Stirling firms benefit from £5.5M Scottish Government support

The Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme provided £5,498,000 of support for businesses across the Stirling area in 2017/18 – an £33.6 rise on the previous year.

 

The Small Business Bonus Scheme, delivered by the SNP in 2008/09, supports local firms by reducing their rates liability or taking firms out of business rates altogether.

 

With businesses across Scotland receiving a total support relief of £5.5 million last year, SNP MSP Bruce Crawford has said the Scottish Government’s commitment to local jobs and communities across the Stirling area is clear.

 

Commenting, local SNP MSP Bruce Crawford said:

 

“These figures prove the success of the Small Business Bonus Scheme for firms across Stirling.

 

“Stirling businesses have benefitted from a massive £5.5 million in rates support in the past year, providing stability for local jobs and communities and giving firms that valuable headroom to grow and thrive.

 

“While Labour and the Tories have no credible plans between them, the SNP is getting on with the job – creating a better business environment in the Stirling area, boosting employment and creating a business environment where local companies can flourish.”

Crawford support’s Farmers’ Union campaign to protect livestock

Stirling SNP MSP Bruce Crawford is supporting an awareness campaign from NFU Scotland, encouraging dog owners to behave responsibly when out with their pets around livestock.

 

The campaign encourages dog owners to:

 

  • Keep dogs on a lead around livestock.
  • Be prepared with a lead, poo bags and to plan all walking routes.
  • Consider hazards such as cattle and look for alternative routes.
  • Pick up dog poo, as this can spread disease in livestock.

 

Commenting, Mr Crawford said:

 

“This is an important awareness-raising campaign from NFU Scotland, especially at this time of year when farmers will be preparing for lambing season.

 

“The Stirling Constituency is rich in countryside walks for owners to take their dogs, but people much behave responsibly and be alert to areas where there is livestock.

 

“Planning is key: always take a lead with you, and make sure you have enough poo bags to not leave anything behind that might be a health hazard to sheep and cattle.”

Scottish Government announced over £1M to boost Stirling town centres

SNP MSP for Stirling, Bruce Crawford, has welcome Stirling Council’s funding allocation from the Scottish Government’s £50 million Town Centre Fund.

Announced by SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay during his budget statement, the new fund aims to drive local economic growth by helping town centres fund projects such as re-purposing buildings for retail, business and community enterprise, while improving access and infrastructure.

After allocations were announced this week by the Scottish Government, it has now been confirmed that Stirling Council will receive £1,077,000 from the new ring-fenced fund.

Commenting, SNP MSP Bruce Crawford said:

“This funding announcement can help transform town centres in the Stirling area, such as Stirling, Callander, Bannockburn and Balfron.

“The health of our town centres is vital to the economic and cultural life of our communities – and this new investment can make a real difference.

“Stirling Council is now able to ensure that our share of the Scottish Government’s grant for town centres is spent wisely so that local communities reap the benefits of this huge investment.

“The SNP’s Town Centre Fund is part of a wider package of business support measures that will help drive economic activity in the Stirling area, helping give our local high streets a welcome boost.”

Stage 3 (final stage) of the Scottish Budget 2019-20

I would like to begin my saying how very pleased I was that consensus was found between the SNP Scottish Government and the Green Party.

 

With a Minority Government consensus was essential to ensure the passing of a budget with £42.5 billion of investment into Scotland’s economy and public services.

 

In contrast, the approach of the other Parties would have ensured no budget agreement and would have left us picking through the ruins of Scotland’s vital public services.

 

But more on that later.

 

Meanwhile this Budget commits the Scottish Government’s £50 million share of a £90 million Stirling/Clacks City Region Deal.

 

In addition, local people will benefit to the tune of £20.2 million more spending by NHS Forth Valley.

 

Stirling Council will also see a real terms increase of £6.6 million in funding from the Scottish Government.

