South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed news that tenant farmers, David and Alison Telfer from Canonbie, have won their fight against eviction from their farm at Cleuchfoot, near Canonbie.


Ms McAlpine has been campaigning on behalf of the couple and has raised their plight in parliament, the media and with the Scottish Land Commission.


Now a deal has been brokered between the commission’s tenant farming representative and the new owners of the land which the Telfers tenant.


The couple had been told to leave by the Duke of Buccleuch when he put the land up for sale as part of the Evertown Estate last year. They’d previously been under the impression that they could remain until their retirement in a few years’ time. An incredible 89,000 people had signed a petition asking the Duke to reconsider and accusing him of removing tenants to secure lucrative forestry grants.


But now the new owner, James Jones of James Jones & Sons Ltd, the timber manufacturers in Lockerbie, has agreed to let the Telfers remain at the farm until their original retirement date. 


Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,


“I’m delighted to hear that the Telfers have won their fight to remain at Cleuchfoot. They’ve been at the farm for over 20 years and had expected remain there for the rest of their working lives. It was a shock for them to be told they’d have to move away and start over again with just a few years to go until they retired.


“The new owners, James Jones & Sons Ltd deserve credit for extending the Telfer’s lease. They were under no legal obligation to keep them on but I believe they have made the right moral decision.


“I know, too, that Bob McIntosh, the Tenant Farming Commissioner at The Scottish Land Commission has been working with both the Telfers and the new owners to find an amicable solution. I’d like to thank Bob for all his hard work on this case, it shows the commission, which was set up as part of the SNP’s land reform programme, is really making a difference in rural Scotland. I’m delighted that their intervention has led to such a positive outcome.”


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McAlpine welcomes expansion of free personal care

South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine, has welcomed news that Frank’s Law – free personal care for those under 65 for those who require it – is to be introduced on Monday. Until now free personal care packages have only been available to those aged over 65. But from the 1st of April it will be expanded so that anyone who requires it can receive it, whatever their age.

‘Frank’s Law’ is named after the former Dundee United footballer Frank Kopel. Frank was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 59 and sadly died six years later in 2014, just 19 days after becoming eligible for free care.
The expansion means that anyone who is assessed by their local authority as requiring personal care will receive it free of charge, regardless of their age, condition, capital or income.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“I’m delighted with the announcement that Frank’s Law will finally be delivered. Currently people under 65 who have degenerative conditions like dementia and Parkinson’s have to pay for personal care if they need help with dressing, getting in and out of bed, mobility or support at mealtimes.
“Now the Scottish Government has made £30 million available to local authorities to ensure that they’ll receive that care for free. This means thousands of people across Scotland receive the support that they are entitled to without being impacted financially.
“Care packages will be available through local authorities. Anyone in Dumfries and Galloway who thinks they may be eligible for support should contact the Council on 030 33 33 3001”

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MSP Joan McAlpine has praised the interim board of the south of Scotland enterprise agency for their progress in developing a company that will be tailored to the specific needs of the region.

The SNP MSP was speaking during a debate on the South of Scotland Enterprise Bill in the Scottish Parliament this week. Although the new agency has not been formally established, an interim company has been set up which will become permanent once the bill has been passed into law.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“I’ve been pushing for a new enterprise agency for the region since I was elected in 2011 so I’m delighted at the progress being made by the parliament to get it up and running as soon as possible. And I can’t praise interim board highly enough for their commitment to deliver an agency that will prioritise bespoke solutions, tailored to the needs of companies across the region but with a strong focus on community development.
“The interim board is made up of professionals from industry, agriculture, forestry, tourism, local government, housing and education so they have a broad understanding of the needs of our rural communities as well as those of businesses and industry. They know that the economy of south Scotland has a greater reliance on small and medium enterprises primarily in the agriculture,  tourism and food and drink sectors.
I’m delighted they’ve taken this approach, it’s vital for our region that our development agency understands the needs of our communities as well as businesses, so I hope the board structure of the new agency, when established, will follow the same model.
“The Scottish Government has already pledged to fund our new company at the same level as Highlands and Islands Enterprise which is great news for the region. This is another example of the Scottish Government doing great things for the south of Scotland, along with their £85million pledge for the Borderlands deal, the new #VisitSouthScotland campaign and their £1.7m investment in 120 jobs at the Pinneys site in Annan.”
More information on the South of Scotland Enterprise Bill can be found here:

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Jobs boost at Pinneys site is great news for the region, says Joan McAlpine MSP

South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine has welcomed news that 120 jobs will be created at the former Pinney’s factory in Annan after the Scottish Government found a buyer for the site.


