Thursday, 23 June 2011


I hear that the First Minister has performed a U turn on his plans to introduce anti sectarian legislation before the start of the football season (mid July) and has agreed, probably wisely, to allow for some much needed consultation. I've never previously felt the need to sing God Save The Queen agressively but I suppose if I want to I'd better take the chance in the few months if I want to avoid prosecution. 

Meeting of the Council's Audit Committee this morning. The agenda and reports can be accessed here if you're interested. A lot of really important issues, Council accounts, pensions, scrutiny arrangements, service inspection regimes etc etc and lots of good detail provided but incredibly dry. Either that or I've got the attention span of a gold fish. Which is not impossible.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Start of the Working Week

Visited a constituent who is unhappy at the quality of the grass cutting in Clovenstone last night. She's got a point, sadly, and there's other examples elsewhere in the ward. I'll report it anyway and see what happens. Followed by surgeries at Ratho and Balerno, both quiet, as usual, however did manage to have a chat with a couple of folk about local issues which made the trips worthwhile. Then it was off to Ratho for the regular meeting of Ratho and District Community Council. Quite a few issues raised in connection with the ongoing construction works on the Freelands Road site. Agreed to dig out the original planning permission to check which of the more beneficial elements of the development, the care home, affordable housing and canal basin are locked into the plans and how and when they should be delivered. Also got my car back last night following a failed MOT and subsequent repairs. I'm now £310 lighter than I was at the start of day ! 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Childcare in Balerno

Been contacted by some very upset Balerno parents this week. Due to SNP/LibDem Council budget cuts Balerno After School Club is having to make changes that will result in the service no longer being registered or regulated by the Care Commission's successor Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS). While this will mean little practical change to the service itself it also means that parents who are currently able to use the childcare element of the  Working Family Tax Credit or Childcare Vouchers to contribute to the costs will now be excluded from doing so. Once again working families and single parents get hit hardest by ill thought out budget cuts imposed on our schools by the current Administration. In addition, compliance with the SCSWIS regulation standards is difficult and expensive and effectively make the best the enemy of the good taking a perfectly acceptable service outwith the regulatory framework that is intended to maintain high standards. It doesn't seem to make sense. I've met with the parents and the school management and while sympathetic to the plight of some families the school's hands are tied by continuing financial pressure from the centre. All the rhetoric about supporting hard working families is meaningless if the implications of these ham fisted cuts are not fully thought through.