 

Across the country, funding for education will reach £3.5 billion, and many of my Constituents from disadvantaged backgrounds will continue to benefit from targeted funding to close the attainment gap.

 

I am also pleased that this SNP Government continues to mitigate against the worst of Tory cuts to welfare, with £435 million allocated in this budget to social security.

 

Our welfare agency, Social Security Scotland, has begun making payments of Best Start Grants and Carer Supplements.

 

This is a Scottish Social Security system that, unlike Westminster, has dignity, fairness and respect at its very heart.

 

This Budget also funds the continuation of the Small Business Bonus, which has benefited over 2,600 small businesses in my constituency. Saving businesses in the Stirling area an estimated £39 million.

 

The Small Business Bonus Scheme in Scotland is the most generous of its kind of any UK nation. And, 90 percent of business premises will pay a lower poundage rate than they would elsewhere in the UK.

 

This budget package therefore strikes the right balance between supporting local businesses and investing in vital public services.

 

In terms of taxation: this Budget continues the fairest and most progressive system of income tax anywhere in these islands.

 

I welcome the fact that 55% of people will pay less income tax in Scotland than they would elsewhere in the UK.

 

While it is the case that some pretty robust discussions took place between the SNP Government and the Green Party, can I applaud the fact that they were at least constructive.

 

In contrast, we have the Tory Party whose MSP’s have consistently been calling for even more spending on Local Government and in a whole plethora of other areas.

 

This shows a consistent trend hypocritical trend from the Tories.

 

Consistently calling for more funding into almost every part of the public service but to this very day – absolutely no explanation about how it to pay for it.

 

A hypocrisy made even starker by the fact that Scotland’s budget has been slashed by about £2 billion since the Tories took office.

 

To add insult to injury, the tax plans favoured by the Tories would see a devastating half-a-billion pounds ripped out of Scottish public finances to pay for unnecessary tax cuts.

 

Rank hypocrisy and political opportunism of the worst kind.

 

But, what of Labour – a big question this week of all weeks.

 

Labour demonstrated throughout this whole budget process – that there is absolutely nothing the SNP Government could offer that would persuade them to vote for the budget.

 

Rather than offering a viable alternative Budget, and returning to their Constituents with real and tangible benefits.

 

Instead, they botched any attempt whatsoever at a constructive approach and will return with their Constituencies with their heads in their hands.

 

Finally, the Liberal Democrats.

 

There was time when the Liberal Democrats made real headway on matters of substance in this Parliament through campaigning on important issues such as mental health.

 

I really respected them for that – but what changed with their approach.

 

Well Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie gave the game away when he declared that he was refusing to speak to the Scottish Government about funding Scotland’s public services. Unless of course the SNP dropped its support for independence.

 

The truth of course is Mr Rennie is simply been looking out for his own very narrow selfish local interests.

 

He knows he is under real pressure in his Constituency from the SNP and indeed the Tories. However, we see through his tactic.

 

Jettison any pretence of supporting vital public services and instead play the ultra-unionist card to save his own political skin.

 

Mr Rennie has blown his credibility, no one will ever take him seriously again when he talks about Scotland public services.

 

I urge colleagues across the Chamber, to stop playing fast and loose with Scotland’s vital public services, support the budget at decision time this evening.

 

It is a Budget for increased investment in services, fair taxation and economic growth.

 

It is a Budget for compassion and dignity towards vulnerable people in our communities.

 

It is Budget for getting on with the job ensuring stability, despite the Brexit chaos that is all consuming at Westminster.

Crianlarich water mains upgrade complete

Upgrades to Crianlarich’s water system have been completed. The works took place following calls from Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford to Scottish Water, after the mains in the village burst four times within four months – leaving many without water for periods of time.

 

In an email to Mr Crawford, Scottish Water said: 

 

I can confirm that Scottish Water has completed an upgrade to its water mains network in Crianlarich improving its service to customers in the area. This work included an invested of around £120K to improve a section of water main to provide customers with additional resilience and security of supply.

