Labour demand local MP take action in response to shock closure news for local Royal Bank branches.

Labour’s Bannockburn Councillor, Margaret Brisley, has today written to local MP Stephen Kerr demanding he stand up for local communities and fight the closure of Royal Bank of Scotland branches in Bannockburn, Bridge of Allan and Dunblane.

Councillor Brisley says,

margaret-brisley“Some of the Royal Bank’s elderly customers have loyally banked with them for half a century or more.  These are the customers whose taxes bailed out the Royal Bank when the Royal Bank needed their support. I find it thoroughly disgusting that customer loyalty and support is being rewarded with the bank door slammed in their faces.  As the majority shareholder, the UK Government can, and should, step in and stop this.” 

The full text of Councillor Brisley’s letter can be read below:

1 December 2017

Dear Stephen

Today, residents in my ward woke to the news that the Royal Bank of Scotland is looking to close their Bannockburn branch.  Residents in Bridge of Allan and Dunblane also received similar news. 

This comes just days after the Bank of Scotland announced closures to branches in Bridge of Allan, Dunblane and Springkerse. 

Elderly residents in my ward and across Stirling who rely on face-to-face banking are being let down by banks. 

Small businesses in my ward and across Stirling who deal predominantly in cash transactions are being let down by the banks.

Communities who see branches as a cornerstone of shopping precincts are being let down by the banks.

The UK Government is the majority shareholder in the Royal Bank of Scotland.  It can put pressure on the Royal Bank to be different. 

Pressure to strengthen communities, not abandon them.  To reward customers for decades of loyalty to the Royal Bank with a little bit of loyalty in return. To give loyal staff much better than callous uncertainly for their futures just weeks before Christmas.

Our communities and our citizens were there for the banks in 2008 when the needed our help.  Will you ask the UK Government to ensure that the Royal Bank is there for our communities when they need help now?

As the Member of Parliament for Stirling, will you meet with relevant government officials and ask them to find a way to reverse these hugely damaging closures?

Will you put pressure on the Royal Bank of Scotland to work with communities to find a way to keep these branches open?

I would be grateful for your responses soon – time is very much of the essence here. 

Kind regards

Cllr Margaret Brisley

Labour Councillor for Bannockburn Ward

 

Comment on Kerse Road Bridge Closure Plans

Stirling East Councillor Chris Kane says,

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“Network Rail initially suggested a totally unacceptable thirteen month full closure of the bridge. Through a lot of hard work from Stirling Council officers, and lobbying by Braehead Community Councillors and elected councillors, this has been reduced to a six month full closure with significant mitigation measures on affected roads.

Road safety is my number one priority and the proposed series of measures will go a long way towards this, as will the clear commitment from Network Rail and Stirling Council to spring into immediate action if something unexpected happens. 

This will have to be monitored extremely carefully.  There needs to be regular, meaningful communication with communities and affected businesses throughout the closure.   Network Rail have been told that their level of engagement with businesses in Springkerse is not up to scratch and they have committed to an immediate improvement in communication.

While this closure will cause a huge inconvenience for local residents and organisations based in Springkerse, it is important to remember that Stirling is open for business and ready to give our usual welcome to tourists and day trippers.  The further away from the closure you are, the more time you’ll have to react to the diversionary signs and less time will be added on to your journey.

Nobody thinks this is an ideal situation but at the end of the process we’re going to have a bigger, better bridge and an electrified railway with better, faster more environmentally friendly trains.”

Scottish Government deliver “slap in the face” to local residents over Park of Keir

Almost seventeen months after Stirling Council refused planning permission for development on the Park of Keir, SNP Ministers have overturned the decision.

Stirling Labour Councillor Margaret Brisley who chaired the Planning Panel that refused the application in 2015 said:

margaret-brisley“This is a deeply disappointing decision by the SNP Scottish Government who have delivered a slap in the face to local residents and local democracy. Stirling Councillors agreed our Local Development Plan which didn’t include such a provision on this site. Stirling Council Planning and Regulation Panel held a public hearing and considered all aspects of the application and ultimately refused it.  It is also unacceptable that the SNP took so long to come to this unfortunate decision – had any local council taken this amount of time on a planning application, they would face criticism from the Scottish Government.”