The purchase, by food processing company, Atlantis-Pak, is being made possible thanks to a £1.7 million investment from the Scottish Government.  The company plans to create an initial 120 food processing posts but has indicated there is potential for more.


Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,


“I’m absolutely delighted by today’s announcement, it’s a fantastic boost for the people of Annan who were left reeling last year when Youngs closed their Pinneys factory. There was hardly a family in the town that wasn’t affected by the loss and I was as dismayed as they were when it emerged that Youngs would be creating hundreds of new jobs just weeks later at their factory in Grimsby.


“The news is especially welcome as the region experienced a spate of job losses last year on top of the Pinneys closure. This included Edinburgh Woollen Mill, who moved its head office and 190 jobs from Langholm to Carlisle, and Arla, who transferred 14 cheese packaging jobs from its factory in Lockerbie to Oswestry in Shropshire. 


“Today’s announcement is another great example of the Scottish Government supporting jobs and delivering for the people of Dumfries and Galloway. The investment follows news of a dedicated new enterprise agency for the region, a major new tourism campaign, #seesouthscotland and a pledge of £85 million towards the Borderlands project.  Meanwhile the UK Government and David Mundell are spending their time trying to deliver a disasterous brexit deal that will only harm the economy of the region.


The company will benefit from £1.7 million of Regional Selective Assistance funding, provided by Scottish Enterprise to create or protect jobs in Scotland


Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grants

What you need to know and how to apply for an RSA grant from Scottish Enterprise. RSA grants help fund investmen…


Atlantis-Pak specialise in adding value to seafood and poultry products, primarily focused on coatings and breadcrumbs, particularly panko breadcrumbs. They have supply contracts across Europe and the UK, with their largest contracts being with Brakes (food service business) where they supply over 50 product lines into the UK, and are a large supplier of fillet-of-fish products to McDonald’s across Eastern Europe. 

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McAlpine appeals to council to create fund from Crown Estate Profits

South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has appealed to Dumfries and Galloway Council to use profits from Crown Estate coastal assets to create a local fund for the region. The Crown Estate assets are set to be devolved to the local authority and a fund could support communities around the Dumfries and Galloway coast.


The SNP was speaking during a visit to Nith Inshore Rescue, a volunteer-run lifeboat service that operates out of Glencaple. The independent charity provides front line search-and-rescue services covering upper north-east Solway, inland rivers and lochs. The unpaid crew are on call 24 hours a day.


Volunteers say they need over £30,000 a year to keep the vital service running and Ms McAlpine believes profits from local Crown Estate assets should be made available to help them.


The SNP MSP has written to the Chief Executive of Dumfries and Galloway Council to ask what their plans are for managing the assets and allocation of profits.


Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,


“Nith Inshore Rescue, along with the other independent lifeboats along the Solway, provide a vital service to fishermen and tourists, not to mention the dozens of flood victims that they’ve helped along our waterways over the years. We’re so fortunate in the region to have such dedicated teams of volunteers, out in all weathers, risking their lives in hazardous conditions to search for people in danger. I can’t think of a better destination for the funding.”


“With management of Crown Estate assets and related income set to be devolved from the Scottish Government to local authorities, I’m appealing to Dumfries and Galloway Council to set aside the cash and put it towards groups that benefit our coastal communities.


“When the Scottish Government proposed devolving the Crown Estate from Westminster control, opposition parties wanted the coastal assets devolved even further, down to local authority level. It’s now up to councils to prove that they’re on the side of local coastal communities by using the Crown Estate proceeds to support them.”


Attached, image of Joan McAlpine MSP with Robbie Cowan (1,2,3) and with Robbie Cowan & Gwilym Gibbons (4) of Nith Inshore Rescue team


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McAlpine praises rise in staff numbers for NHS Dumfries & Galloway

SNP MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine has praised hard working staff at NHS Dumfries and Galloway after the latest statistics showed increased staffing levels across Scotland – helping give patients the best possible care.