Work began on Monday 7 January 2019 and involved contractors Clancy Docwra installing 222 metres of new pipework along Station Road from its junction with Main Street.

As you will be aware customers in the area have experienced interruption to their supply on several occasions and these upgrades to our infrastructure will help reduce further risk of disruption. We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while these works were under way.

 

Mr Crawford commented:

 

“I am pleased that this work has now been completed, and hope that this brings a lasting resolve to the issues facing local residents and businesses.

 

“Losing water supply is highly disruptive to people’s lives, which is why I approached this matter with urgency. I am pleased that Scottish Water have listened and acted.”

Crawford welcomes Cowie bus service improvements

First Bus have announced improvements to bus services through the Stirling area.

 

These include:

–          Improved student links.

–          Direct services to Stirling Care Village / Community Hospital.

–          Improvements on Stirling University Link.

–          Additional links to University from the Hillfoots.

–          Extended 54 service to provide direct link between Cowie and Community Hospital.

–          Additional evening journey on the 51 service route from Cowie to Stirling city centre.

 

Commenting, Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford said:

 

“Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Cowie Community Council on mounting an effective campaign in order to improve the level of bus service that the village receives.

 

“On behalf of local residents who had contacted me, I wrote to First Bus to raise my concerns about access to the Hospital and to Stirling city centre.

 

“I am pleased that First Bus have considered these concerns and have implemented changes to existing services to ensure that residents in Cowie have better direct routes to the Hospital and the city centre.

 

“Unfortunately, across the board we have seen fewer people use their local bus services. I would urge people to look at what’s available and use the bus where they can, which will go a long way in supporting local bus services.”

BLOG: Opposition MSPs must back proposed Budget for Scotland

As the Convener of the Finance and Constitution Committee in the Scottish Parliament, it has been my job to lead the scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget for this coming year on a cross party basis. It is important that I share how this Budget can benefit people in the Stirling Constituency.

 

During a time of unbelievable chaos at Westminster as a result of the fiasco that is Brexit, it is more important than ever to ensure stability and take a common sense approach to the Scottish Budget. If the Budget is voted down by opposition parties, later in February it would bring with it the potential for huge disruption in our vital public services and even the extraordinary prospect of an unwanted and unnecessary Scottish Parliament Election.

 

That being said it is important that I share how the very reasonable budget proposals, if agreed, can benefit people in the Stirling Constituency. For instance, the SNP Government has ensured that in Scotland, we have the fairest and most progressive system of income taxation in the UK. This Budget will continue to ensure that around 55% of people in the Scotland will pay less in income tax here than they would elsewhere in the UK.  This does mean that those with the broadest shoulders will have to pay a bit more to fund public services, however, 99% of people in Scotland will still not see their income tax increase.

 

These income tax proposals have allowed the Scottish Government to set out a series of spending plans for the next year that will help support public services. However, if we were to follow the Tories tax plans there would £500 million less available to spend on vital public services despite them continually asking for more spending.  

 

NHS Forth Valley will see an above-inflation rise in funding of £20.2 million. Scotland’s NHS is the best-performing in the UK, and the SNP Government has consistently committed more in funding to our health service than any other political party has pledged to do. This boost in funding for NHS Forth Valley will go a long way to help ensure efficient and effective health care in the Stirling area. 

 

This Draft Budget will also see a £13 million increase in funding for the Education and Skills budget, bringing it to £3.5 billion. This will mean more funding into local schools, as well as £600 million for further education and £1 billion for higher education, which will benefit Forth Valley College and the University of Stirling.

 

In terms of supporting the local Stirling economy, I am pleased that the Draft Budget fully funds the Small Business Bonus Scheme, which means that 2,670 small businesses in the Stirling area do not have to pay any business rates whatsoever. 

