In our latest campaign video, Stirling constituency Holyrood candidate Chris Kane and Forth & Endrick council candidate Colin O’Brien get together for a conversation about their commitment to community empowerment and their thoughts on issues relevant to rural Stirlingshire, including the need for investment in roads and affordable housing to refresh village life.
Stirling Constituency MSP Candidate Chris Kane has shared a story from his family history that demonstrates exactly why we need a strong Labour movement in society. In a campaign video filmed near his home, Chris said,
‘In 1914, my great grandfather William was at the coalface of the Millhall Pit. A large boulder fell from the roof, crushing him. He was taken to the hospital but he died a week later. He left behind a wife and five children, the oldest of whom was my grandfather. He had to leave school aged 12 to get a job to support his family. Everything that troubles me about that story has been addressed by the Labour movement, from the NHS and the welfare state, to the workplace injuries act and many, many other improvements that mean today when you walk into your work, you don’t have to face the fear you may not walk out again.’
‘The Labour movement has always addressed the challenges we face with the tools available to us at the time we are called to act. As we emerge from this pandemic, we need a National Recovery Plan and only Labour has the track record of delivering on the scale we need. When I walk into parliament, I’ll get to work addressing today’s challenges, not reworking the tired old divisive arguments that have defined our politics for far too long’
You can watch the video below:
Labour’s National Recovery Plan:
Jobs Recovery – guaranteeing a job for every young Scot by investing in a National Training Fund and a Business Restart Fund.
NHS Recovery – funding our NHS to get cancer treatment back on track, improve mental health, and give carers the pay they deserve.
Education Recovery – developing a catch-up plan which invests in schools, and ensures IT support in every Primary and Secondary.
Climate Recovery – investing in green jobs and seizing Scotland’s hosting of COP26 to champion an ambitious Climate justice plan.
Community Recovery – create a community recovery fund to invest in local areas, and make our communities safer and stronger.
Scottish Labour members in Forth and Endrick have selected former Provost Colin O’Brien to contest the ward by-election on 6th May. Colin was formerly a Stirling Councillor from 1999-2012 in Forth & Endrick and Provost from 2003-2007.
Colin has lived in Drymen for 36 years and has always played an active role in his local community and across the wider district. He is a former Depute Convener of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park; former Vice Chair of Mugdock Country Park; former Chairman of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum; and former board member of Rural Stirling Housing Association. Colin is a retired High School Headteacher and continues to serve on Stirling Council’s ‘Children and Young People’ Committee, where he is the Church of Scotland representative. This year Colin retired from his role as one of the Queen’s Deputy Lord Lieutenants for Stirlingshire.
“I regret the circumstances which have caused this by-election. Despite political differences, Graham Lambie and I worked harmoniously over a number of years. Now in these uncertain times our community must choose a new elected representative. I am glad to be able to offer my experience and knowledge to fight again for our important local issues, like increased rural roads spend; imaginative improvements to public transport; a modest supply of affordable homes; another look at the brown bin charge; more support for communities and green issues. I believe the outcome of this election is wide open and in the end it is the voters who will decide the result.”
Stirling Constituency Labour Chair Mike Robbins says,
‘We’re absolutely delighted that Colin has decided to once again step up to ensure that Forth and Endrick will have a local champion on Stirling Council amplifying the voice for the unique challenges and opportunities across the ward. Colin is the real deal for Forth and Endrick; he has an immense track record of success no candidate can come close to matching and he brings a breadth of knowledge on everything from rural housing to education and much more in-between.’
Voters go to the polls in the by-election, and also the Scottish Parliamentary elections, on Thursday 6th May. Scottish Labour’s candidate in the Holyrood election is Stirling Councillor Chris Kane.
Scottish Labour’s candidate in the 2021 Scottish Parliament Election in Stirling is Chris Kane. Chris (44) is a ‘Son of the Rock’, having been born in Stirling where is still lives with his wife and two children.
Chris is well known within the constituency where he was a former Stirling Observer columnist and Central FM Breakfast show presenter. Since 2017, he has been the Scottish Labour Councillor in the Stirling East Ward.
Chris’ route into politics was a community one – he was a community councillor before setting up a Community Development Trust to deliver assets within Braehead and Broomridge, including the hugely successful ‘Braehead Community Garden’.
‘I was born and raised in the constituency and this is where I’ve chosen to raise my family. I’m working hard to build stronger communities, tackle inequality and reduce poverty and I’m looking forward to engaging with voters across Stirling between now and the Scottish Parliament election in May.’