Stirling Labour Group Leader Councillor Danny Gibson said:

IMGP9286 (1)“This is an outrageous decision by the SNP’s Local Government Minister which treats local democratic decision making here in Stirling with contempt. Instead of more central command and control over the planning system from this minority SNP Scottish Government, MSPs in Holyrood should be ensuring that the Scottish Government respects local government. To make matters worse the Minister Kevin Stewart MSP has even ignored his own Scottish Government reporter’s recommendation “To dismiss the appeal and refuse planning permission”.  It would seem that the Minister who ‘called in’ this application in for his own decision thinks he knows better than everyone else. Locally we are all proud of the tennis achievements of the Murray family however this greenbelt land is the wrong location for this project – there are plenty of other suitable sites in the Stirling Council area and it is still not too late for the applicants to work with, not against, public opinion on this matter.”

 

 

Statement by the Stirling Constituency Labour Party on the lifting of suspension and reinstatement of Tory Party Whip to Stirling Councillors Robert Davies and Alistair Majury:

 “Stirling deserves better than offensive Tory councillors and feckless Tory discipline.  Given the deeply offensive views expressed by Councillors Majury and Davis, ‘Keep your heads down lads and it will all blow over in a couple of months’ is a response you’d expect in a 1970s TV cop show, not a political party in 2017.  With this incident, the Tory party has shown bad judgement in choosing councillors and poor leadership in denouncing sectarianism and racism in Scotland today.  

Councillors Davies and Majury need to face up to their actions and offer their resignations to their constituents.”

Chris Kane on EVE OF ELECTION DAY

The Stirling Observer have been running a series of articles from candidates ahead of the General Election.  Here’s what Chris Kane had to say in the newspaper on the eve of Election Day:

IMGP9304 (1)“Britain needs a government that works for the many not the few. The Tories have spent the past seven years giving the super-rich tax breaks while working families are set to be on average over £1,400 a year worse off. People can’t risk voting Tory, just as they can’t risk can’t risk voting SNP. In 2015, Labour warned that a vote for the SNP would let the Tories get back into Number 10. That’s exactly what happened and now we have the chaos of Brexit and the threat of a second independence referendum. People across Scotland are trapped between two governments with the wrong priorities. A Tory Government intent on a hard Brexit and an SNP Government determined to divide Scotland again with another independence referendum. Only a Labour Government will be a government for the many, not the privileged few. Labour will increase the incomes of working people with a £10 real living wage, we will ban zero hour contracts to ensure people get a fair day’s pay, and we will protect pensioners by guaranteeing the triple lock until 2025. Labour will end the public sector pay cap.  Labour will invest in enforcement of rights at work and empower workers and their trade unions. A Labour Government will bring the railways back into public ownership and use the profits to lower fares and improve services.  Labour will transform our energy systems, investing in new state-of-the-art, low-carbon gas and renewable electricity production.  Labour will deliver universal superfast broadband by 2021 across Scotland, with a focus on rural broadband coverage.  Labour will reregulate the buses and pursue municipal ownership; public transport should run to community not commercial priorities. I’m proud of our manifesto and I would encourage you to read it at www.scottishlabour.org.uk.  If elected I’ll be a local Labour champion and work every day to make you proud. Tomorrow, vote for the many, not the few.  Vote Labour.”

Chris Kane on TOURISM

The Stirling Observer is publishing a series of statements from General Election candidates on set topics.  Here’s what Chris Kane had to say on TOURISM:

IMGP9304 (1)“Stirling is blessed with world class heritage, a stunning environment and a thriving tourist industry.   Two nearby international airports help bring 15 million tourists each year to Scotland.  686,000 people live within sixty minutes of Stirling.  We need a strategy that maximises both day trippers and tourists.  There is much to be proud about including 500,000 visitors each year visiting Stirling Castle.  Doune Castle has seen a 30% visitor increase thanks to the “Outlander” effect. I want Stirling to be more than a ‘must visit’ destination. I want Stirling to be a ‘must stay’ destination with heritage, culture, landscape, tourism and business working deliver the concept of a ‘three day Stirling’. I want to see cultural and economic policies which revitalise all of Stirling’s communities with more shops and restaurants.  I want all of Stirling’s communities marketed in a joined-up way.   We can achieve great things with the “City Region Deal”.  I’m excited by elements including a new park to rival Falkirk’s Helix, built in the shadow of Stirling Castle.  Stirling is one of the only places in Europe that is built on a river but has very limited interaction with it.  The City Deal promises to change this with an ambitious plan to get us on the water.   We need more events like the Stirling Marathon.  Events that punctuate the year and create a buzz.  Events that bring people.  Events that bring focus.  Events that showcase Stirling’s people as well as its environment.  Events that bring money into our local economy.  Events that enrich our cultural experience.  Events that give one more reason to proclaim this is Stirling and we are proud.  As your MP, I’ll be an Ambassador for all our communities wherever I go.  I’m a proud Son of the Rock and I’ll work hard as your MP to deliver for the many, not the few.”

