South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed news that the Scottish Government have made payments of over £327 million to farmers and crofters to help them plan for the impacts of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

 

The news comes as the MSP asked deputy First Minister John Swinney what action the Scottish Government was taking to protect the interests of Farmers and Crofters against a ‘no-deal’ scenario.

 

Responding, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that the Scottish Government has already made payments totalling over £327 million to 13,400 farmers and crofters as part of a basic payment scheme designed to provide earlier cash-flow and certainty of payment date instead of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments.

 

These advance loans are the single biggest mitigation action that the Scottish Government can provide to support farmers and crofters.

 

The payments, which were made last Friday (Oct 4th), are the first such payments to be made in the UK.

 

Commenting, Ms. McAlpine said:

 

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government are taking such decisive action to protect the interests of Scotland’s farmers and crofters with a ‘no-deal’ Brexit looming.

 

“Rural parts of Scotland like Dumfries and Galloway will be disproportionately affected, with our farmers losing their Common Agricultural Policy payments and devastating tariffs on exports like sheep and beef.

 

“The Scottish Government continue to demonstrate that our farmers are an invaluable part of our society and economy, while the Tories continue to make a mess of things at Westminster.”

 

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South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine is encouraging farmers in Dumfries and Galloway to have their say on animal health legislation for Livestock.
Announced as part of the Programme for Government, a consultation is now underway on proposals to introduce fixed penalty notices for certain animal health offences, similar to those which are proposed for animal welfare offences. 
 
At the same time, views are also being sought on how the Animal Health Act 1981 might be strengthened, updated and modernised, including on whether current powers are sufficient to continue preventing serious diseases in livestock.
 
Joan McAlpine MSP said:
 
“The Scottish government is committed to the highest welfare standards for all animals, and in recent years has been successful at preventing serious diseases affecting our livestock in large numbers – for this to continue, we need to make sure that the right approach is in place.
 
“The Animal Health Act is now almost 40 years old, and a review would help to keep Scotland’s animal welfare legislation at the cutting edge of best practice, and especially to ensure that we can continue to keep pace with EU standards and regulations.
 
“I would encourage all invested parties to have their say as part of this consultation in order to make sure that our approach to animal welfare is sustainable, fair, and takes into account the best interests of Livestock in Scotland’s rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway.” 
 
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MSP Joan McAlpine says a £300k windfall from the Crown Estate should help support Nith Inshore Rescue and other coastal community projects in Dumfries and Galloway.



The South Scotland MSP made her call after discovering that the Scottish Government has allocated Dumfries and Galloway Council £309,041.03 of Scottish Crown Estate marine profits. Control of the Crown Estate, which mainly raises money from activities on the shoreline and seabed, passed to Scotland under additional devolution powers following the 2014 independence referendum.


The MSP wrote again this week to Council boss Gavin Stevenson after the Scottish Government published annual allocation figures for 2019-2020 confirming Dumfries and Galloway will receive £309,041.03 from the total net revenue of £7.2 million across Scotland.


Mr Stevenson previously promised Ms McAlpine they would examine the issue when the allocation was announced after she wrote to him highlighting the Crown Estate opportunity.

The MSP had previously taken up the case of independent based inshore and inland water search and rescue charity, Nith Inshore Rescue after touring their Glencaple premises. She  commented,
 
“Nith Inshore Rescue is a volunteer-run lifeboat service serving Upper Solway and the surrounding area, providing a life- line to local people and visitors to the area. It is a great example of a charity run by dedicated and skilled volunteers which sits at the heart of the coastal community. Such a service cannot run on fresh air, and Nithshould be at the front of the queue for assistance from the Scottish Crown Estate marine assets fund.
 
“Running costs of over £30k per annum could be met from the local authority revenue allocation if Dumfries and Galloway Council agree with me that Nith, like other fantastic local services, must be funded to sustain and develop what they offer to communities.
 