‘As a councillor, I am fed up with the SNP Government running roughshod over our local communities and ripping the heart out of Local Government funding and I want to go to Holyrood to say enough is enough. I want to do all I can to strengthen and empower Stirling’s many diverse communities and if elected I’ll be a strong local voice at Holyrood and a true champion for everyone across the constituency. If you want to tackle inequality, reduce poverty and empower local communities, let’s do it together and it starts with a vote for Chris Kane and Scottish Labour in May.’
Stirling Constituency Labour Party Chair Mike Robbins says,
‘Chris has been active in Stirling’s politics for many years, securing resources for his local community as far back as 2013 and, since 2017 as an elected member of Stirling Council, he has protected services we all depend upon.
During this pandemic Chris has continued to work for the benefit of all his constituents. Because of his demonstrated ability, our local party unanimously chose him as our candidate in the May election. I firmly believe the electors of Stirling can put their faith in Chris to deliver on their behalf and together with our entire membership, I look forward to campaigning alongside him to secure a Labour victory in May.’
In 2017, Stirling Labour published a Stirling manifesto which contained a series of commitments that would be pursued by Labour Councillors if elected. Over the last year the Labour Group of Stirling Councillors have shown what a seat around the table and a great deal of hard work can do to deliver Labour commitments that work for the many, not the few. Here is the first of a new regular series of articles on how your Labour Councillors are delivering on promises for Stirling.
Our manifesto committed us to “ensure tenants are always put first and that landlords live up to their obligations”.
That’s why Cllr Danny Gibson has led on moves to investigate the need for a rent pressure zone in Stirling, saying “landlords who don’t want to live up to their responsibilities with repairs, or squeeze as much out of people’s pockets as they can, should take note that we’re watching them and we will ensure that tenants are treated fairly now and in the future”.
In “jobs and economy”, we promised to “lead the way by ensuring Stirling Council sets the standard we want all organisations to aspire to”.
That’s why this month your Labour Councillors have set a “gold standard” in paternity pay for council employers and adopted Unison’s “Apprenticeship Charter” to ensure our young people have key rights and their managers key responsibility in ensuring we are developing a workforce with the skills we need now and in the future. We’ve also ensured that the Living Wage at Stirling Council is set higher than the Living Wage Foundation recommends.
We promised to “poverty proof the school day, ensuring every child has the support they need to learn.”
We have a lot still to do here, but this month Cllr Margaret Brisley ensured that nearly 1500 children will benefit from a significant rise in a key Stirling Council poverty fund. The clothing and footwear grant will rise from £50 to £130 per child, which research suggests is the cost faced by parents ahead of a new school.
Labour Cllr Chris Kane has set up and chaired a Short Life Working Group looking at ways the council can tackle the appalling tragedy that is the Tories’ “Universal Credit”. His report will be presented at a full meeting of Stirling Council next week, but has already delivered on a key recommendation to help tackle digital poverty with a £200,000 investment in digital support across the council’s libraries. The Labour Group continue to ensure that the council work in partnership with organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau to help our citizens deal with universal credit, which Chris says is “fundamentally flawed and devastating to the most vulnerable people in our communities”.
We promised to “invest in new equipment for play parks”.
Earlier on this month, the Partnership Administration announced a £250,000 boost for play parks which will see new equipment installed across 22 parks in the seven wards that make up the council area.
We said we would commit to making Stirling a dementia friendly city and district.
Again, we have much still to do, but Cllr Christine Simpson is a member of the Council’s Adult Social Care Panel, where she works to promote and further our manifesto commitments on health and social care. Recently Christine was at Stirling’s King’s Park to hear how the public space has become “dementia friendly.”
We said we would “put pressure on the Scottish Government to overhaul the planning system to put more power in the hands of our local communities, not the hands of developers or distant government bureaucrats”
That’s why we highlighted that it took 382 days for SNP Ministers to agree with their own appeals panel NOT to allow building on Airthrey Kerse, and why we highlighted that Scottish Government Ministers have decided to make the final decision on whether to overturn Stirling Council’s decision to not build more houses on the Bannockburn Battlefield.
Your Labour Councillors will always stand up for STIRLING and its many communities.
Your Labour Councillors will never shy away from putting pressure on the SNP Government, as they demonstrated with their condemnation of the SNP spin on this year’s budget offer to Scottish Local Authorities. They’ll also continue to put pressure on the Tory Government on issues including Universal Credit and their uncaring attitude to communities affected by RBS closures.
We’ll also call out government measures, both at Holyrood and Westminster, if they make delivering our local manifesto more difficult – as we did when the SNP Government’s published a draft transport bill that undermined our ambition to deliver a community owned public transport company.
