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counciltaxbillSNP secure £100m for education

Labour and the Green Party have tonight teamed up with the Tories to put political point-scoring ahead of fairer taxation as the SNP put securing £100m for education ahead of party political games.

In an important vote on the SNP’s progressive council tax plans, designed to protect low income households and generate £100 million of additional revenue to invest in schools, opposition parties Labour and the Greens voted with the Tories against plans for further reform of taxation to be fair and progressive.

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I wish to update you on the current situation regarding bus routes serving Kelvindale. The new M4 service is clearly of little benefit, but following the representations both myself and Cllr Letford have made on behalf of constituents, First Glasgow have now put two options on the table to reconfigure the route to be served by the M4.

Following our suggestions, the new route proposed through Hyndland, Byres Road and on to either Glasgow University or Partick, would appear to better reflect the needs of local travellers compared to the current flawed M4 service.

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The withdrawal by First Glasgow of the 4A bus service connecting Kelvindale directly with the city centre is proving to be a big issue locally, and a considerable number of local residents have now been in touch with me about this. I wish to provide an update on my efforts to halt the service changes in the first instance, and to secure a commitment from First Glasgow that meaningful consultation with bus users should be a pre-requisite to developing an efficient service which will better serve the needs of Kelvindale residents.

UPDATE 21/10/16 6pm: First Group MD Giles Fearnley has responsed to me advising the proposed cuts will go ahead on Sunday, but the alternative route proposals I had sent him will be considered "in due course".

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Maryhill Health CentreMaryhill and Springburn MSP Bob Doris has welcomed the opening of the new Maryhill Health and Care Centre – a £12.4m investment in Maryhill by the SNP government.

The new facility will provide improved access to a range of services, including three GP practices, physiotherapy, dental and mental health services.

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housingAmbitious targets outstrip previous administrations

The SNP have highlighted Scottish Government figures which show the party’s strong record in delivering new homes across Scotland.

The SNP Government announced earlier today that the number of new house builds started across the public and private sectors rose to 16,910 in 2015-16, the highest number since 2008-09. The number of affordable homes approved over the year to June 2016 was up 26% on the previous year, bringing the total number of approvals over 2015-16 to 8,067.

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I have previously been deputy convener of our parliament's Health and Sport Committee for the last 5 years and have a particular interest in healthcare.

I'd like to emphasise some of the progress the Scottish Government has made, that I have supported, since being elected as a regional MSP for Glasgow. I supported funding to secure a new health centre in both Possilpark and Maryhill. Importantly these were not funded using the previous Scottish Executive's discredited PFI funding mechanism. I have also supported the extended GP's opening hours programme at local surgeries and the SNP is committed to extending this further. I have also supported health and social care integration, including an additional £250 million to the new boards (with £34m in Glasgow alone) to support that integration. That move means that every care worker inner city- because of our Scottish Government- will now be paid the living wage. Our social care services will also be enhanced. This will make a real difference to the quality of social care in our city- something I have been concerned about following Cordia's staffing reforms.

In the next parliament our SNP Government will expand the number and range of health professionals in local health practices including practice nurses, district nurses, pharmacists as well as a variety of allied health professionals. This will ease pressure on our GP's and provide a better service for patients. So will our commitment to 400 GP training places and also £23m expanding medical school places.

The SNP will ensure our overall NHS revenue budget will rise by £2 billion- estimated to be £500m above inflation and will be invested to build on progress already made. For instance we will increase capacity at the Golden Jubilee in Clydebank to do additional hip, knee and caeterac operations to allow our ageing population to stay fit and healthy at home for longer. We will also use this record health investment to improve the care and treatment pathways further for cancer sufferers as well as our cancer prevention and detect cancer early initiatives. Other examples of where our record health investment will be targeted includes £150m more for mental health over the next 5 years.

This is just some of the initiatives that will benefit local constituents in healthcare if an SNP Government is re-elected, and, of course we continue to keep prescriptions free following our SNP Government's abolishing them. Much is made of NHS waiting lists by all parties, and, they can always be challenging. However it is important to remember the progress made under the current Scottish Government. This is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that 95% of patients in Scotland under the SNP now wait 12 weeks for day and in patient surgery. Under the last Scottish Executive that was an 18 week wait, and only 85% were treated in that time.

I will continue to prioritise the NHS if elected and I hope you will consider voting for me to be the first ever SNP constituency MSP for Maryhill and Springburn.

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