Read more in Scottish Labour’s manifesto here.

Claire Baker MSP – Stirling Observer column

Claire Baker, MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, writes a regular column for the Stirling Observer newspaper.  Here’s her latest one:

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Claire Baker and Stirling’s General Election Candidate Chris Kane

“As a politician it feels that Scotland has been on a continual election footing since the 2010 General Election, so I can only imagine what it must feel like for voters. A common complaint from a voter on the doors used to be “we only ever see you at elections,” now we are more likely to hear “weren’t you here last week?”

Yet every election from 2010 onwards has brought with it something different and this upcoming one is no exception. When voters enter the booth to put their ‘x’ beside a candidate’s name it will be with thoughts of two referendums; brexit and indyref 2.

Labour is the party which best represents the majority view of the electorate. We support Scotland in the UK and we want to see a close relationship between the UK and Europe. Meanwhile the Conservatives pursuit of a hard brexit and the SNP’s continual insistence that independence is the answer, whatever the question, is damaging Scotland’s interests.

Voters deserve more when choosing the direction of the country for the next five years than two parties promoting their own constitutional agendas. Voters deserve better than the uncertainty and division than these referendums bring. Scotland, and the UK, are at their best when there is a common interest and when the have governments that work to promote prosperity, fairness and opportunity for everyone.

That is why a Labour Government will focus on creating a better society. We will invest £500 billion in infrastructure and industry, backed by a National Investment Bank, we will tackle exploitative zero hour contracts that make it impossible for many people to plan their lives and we will build a progressive tax system.

It is not fair that those who have suffered the most as a result of the banking crisis are those that had the least.  In recent years, the burden has disproportionately fallen on the poorest and there is a need for us all to take responsibility for increasing equality in our country.

We also have the opportunity to elect local Labour MPs that will stand up for their communities, not use their position to posture on the constitution. Many will already know Labour’s candidate Chris Kane as someone who cares passionately about Stirling and someone who is able to bring communities together to work in the common interest. Chris Kane can be your local champion who will fight for the many, not the few and make sure Stirling’s voice is heard.

It is worth remembering the difference a Labour Government can bring – a minimum wage, paternity leave, investment in public services, devolution, creating and protecting the NHS. 

A lot has changed since the last General Election only 2 years ago. The SNP surge has become a slump with their national share of the vote dropping significantly from almost 50% to 32%. Many seats now look vulnerable to a challenge and this snap election might have a few surprises in store across the country.

Yet whilst a lot has changed, one thing remains clear: if you want an MP who stands up for your area, who will always put you and your community first, and who will stand against a second independence referendum, there is really only one candidate to look to, Chris Kane, the Labour Party candidate.  

I urge you to give Chris Kane your vote on 8th June.

Chris Kane on RURAL BROADBAND ACCESS

The Stirling Observer is publishing a series of statements from General Election candidates on set topics.  Here’s what Chris Kane had to say on RURAL BROADBAND ACCESS:

