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




Comment on Kerse Road Bridge Closure Plans

Stirling East Councillor Chris Kane says,

clpcandidates - 6

“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.”

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 to explore creation of new Municipal Energy Company for Stirling

IMGP0548Stirling Labour’s manifesto will show a commitment to a new municipal energy company to help tackle fuel poverty and to help promote local energy production.   The Labour led administration has already installed 1500 solar panels on council house roofs, helping tenants reduce their annual bills by up to £300.  Labour’s plan would see a new municipal-led organisation look at ways to generate energy through district heating systems and emerging technologies.

In Stirling East, Chris Kane and Corrie McChord are standing for election.  Chris says,

Too much of our household income is spent on heating and that needs to change.  Fuel poverty and fuel security are only going to get worse if we rely on fossil fuels and national grids to generate and deliver our energy.    There are some exciting and innovative energy production methods emerging that can be achieved at community level and we need to support and develop them.  Labour want Stirling’s communities to have cheaper bills with costs fixed for longer periods.  We want profits reinvested in our communities and we want our environment protected.  Stirling Council have the clout and the scale to kick start a local energy revolution and a Labour-led administration would get it done.”  

Under the Labour-led administration, Stirling Council has already invested £8m on solar PV and has committed to invest a further £4.25m over the next two years on installations on another 1200 properties.

In Stirling North, Danny Gibson and Jennifer Preston are standing for election.  Danny says,

If reelected in May, Labour will spend the next six months pursuing a municipal energy company for Stirling.  The SNP will spend the next six months making up their minds on whether to allow fracking under Stirling’s Communities.  Stirling doesn’t need another fossil fuel, but we do need to ensure it is our communities who benefit from the rise of local green energy schemes.  Labour stands for good jobs, warm homes, caring communities and great education.  A municipal energy company will bring jobs, reduce energy bills, see profits reinvested in communities and teach our children that you can put environmental responsibility at the heart of what we do.”

The commitment to a new municipal energy company is part of a range of initiatives being promised by Stirling Labour, who are fielding candidates in all seven wards across Stirling.  Labour have led Stirling Council since 2012.  Elections to Stirling Council are being held on 4th May.  Labour’s full manifesto will be unveiled soon.

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.

Braehead Post Office Move Is Terrible Decision

Commenting on the news that Post Office Ltd have chosen to move the local branch from Springfield Road to Wishart Drive, Labour’s Stirling East Candidate and Local Community Leader Chris Kane says,

IMGP9304 (1)“I’m deeply disappointed by Post Office Ltd’s disregard for the views of the community and their customers. There have been petitions over this move organised by local residents. I’ve written with my concerns and the concerns of the dozens of people who have raised this issue with me in recent months.   Post Office Ltd have made it just that little bit harder for elderly and those with mobility problems  to access local services and that isn’t right. While I wish the new operators at Broomridge Mini-Market every success with this venture, this isn’t the location for Post Office services that local residents wanted.”

 The move will take place in the coming months once preparatory work has been undertaken at the new site.

Labour will always stand up for our communities and fight on your behalf.  We need local people with local knowledge and a track record of success as our local councillors.  Chris Kane is already a successful Community Leader – he’s been Chair of Braehead Community Council for 6 years.  He’s set up a charity, Braehead & Broomridge Community Development Trust, to deliver new services and opportunities in his community.  He’s raised over £250,000 and built Braehead Community Garden.

Corrie McChord has been serving his community as a Stirling Councillor for over thirty years.  A Trade Unionist, Board member of Forth Valley NHS Trust and former Board member of SEPA, Corrie has been Stirling Council Leader seven times over the years.

On 4th May, elect two local residents who continue to deliver for all of us.  VOTE FOR CHRIS KANE and CORRIE MCCHORD in STIRLING EAST.

Stirling East

In the 2017 Stirling Council Election, CORRIE MCCHORD and CHRIS KANE will take a Labour message out onto the doorsteps of Braehead, Broomridge, Hillpark and Whins of Milton.


Corrie is a veteran of local politics who in 2016 marked thirty years as a local councillor, having been elected to the then Stirling District Council in 1986.  Corrie was born in Stirling and lives in Hillpark.  He has represented Stirling East since 2007.

Chris is the Chairman of Braehead Community Council and Braehead & Broomridge Community Development Trust. A local businessman, Chris lives in Braehead with his wife and their two children.