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24th October 2014

The SNP has welcomed new plans to reduce the drink-drive limit on Scotland’s roads in time for Christmas – in a move to make Scotland’s roads safer and bring Scotland into line with much of Europe.
 Under plans announced by the Scottish Government today, the blood alcohol limit in Scotland would be cut from 80mg per 100ml to 50mg per 100ml which brings Scotland into line other European countries including France, Spain and Germany.

 Estimates suggest that around one in ten deaths on roads in Scotland involve drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit.
 Commenting, SNP MSP Christian Allard said :
 “Drink-driving has been a scourge on Scotland’s roads for too long – leading to completely unnecessary injuries and deaths - devastating families and communities across the country. It is absolutely right that the Scottish Government is to take this decisive action.
 “Around one in ten deaths on Scotland’s roads involve drivers who are over the limit – and having even one drink is enough to make you three times as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash.
 “That’s why lowering the blood alcohol limit is the right thing to do – making our roads safer, saving lives and preventing more families from having to deal with losing a loved one through drink driving.
 “This new limit will send out a clear message that driving after you’ve had a drink is unacceptable – and I hope the rest of the UK follows Scotland’s example on this important issue and comes into line with the rest of Europe.”

Further information here : http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Lower-drink-drive-limit-118e.aspx



24th October 2014

The SNP has today welcomed news that Councillor Iain MacLean has won the Oban North and Lorn by-election, the first vote in Scotland since the referendum, showing a huge surge in support for the SNP.
 The by-election for the Oban North and Lorn ward of Argyll and Bute Council followed the death of Independent Cllr John MacGregor, who was elected in a previous by-election held on 17 July 2014.
 The change since the 17 July by-election shows a boost in support of 16.3% for the SNP with all the No parties falling flat; Labour and Tory both scored a lower vote share and the Lib Dems did not even field a candidate in what is a Lib Dem Westminster seat.
 Welcoming the result, local SNP MSP Michael Russell said :
 “This is a tremendous result and I’m delighted for Councillor Iain MacLean; I have no doubt that he will serve all the people of Oban North and Lorn with dedication.
 “Significantly this by-election – which is the first since the referendum - mirrors the very positive polling on party ratings since the referendum.
 “The victory here in Oban North and Lorn reflects a wider surge in support for the SNP as more and more people have come to realise that the SNP is the only major party that will represent all the people of Scotland, hold the Westminster government to account, by ensuring that Scotland is given the extensive new powers we were promised two days before the referendum.
 “The Westminster parties were all losers last night, with a drop in support for Labour and Tory, and the Lib Dems not even bothering to field a candidate in a constituency where they have a sitting MP.”

By-Election by Main Parties
  Votes % % Change
SNP 1,090 40.9% (+16.3%)
Labour 530 19.9% (-1.9%)
Conservative 415 15.6% (-2.8%)
Independent 627 23.6% (-11.5%)

That equates to a 9.08% swing Labour to SNP since July and a 9.56% swing Tory to SNP since July.



Gathering of the Branch - The Deputy Leadership Contest is coming to Dunfermline!

The Voting for Depute Leader has commenced ... but voting does not close until 5pm on the 12th November.
Dunfermline and West Fife members have a chance to say who you would like to work with Nicola Sturgeon to take the Party forward, building on the momentum established over the past 2 years and working towards our goal of independence.
 This is the first deputy leadership contest in over ten years and the candidates are, Transport and Veterans Minister Keith Brown, Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment Angela Constance and Westminster Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie.
 We are delighted to say all three candidates, Keith Brown, Angela Constance and Stewart Hosie are coming to Dunfermline next week to talk with you the Branch members!

When and where : Wednesday the 29th October – arrive 7.15pm for a 7.30 start
  @ The Carnegie Conference Centre

Come and hear how they see the SNP and our Nation going forward and ask them the questions that matter to you!
 Hope to see you at the Deputy Leadership Husting.
 David Bruce
Convener Dunfermline SNP



Voting is 0pen :
 Voting is now open for the position of Depute Leader. This is your chance to have a say in who you would like to work with Nicola Sturgeon to take the Party forward, building on the momentum established over the past 2 years and working towards our goal of independence.

To vote, visit www.mi-vote.com/snp and then enter your unique voting code.



From Carol Anderson ‎at the YES SHOP (AYE POD), DUNFERMLINE :

Shop all set up and ready to re-open 24th October at 10am! Lots of nice gifts for yourself or others! More stock due next week so check back if you don't see what you are looking for!

