The failure to make any improvements to Shetland's lifeline shipping service will be raised in Holyrood by Shetland MSP Tavish Scott. He has a question next week at Ministerial Question Time (Thursday 31st January).
Tavish has already discussed the government tender with local organisations and Shetland Islands Council. Many are very concerned that despite the range of suggestions made, the government tender is for more of the same with no obvious improvement to Shetland's connections to the Scottish mainland.Read more
Shetland’s MSP and MP, Tavish Scott and Alistair Carmichael have reacted to a Which? report showing that Shetland has the second slowest broadband speeds of any area in Scotland by repeating calls for the UK and Scottish Governments to prioritise future investment in the islands.
“Which?” found the areas suffering from the slowest internet speeds in the UK were Orkney (3Mbps), Shetland (6.7Mbps), Argyll and Bute (7Mbps) and Moray (7.1Mbps).
Tavish and Alistair have long campaigned for urgent improvement of local broadband services. The Scottish Government has committed to delivering high speed broadband to 100% of premises across Scotland by 2021. This R100 programme, however, remains in the procurement phase.Read more
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott and Orkney MSP Liam McArthur have written to the Islands Minister, Paul Wheelhouse to seek clarity on Government progress towards tendering the next ferry service contract, and on the full implementation of RET.
The next ferry contract is set to be awarded this summer to operate from 31 October 2019. However, there are concerns that thorough public scrutiny will not be possible in this short time frame. In addition, there is no indication as to when RET will be introduced in full on Lerwick-Aberdeen routes, and at all on Orkney routes. To add to the growing frustration, passengers have noticed an increase in fares on the same period last year.
Tavish and Liam have asked the Minister to set out key dates in the timetable for tendering and have made clear that disputes over RET must be overcome with a greater sense of urgency.Read more
The operators of the Sullom Voe oil terminal must maintain environmental standards says Shetland MSP Tavish Scott. In a Holyrood parliamentary debate Tavish noted that EnQuest plan to save £50 million per year at SVT. Tavish argues that those savings must not compromise the environmental standards that Shetland, and particularly its £300 million seafood industry, depend upon.
Speaking in the Tuesday debate on the just transition to a carbon neutral economy, Tavish also reminded Parliament that the industry supports up to 350 jobs directly in Shetland with hundreds more in the supply chain. He urged a “sense of realism” on the future of the oil and gas industry that recognises that even with aggressive measures to reduce carbon emissions from transport, the UK will still have a greater demand for oil than the entire UK industry will produce.Read more
Following a debate on Scottish agriculture policy post-Brexit, Northern Isles MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur have written to the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, to seek assurances that future policy and legislation will be designed with input from island representatives.Read more
After a second leading academic, UCLA’s Professor Popham, branded the Scottish Government’s assertion he was a supporter of P1 testing in Scotland “flat-out incorrect”, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP today demanded the Education Secretary apologise to the educational experts and Parliament.Read more
Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP today demanded the Education Secretary apologise to Parliament after it was asserted that an education expert “emphatically” supported national testing of P1s, only for the academic to obliterate the claim and argue the tests are in fact “incapable” of helping teachers and “almost completely useless as guides to the achievement and needs of five year olds”.Read more
Scottish Liberal Democrat Europe spokesperson Tavish Scott has today welcomed the Supreme Court's judgment on the Scottish Parliament's continuity bill.
Commenting on the judgement, Tavish said:
"I welcome this judgement from the Supreme Court and the clarity it brings.
"The judgement confirms 'the Scottish bill as a whole would not be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament', when we voted it through. What's more, the difference between the situation "before" and "after" passage of the UK Act gives weight to the view that the UK reduced the powers of the Scottish Parliament.
"Going forward the UK needs to learn from this and make sure that, if Brexit goes ahead, the devolved administrations are fully involved in developing UK-wide frameworks, with proper dispute resolution mechanisms.
"Scottish Liberal Democrats have always advocated a federal system for the UK where the administrations would be required to come together to agree frameworks. This Supreme Court judgement helps make the case for a modern, federal UK."
Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP today said there is an urgent need to give teachers a boost after new statistics showed that class sizes remain at their highest rate since the SNP took office.
The annual school census reveals that the average class size this year remains at 23.5.
The SNP Government committed in 2007 to limiting class sizes in the first three years of primary to 18, but this is now being achieved for just 12.1% of children – again, the poorest performance under the SNP. As a result, 10,000 fewer children are taught in smaller classes compared to 2012.Read more
Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott has today lambasted the Education Secretary, John Swinney, for “skewing the facts” on student teacher intake, after new statistics showed serious failures by the Scottish Government to meet key targets on secondary school and alternative route education entry.
Despite meeting the primary school teacher training target, the statistics published today by the Scottish Government reveal that:
- The total target for secondary school teachers was missed by 208 places.
- The total target for school teachers was missed by 137 places.
- The target for teachers who entered education through “alternative routes” was missed by 91 places.
Alternative routes into teaching include: helping former teachers return to the profession, encouraging integrated routes combining post-graduate education with the probation year and joint degrees in teaching and specialist subjects such as chemistry. A full list can be found here.Read more