Comment on Royal Bank Bannockburn Branch

Reflecting on the news that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Bannockburn branch has had a short term stay of execution, Bannockburn Councillor Margaret Brisley says,

IMGP0497“If RBS are looking for our thanks for keeping the Bannockburn branch open for a few extra months, they can whistle.  They shouldn’t be shutting it at all.  

 The taxpayer – you and I – are the majority shareholders in the Royal Bank.  The Tory Government could if they chose to, intervene and tell the Royal Bank to develop and use a social backbone.  

 Our Tory MP, Stephen Kerr, has been worse than useless – despite having a direct dial to the Treasury, he’s been unable to influence his own party to do the right think for his constituents.  From bank closures to Universal Credit, Stephen Kerr and this Tory Government show time and time again they have nothing but hardship to offer working class communities and the most vulnerable in our society.” 

RBS announced some months ago that they were due to close the Bannockburn branch this month.  This week they announced the branch will remain open until a new branch opens in the Thistle Centre.  The new branch will also replace the premises at Pitt Terrace and occupy the former Costa Coffee unit at Murray Place and the Savers shop immediately behind it.

Councillor Chris Kane, whose Stirling East ward covers Hillpark and Whins of Milton, says,

IMGP9304 (1)“I’m at a loss to understand how this new Thistle Centre branch is any more convenient than Pitt Terrace.   Locals who need to use the bus will, I suppose, be able to move from the bus station to the new premises completely under cover.  But that’s cold comfort if you’ve been soaked to the skin waiting for the bus at the other end.  

 RBS continue to treat loyal, long standing customers and branch staff atrociously.  RBS were quick to take a taxpayer bailout when they needed it, after years of pocketing outrageous profits for shareholders and senior management.  

 When the customers who have remained loyal to them through the best of times and the worst of times need the bank’s help and support, they find the branch door slammed shut in their face.”

Labour Councillor Chris Kane slams the ‘appalling’ impact of Universal Credit in Stirling


At the December meeting of Stirling Council, councillors will hear about the devastating impact that the introduction of Universal Credit is having on our most vulnerable citizens.  A report, first presented to the Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee in November, was sent to full council because the impact was considered so vast and so great, that it cut across all council services.

Speaking at the November meeting, the Labour Convenor of the Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, Councillor Chris Kane, said,

IMGP9304 (1)“It is difficult to overstate how much of a negative impact the introduction of Universal Credit has had in Stirling. 

 I am appalled that a policy, peddled as liberating and progressive, is being implemented in such a cavalier and cruel fashion.  Up and down the country, council after council are telling the same story:  Universal Credit is fundamentally flawed and is devastating to the most vulnerable people in our communities.

 We have heard stories today so astonishing 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. 

 Stirling Council, and our third sector partners, have been preparing for this vicious storm for over a year.  It arrived on 28th June and it is showing no signs of abating; in fact, it is getting worse.    The question we must ask is not ‘are our services coping?’, but rather, ‘when will they break?’ 

 So, what must we do?  We must remit this report for consideration by the full council to ensure we have a coordinated response across all of our services and committees.  We must share our evidence of the stark reality of this unfolding disaster with the UK Government, in the vein hope that one more voice pleading for a reassessment might be enough to make a difference.  We must ask the Scottish Government to identify money to assist us; for while Local Authorities have the liabilities of Universal Credit it is Holyrood who have the power to provide mitigation resources. 

 Where this committee can influence change immediately is through internet access, particularly in our libraries. We must instruct our officers to establish what additional measures are required to ensure our citizens, many of whom do not have a computer or even an email address, get the support they need for a Universal Credit application process that is entirely online. 

 Finally, we must thank Stirling Council staff and our 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 bureaucratic barbarism of the universal credit roll out.  

Stirling Council Labour Group Leader calls on local MSPs to show support for local services in next week’s budget.

Stirling Council Labour Group Leader, Councillor Danny Gibson, has today written to all local MSPs urging them not to support any minority Scottish Government budget that inflicts further financial pain and austerity on Scotland’s Local Authorities.

The letter, sent to constituency MSPs Bruce Crawford and Keith Brown, along with all Mid-Scotland and Fife list MSPs urges them to:

“show your support for our remarkable council staff and our treasured local services by pledging not to support a budget that inflicts more austerity, more cuts and more unnecessary pain on Local Authorities.”