 

The Budget also includes plans to introduce a new £50 million Town Centre Fund that could help transform towns across the Stirling area.  The fund will go through Local Authorities so it will be up Stirling Council to make sure our town centres see the benefit of this substantial investment through community improvement projects. All high streets across Scotland face challenges as online retail changes the way we shop. This fund has the potential to stimulate real development in our town centres and to help communities thrive. 

 

Given what this Draft Budget will deliver, it is time for opposition parties at Holyrood to engage constructively and commit to supporting a fairer system of tax and better funding for public services. To do otherwise is a recipe for further disruption and chaos – the last thing we need at this time.

SNP Government delivering better social security for vulnerable people

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford has hailed the Budget announcement from Finance Secretary Derek Mackay of £435 million in interventions on social security.

 

As part of the SNP Government’s Draft Budget for this coming year, Mr Mackay announced:

  • £238 million for the Carers Allowance and further £37 million for Allowance Supplement.
  • £12.5 million for Best Start Grant to give all children the best possible start in life.
  • £6.2 million in funeral expense assistance.
  • £33 million for the Scottish Welfare Fund, helping people who have been left with nothing following DWP sanctions.
  • £50 million will be invested to tackle rough sleeping.
  • Almost £100 million will be spent on mitigating the Bedroom Tax and other Tory Government welfare cuts.
  • Investment to support food banks will be doubled to £3.5 million.

 

The Scottish Budget is currently being considered by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

 

Commenting, Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford said:

 

“Scotland is in the process of having limited powers over welfare devolved to us, however it is our duty to defend the most vulnerable people in our communities from the cruellest of Tory cuts to welfare support.

 

“As well as funding to directly mitigate draconian policies such as the Bedroom Tax, the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget invests in assistance with the cost of funerals for low income households, as well as a Best Start Grant for newborns, support for food banks, and living cost assistance for those who have been sanctioned by the DWP.

 

“A staggering £238 million will be invested into the Carers Allowance, with an additional supplement being funded by a further £37 million.

 

“This Draft Scottish Budget is a blueprint for the type of society we want to build. As a country, we want to take a different approach to welfare from the harsh cuts seen in Westminster. I would encourage opposition parties who oppose what the Tory Government stands for on welfare to get behind this Budget and support this investment in the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Work to begin on water mains in Crianlarich

Scottish Water have announced that they will be upgrading 222 meters of pipe work in the Crianlarich area along Station Road.

 

The £120,000 investment comes after calls from Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford for a permanent solution to be sought following repeated bursts of the water main leaving many properties without running water.

 

It is hoped that this work will reduce the risk of further disruption by burst mains.

 

Commenting, Bruce Crawford said:

 

“This is very welcome news indeed, and Crianlarich locals who have been in touch with me will welcome this investment to fix the problem.

 

“The water main through the village had burst four times in as many months last year, leaving many homes and businesses without water for periods of time. It was clear this the situation needed more than just a plaster to fix the problem.

 

“I am pleased that Scottish Water has taken this situation seriously and is putting its money where its mouth is to deliver a more reliable water system through Crianlarich.”

Flooding in Lochearnhead: Scottish Water responds to concerns raised by MSP

Scottish Water have responded to a letter from Bruce Crawford MSP to Chief Executive Douglas Millican, following reports of severe flooding on the road through Lochearnhead at the end of last year.

 

Mr Crawford was contacted by locals who were worried about the safety of the road, parts of which were submerged in water.

 

Scottish Water have since responded to the incident, and have replied to Mr Crawford, highlighting that the flooding was due to a build-up of debris, which has now been removed.

 

Commenting, Bruce Crawford said:

 

“I am pleased that Scottish Water responded swiftly to this issue, which was a cause for clear concerns amongst locals in Lochearnhead over the Christmas period.

 

“We have been lucky not to have had much severe weather over this winter yet, however it is worrying that this is what debris can cause regardless.

 

“I’m grateful to the team at Scottish Water for having cleared the debris, allowing the water to drain properly, and would ask members of the public to be vigilant to such debris – especially during the winter months.”