The region is benefitting from an increase in the numbers of staff working for NHS Dumfries and Galloway – part of a Scotland-wide increase that has seen the NHS workforce reach record levels in 2018.


NHS Dumfries and Galloway had its full-time equivalent staff levels increase from 3537 t3670 – a rise of 3.8%.


Thanks to the SNP’s 2019/20 budget, NHS Dumfries and Galloway is set to receive an extra £10m in spending power – a 3.5% increase on last year’s spending.  


Commenting, SNP MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine says:


“Staff are the lifeblood of our NHS here in Dumfries and Galloway  and it is welcome news there are record numbers working in our hospitals and surgeries across Scotland.


“NHS Dumfries and Galloway will now benefit from having even more dedicated and highly skilled staff in our hospitals and surgeries – ensuring people in our region receive the world-class care that they have come to expect from our NHS.


“Of course we understand there are particular challenges in all rural areas recruiting some specialisms, and the board is working hard on recruitment. However these figures show real progress is being made.


“As a cherished public service the SNP will continue to ensure our health service is properly funded and fit for the future.”

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MSP Joan McAlpine has spoken in favour of Scottish Government initiatives which improve the lives of women ahead of a debate for International Women’s day on Friday.

The SNP MSP used the opportunity to highlight how the Scottish Government is leading the way by promoting initiatives and providing funding which helps women participate in education, the workforce and sporting events. Ms McAlpine was speaking ahead of the debate, entitled “Balance for Better,” which will take place in the Scottish Parliament.
Commenting Ms McAlpine says,
“The recent Scottish Government budget announced plans to almost double the paid-for provision of childcare to 1,140 hours from August 2020 for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds, as well as committing £500 million to support the expansion of early learning services and facilities across Scotland. This funding will enable thousands of women return to work after having kids as well as moving from part time to full time work.
“Carers, who are primarily women, will also see an increase in the Carer’s Allowance Supplement to £552. This is an extra payment for people in Scotland and is over and above the grants that are available to carers in the rest of the UK.
“In terms of education, the Scottish Government has launched a programme aimed at encouraging more girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. This initiative is set to be rolled out in early learning centres and schools across Scotland and it’s hoped the initiative will encourage more girls to pursue careers in this area. 
“Women and girls will also benefit from an additional £300,000 worth of funding from Scottish Government for projects that encourage them to participate in sport. There are still barriers that prevent women and girls from participating in Sport and this funding will help address that.
“There is still much to be done to challenge inequality both in society and the workplace. However, the Scottish Government initiatives have been making a difference to how girls consider their learning and career pathways and additional funding will enable more women to enter or remain in the workforce.”
International Women’s Day takes place worldwide on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. It was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.

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SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has joined with colleagues from across the party divide to oppose Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal and call for the threat of No-Deal to be taken off the table.

Speaking in the chamber during a Scottish Government debate on EU withdrawal negotiations, MSPs from the SNP, Scottish Labour, Green Party and the Liberal Democrats highlighted the growing support across Scotland for an extension to the Article 50 process to avoid a No-Deal scenario on 29th March. 
In a historic move, politicians at the Welsh Assembly joined forces with Holyrood to debate the same motion simultaneously. Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell said the unprecedented event sent a “strong message to the UK government that it must stop pursing such a disastrous course of action”.
Political commentators have suggested there is currently no prospect of the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal being passed by MPs at Westminster at the second attempt scheduled for 12thMarch – just 17 days before the UK is set to crash out of the EU. 
Research has shown that Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal would lead to a 6% fall in GDP by 2031, costing each person in Scotland £1,600.
Speaking in the debate, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“No-Deal should be definitively ruled out – and today, from Edinburgh and Cardiff, we demand that it is.
“The deal on the table guarantees more years of uncertainty during which Scotland’s interests will be at the mercy of a vicious, and seemingly never-ending, Tory civil war – one where the extreme Brexiteers are currently in the ascendancy.
“The preferable alternative option, in my view, is now a second EU referendum. After all, nobody voting to leave the EU knew precisely what they were voting for – the leave campaign was deliberately vague, some may say deceitful, about the form Brexit would take.”
Last month, a report from the Chief Economic Advisor to Scotland warned that a No-Deal Brexit would expose up to 24% of Dumfries and Galloway’s workforce to economic shock and possible job losses.
Speaking in the chamber, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said: 
“We are hurtling towards the precipice of having no deal, which only last week the UK Government said would inflict greater damage on both Scotland and Wales than it would on the UK as a whole.
“The Prime Minister says all that can be avoided by backing her deal but her deal fails to guarantee key human rights, environmental rights and employment rights. Of course, it also ignores the devolution settlement and rides roughshod over the powers of the Scottish parliament which rejected the draft deal in early December last year.
“The EU will not agree to an extension to Article 50 if it becomes what is being called a rolling cliff edge, which would allow Mrs May more procrastination time without delivering any material change and more time to blackmail us with no deal threats. That is why there has to be a second referendum. That is why we need to put the brakes on Brexit.”