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23rd October 2014

The SNP has today highlighted the need for the Scottish Parliament to have full control over welfare after reports that degenerative condition sufferers are having their benefits slashed because the UK Government deems they will recover enough to look for work.
 Today’s Independent newspaper reports that Westminster’s Department for Work and Pensions is denying full Employment Support Allowance to sufferers of conditions such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Instead the sufferers are assessed, sometimes two or more times, as suitable for work-related activity, which is designed for people likely to recover.
 Steve Ford, Chief Executive at Parkinson’s UK, described the situation - which Freedom of Information has revealed that seven out of 10 new claimants with a progressive condition have been reassessed two or more times on the same claim - as a “disgrace”.
 Commenting, Annabelle Ewing MSP, a member of the Welfare Reform Committee, said :
 “This is a new low for this heartless Tory government – the Westminster system cutting payments to people with degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis is absolutely disgusting and incredibly offensive.
 “This highlights exactly why powers over welfare need to be in Scotland’s hands – rather than in the hands of out of touch Westminster politicians. Westminster has shown time and time again that it can’t be trusted and is more interested in attacking vulnerable people than supporting them.
 “With extensive new powers over welfare and the economy we can take action to build a fairer country and ensure we support the most vulnerable and sick people in Scotland.”

More information here : www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/thousands-with-degenerative-conditions-classified-as-fit-to-work-in-future--despite-no-possibility-of-improvement-9811910.html



22nd October 2014

David Cameron has today confirmed that full fiscal autonomy is an option for Scotland, as discussions get underway at the Smith Commission.
 The Smith Commission has been tasked with delivering more powers to the Scottish Parliament following the Vow made by the three Westminster leaders in the event of a No vote.
 David Cameron was asked at Prime Minister’s Questions to clarify that full fiscal autonomy to Holyrood is still very much on the agenda following the promises made during the campaign.

Commenting, Angus MacNeil MP said :
 “David Cameron said just days before the referendum that if Scotland stays within the UK then all options of devolution are there and they are possible. Today he confirmed that he stands by his promises.
 “Cameron’s comments of course mean that full fiscal autonomy is on the table, which includes devolving full control of Scottish taxes and spending to the Scottish Parliament.
 “A new poll shows superb trust ratings for the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon on more powers – as Labour’s woes in Scotland continue, with only one per cent of people trusting Ed Miliband most to deliver extensive new powers.
 “Our key focus is on delivering powers for a purpose – that means proposals that will deliver real change for the people of Scotland and better equip the Scottish Parliament to create jobs, protect public services and tackle inequality."

Notes :
 At PMQs, Angus MacNeil MP asked :
 “Before the Scottish Referendum, the Prime Minister said –‘If Scotland says it does want to stay inside the United Kingdom, then all options of devolution are there, and all are possible.’ So will he unequivocally stand by his promise and confirm this of course means full fiscal autonomy be on the table, meaning that devolving a full control of Scottish taxes and spending to the Scottish parliament to help create jobs and a more just society’ .”
 David Cameron answered :
 “I certainly stand by all the promises I made in the run up to that referendum campaign, and I think Lord Smith is doing an excellent job at looking at all the options for devolution. I’m sure we can find a way forward.“




22nd October 2014

The SNP has welcomed new figures showing youth unemployment has fallen by 29,000 – and stands at its lowest level in six years, falling faster than the UK rate.
 New figures published today show falling unemployment and increasing employment amongst young people – with the youth unemployment rate in Scotland falling by 5.6 per cent, compared to the UK’s figure of 5.1 per cent.
 The Scottish Government has taken strong action to promote youth employment – guaranteeing an offer of a place in training or education for all 16 to 19 year olds through the Opportunities for All programme and has set out plans to deliver the recommendations of the Young Workforce Commission.

Commenting, SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald said :
 “These are very welcome figures – showing that youth unemployment in Scotland is falling faster than in the rest of the UK and stands at its lowest level in six years.
 “The fact that Scotland now has a higher employment rate, lower unemployment rate and lower inactivity rate for young people than the rest of the UK – coming on the back of last week’s figures showing strong economic growth and a record fall in unemployment – confirms that Scotland’s economic recovery is continuing and that our young people are not being left behind.
 “The excellent progress made on youth employment is testament to the Scottish Government’s stewardship of the limited economic powers currently in Scotland’s hands – and with the extensive economic powers promised to the people of Scotland in the Vow we can do even more.
 “With these new powers we can take a different approach from the austerity agenda of the Westminster establishment – giving us the opportunity to invest even more in our public services, make Scotland a better place to do business and create even more opportunities for our young people.”

