for more financial support for muscular dystrophy care

27 October 2009

Marlyn Glen is supporting moves to shift the provision of essential care advice for those with muscular dystrophy from “hard-working campaigning charities to the more financially-secure National Health Service.”

Ms. Glen said that the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign had informed her that there are around 400 adults and children in the NHS Tayside area living with muscular dystrophy or a related neuromuscular condition.

At present, there are 2 part- time muscular dystrophy Care Advisor posts who are funded through the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, serving the whole of Scotland.

One advisor, based in Edinburgh, also supports clinics for adults and children in Dundee, Fife, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Ms. Glen is writing to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon calling for “swift Scottish Government approval” for a grant application for full-time posts for Care Advisors within the NHS.

Ms. Glen said,

” Key workers such as Care Advisors play an indispensable role in the multidisciplinary teams who co-ordinate services and support, particularly in the transitional period from childhood to adulthood.

“Hard-working campaigning charities such as the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign are right to say that the funding of Care Advisors should be transferred to the relatively more secure realm of the NHS to emphasise the need for more specialist care for this debilitating disease.”

Filed under: Uncategorized

Plea for more funding for dementia care

21 October 2009

Marlyn Glen has been informed by Alzheimer Scotland that the number of people in Dundee likely to be diagnosed with dementia over the next two decades will increase by almost half its current level.

Figures from the organisation which helps people with dementia, their carers and families suggest that the numbers of those with dementia in Dundee will rise from 2,161 to 3,179 in the period 2009-2031.

This would represent a 47 per cent increase in the number currently diagnosed.

Ms. Glen who has signed the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers in Scotland is urging Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to introduce new investment to transform the care of dementia.

Alzheimer Scotland has already called for a £15million “Change Fund” to raise the level of services and support for people with dementia in Scotland.

Ms. Glen said,

“In an ageing population, the need to provide a better quality of life for those with dementia, their carers and families will become a significant focus for the work of health and social services.

“In England this year, the NHS has already unveiled an investment of over £150 million in the first two years of a five-year plan to provide early diagnosis and treatment of dementia , raise the public profile of the condition , and improve the standard of care for people with dementia.

” A corresponding commitment of resources from the Scottish Government is vitally important to make advances in similar provision for Scotland.”

Filed under: Uncategorized

Harris refurbishment : MSP raises Scottish Futures Trust £120,000 spent on consultants

20 October 2009

Marlyn Glen is raising with the Scottish Government the £120,000 spent on outside consultants in the past 4 months by the Scottish Futures Trust, the body which is overseeing the refurbishment of Harris Academy.

Ms. Glen said that the money, which included nearly £50,000 for consultants’ assistance in the recruitment of seven senior Scottish Futures Trust staff, “should have been earmarked for Harris Academy instead.”

Ms. Glen said,

” The Scottish Futures Trust has laid one brick of any new school, but has been allowed to spend a large amount of money for little public value in return.

” If there is a shortfall between what Dundee City Council say they require for Harris refurbishment and what they get from the Scottish Government’s Futures Trust, then there is the risk of a squeeze on other council budgets to pay for the work on Harris.

“Alternatively, the scale of the Harris investment programme could be reduced.”

Ms. Glen added,

” The £120,000 awarded to consultants would have been useful money in such circumstances, but has been already spent.

“Dundee City Council must receive an assurance from the Scottish Government that the funding for the refurbishment of Harris must be sufficiently abundant so that city’s other refurbishment plans will not face either suspension or procrastination.”

Filed under: Uncategorized

Broughty Ferry Home Insulation Scheme welcomed

02 October 2009

Marlyn Glen MSP has welcomed news from Dundee City Council that they are to spend part of their £32,000 annual allocation from central government for home insulation on properties in Broughty Ferry that have been identified for such work that will begin shortly.

The council were responding to query from Ms. Glen on how the allocation from the Warm Deal programme and the Energy Assistance Package for loft insulation and cavity wall insulation was being spent in this financial yea.

The council also indicated that money would also be made available to individual tenants who qualify.