The letter comes just days before SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay is due to deliver his budget.  Last week the Accounts Commission said that Local Authority budgets have fallen across Scotland by 7.6% in real terms since 2011.

Councillor Gibson said,

IMGP9286 (1)“Whatever way the minority Scottish Government choose to dress it up, Scotland’s Local Authorities have less money to spend on essential services than they did 6 years ago.  We are heading towards a cliff for local services and rather than throw us a lifeline, the minority Scottish Government is pushing us closer to the edge.  It must stop and it must stop now.  We need the support of all of our local MSPs to stop more council cuts.”


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


 Funding for Local Authorities in 2018/19

 Next week the minority Scottish Government will publish its budget for the coming year.  This will include information on the grant being given to Local Authorities, including here in Stirling. 

 I am writing today to ask you to pledge to NOT support any Scottish Government budget that imposes more austerity and financial pain on Local Authorities.

 Last week the Accounts Commission confirmed that Local Authority budgets fell in real terms in 2017/18 compared to 2016/17 and have fallen across Scotland by 7.6% in real terms since 2011. This has resulted in 30,000 local government job losses over this period and Unison Scotland state that nine out of ten austerity job losses in Scotland have been in Councils”.

Whatever way the Scottish Government choose to dress it up, Scotland’s Local Authorities have less money to spend on essential services than they did 6 years ago. 

 If the Scottish Government do not act now to reverse the hugely damaging approach they are taking to Local Government finances, the question we must ask is not if council services will break, but when will they break? 

 We are heading towards a cliff for local services and rather than throw us a lifeline, the Scottish Government is pushing us closer to the edge.  It must stop and it must stop now.  We need the support of all of our local MSPs to stop more council cuts.”

 The Scottish Parliament has never had so many economic levers to use to support our vital local services. We need a wholescale review of council tax, rather than the tinkering around the edges we saw last year.  We need to use the tax raising powers of the Scottish Parliament to protect, not cut, the local services our citizens rely on every day. 

 You can show your support for our remarkable staff and our treasured local services by pledging not to support a budget that inflicts more austerity, more cuts and more unnecessary pain on Local Authorities.

 I urge you to tell Finance Minister Derek MacKay this before next week’s budget.

On budget day, you have a voice inside the chamber at Holyrood and, more importantly, a vote.  

 Kind regards

 Councillor Danny Gibson

Labour Group Leader on Stirling Council




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


Thursday 4 May is Stirling Council Election Day

Read our Manifesto For Stirling and you’ll see Labour have a vision for Stirling’s future and a track record of success.

Vote Labour to protect the local services – from schools, care services, paths, parks, roads and more – that touch our daily lives.

We need local Labour champions who will drive Stirling forward.

Stirling deserves better than SNP candidates who won’t even stand up to their own party and the damage the SNP Government are doing to local services.  Stirling Council’s budget has been CUT by £2.6 million this year by Nicola Sturgeon.

Stirling deserves better than Tory candidates who are following an increasingly right wing austerity agenda.  Send a message to the Tories that Scotland is shamed by the Rape Clause they’ve introduced.

Vote Labour and you’re voting for a plan to build hundreds more social homes across Stirling’s communities over the next four years.

Vote Labour for a municipal energy company to help tackle fuel poverty and ensure communities retain profits.

Vote Labour to help re-regulate busses to ensure they run to community not commercial priorities.

Vote for local Labour champions on May 4th


Stirling Labour sets out vision for Stirling with 2017 Manifesto

Bold new commitments to local bus and energy companies feature in Labour’s manifesto for Stirling.  The party’s key priorities were unveiled this week and include a promise to double to 1200 the number of hours of free pre-school childcare available to families, and realise the potential of £600 million in City Region Deal investment.  The document will help shape Stirling over the next five years if Labour return to power on May 4th.

