S4M-05007: Appointment of Dr Mark Carney as Governor of the Bank of England

That the Parliament congratulates Dr Mark Carney, currently Governor of the Bank of Canada, on his appointment as Governor of the Bank of England; considers that Dr Carney is an international finance expert of wide experience and high reputation; is of the view that, under his guidance, the Canadian banking sector and economy in general did not participate in the excesses of the unwise credit boom, which included unsustainable investment in the sub-prime mortgage market and led the USA, UK and some other jurisdictions into the present, prolonged recession; considers that the economies of Canada and some other countries are now in a substantially better condition than the aforementioned jurisdictions, and wishes Dr Carney well in his new duties, including restoring the regulation of the banking sector, whose decisions in recent years, it considers, have greatly damaged the economy and lives of ordinary people in Scotland.

Supported by: David Torrance, Mike MacKenzie, Tavish Scott, Colin Beattie, Richard Lyle, Stuart McMillan

Date Lodged: 27/11/2012

Message from HMS Scotia: Scotia Reservists Stand Together in Remembrance

Over Remembrance Weekend, personnel from HMS Scotia represented the Royal Navy, throughout the East of Scotland.

As in previous years, Scotia’s personnel were honoured and proud to commemorate former servicemen and women who gave their lives for their country.  The opportunity for reflection also allowed time to think of those serving on current operations throughout the world, many of whom are from HMS Scotia and the wider Royal Naval Reserve.

The whole ship’s company stood together on Saturday 10th November 2012 at Douglas Bank Cemetery, Pattiesmuir, to remember Naval personnel killed during periods of conflict and whilst on general duty.  The service was led by HMS Scotia’s Chaplain, Reverend Doctor Marjory MacLean. Read more of this post

Bank of Scotland Foundation 2013 Grant Applications Open

A Dunfermline charity for families has received a grant of £4,800 from the Bank of Scotland Foundation’s Small Grants Programme, prompting MSP Bill Walker to encourage other groups to be aware of funding opportunities.

Home-Start Dunfermline supports families who may be experiencing isolation, illness, bereavement, disability or simply find parenting a struggle. It provides home-visits, local outings, a positive parenting programme, and a weekly Family Group where parents can chat or relax while children enjoy quality playtime.

Dunfermline MSP Mr Walker said: “I’m delighted to hear of this funding. Home-Start offers a valuable service to the local community. Read more of this post

S4M-04911: Philanthropic Achievements of Andrew Carnegie

That the Parliament acknowledges the 177th anniversary of the birth of Andrew Carnegie, the Dunfermline-born industrialist and philanthropist, on 25th November; applauds his establishment of thousands of public institutions such as libraries, museums, schools and universities throughout the world; recognises his generosity in giving away the equivalent of $4.8 billion during his lifetime and $30,000,000 on his death, and acknowledges his creation of twenty foundations, many of which still exist and continue to serve the public, including the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, Carnegie Corporation of New York and Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Supported by: David Torrance, Richard Lyle, Brian Adam, Colin Beattie, Stuart McMillan, Kevin Stewart, Colin Keir, Dave Thompson

Date Lodged: 20/11/2012

S4M-04909: Scouts’ Funding to Encourage Duke of Edinburgh Award Participation

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Council of the Scout Association, based in Fordell Firs in Fife, on securing an award of £9,826 from the Big Lottery Fund; wishes the association well in its endeavours to use the funding to increase participation in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expedition Programme, and understands that it will create an equipment store at Lochgoilhead Outdoor Activity Centre and purchase tents, GPS trackers, navigation compasses, boots, outer jackets and outer trousers.

Supported by: David Torrance, Richard Lyle, Bill Kidd, Mike MacKenzie, Colin Beattie, Kevin Stewart, Nigel Don

Date Lodged: 20/11/2012

Royal Naval Remembrance Service at Pattiesmuir

On Remembrance Saturday, I was honoured to lay a wreath on behalf of the Scottish Parliament at the Royal Naval Memorial in Douglas Bank Cemetery, Pattiesmuir, near Limekilns.