More information can be found here : news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Youth-unemployment-at-six-year-low-1186.aspx



22nd October 2014

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso has delivered an embarrassing rebuke to David Cameron on his plans for an in/out referendum on the EU – as a new report shows uncertainty over the UK’s EU position could put investment and jobs at risk.
 Speaking on the BBC on Sunday, Mr Barroso gave short shrift to the Prime Minister’s claims that he will re-negotiate key aspects of the UK’s terms of membership including freedom of movement – making clear that this is an “essential” principle of the EU and cannot be changed. He went on to say that the UK would have “zero” influence on the world stage if it left the EU.
 Mr Barroso’s comments come as a new report by the EY ITEM Club said that uncertainty over the UK’s position in the EU could risk investment and lead to a slow-down in economic growth.

Commenting, SNP MSP James Dornan said :
 “Jose Manuel Barroso’s comments are an embarrassing slap-down to the Prime Minister. David Cameron is now being told by the man the Tories said gave 'definitive' opinions on Europe that his plans to renegotiate the UK’s membership of the EU simply can't happen – and that the UK would have ‘zero’ influence if it voted to leave the EU in a Westminster in/out referendum.
 “The Westminster parties were falling over themselves to tell us we should listen to Mr Barroso during the independence referendum campaign – so his intervention today will be deeply embarrassing to the Tories, and shows just how dangerous it is to allow European policy to be led by UKIP’s right-wing agenda.
 “The folly of David Cameron’s Euro-hostile agenda is also confirmed by a new report which says that uncertainty over the UK’s place in Europe could lead to a slowdown in investment and growth – putting Scottish jobs at risk.
 “The fact is that Scotland rejects the Euro-hostile consensus that is building at Westminster – which is exactly why the 'extensive new powers' promised to Scotland in the Vow should allow us to speak with a stronger and clearer voice on the world stage, rather than being represented by a Westminster establishment dancing to UKIP’s tune.”

Notes :
 EU exit would leave Britain with zero influence, says Barroso : www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29680059
 Ruth Davidson has previously referred to Mr Barroso’s opinions on EU issues as ‘definitive’:




22nd October 2014

New polling analysis shows the SNP in a strong position to make gains at next year’s Westminster election – while Labour’s support in their traditional heartlands is plummeting.
 A super-poll of all the YouGov Scottish samples since the referendum – with a total sample size of almost 5,000 – shows support for the SNP at more than 40 per cent, while support for Labour has plunged to 27.9 per cent.
 This analysis will increase the pressure on Johann Lamont after two former Labour First Ministers criticised the direction of the party under her leadership – and the whispering campaign against her continues as concern at the damage done by their alliance with the Tories grows.

Commenting, SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay MSP said :
 “These are very welcome figures showing that the SNP is in a strong position going into next year’s Westminster election – while Labour’s support is sinking as the whispering campaign against Johann Lamont’s leadership continues.
 “With a strong team of SNP MPs elected next year we will be in a good position to hold the Westminster parties to account on their ‘vow’ of extensive new powers for Scotland – and to get the powers we need to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous place for everyone who lives here.
 “No matter what Labour do between now and the election, the fact is that traditional Labour voters won’t forget or forgive Johann Lamont’s decision to enter into the toxic alliance with the Tories in the No campaign.
 “While Labour have spent the last few years standing up for their Tory allies, the SNP have been standing up for ordinary people in Scotland – investing in jobs, protecting our NHS and protecting vulnerable people from the worst excesses of Westminster’s austerity agenda.
 “This is exactly why SNP support continues to grow while Labour’s plummets - and why more and more people in traditional Labour heartlands are switching to the SNP.”

Notes :
 A super poll of the YouGov Scottish samples since the referendum shows the following party support (changes on 2010 in brackets) :

SNP 40.1% (+20.2%)
Lab 27.9% (-14.1%)
Con 17.8% (+1.1%)
LibDem 6.2% (-12.7%)
UKIP 4.1% (+3.4%)
Green 3.2% (+2.5%)
Other 1.1%  






Nicola Sturgeon will become the new leader of the Scottish National Party - and therefore Scotland’s first minister - as she was the only candidate when nominations closed. Nicola, Scotland’s deputy first minister, will replace SNP leader and current First Minister Alex Salmond.








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