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Parties come together for Europe In Crichton Talk

The SNP’s Joan McAlpine will join forces with a former Labour MP to speak up for Europe at an event in the Crichton this Saturday.

She will tell her audience “it’s not too late to pull the brakes on Brexit”
The South Scotland MSP is convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Europe Committee and will speak alongside Mark Lazarowicz, an advocate and the former MP for Edinburgh North. She will highlight concerns about the impact of Brexit on Dumfries and Galloway, in particular the damage to agriculture, education and the rights of EU residents across the region.
The event has been organised by a group called the European Movement in Scotland (EMiS) which has been set up to make a positive case for remaining in the EU. The organisation hopes that the meeting will result in the establishment of a group for Dumfries and Galloway which can be a focus for campaigning against Brexit across the region.
Other speakers include Lawrence Bristow-Smith, a resident of Kirkcudbright and former diplomat with particular responsibilities for trade and the economy, and Dave Merritt, a therapist and trainer.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“We are almost up to the wire on Brexit and Mrs May is no closer to getting her damaging deal through the House of Commons. Even if by some miracle she does get it passed, we will have years more uncertainty as her red lines pull us out of the single market and customs union. It’s not too late to pull the brakes!
“I’m particularly concerned about the threat to funding for education as it could mean young people across our region missing out on valuable opportunities at school, college and university. I’m worried about the future of the ERASMUS+ programme which enables young people to travel overseas to study and funds language learning in several local schools.  Spain has already said that it will no longer fund ERASMUS+ programmes in the UK after Brexit and it looks likely that other countries are set to follow.
“Anyone who is concerned about the impacts that Brexit might have on our economy or our communities should come along to this meeting to find out more or join the discussion to share your views.”
The cross party event comes in the same week that Ms McAlpine met a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks on Brexit.  David McAllister, MEP,  whose father was Scottish, is vice president of the European People’s Party, the Christian Democrat grouping within the European Parliament.  Mr McAllister was meeting politicians in the Scottish Parliament after delivering a lecture in Edinburgh.
Ms McAlpine said; “Mr McAllister regards Brexit as a tragedy, but he said there was no way the EU would consider opening up the Withdrawal Agreement. The EU  might, however agree  to delay Article 50. That is what Mrs May should do, unless of course she rescinds it completely.”
The event takes place in Easterbrook Hall on Saturday the 2nd of March from 11am to 1pm.  Tickets are free but you can register your place on the Eventbrite website.

Image of Joan McAlpine MSP  with David McAllister attached.
Link to Eventbrite ticket website:
Link to the European Movement in Scotland (EMiS) website:

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Firms in Dumfries and Galloway benefit from £8.6m in business rates support

The Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme provided £8.6m of support for businesses across Dumfries and Galloway in 2017/18 – a 25.2% rise on the previous year. This was well above the average of £7.5m across Scotland’s 32 local authority areas.

The Small Business Bonus Scheme, delivered by the SNP since 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 £241m last year, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has said the Scottish Government’s commitment to local jobs and communities across Dumfries and Galloway is clear.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“This is a great example of Dumfries and Galloway getting an above average boost from a Scottish Government policy.  We have many more small businesses in this region than in the big cities and so more of them get help from the SNP’s small business bonus. 
“Businesses in Dumfries and Galloway have benefitted from a massive £8.6m in rates support, 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 Dumfries and Galloway and helping to boost employment.”

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