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Recent News from Dundee Lib Dems, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the UK Liberal Democrats

  • Article: Apr 21, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon today said the best way toGeorge LyonGeorge Lyon protect the special treatment Scotland gets at the EU because of the UK is to remain part of the UK family.

    Mr Lyon was speaking following reports that a new paper from the European Movement group suggested the SNP government should consider delaying the date of Scottish independence in the event of a Yes vote because of potential difficulties during talks at the EU.

    The report warns that the 18 month period set out by the SNP would be vulnerable to delaying tactics from other member states. The EU membership terms for an independent Scotland would have to be signed off by every one of the other EU member states.

    Recent accession negotiations for new EU states have taken between 8 and 14 years.

    Commenting, Mr Lyon said:

    "As part of the UK, Scotland benefits at the EU from things like a share of the big UK budget rebate, key opt-outs on the Euro and control over our borders. People would not want to see this special treatment frittered away as the cost of securing a quick settlement in Brussels in the event of a yes vote.

    "The best way to protect the positive benefits Scotland gets at the EU because of the UK is to remain part of the UK family. The fact is that in the event of a yes vote Scotland would face the prospect of rejoining the EU on worse terms than we enjoy at present.

    "The European Movement have no particular referendum axe to grind and they are simply restating what many experts have already told us: that the SNP's independence timetable in the event of a vote to leave the UK is not realistic."

  • Article: Apr 19, 2014

    Plans for tougher penalties against reckless directors have been unveiled by Business Secretary Vince Cable today.

    While the UK already has one of the strongest disqualification regimes in the world - with disqualification periods ranging from two years up to fifteen years for the worst offenders - the new measures will mean the rogue minority face stronger deterrents to break the law and more robust sanctions if they do.

  • Article: Apr 17, 2014

    Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie has welcomed aWillie RennieWillie Rennie survey published by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce today showing almost all key performance measures have returned to 2007 pre-recession levels.

    The survey showed business confidence increased further on the year.

    Mr Rennie said:

    "As part of the UK, Scotland is sharing in the economic recovery that has taken hold.

    "Businesses are driving the recovery which is why it is so important they are getting the backing they need from Ministers. With a big national insurance cut and support to boost exports, Liberal Democrats in government are helping firms grow and create more jobs. 16,000 more Scots have found work in the last 3 months alone.

    "I want Scottish businesses to be able to look to the future with confidence and this survey is full of positive news."

  • Article: Apr 17, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP has saidJim HumeJim Hume that NHS Scotland and Scotland's health boards should move swiftly to consider action after NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde removed all plastic bin bags from all of its mental health wards following two suicides.

    A report today revealed that the board was instructed by the Health and Safety Executive to remove polythene bin bags following reviews into two separate tragedies.

    Mr Hume said:

    "Whilst we will not comment on these specific and tragic individual cases, the recommendation by HSE to remove all polythene bin bags from mental health wards in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has clear implications for all health boards in Scotland. Our universal health service means that all mental health patients and their families should expect the same level of care regardless of where they are being treated.

    "In light of this recommendation ordered by the HSE, NHS Scotland must now move swiftly to consider whether this is an appropriate measure to adopt across Scotland's health boards. I know that NHS boards, responsible for managing their own procedures, will want to work quickly with all relevant partners to ensure any lessons are learnt.

    "One in four adults will experience mental ill health in their lifetime. We need to ensure that any issue around mental health care is resolved just as quickly as any other problem on our health boards."

  • Article: Apr 17, 2014

    I am confident that Lib Dems will be united in welcoming today's news that Vince Cable has put out a call for evidence on a new register of arms brokers. The proposed register would introduce tougher regulations on the arms trade and is yet another historic victory for the Lib Dems in government.

    Arms brokers act as intermediaries in many arms deals by bringing together potential buyers and sellers in return for a cut of the transaction. Currently UK companies require a license before they can export military goods, but brokers are somewhat of an unknown entity. Under the proposals all brokers will have to appear on a public registry, with possible requirements to attend training courses and suitability assessments.

  • Article: Apr 16, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon today encouraged Scots toGeorge Lyon MEPGeorge Lyon MEP join a campaign calling on the EU to change tax rules and allow mountain and lowland rescue services to be made exempt from VAT.