Your Labour Councillors have a great deal of work still to do in the coming years, but we stand by our manifesto and will strive to implement as much of it as possible during the current Administration at Stirling Council. We’ll continue to deliver regular updates on our progress on this website.
Want to join us? Click here to join Labour and help create a world that works for the many, not the few.
Commenting on the news that fracking is not currently banned in Scotland, Stirling Council’s Environment Spokesperson Cllr Danny Gibson says,
“In both the current Stirling Council Administration and the previous one, Labour’s environmental policies have made Stirling one of the greenest in the UK. Labour have invested in low-energy LED streetlights. Labour are generating power from solar panels on council buildings and council homes. Labour have helped reduce energy bills by installing insulation measures in council homes and helping the private homes that need it the most. Labour have ensured Stirling recycles over 55% of its rubbish, one of the highest rates in the country. Our climate can’t stand another fossil fuel and our communities don’t need the risks associated with fracking.”
“Fracking was a key issue for voters across Stirling in recent elections. People can clearly see now that what the SNP Government say on the campaign trail and what they say in the courts are two completely different things.”
“We need real leadership on this issue and if the SNP Government won’t provide it, Labour will.”
This story relates to our 2017 Stirling Council Manifesto commitment:
- We will use all of the tools at our disposal to stop fracking in Stirling and use all of the influence we can bring to bear to ensure a national ban on fracking.
In Stirling Labour’s 2017 manifesto for Stirling Council, we announced plans to create new community ownership models in energy, broadband and public transport. When the Labour/SNP partnership was formed, six key priorities for local government were agreed. One of them says:
“We will create and implement environment and infrastructure improvements. We will deliver new ownership and delivery methods around energy generation, public transport and internet access, ensuring profits and services work to community, not commercial priorities.”
The SNP Government’s recent draft transport bill will leave the profits of bus operators in the hands of private companies and let them cherry pick the best routes, while abandoning the loss-making lifeline services and forcing Local Authorities to pick up the pieces.
Stirling Labour’s Community Ownership Spokesperson, Cllr Chris Kane, says,
“This SNP bill will hamper our ambition to create a community owned public transport company which works to community, not commercial priorities. This bill will leave profit in the hands of bus companies while councils pick up the gaps and losses. Once again it seems that Brian Souter’s Stagecoach has more influence over government policy than people and communities. I support Scottish Labour’s plans to radically overhaul the bill to allow councils to create a public transport plan that works for the many, not the few.”
In its current form, the bill would only allow local authorities to run bus services in very restricted circumstances where there is no private provider and the legislation would not allow any public sector bids for bus franchises.
In practice, the legislation would only allow public control of the routes that private providers deem unprofitable, leaving local councils to pick up the pieces and all the losses going forward.
Scottish Labour will now put forward a series of amendments to radically overhaul the bill and give the country a transport system that works for the many, not the few.
Speaking after the bill was published last week, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Connectivity and Transport Colin Smyth MSP said:
“Under the SNP government bus fares have soared but passenger numbers have plummeted as bus services have been dismantled route by route. This bill was a chance to deliver real change on our buses and start to reverse the SNP’s decade of decline but instead it is a huge missed opportunity. We know the SNP prefer private to public ownership when it comes to our railways, now we know it is the same on our bus routes. Labour will now put forward a series of amendments to change the bill. We will safeguard the free bus pass for older people, improve concessionary travel for young people and allow local authorities to deliver a people’s bus service where passengers, not profits are the priority.”
This story relates to our 2017 Stirling Council Manifesto Commitment:
- We will commit to the creation of a municipal public transport company to provide public transport. Community priorities, not commercial priorities, should determine where and when public transport operates.
Labour’s Finance & Economy spokesperson, Cllr Margaret Brisley has voted to introduce Unison’s “Apprenticeship Charter” at Stirling Council. At a recent meeting of the Finance & Economy Committee, which Margaret chairs, the charter was proposed and adopted as council policy immediately.
The Charter details the rights of apprentices and the responsibilities of their managers and the council.
Among the rights afforded to Apprentices are the right to a contract, the right to an interview for a vacant post when their apprenticeship finishes and the right to join and participate in the Trade Union of their choice.
Among the responsibilities placed on their managers are to ensure the quality of the training builds the skills to lead to a real job, to recognise that apprenticeships are investing in “future labour” not “cheap labour”, and to encourage and celebrate apprentices.
Stirling Council currently employs 91 apprentices, with a further 115 employees undertaking professional learning towards the next stage in their careers (such as probationer teachers). Training is provided by local accredited providers such as Forth Valley College.
