I was disappointed last week with the vote to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act.

I know from my own correspondence that there were very strong views on both sides, but the act is being repealed with no attempt to put any alternative in place.

My colleague, Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing, was forceful in her condemnation of the vote, describing it as a foolhardy move that needlessly exposes vulnerable communities to abuse.

“This move sends out an appalling signal...and will compromise the ability of police and prosecutors to charge people for unacceptable behaviour,” said Annabelle.

“It also puts Scotland behind the rest of the UK in terms of protection against religious hatred.

“The Scottish Government will, of course, respect the will of parliament but will also continue to work towards ridding Scottish society of the scourge of religious bigotry and prejudice. However, it’s a great pity that we must proceed without this additional tool to hold perpetrators of sectarian hatred to account.”



Transport Scotland has today published its strategy for investment in rail improvements over the next decade.

The Rail Enhancements and Capital Investment Strategy, which signals a move to ‘pipeline-based approach’, sets out how funding will be targeted across the Scottish rail network.

"We’ve listened to the views of local communities and the rail industry," said Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands.

"Our strategy will bring to life the new pipeline approach. It will deliver a framework for rail investment with a sharp focus on the right solutions for passengers and freight users, greater efficiency, oversight and value for money’.

“Despite our strong track record since 2007, future investment in Scotland’s railways is set against a real terms reduction in rail funding from the UK Government, which threatens sustainable, progressive investment in rail services. The decisions of the UK Government have created a gap of £460m of the funding that the rail industry has advised us it needs to deliver the improvements required to meet demands for rail.”

‘Transport Scotland will be hosting a series of workshops across the country, where stakeholders and interested groups can find out more about the strategy, as well as how to apply for the Local Rail Development Fund.”

That £2 million Scottish Government fund, which will be available from April, will provide funding to develop community-led options to improve local rail connections.  Local communities will be able to appraise and potentially bring forward proposals aimed at tackling specific, local rail connectivity issues.

Workshops will take place from April 16 until May 1 at venues including Glasgow and Dumfries.

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Closed last month


I welcome the news that the Post Office services will be restored to Strathaven on Tuesday, March 13.

The Strathaven branch closed temporarily in February 2018 due to due to circumstances beyond the Post Office control, and the service is being reinstated as a temporary measure while a permanent solution is still being sought.

This news will be a relief to many in the area. My office has followed developments on this closely, especially in light of news that the RBS in Strathaven was to close.

The Post Office offers a lifeline service for the town, and will become even more important as people now look to carry out financial transactions there.

I will continue to keep in touch with the Post Office about what additional support they can provide for customers in Strathaven and around Clydesdale.

The new service will be operated from 5 Green Street, Strathaven, from 9am until 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and 9am until 12.30pm on Saturday.


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The Scottish Government supports the building of new schools such as Underbank in the Clyde Valley


NHS Lanarkshire will receive over £1.1 billion in the next financial year; seven out of 10 people paying income tax will pay less; investment in railways, improvements at Monklands Hospital, funding for the construction of new school buildings - the list goes on!


Read more about what the Scottish Budget means for Lanarkshire here: 






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The branch in Strathaven which is earmarked for closure


The Royal Bank of Scotland is sticking to its guns at present on the closure of its branches in Strathaven, Carnwath and Lesmahagow, arguing that there are branches for customers in Hamilton and Lanark. RBS believes that branches some seven and a half miles away are close enough to these small towns, but for elderly people that is too far to travel. 

In its announcement that it was closing branches, RBS said that it had a national agreement for its customers to use the Post Office banking services. Given the problems with Strathaven Post Office, which closed last week - albeit on a temporary basis - I am arguing that this should be a trigger to retain this bank branch.

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RBS tells me it is aware of the situation with Strathaven Post Office and it is in discussions with the Post Office and monitoring it closely.

The closure of these three branches is unacceptable, and I will have another meeting with RBS in the near future, when I will again push to have them kept open.

I will also find out more about the reviews which are to be carried out on the usage of the Douglas and Biggar branches which have been granted a reprieve.  




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Aileen Campbell MSP, Kirkton Chambers, 12 Kirkton Street, Carluke ML8 4AB • 01555 750 249 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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