    Commenting as an EU consultation on public interest exemptions from VAT entered its final few days, Mr Lyon said that changing tax regulations for mountain and lowland rescue teams would give these key services a real boost.

    Mr Lyon and fellow Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies met with EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemet earlier this year to discuss this issue.

    Backing the campaign, Jonathon Hart, Chair of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland, said that axing VAT would have real financial benefits for mountain rescue teams.

    George Lyon MEP said:

    "In 2011 alone a total of 573 incidents were responded to by Scottish mountain rescue teams, and these numbers are increasing every year. Mountain and lowland rescue teams are effectively front line emergency services in many parts of Scotland.

    "These volunteers put their lives on the line and deserve our full support. We know that cutting VAT for mountain and lowland rescue teams would make a real financial difference and I hope as many Scots as possible will back our campaign.

    "The consultation in Brussels is closing soon and this is our last chance to make the case for a change to the rules at the EU. it is important that we send a strong message that axing the VAT is the right thing to do."

    Jonathan Hart, Chair of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland, added:

    "Mountain Rescue in Scotland is carried out by world class volunteers delivering a service free of charge to people in need of aid in the mountains of Scotland. The majority of our funding comes from private donation and we do receive money from both the UK and Scottish Governments.

    "We are not a political organisation and support any move toward reducing costs or increasing income for Scottish Mountain Rescue Teams. In the case of VAT we would like to thank all the MPs and MEPs who are involved in the campaign which if successful would undoubtedly benefit volunteer teams financially."

    People wishing to join the campaign can sign up here.

  • Article: Apr 16, 2014

    South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume has welcomed news that South WestJim HumeJim Hume Scotland is set to benefit by nearly £40 million from a new scheme to help young people into work.

    The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) will provide £170 million of UK government funding to help young people aged 15-24 find work.

    This investment will be matched by an equal amount from the European Social Fund and also by project partners, bringing the total funding to nearly £490 million.

    Southwest Scotland, one of five areas selected to receive support, is in line to benefit by £38.6 million.

    Commenting, Jim Hume said:

    "More people are in work across the country than ever before but there is always more that can be done. Liberal Democrats are helping build a stronger Scottish economy in government and any initiative to get more people into work is welcome.

    "We know that long spells of unemployment at the start of a young persons' career can be damaging for years down the line. This new investment will make a real difference to young people in the south of Scotland and give them the best possible start to their working life.

    "With UK spending being matched by EU investment this new initiative is another reason why Liberal Democrats are working to keep Scotland in Britain and Britain in Europe."

  • Article: Apr 16, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has said today's employment figures demonstrate the importance of sharing economic progress across the UK.

    Mr Rennie said:

    "Liberal Democrats in the UK government are building a stronger economyWillie RennieWillie Rennie and today we can see what that means for people in Scotland. 16,000 more Scots are in work, business confidence is increasing and positive growth continues for the Scottish economy as part of the UK. This is the positive economic progress which enables us to build a fairer society.

    "Sharing across the UK's broad shoulders, Liberal Democrats have delivered lower taxes, higher pensions, new jobs and more childcare. But figures showing a quarterly rise in the number of people out of work shows that we cannot become complacent. The Scottish Government must work closely with the UK Government to unlock further opportunities for jobs and growth for Scotland as part of the UK."

    Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael said:

    "It is encouraging to see 16,000 more Scots move into work and theAlistair CarmichaelAlistair Carmichael number claiming jobseekers allowance fall for the seventeenth straight month. There are now 68,000 more people in work and around 32,000 fewer people claiming jobseekers allowance than one year ago. It is also very encouraging to see the number of women in work continuing to rise to a near record high.‬

    ‪"With business confidence increasing, inflation falling to a four and half year low and seven consecutive months of positive Scottish economic growth, Scotland is doing well as part of the UK.‬

    ‪"Tax changes the UK Government has introduced this month will make it easier for Scottish businesses to invest, to take on new staff and be even more competitive on a global stage. We have also ensured that every hard working Scot will not pay any income tax on everything they earn up to £10,000. ‬

    "Any rise in unemployment shows that challenges remain. We must ensure that as the economy recovers the benefits are seen in communities across the length and breadth of Scotland.‬"

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