“Now that Councils have the power to manage how funds are spent, I hope  Dumfries and Galloway Council let us all know what plans are in place to directly benefit coastal communities using this money,”

Attached letter to Gavin Stevenson. 
Picture features Joan with Nith Inshore Rescue volunteers Robbie Cowan and Gwilym Gibbons 
 

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SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has urged parents to “trust the facts” and make sure their child is vaccinated for flu this winter.

 
This week, the Scottish Government has launched its annual national flu vaccination programme – with a focus on people with health conditions and children aged 2-5.
 
Every year thousands of children are hospitalised with flu. Even healthy children can become seriously ill from it. Protecting children can also stop the virus from spreading to family, friends and others.
 
To date more than 1.6 million doses of the nasal vaccine have been given to 2-11 year olds as part of the Scottish childhood immunisation programme. But more parents and carers are being urged to take up the offer.
 
Everyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people at most risk of serious illness are offered the flu vaccination on the NHS.
 
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
 
“Getting your kids vaccinated is free and only takes a few minutes – but it helps to protect against the flu bug for around a year.
 
“The flu is no joke. There’s plenty of misinformation about vaccines online – but it’s important that parents in Dumfries and Galloway trust the facts.
 
“Staff at NHS Dumfries & Galloway are doing a tremendous job with a tough time of year ahead and we should all do our bit to not add unnecessary pressure on the health service.
 
“If you or your children are eligible, make sure that getting the vaccination is a priority and book an appointment with your GP practice or health board as soon as possible.”

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SNP MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine MSP has called on the UK Government to cough up their fair share of funding for Broadband and digital infrastructure across Scotland.

 
The MSP’s comments come after the UK Chancellor’s Broadband funding announcement at the Tory Party Conference on Monday (30/09/19) of a £25 billion investment in infrastructure to include nationwide 5G broadband, revitalised bus services and upgrades to major roads- but Ms. McAlpine says the funding needs to come directly to Scotland and not be risked in a messy ‘bidding war’ that could see Scotland lose out.
 
The Scottish Government received just £21 million funding from the Tory government, despite broadband being a matter reserved to Westminster – meaning it is the responsibility of the UK government. The allocation amounts to just 3.5% of the total funding for broadband in Scotland, with the other £580 million coming from the SNP Government.
 
Commenting, Joan McAlpine MSP said:
 
“The UK Government must cough up their fair share of funding for digital infrastructure and broadband across Scotland after continually short-changing Scotland’s communities.
 
Rural communities face particular challenges installing broadband, and in Scotland we have many more communities which face these geographical challenges.
 
“It’s time for the Tories to put their money where their mouth is and ensure that they deliver the funding required for digital infrastructure improvements direct to Scotland, and stop forcing the Scottish Government to continue to foot the bill for this matter which is reserved to Westminster.”


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South Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has hit out at the Scottish Tories after the party’s interim leader Jackson Carlaw said they would support leaving the EU on October 31st even if there is no agreed deal with Brussels.

 

The U-turn on their position comes just two months after Ruth Davidson said the Scottish Tories ‘Won’t Support a No-Deal Brexit’.

 

Speaking about the development, Joan McAlpine MSP said:

 

“It is utterly shameful that not one single Scottish tory can bring themselves to stand up for Scotland and Scottish interests in the face of a lack of leadership from their Westminster bosses.

 

“A no-deal Brexit would devastate Scotland’s economy, and it’s already been made clear that the impacts on rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway would be catastrophic for local businesses and our hard-working farmers.

 

“The people of Dumfries and Galloway deserve to have their best interests represented on this issue which has the potential to make or break our economy, and the Tories have clearly shown they’d rather follow Boris Johnston into the uncertainty of a no-deal than stand up for the people they are elected to represent.”

 

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MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine has said that SNP plans to establish a Scottish National Investment bank will help encourage economic growth across South Scotland. 

This week in Holyrood, MSPs debated the Scottish Government’s blueprint for the investment bank that will begin investing in businesses and communities from 2020 – committing to invest at least £2 billion in its first ten years. Earlier this month, the First Minister also confirmed plans for an initial investment in the bank of £130 million this year during the Programme for Government.

