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Scottish Labour’s candidate for the General Election John Erskine and Scottish Labour Councillor for Thurso Roger Saxon have written to Tesco calling for a public update on the sale of the Mart Site in Thurso.   

In their letter to Tesco, Mr Erskine and Councillor Saxon call for Tesco to be more transparent about what is going on with the site.  This comes after six months of silence from Tesco following the announcement they were planning to sale the site.  Mr Erskine and Councillor Saxon also make the point that if there is no sale in sight, Tesco owe it to local people to improve the site so that it is no longer an eyesore. 

John Erskine said: 

“For over six years, Tesco have dragged their feet over the mart site.  The company have repeatedly made public statements, only to then go quiet until there is more bad news.  Local people deserve better than that.” 

“Councillor Saxon and I have joined forces to hold Tesco to account.  They must be more open about what is actually happening with the site.  Six months ago they told us the site was up for sale and we have heard nothing since.  If they are not close to selling, they owe it to the people of Thurso to improve the site so that it is no longer an eye sore.  They should hold a public consultation and work with the community council to ensure that the improvements to the site meet local desires.” 

Councillor Saxon said: 

“In Fort William and Aviemore, where they are also failing to build, they have said they will work with local people to improve the sites.  I want them to do the same with our site.  I believe that they should hold a full and transparent public consultation about what to do with the site.  John and I want them to remove the construction fence and replace it with whatever they had planned for the store perimeter.  I also want a footpath linking Ormlie Rd with Juniper Bank so that the public don’t cut through the school land and a better bus park to segregate pupils from traffic.  We also want them to install plantings to soften the rubble landscape at the lower end of the site, and work with Abellio to create a better car park at the station and improve its amenity.  This would be a way to make up for the ill-feeling that local people have towards the company.” 

LOCAL LABOUR TEAM CALL FOR TESCO ACTION ON THURSO MART SITE

Scottish Labour’s candidate for the General Election John Erskine and Scottish Labour Councillor for Thurso Roger Saxon have written to Tesco calling for a public update on the sale of...

Scottish Labour’s Candidate in the Far North, John Erskine, has slammed SNP plans from Michael Matheson, the SNP Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Justice to wind up the British Transport Police.

 

The Minister announced today last week that Police Scotland will take over railway policing when the function is devolved. The move means that the British Transport Police (BTP) will no longer operate as a separate force in Scotland.

BTP wanted to continue providing this service, with oversight by Holyrood instead of Westminster but Mr Matheson wants the force's Scottish operations and more than 200 officers integrated into Police Scotland.

In a statement, the Scottish government said: "Police Scotland is responsible for all policing in Scotland outwith the railways and we believe the functions of the British Transport Police should be integrated within the single service.

The announcement has been criticised by local Labour candidate John Erskine, who said: 

“Thanks to the SNP obsession with the centralisation ,the Highlands has lost out and seen the loss of local accountability.  Nothing demonstrates this more than Police Scotland and the mistakes that have been made of arming the police.  Yet this SNP attempt to scrap BTP shows they have learnt nothing.  The Smith Agreement rightly agreed that the functions of the British Transport Police should be devolved with accountability to the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament. We did not agree to the BTP being scrapped and services being delivered by Police Scotland. The SNP wont stand up for the far north – they only stand for centralisation of services."

“Dissolving the BTP into Police Scotland is yet another attempt to centralise services and reduce accountability. BTP has a proud history and a reputation for effective policing. Funding is provided by the rail operators and it works seamlessly across jurisdictions. The SNP Government seems to be obsessed with power rather than looking at what's best for rail passengers.

“We have been given no guarantees on funding, legal jurisdiction on cross-border journeys or any guarantees about staffing and service levels on trains. Instead the SNP wants to wind up BTP and create an even bigger Police Scotland. 

“We have already witnessed rising complaints about the lack of accountability of Police Scotland and the way policies are being developed and delivered.  The SNP Government is trying to pull a fast one. The UK Government must resist any change until there are binding guarantees on funding, structures and accountability"

INDEPENDENCE OF BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE MUST BE MAINTAINED

Scottish Labour’s Candidate in the Far North, John Erskine, has slammed SNP plans from Michael Matheson, the SNP Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Justice to wind up the British Transport Police....

John Erskine, Scottish Labour candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross in May’s General Election, has expressed concerns over the long term future of the universal service obligation (USO) provide by the Royal Mail.

 This comes after a report by the UK Parliament’s Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) committee which warned that although the universal service was not currently under threat, this could change in a rapidly changing postal market and that Ofcom needed to protect the Royal Mail in a market which is experiencing a battle for lowest price competition.  Currently the Universal Service Obligations means that the postal service is available to everyone living United Kingdom, delivering at the same cost and with the same standard.  If the Universal Service Obligation was lost, those in rural areas like the Highlands could face similar prices from Royal Mail that they face from other couriers service with some rural communities already been charged up to 500 per cent more than the standard delivery rate by private courier companies

 John Erskine said:

 “It deeply concerning that the Committee report believes that Ofcom needs to have a plan to protect the USO.  The USO is vital to an area like ours as it means that local people do not have to pay over the odds when using the Royal Mail.  It is bad enough that they face such high charges from other delivery companies.  There can be no denying that this risk is due to the privatisation of the Royal Mail and it having to compete for profits instead of providing local people with a service.   When I and the local Labour Party were campaigning with the CWU’s Save Our Royal Mail campaign, we warned that the universal service may come under risk.  Yet this was ignored by the Tories and the Liberal Democrats as they went ahead and privatised our oldest public service.”

“If elected to represent Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross I will fight for the USO.  I know how important it is to local people and local businesses.  I will fight to get private delivery companies to reduce their delivery prices to our area.  Local people must stop being punished by this Government for living in the Highlands.”

LABOUR CANDIDATE EXPRESSES CONCERNS OVER LONG TERM FUTURE OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE OBLIGATION

John Erskine, Scottish Labour candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross in May’s General Election, has expressed concerns over the long term future of the universal service obligation (USO) provide...

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