IMGP9304 (1)“It simply is not acceptable that fast, stable broadband speeds are not available to everyone. Our communities need to be swept along in the digital revolution, not swept aside by it. Labour has committed to deliver universal, superfast broadband availability within five years.  Labour will improve mobile internet coverage and expand provision of free public wi-fi.  A Labour government will instruct the National Infrastructure Commission to report on how to roll out ‘ultrafast’ (300Mbps) across the UK within the next decade.  We need innovative solutions and creative thinking. The public purse is all too often funding the roll out of fibre broadband and then letting private companies decide who gets it, how they use it and what price they pay for it.  Our rural communities are being let down with the current system.  So let’s change it.  Broadband should be delivered to community not commercial priorities.  That’s why I want to see a people’s broadband company.  Not just for internet services, but for green energy and public transport. We need to support great ideas when we see them. I’m in awe of the villagers of Balquhidder who were so fed up of poor broadband that they said stuff it and began digging trenches and laying cables.  I was also disappointed and a little angry that they were forced rather than helped along that path.   We need to ensure our communities benefit from the transformational opportunities of the digital age.  The Labour-led administration on Stirling Council signed a deal earlier this year to see a Gigabit internet connection brought to Stirling.  A huge part of the City Region Deal involves creating an infrastructure to allow Stirling to grow a digital economy.   Labour wants high tech jobs flowing into the city and surrounding communities.  I want our children to have every opportunity to flourish in a digital world without having to contemplate leaving their community to achieve their dreams.   If elected as your MP, I’ll work hard for the many not the few – and that means communities as well as people.”

Read more in Scottish Labour’s manifesto here.

Chris Kane on the CITY DEAL

the Stirling Observer is publishing a series of statements from General Election Candidates on set topics.  Here’s what Chris Kane had to say on the CITY REGION DEAL:

IMGP9304 (1)“Labour priorities are to see skilled jobs, warm homes and vibrant communities across this constituency.  As your Labour MP, I’ll work tirelessly to help realise the potential of the City Region Deal.  It is a once in a generation, truly transformational moment in Stirling’s long and proud history.  By embracing the digital economy as a key element, we are staking our claim to be the centre of this growing economy in Scotland.  I cannot wait to see what potentially world changing apps and programs emerge from the digital business incubator Codebase who have recently moved into Stirling’s Municipal Buildings.   I cannot wait to see all of our children given the opportunity of high paid, highly skilled jobs here at home.  The City Region Deal puts us on the starting line of a green energy revolution. From the tidal power of the River Forth to the geothermic properties of the ground under our feet, we have the natural and human resources to create community owned green energy solutions.  Warm air brought up from the ground to heat our homes instead of burning natural gas.   Greatly reduced fuel bills with prices fixed for decades, helping to reduce fuel poverty, with profits ploughed back into our communities.   With the jobs and new economies will also come visitors, bringing opportunities for tourism growth and more jobs.  As your Labour MP, I’ll work hard to ensure these jobs are well paid and workers are respected.  It is vital that the many, not the few, benefit from the City Region Deal. People from Balfron to Bannockburn need to see the benefits £600 million will bring to them.  As your Labour MP, I’ll ensure the City Region Deal realises its potential so we can continue to say to the world, this is Stirling and we are proud.”  

Read more in Scottish Labour’s manifesto here.

Chris Kane on RURAL TRANSPORT

The Stirling Observer has been running a series of statements from General Election candidates on set topics.  Here’s what Chris Kane had to say on RURAL TRANSPORT:

IMGP9304 (1)“As your MP I’ll work hard to ensure public transport works for the many, not the few. Cash strapped Local Authorities are left to try to address the issues raised by social and economic isolation with  supported/subsidised services and DRT (Direct Response Transport), but this is far from ideal.  We can learn a lot from Edinburgh’s Lothian Buses, which is recognised as the model of good practice throughout Europe. In Stirling Labour’s “Local Government” manifesto are commitments to a municipal bus company; I’ll help deliver on this promise from Westminster. Labour will reregulate the busses to ensure that commercial operators cannot cherry pick the routes that make the most money. Labour would extend public ownership to the railways; profits from Scotland’s trains should be put back into improving the service, not flowing into the pockets of shareholders.  Sometimes the solution to a transport problem is to take away the need to make a journey in the first place.   Stirling is embracing the digital economy as part of the City Region Deal.  We need to ensure Stirling’s workers are swept along by the digital revolution, not swept aside by it. I want all our kids to be able, if they choose, to enjoy life in our remarkable environment while working remotely for games companies in San Francisco or IT companies in Melbourne.  We need to encourage all employers to welcome flexible working from home;  it would help parents juggle childcare and it would ensure a decent work/life balance.  Transport solutions extend beyond public transport.  We need to do more to make cycling safer and more appealing.  We need to ensure paths within communities are of a standard to encourage walking.  We need to invest in our roads and in making cars safer and cleaner. As your MP I’ll do everything I can to help deliver ambitious and common senses solutions to many of our rural transport issues.” 

Read more in Scottish Labour’s manifesto here.