The Remembrance Parades held across Scotland are particularly poignant in light of the UK’s on-going commitment to operations in Afghanistan. I was glad to take part again in this highly intimate and moving parade, which was very well attended. Read more of this post

Rates Payments Discount

I also voted for the Scottish Government’s proposal to reduce the discount owners of empty commercial and domestic properties receive on their rates. It will drop from 50% to 10%.

This move is to encourage owners to use, rent or sell rather than leave properties empty and effectively subsidised by other rates payers. Properties left unoccupied can deteriorate substantially and become eyesores. They can also cause disamenity to neighbouring properties.

Exceptions to this new law will apply in certain circumstances – for example with factory units, where it can understandably be difficult to find new operators for specialised use. Read more of this post

Halbeath Park and Choose

Recently I attended the launch of the Halbeath Park and Choose, where Scottish Government Transport Minister Keith Brown cut the first turf.

This facility, supported by £10m dedicated finance from the Scottish Government, is located near the M90 motorway. It will work similarly to Ferrytoll Park and Ride by enabling drivers to park their cars, then take a bus or car-share to their eventual destinations. Read more of this post

Drink-Drive Limit

The Scottish Parliament has voted 100 to 12 in favour of reducing the drink-drive limit from 80mg alcohol per 100 ml of blood to 50mg/100ml.

I was pleased to vote for this change. Over the decades, the once commonplace concept of “one for the road” has thankfully been consigned to history. Drink-driving is instead recognised as anti-social and, of course, downright dangerous.

Numbers of road accidents have fallen over time and continue on a downward trend, despite the increased volume of traffic. This is happening for a variety of reasons. For example, roads are now generally better maintained and cars are designed safer, while drivers go through more rigorous testing to gain their licenses and tend to drive with greater care. Read more of this post

Prostate Cancer UK’s Quality Checklist

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has signed a parliamentary motion backing a Prostate Cancer UK initiative to help men with prostate cancer receive the best possible care and support regardless of where they live in Scotland.

Prostate Cancer UK’s ‘Quality Checklist: Your Standards of Care’ outlines the support men with prostate cancer expect and deserve from the health service through every step of their treatment journey. The Quality Checklist has been produced following a thorough and wide-ranging consultation with men who have been affected by the disease, as well as their families, healthcare professionals and policy makers. It advises men about information, care and support they should expect and demand, based on the experiences of other men who have had the disease. Read more of this post

S4M-04696: Carnegie Leisure Centre Wins Saltire Award for Civil Engineering

That the Parliament congratulates Carnegie Leisure Centre in Dunfermline on earning what is considered a prestigious 2012 Saltire Award for Civil Engineering; understands that the businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie presented the Edwardian leisure centre to the people of Dunfermline in 1905 and therefore considers it to be of historical importance to Fife; notes that the centre reopened in December 2011 following refurbishment and that the original period features were retained while structural issues were overcome and the entire centre was modernised for the needs of today’s visitors, and considers that the leisure centre has proved a resounding success since its re-launch with, it understands, around 1,000 visitors every evening.

Supported by: Stuart McMillan, David Torrance, Nigel Don, Kevin Stewart, Sandra White, Colin Beattie, Colin Keir, Richard Lyle, Gil Paterson

Date Lodged: 05/11/2012

Dunfermline City Chambers Reopens

Local MSP Bill Walker has welcomed confirmation that the Dunfermline City Chambers is set to reopen following a ten month, £1.2 million refurbishment.

Mr Walker said: “The City Chambers is one of Dunfermline’s most iconic historic buildings, so I welcome this restoration and refurbishment, which I understand is to all intents and purposes complete.