The bank will have an important role in helping Scotland meet its ambitious climate change targets – forming part of the SNP’s Green New Deal to kick-start investment and build the momentum needed to reduce emissions and create high quality jobs in the process. 

Commenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:

“The Scottish National Investment Bank has enormous potential to transform communities here in South Scotland and ensure Scotland’s economy is fit for the future.

“Operating within a core set of principles, the bank will help us reach our world-leading climate change targets by upping investment in businesses and community projects that are looking to play their part in tackling the climate crisis.

“We know that small businesses are the backbone of our local economy in Dumfries and Galloway and this bank will become a cornerstone in Scotland’s economic architecture, supporting businesses and driving Scotland towards a low carbon economy.”

 

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MSP Joan McAlpine today backed a new law to give Scotland the toughest emission reduction targets in the world in order to tackle the climate emergency.

 
The SNP politician voted in favour of making Scotland a  “net zero” nation by 2045, five years earlier than the rest of the UK.  The new law, backed by parliament, means Scotland will not contribute to global warming by that date.
 
Ms McAlpine also joined a majority of MSPs who backed a tougher interim target of a 75% reduction of emissions by 2030.
 
The ambitious target, which has been set in response to climate campaigners, is above and beyond what the UK Committee on Climate Change recommended for Scotland.
 
Ms McAlpine also backed amendments designed to support farmers through the introduction of a “nitrogen balance sheet” .
 
Scotland continues to be an international leader on climate change, and these world-first targets are a positive step on the journey to a net-zero society.
 
Ms McAlpine said: “These targets have been set in response to pressure from passionate climate campaigners, but it will be everyone’s responsibility to adjust our lifestyles to be more conscious of our environment and our rapidly changing climate.
 
“Opposition parties have been quick to criticise the SNP Scottish Government for some policies designed to help reduce emissions, such as workplace parking levies, but if we want to continue to lead the way and meet these ambitious targets then we will need to make difficult choices.”
 
The Climate Change Bill was passed by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon (25/09/19) 
 
The tough targets it sets include all greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide and it does not allow Scotland to meet its obligations through “carbon trading”.
 
Accountability for meeting the targets will be strengthened, with Ministers now required to report on progress to tackle climate change in every sector, every year.
 
A Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change will be created to make recommendations to Ministers on how Scotland’s net-zero transition should be achieved.
 

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To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine attended a reception in Holyrood, to celebrate the number of potential stem cell donors in South Scotland on the Anthony Nolan register.
 
This achievement was marked by Anthony Nolan on Thursday 19 September, as part of its Communities vs Blood Cancer campaign, which shines a spotlight on vital work being done locally to ensure that every patient in need of a stem cell transplant can find a lifesaving donor. 
 
In South Scotland, 9238 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan. 20%of these donors are men aged 16-30, and the average age is 35.
 
In total, more than 760,000 people in the UK are on the Anthony Nolan register, any of whom could be a match for someone with blood cancer and asked to donate their stem cells to give a patient a second chance of life.
 
Now, Joan McAlpine is encouraging more people from Dumfries and Galloway, particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and make sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant. While anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer, men aged 16-30 are most likely to be asked to donate. They provide more than 50% of donations yet make up just 18% of the register. There is also a shortage of donors from non-white and mixed-race backgrounds.
 
Ms. McAlpine also had the chance to meet with representatives of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) including Ally Boyle. Ally initiated a ground-breaking partnership with Anthony Nolan in 2009, while he was Area Commander of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, after being diagnosed with myelodysplasia (a type of blood cancer). They have recruited thousands of lifesavers to the register, predominantly through their innovative SFRS Education Programme, which sees SFRS volunteers deliver inspiring educational presentations about stem cell, blood and organ donation to 16- to 18-year-olds across Scotland.
 
