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New Candidate for Angus South

Unfortunately Derek Wann has decided to relinquish his candidature for Angus South.   Due to family and business commitments Derek feels he cannot put 100% effort into a campaign.  Derek was a hard-working part of the Better Together Team and an excellent candidate, increasing the Conservative vote in Angus last year.

I am delighted to tell you that Kirstene Hair was selected yesterday to stand as the Conservative and Unionist candidate for the Angus South constituency in May’s Scottish Parliament election.  Kirstene has allowed herself to be drafted in at short notice to stand instead of Derek.

Because of the limited time between now and the election on 5th May, and so as to ensure that there is no pause in campaigning in Angus South, the local Association has adopted a fast track selection process, which has been endorsed by the Party’s Candidate Selection Board in Edinburgh.

Kirstene lives in Angus and her family farm here.  She has been an energetic, effective local activist for us during the Better Together campaign and the General Election and has prior experience of the Party and Scottish politics through working in Central Office.  We are therefore extremely fortunate to have such a good, young local candidate.

Gavin Dobson of Kirremuir has volunteered to be Kirstene’s Campaign Manager. I very much hope that you will support her efforts, including volunteering to canvass or deliver leaflets or contributing to the Campaign Fighting Fund.   If you can give financial support to their campaign please contact the office.  Every penny raised will be used in Angus South and will be greatly appreciated.

Please help them between now and the election to locate everyone who will vote Conservative.  You can contact Kirstene, or Gavin, through the Constituency Office in Arbroath, and Thank you.
Yours Sincerely,
Stephen Rickman.
Chairman, Angus Conservative and Unionist Association.

Questions facing Scottish Labour over tax hike

Scottish Labour is facing a series of questions over its plans for widespread income tax increases.

 

The party said today it wanted to implement the 1p rise immediately for every worker in Scotland.

 

It then added those on less than £20,000 per year could apply through local authorities to claim some of that lost money back.

 

The Scottish Conservatives have now tabled a series of questions to the party about the plans, which were released to the media yesterday with a request for journalists not to approach other parties for comment.

 

–          Someone on less than £20,000 will face a tax hike of £90, but then can apply to receive £100 in compensation. How much will it cost to administer this?

–          How will the lowest paid get their cash back from their local council? Will they have to apply? Does someone come round with a cheque?

–          How many basic rate taxpayers will be hit by the proposed tax rise and how much will they have to pay to fund it?

–          Were any job creators in Scotland consulted before deciding Scotland should become the highest taxed part of the UK?

–          What impact will this have on job creation?

–          HMRC’s modelling states increasing income tax by a penny will raise £475 million, not £500 million suggested by Labour. Were HMRC consulted on the modelling?

–          Are local authorities going to be told how to spend the additional funds? If not, how can it be guaranteed the excess will go on education as promised?

 

The Scottish Conservatives believe income tax in Scotland should be no higher than the rest of the UK and, if it’s affordable, should be lower.

 

It means the party are the only low tax party going into May’s Holyrood elections, after the Liberal Democrats announced similar tax raising plans, and the SNP under increasing pressure to match Labour’s left-wing stance.

 

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said:

 

“Scottish Labour has now confirmed it wants to make Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK.

 

“It has lost the plot.

 

“Kezia Dugdale doesn’t seem to be able to answer even basic questions about how this policy will work.

 

“Labour is proposing a ridiculous merry-go-round where first Labour takes money off the lowest paid and then gets the council to hand it back.

 

“Can Labour tell us today how this is supposed to work? How much will it cost to administer?

 

“How much will basic rate taxpayers have to pay? And is Scottish Labour proposing to order councils to spend money as it sees fit?

 

“We need some urgent answers to this or people will simply conclude that Labour’s latest plan is a complete mess – much like the party as a whole.”

Close the gap – and let funds follow the child

The Scottish Conservatives are today calling for Scottish Attainment Challenge money – designed to close the gap between rich and poor pupils – to follow the pupils who need it.

Following a visit to Leith Walk Primary school in Edinburgh, party leader Ruth Davidson said Ministers needed to re-think the £100m fund.

Under it, ministers have picked seven local authorities for funding – based on the fact they have a higher level of deprivation than other local authority regions.

However, with the evidence showing that most poorer families are spread right across Scotland, the Scottish Conservatives are calling for the money to go direct to less well-off pupils, no matter where they happen to live.

Calls for change have been aired by experts who have pointed out the need to support children no matter where they live.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said:

“We support the Scottish Government’s aim of reducing the attainment gap in Scotland’s schools. The problem is the way in which they are going about it.

“Rather than have central government in Edinburgh dictate which councils get money and which ones don’t, we should simply redesign the scheme so the money follows the child.

“That way, extra help goes where it is needed and schools – not government officials – can decide how best to use it to support children from deprived backgrounds.”

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted that she would retain the current model of funding – under which the Scottish index of multiple deprivation is used to pick out seven local authority areas which have the greatest number of homes with deprived children.

The local authorities then decide which schools are funded.

The First Minister then declared last week that a further 57 schools from 14 authorities would also be picked for extra funding.

However, education experts have questioned the methodology.

A Reform Scotland paper last year concluded: “There is, as yet, no programme directed at those children living in poverty, but attending schools that do not serve particularly deprived areas.

“The recent research suggests that these may be the majority of all children experiencing deprivation. This is, therefore, a very substantial gap in policy.”​

Thursday 14th January 2016

SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh is under pressure over a charity she chaired which was handed £16,000 of Scottish Government cash, but reinvested only £700.

“Questions have to be asked about any charity which receives £16,000 in public money but puts barely a fraction back to good causes.

“The Scottish Government must reveal, in full, its decision making process for awarding this cash.

“Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh should also explain why this charity failed to deliver when it benefited so richly from taxpayers’ cash.”

 

Tributes have been paid to former Conservative MP Sir Albert McQuarrie, who has died aged 98.

“Sir Albert was a tremendous servant to our party throughout his life.

“He was even out campaigning in Mintlaw on his mobility scooter at the recent general election.

“He had the same fighting spirit in politics as in life.

“The wishes of the entire Conservative party are with his wife, Rhoda, and the wider family.”

 

A document has revealed vast amounts of cash spent by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on meals, hotels and foreign trips to pricy hotels.

“This is an outrageous example of public sector extravagance at the taxpayers’ expense.

“Most hard-working Scots will be appalled that their cash is going on overly expensive hotels and extravagant travel.

“As the cuts from John Swinney’s Scottish budget are due to bite, the public sector should be looking at tightening their belts more than ever.”

 

BP has announced it is to cut 600 jobs in the North Sea.

BP has announced it is to cut 600 jobs in the North Sea.

“This is a truly devastating blow to the individuals and families who rely on the oil and gas industry for their livelihoods.

“Once a thriving sector, it’s heart breaking to see yet more people lose their jobs and this will have an on-going effect on our local communities and Scotland’s economy.

“The SNP said the oil industry would make the whole of Scotland financially secure and even last week, some of them were telling us that there was no crisis in the industry.

“This is not a time to sit back and do nothing, we need the First Minister to step in and come up with a solid contingency plan on how the Scottish Government plan to support these people who have lost their jobs and how they’re going to keep the industry alive through these very bleak times.”