“As well as being available to service users, the City Chambers will now be open for visitors and tourists to look around its amazing interior, which is very good news indeed. People should have access to such a historically and architecturally important building. The City Chambers is part of Dunfermline’s heritage quarter and is readily accessible from other places of significance, such as the Palace, Abbey, Pittencrieff Park, Abbot House and the Carnegie Library.” Read more of this post

Stagecoach Launch New Fife-Glasgow Coaches

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has welcomed a transport boost to Fife, after Stagecoach unveiled nine new luxury coaches for their Fife-Glasgow express network.

Attending today’s launch of the Plaxton Elite coaches in Dunfermline, Mr Walker said:

“This is a welcome investment for Dunfermline and Fife commuters. The new coaches should make journeys on this important commuter route more comfortable and pleasant. Read more of this post

Question S4W-10762: Clean Coal Technology Prospects at Longannet Power Station

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government what the prospects are for the advancement of clean coal technology at Longannet Power Station.

Date Lodged: 31/10/2012 Read more of this post

Question S4W-10766: Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government how it protects girls at risk of female genital mutilation, in light of the Home Office’s estimation that over 20,000 children under 15 in the UK are at risk each year.

Date Lodged: 31/10/2012 Read more of this post

Question S4W-10765: Female Genital Mutilation

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government for what reason there have been no prosecutions for female genital mutilation in Scotland.

Date Lodged: 31/10/2012 Read more of this post

Question S4W-10763: UN International Day of the Girl Child

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the first UN International Day of the Girl Child, which took place on 11 October 2012.

Date Lodged: 31/10/2012 Read more of this post

Carnegie Leisure Centre Wins Saltire Engineering Award

Local MSP Bill Walker has welcomed news that Dunfermline’s refurbished Carnegie Leisure Centre has won a coveted 2012 Saltire Award for Civil Engineering.

Mr Walker, who is also a chartered engineer, said: “The Saltire Society makes annual commendations in recognition of engineering excellence in Scotland, and I’m really pleased they have acknowledged Carnegie Leisure Centre this year.

“The Leisure Centre is an important building historically, presented to the Dunfermline community in 1905 by Andrew Carnegie. During the refurbishment, the engineers, architects and builders managed to preserve the original Edwardian features, while turning the Leisure Centre into a modern, state-of-the-art facility fit for the needs of today’s visitors. The refurbishment has proved a resounding success, with our local newspaper, the Dunfermline Press, recently reporting that an average of a thousand visitors flock to the centre every evening. Read more of this post

S4M-04645: Award for Life-enhancing Charity for People with Learning Difficulties

That the Parliament congratulates Dunfermline Advocacy Initiative (DAI) on its award of £7,500 from Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland; understands that this will be used to help with staff costs for a community project; notes that DAI introduces people with learning difficulties to volunteers who will work to represent their interests, protect their rights and involve them in the life of the community; understands that, in 2011, DAI was awarded £260,000 for its Younger People’s Project, which aims to improve the self-esteem, social connections and decision-making abilities of 16 to 24-year-olds with learning disabilities, and believes that DAI encourages volunteers and people with learning difficulties to make a real difference to each other’s lives.

Supported by: Brian Adam, Kevin Stewart, Richard Lyle, Sandra White, Nigel Don, Colin Beattie, Bill Kidd, Stuart McMillan

Date Lodged: 31/10/2012

S4M-04621: Talk Matters Counselling Service Funding

That the Parliament congratulates the Dunfermline-based counselling service Talk Matters on receiving £5,000 funding from Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland; understands that Talk Matters is a confidential counselling service for Fife and Alva adults with depression or other difficult personal circumstances; notes that this funding will go toward staff provision and that it follows a £40,000 award last year from Children in Need for the Headroom service, which provides counselling for children and younger people, and recognises the importance of ensuring that people with depression have the opportunity to talk about their thoughts and feelings in confidence

Supported by: Bill Kidd, Richard Lyle, Colin Beattie, Nigel Don, Kevin Stewart, Sandra White, Colin Keir, Stuart McMillan

Date Lodged: 30/10/2012