Your Labour candidates who will deliver on manifesto commitments
Your Labour candidates who will deliver on manifesto commitments

Violet Weir, one of two Labour candidates standing in the Bannockburn ward, told an audience of local party members and guests that the Labour-led Administration had much to be proud about since coming to power in 2012.  Violet said,

violet-weir“We have created over 400 council homes, built new schools at Cowie and St Ninians, and the £35 million Stirling Care Village is months away from opening.  But we must go further and in the next five years we want to create more social rented homes that we have in the last five years.  We will promote Stirling to employers around the world and we will realise the once in a generation potential of the £600 million City Region Deal that Labour Councillors are negotiating.  We have a vision for Stirling and we will work tirelessly to deliver it in the face of continuing and unnecessary cuts to council budgets from the SNP Government at Holyrood.”

Chris Kane, one of two Labour candidates standing in Stirling East, spoke on the thinking behind the new approach to public transport and energy production.  Chris said,

IMGP9304 (1)“It is unacceptable that fuel poverty exists and that Stirling’s citizens can’t rely on public transport to get them where they need to be when they need to be there.   We want bus services run to community not commercial priorities. We want locally produced green energy with lower costs, fixed for longer periods. Stirling Council has the scale and the resources to kick start a local green energy revolution and sort out the buses and if Labour are in Administration in May, we’ll get to work and deliver for Stirling.”

The keynote speaker at the launch event was Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Alex Rowley MSP who said that Labour were the only party who offered a vision for Stirling’s future, backed up by a track record of success in the past.

To download a full copy of our manifesto, click here.

To read individual sections of our manifesto online, click on the links below:

  1. Introduction
  2. Jobs & the Economy
  3. Education & Young People
  4. Housing & Utilities
  5. Strengthening Communities
  6. Health & Social Care
Alex Rowley MSP with local members and candidates
Alex Rowley MSP with local members and candidates

Labour candidates urge Stirling’s voters to send the SNP a message that Stirling is AGAINST fracking. 

stacksThe SNP Government has written to community groups to let them know they are considering fracking across Stirling.   The SNP are quietly gathering views ahead of unveiling their fracking strategy by the end of 2017.  Fracking, or the extraction of unconventional oil and gas, involves injecting chemicals at high pressures to break up underground rocks and release the fossil fuels they contain.   Communities and individuals have until 31st May to log onto and tell the SNP not to frack up Stirling.

Stirling East has been identified as one of the areas where fracking is being considered. Chris Kane is standing as a Labour candidate in Stirling East along with Councillor Corrie McChord.  Chris says,

IMGP9304 (1) “Our climate can’t stand another fossil fuel and our communities don’t need the risks associated with fracking.  We need to focus on community led energy schemes.  In my community I’ve been helping lay the groundwork for a District Heating system; cheap, reliable and green heat, warmed in the old mineshafts under our feet.  We’re also looking at a Heat Transfer system;  heating community facilities with the excess heat generated by nearby factories.  I want Stirling to be a beacon for a low carbon future, not blighted by the sight of oil wells and the sound of drilling.”

Since 2012, the environmental policies of Stirling’s Labour-led administration have made Stirling one of 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.

The Bannockburn Ward is another of the areas where fracking is being considered.  Councillor Margaret Brisley is standing for reelection in Bannockburn alongside Councillor Violet Weir.  Margaret says,

margaret-brisley“The SNP are cynically putting off announcing their plans until AFTER the council elections.  If the SNP were against fracking, they would have said so by now.  If Nicola Sturgeon wants it, no Stirling SNP Councillor will dare defy her.  We need councillors who will stand up for Stirling, not councillors who won’t even stand up to their own party.  On May 4th, I urge everybody to vote Labour and send a message to the SNP that Stirling is against fracking and for a greener future.” 

Labour want a future built on new, greener technologies.  The SNP are considering a future with fracking.   It’s time fossil fuels went the way of the dinosaurs that created them.

Bannockburn Ward

margaret-and-violetIn Bannockburn, current councillors MARGARET BRISLEY and VIOLET WEIR will be standing for re-election.

Violet is a former NHS nurse and lives with husband Alistair in Bannockburn. She was first elected to Stirling Council in a by-election in 2009. Violet is currently the Portfolio Leader for Housing on Stirling Council. Violet is a former nurse who worked at Stirling Royal Infirmary for 24 years and then in community nursing for 12 years. Her husband was a miner at Polmaise Colliery and was on strike for a year in 1985.

Margaret was first elected as a councillor for Bannockburn in 1980, the community where she has lived all of her life. A former teacher, Margaret has been a councillor in the current Bannockburn ward since 2007.