If an individual tenant contacted the Housing Department asking for insulation measures then a referral would be made to Miller-Pattison for a survey and insulation work.
Miller-Pattison would then invoice the Council who would pay from the Warm Deal allocation.

Ms. Glen said,

” I welcome news of the forthcoming programme of home insulation that the council are to begin soon in Broughty Ferry.

” These schemes to make homes warmer and more energy efficient do make a real difference to the lives of those who need it most.”

Ms. Glen added that she would be raising with the Scottish Government the reasons for the “flat-lining of Dundee’s allocation” which had remained at £32,000 for each of ther past four years.

Filed under: Uncategorized

More details sought of STV pilot news programme for Dundee

03 October 2009

Marlyn Glen is asking STV for more details of its future plans for broadcasting in Dundee.

This follows the announcement earlier this month by STV of proposals for a pilot news channel next year.

This would feature an hour-long programme of international , UK, Scottish and local news.

The coverage of news by “North Tonight” from Dundee would be extended from 10 to 15 minutes.

Ms. Glen is asking STV for an assurance that, if the pilot were to become eventually a new news programme, there will be no reduction in the number of staff employed in Dundee.

She believes that the increased news production should mean more STV editorial and technical staff working in the city.

Ms. Glen said,

” I welcome this publicly-funded venture, and its possible development into a new programme, as long as it means no redundancies.

“A higher profile for Dundee on television has always been called for by Dundonians

” The pilot provides an opportunity to raise with STV what their longer-term plans are for more resources for broadcasting from Dundee.”

The former North Tonight news programme, now STV North News, has audience penetration of up to 50% of all viewers of all channels in the former Grampian TV area, the best figures for any regional news programme in Scotland, England or Wales.

Filed under: Uncategorized

“Lack of Urgency” over Harris Academy refurbishment

02 October 2009

Marlyn Glen has tabled questions in the Scottish Parliament saying that the “lack of urgency” in establishing a timetable for the refurbishment of Harris Academy ” is leaving the construction industry in Dundee waiting for a further major boost in work.”

Ms. Glen said,

” While I welcome the decision, there is a lack of urgency about the new school building programme in Scotland with all the new secondaries set to open by 2017.

“In January , Dundee City Council fast tracked the £20 million plan for four new schools to boost the construction industry in the city.

“In the past two years, the industry has waited month after month for the Scottish Government’s ‘brick for brick’ school building programme to finally get under way.

Her questions are :

To ask the Scottish Executive what estimate it has made of the cost of the refurbishment of Harris Academy, Dundee

To ask the Scottish Executive when it envisages that work will begin on the refurbishment of Harris Academy, Dundee

To ask the Scottish Executive when it envisages that work will be completed on the refurbishment of Harris Academy, Dundee

Filed under: Uncategorized

Only 1 class in Broughty Ferry primaries at target level , says MSP

02 October 2009

Marlyn Glen MSP has released Dundee City Council information showing that only 1 class in all of the Primary 1- 3 classes in Broughty Ferry schools has 18 or less pupils in it.

18 or less pupils is the target set by the Scottish Government for its flagship policy on class sizes for all P1-P3 classes by 2011.

Ms. Glen said,

” With just under two years to go in this Parliament, only one class in either Barnhill , Eastern or Forthill has 18 or fewer pupils.

“Many are significantly larger in number than 18.

“The Scottish Government has now indicated that it intends legislate to cap classes sizes in Primary 1 at a maximum of 25 pupils; in effect abandoning their promise of 18 pupils in each P1-P3 class in two years’ time.”

Class sizes

Barnhill

Primary one classes : number of pupils – 34, 23
Primary two classes: number of pupils – 29, 30
Primary three classes : number of pupils – 30, 29.

Eastern

Primary one classes : number of pupils – 18, 20
Primary two classes: number of pupils – 21, 20
Primary three class number of pupils – 29.

Forthill

Primary one classes : number of pupils – 23, 24, 24
Primary two classes : number of pupils – 26, 24, 25
Primary three classes : number of pupils – 29, 26.

Filed under: Uncategorized