Joan McAlpine MSP said: “I am very proud that South Scotland has 9238 registered donors, any one of whom could offer the only chance of giving someone with blood cancer a second chance at life. Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure. 
 
“I would especially like to commend the great work of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in engaging local communities, particularly secondary schools across Scotland. They’ve recruited more than fifty people who have gone on to donate. Their steadfast commitment over the past ten years has had a truly lifesaving impact.”
 
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “In the last year 9238 selfless people from South Scotland joined the Anthony Nolan register, each one representing hope for patients with blood cancer, and blood disorders, in need of matching stem cell donors. 
 
“This Blood Cancer Awareness Month residents can be proud of all the lifesavers in your community. To everyone from Dumfries and Galloway who has taken the decision to join the register, thank you. We rely on young people aged 16-30 joining the register now to save lives in the future. Without you, there is no cure.”
 
For more information on Anthony Nolan visit anthonynolan.org/join.
 
Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful, and supports patients through their transplant journeys. 
 
 
Ends
 
For more information about the charity, please call the Anthony Nolan press office on 0207 424 1300 or email press@anthonynolan.org. For urgent out of hours media enquiries, call 07881 265 285.
 
NOTES TO EDITORS
 
Attached is a picture of Joan McAlpine and a representative from SFRS at the event in the Scottish Parliament
 
About Anthony Nolan
Anthony Nolan saves the lives of people with blood cancer. The charity uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer and blood disorder patients in need of stem cell transplants. It also carries out pioneering research to increase stem cell transplant success, and supports patients through their transplant journeys. Every day Anthony Nolan gives three people a second chance at life. Find out more at www.anthonynolan.org
 
Note to sub editors
Please note that Anthony Nolan changed its name in 2001 and is no longer known as Anthony Nolan Trust.
 
What is a stem cell transplant?
If a patient has a condition that affects their bone marrow or blood, then a stem cell transplant may be their best chance of survival. Doctors will give new, healthy stem cells to the patient via their bloodstream, where they begin to grow and create healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
 
Key statistics
  • About 2,000 people in the UK need a stem cell transplant from a donor every year
  • 90% of donors donate through PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell collection). This is a simple, outpatient procedure similar to giving blood
  • We need more young men to sign up, as they are most likely to be chosen to donate but make up just 18% of the register
  • We need more people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to sign up. Only 60% of transplant recipients receive the best match. This drops dramatically to around 20% (one in five of transplant recipients) if you’re from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background.
  • Blood cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK and the third biggest cancer killer. It accounts for 9% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in the UK.
  • It costs £40 to add each new donor to the register so we always need financial support
  • To join the Anthony Nolan register, you must be 16-30 and healthy. Anthony Nolan’s world-leading Research Institute has shown younger donors offer better survival rates for patients.







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South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has called on Conservative MPs David Mundell and Alister Jack to explain why they backed Boris Johnston’s illegal shut down of the UK parliament.

 

The proroguing of parliament was ruled unlawful today in a landmark ruling by the UK Supreme Court in which judges were unanimous.

 

Mr. Mundell and Mr. Jack both also voted against the ‘Benn Bill’ which protects the UK against a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, which Ms. McAlpine says is ‘unforgivable’ given that both MPs are well aware of the severe impacts which a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit will have on rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway.

 

Speaking after the announcement that Parliament should return as soon as possible, Joan McAlpine MSP said:

 

“I am proud of my friend and SNP colleague Joanna Cherry QC MP in leading this historic case which is a victory for democracy. David Mundell and Alister Jack have some serious explaining to do if they expect the people of Dumfries and Galloway to have any faith in their elected representatives.

 

“Supporting Boris Johnston’s attempts to pervert democracy just to get his own way and avoid parliamentary scrutiny is an affront to democracy and against the law. The people of this region deserve better.

 

“It is staggering that both MPs also voted against a Bill introduced to stop a no-deal Brexit from becoming a legal possibility. The impacts of a no-deal scenario on Dumfries and Galloway would be severe, with many of our key industries like farming and food and drink production being negatively impacted.”

 

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