Election Thank You
- 04:14 pm, Mon 30th May 2011
I consider it a great privilege to have been elected once again to serve the people of Dumbarton and the Vale and I would like to thank everyone for their support. I have stood up for the interests of all my constituents since the inception of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and I will continue to fight for what really matters to you over the next five years.
Our local hospital has always and will always be a top priority for me. I will continue to fight for services to be retained at the Vale of Leven hospital. It is disappointing that, as recently as December, the SNP decided to transfer more of our emergency services, including treatment for heart attacks, strokes and epileptic attacks to the RAH. We have also seen bed numbers reduced and staff numbers cut at the Vale. I recognise just how difficult it is to travel to Paisley. I have been contacted by countless patients, many of whom are elderly who have been left stranded at the RAH in the middle of the night. This is simply not acceptable and I will continue to campaign for us to have access to the Golden Jubilee and Gartnavel for our specialist care.
Unemployment is still a major concern for our area and the latest figures from the TUC which the Reporter highlighted last week are deeply concerning. West Dunbartonshire requires urgent action from the new Scottish Government. It is not being negative to highlight the growing unemployment in our area it is being realistic. I have worked with Gemma Doyle MP and her predecessor, John McFall, to keep internationally renowned companies like Aggreko here in West Dunbartonshire. There is no doubt that the development at Lomondgate will create some much needed jobs for our area, but we need to do so much more to stop the increase in unemployment in the area.
It is desperately disappointing that the Tories axed the Future Jobs Fund which helped young people back into work. That is why Labour proposed the introduction of a Scottish Futures Jobs Fund which would have created 10,000 new jobs. We also promised to give every suitably qualified 16-18 year old a guaranteed apprenticeship place. It is clear that the Government can and must do more. The SNP must make tackling unemployment an urgent priority and not get distracted by talk of independence and constitutional wrangling. It is a matter of regret that the first week since the election has been almost exclusively dominated by constitutional debate when there are much more serious matters requiring our immediate attention.
We face tough and challenging times ahead. I promise that despite that I will be ambitious for our area and I will work every day of these next five years to make sure that the interests of all my constituents are represented in the Parliament.