Already Stirling Council engages apprentices under a contract of employment and pays a higher rate compared to the national minimum wage. Modern Apprentices start on an hourly rate of £7.14 compared to the national minimum wage of £5.90. Age 16 Craft Apprentices start on £5.86, compared to the national minimum wage of £3.70 and once they have passed the trade test, their hourly rate increases to £11.13 per hour.
Cllr Brisley says,
“In 2012, Labour ensured that Stirling Council was one of the first in Scotland to pay staff the living wage. This week we’ve already delivered on a Labour commitment to double paternity leave from two to four weeks on full pay. Now I’m proud that, working with our Trade Union colleagues, we’ve adopted the Apprenticeship Charter to ensure our young people have key rights and their managers key responsibilities in ensuring we are developing a workforce with the skills we need now and in the future. Labour is the party of and for workers and I will work tirelessly with Trades Union colleagues to promote, protect and enhance rights while Labour are in Administration on Stirling Council.”
This story relates to our 2017 Stirling Council Manifesto Commitments:
- “we will lead the way by ensuring that Stirling Council sets the standard we want all organisations to aspire to”
The Tory Government’s shambolic and cruel “Universal Credit” benefit has been slated by public spending watchdog The National Audit Office. In a report published on Friday 15 June, the NAO says that Universal Credit cannot prove it helps more people into work, does not deliver value for money and will probably end up costing more than the benefit system it replaces.
The report paints a damning picture of Universal Credit and the Department of Work and Pensions, saying they are defensive, insensitive and dismissive of the pleas from welfare advisors and those directly affected by the roll out of the benefit.
Stirling Labour’s spokesperson on welfare, and Convenor of Stirling Council’s Community Planning & Regeneration Committee, Cllr Chris Kane says,
“It is difficult to overstate how much of a negative impact the introduction of Universal Credit has had in Stirling since it was introduced on 28th June 2017. In the last few months I have heard stories so astonishing that they are almost inconceivable; women fleeing domestic violence being told that before they can begin the long grotesque wait for a new application to be processed, they must first spend weeks disentangling an existing joint claim and must do it with their abusive partner at their side. Single parents having to go their library because a claim can only be made online and they can’t afford a computer, or internet access, at home. This new report says that 46% of people say they do not have the digital skills to complete the application without assistance. Up and down the country, council after council, CAB after CAB, claimant after claimant have been sharing evidence with the Tories on the scale of the problem, but other than tinkering around the edges, nothing of substance has changed. I am ashamed of this Tory Government and its universal credit system that is fundamentally flawed and is devastating to the most vulnerable people in our communities”
For the last few months Chris has chaired a Short Life Working Group on Stirling Council which has been investigating how the Universal Credit rollout has impacted on Stirling citizens and council tenants. The report is due to be published next week ahead of being reported to the full meeting of Stirling Council on 28th June.
Chris also said,
“My thanks go out to Stirling Council staff and third sector partners such as Home Start, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Start-Up Stirling and the Stirling Carers Centre for their professionalism and compassion. It is in stark contrast to the spiteful bureaucratic barbarism of the Tory Government at Westminster.”
If you are affected by Universal Credit, you can seek advice at various drop in events at Stirling Council libraries, by contacting the Stirling Citizens Advice Bureau, or if you are a Stirling Council tenant, by contacting Housing Services.
This story relates to our 2017 Stirling Council Manifesto Commitment
- We will work tirelessly to create good jobs, warm homes, caring communities and excellent education opportunities for all.
Stirling’s tourism sector got a boost today with the official opening of Travelodge’s new £6 million pound hotel. Stirling Provost Christine Simpson cut the ribbon at the hotel, which is built on the site of the former Rainbow Slides a stone’s throw from Stirling’s Railway Station.
Labour’s Finance & Economy Spokesperson, Councillor Margaret Brisley, said,
“A key Stirling Labour manifesto commitment is to increase the number of two night / three day breaks in Stirling. To do that we need more places for people to stay and this Travelodge has brought seventy four new bedrooms to our city. Travelodge estimate their guests will contribute around £2 million to the Stirling economy each year. This modern hotel also creates twenty five new jobs and is a welcome boost to Stirling’s tourism offering just as the summer season gets underway.”
Travelodge’s investment in Stirling comes some thirty years after they opened their first Scottish hotel at Stirling’s Motorway Services.
This story relates to our 2017 Stirling Council Manifesto Commitments:
- We will promote Stirling to employers around the world and help them to locate in Stirling.
- We commit to ensuring our cultural and economic policies promote the concept of a three day Stirling visit