The Vow: Delivered - and more!

The Smith Commission has outlined bold new home rule tax and welfare powers for Scotland. The Scottish Liberal Democrats have led the campaign for more powers from the beginning. We argued for more powers and won the case within the Smith Commission. Read more

Rennie raises awareness of dog welfare as figures show 1 in 9 unclaimed dogs put down

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has raised awareness of dog welfare today after figures obtained by the party showed that one in nine dogs found by local authorities which aren’t then claimed are put down.

The figures, obtained through freedom of information laws, showed that local authorities have found 12,530 lost or abandoned dogs in the past four years. Of those, 3248 were rehomed and 395 were put down.

The shocking figures come as answers to Lib Dem parliamentary questions also show there have been 92 recorded offences of cruelty to dogs in the past two years.

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McInnes calls for court closure review following new figures

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP has called for the planned closure of local courts in January 2015 to be reviewed after she revealed statistics showing the last round of court closures resulted in people receiving a worse service.

In light of this, Ms McInnes has renewed her criticism of the government-backed local court closure programme. With the final round of closures due to take place next month, Scottish Liberal Democrats have also called on the Scottish Government to review the impact of the closures so far.

Analysis of figures obtained by Ms McInnes through parliamentary questions shows the length of time taken to hear cases is increasing at courts which took on additional business following the closure of courts in Arbroath, Cupar and Stonehaven in May 2014.

For example, the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ research revealed:

 

·         Following the closure of Cupar Sheriff Court, the percentage of summary criminal cases completed within the six month target at Dundee Sheriff Court was on average 77% between June and September 2014. This compares to 84% during the same period in 2013.

 

·         The average time taken to process a summary criminal case at Aberdeen Sheriff Court was on average 149 days between June and September 2014, up from 117 during the same period in 2013. This followed the closure of Stonehaven Sheriff Court where cases were previously completed in 109 days.

·         The average time taken to process a summary criminal case at Forfar Sheriff Court was on average 121 days between June and September 2014, up from 110 during the same period last year. Cases at Arbroath Sheriff Court, from which business was transferred, were previously completed in 112 days.

 

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Assurances needed over new national road crime body

Scottish Liberal Democrats have raised concerns about the SNP’s centralisation juggernaut after it was revealed Scotland’s national police force has created of a new central body charged with overseeing the force’s approach to road safety and road crime.

The Road Safety Governance Board, chaired by the Deputy Chief Constable from Crime and Operational support and comprised of members including COPFS, Transport Scotland, Road Safety Scotland and the Scottish Government Road Safety Strategic Partnership Board, is to provide “strategic oversight and consistency at national level.”

Scottish Liberal Democrats have warned that the emphasis on a national strategy will alarm many communities who may already feel the police force is focused on meeting targets set by senior management instead of the needs of local communities.

Figures published earlier this week showed a 14 percent increase in the number of people convicted of traffic offences, to 40,258.

 

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Alex Salmond has broken word to Scottish people over second independence referendum claims

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said that Alex Salmond has broken his word to the Scottish people with his claims that he thinks there will be a second referendum on independence.

In an interview with the Times, Mr Salmond said he now believed there would be another referendum on independence within his lifetime.

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Rennie welcomes fall in unemployment

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has said that Scottish Liberal Democrat will urge the SNP to keep their eye on the ball and do what they can to boost jobs and growth.

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Too many still facing long cancer treatment waits

Scottish Liberal Democrats have said that sluggish improvements in performance against cancer waiting times targets mean that too many patients are still facing long waits to begin treatment within 62 days of urgent referral.

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Referendum legacy must be reinvigorated democracy

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said that the real legacy of the referendum experience must be a reinvigorated democracy.

 

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Action needed to cut cost of reoffending

Scottish Liberal Democrats have said that SNP ministers must be unrelenting in their efforts to drive down the £3bn cost of reoffending to Scotland each year.

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Hume lauches bid to protect children from second hand smoke in cars

South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume has today formally launched his bid to stop smoking in cars with children present. The Scottish Liberal Democrat has now formally introduced a member’s bill, which, if passed, could see smokers hit with a £100 fine if they are caught smoking in their car whilst children under the age of 18 are present.

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Proud day for equality in Scotland

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has said that today marks a proud day for equality, as same-sex couples in civil partnerships can marry in Scotland.

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