By Bill Heaney and Lucy Ashton

Scottish Labour has called on Justice Secretary Angela Constance to intervene to protect public safety following stark warnings about the budget pressures facing Police Scotland.

In a letter to Angela Constance regarding the threat of police station closures and cuts to officers, Scottish Labour Justice spokesperson Pauline McNeill, right,  said:  “The Scottish Government cannot wash their hands of this looming crisis when the stakes are this high.

“I hope you will intervene and work with Police Scotland to protect services and protect public safety.

“It is vital that our communities are not forced to pay the price for the SNP’s financial mismanagement.”


Artizan Centre, Dumbarton

West Dunbartonshire Council is consulting on proposals for the redevelopment of the Artizan Centre, pictured above.

The Council successfully applied to the UK Government for Levelling up Fund (LUF) cash to deliver improvements which they say will breathe new life into town centre through three key projects in Dumbarton: Glencairn House; Connecting Dumbarton and the acquisition, part-demolition and costs towards the redevelopment of the Artizan Centre.

The Council was awarded £19.9 million LUF money in October 2021, and the overall LUF programme value including the Council’s £2.2 million contribution is £22.1 million.

Since purchasing the centre in March 2022, the Council says it has has undertaken studies to inform future works, as well as a development strategy for the site.

The next steps include developing detailed designs, obtaining Planning Permission in Principle, and managing the delivery of the redevelopment works.

Dame Jackie Baillie and Labour councillors David McBride and Gurdeep Singh Johal met recently in the Artizan Centre to urge people to to take part in the consultation process.

The Council says it values the views of the community and local feedback on the proposed use for the site is now being sought.

The information gathered through this consultation will ensure that residents’ opinions are represented at an early stage and can inform the proposals before the formal submission of a planning application, it adds.

In order to gather feedback, residents are encouraged by the council to participate in the online consultation using the website below.

They have announced that feedback can also be submitted to:

West Dunbartonshire Council
16 Church Street,
G82 1QL

The public consultation will close  on Monday 9 October 2023.

Following the consultation,  an application for Planning Permission in Principle will be submitted and will include information on building forms, types of proposed future use, access, transport and servicing routes, landscape, parking strategy, and so on and will provide a framework the construction works and the long term development of the site.


A woman who claims to have been sexually abused by a priest at a children’s home more than 50 years ago has won her battle to sue the charity.

The victim, who was just 11 when she and five siblings were placed at Nazareth House in Lasswade, near Edinburgh, said she was attacked in a shower room by the priest while a group of nuns looked on.

She also claimed she was regularly beaten during a three- week stay at the home in 1973.

The Sisters of Nazareth religious order had tried to halt the legal action for five years by claiming the case was time barred and most of the accused nuns were dead. But Sheriff Graham Primrose KC called the allegations against the Sisters of Nazareth as of the “utmost severity”.


Home care services run by West Dunbartonshire Council have been downgraded after an unannounced inspection.

Inspectors left concerned by a lack of staff supervision, care reviews and risk assessments that were undated – potentially putting residents in danger.

The outcome of the inspection of Care at Home Services by the Care Inspectorate between March 15 and March 24 this year was reviewed at a meeting of the Health and Social Care Partnership Audit Committee.

During the inspection 92 service users and 18 relatives were asked to give their thoughts on the service provided to them.  They spoke with 13 staff members and management.

Later the inspectors met with key members of the Care at Home service and Senior Management Team to provide feedback.

The inspection awarded a grade three, classed as ‘adequate; for the staff in all aspects that the inspectors reviewed.

These included supporting people’s well-being; their leadership; rating the staff team and investigating how well the client care and support is planned.

Inspectors left concerned by a lack of staff supervision, care reviews and risk assessments that were undated – potentially putting residents in danger.


Supporting farmers and crofters to produce food more sustainably, work with nature and reduce emissions is at the heart of new draft legislation.

The Agriculture and Rural Communities Bill will reform how the government will support farming and food production in Scotland. It will legislate to introduce a new framework of support to replace the current Common Agricultural Policy.

The Bill aims to deliver the key ambitions set out in the Scottish Government’s Vision for Agriculture: helping our farmers and crofters to produce more of what we eat more sustainably, to support their essential role in delivering climate mitigation and adaptation, and in biodiversity restoration. In seeking the powers to realise that Vision, the Bill will enable a payments framework that incentives a drive towards low carbon approaches to improve the resilience, efficiency and profitability of the sector.

This draft legislation has been designed to provide an adaptive support framework for farmers and crofters that can respond to future social, economic, and environmental changes. It enables tailored provisions to be produced and adapted as required.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands Mairi Gougeon, LEFT,  commented: “Our vision is for Scotland to become a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture. Introducing this new Bill to parliament is a significant milestone in reforming the support systems that will empower Scotland’s farmers and crofters to cut climate emissions and restore nature, helping us achieve that vision.

“I understand that the sector needs flexibility now and in the future to respond to the pressures and challenges that we will face. As we move forward our Bill will allow for adaptive support for farmers, crofters and land managers in the near, medium and long term future. We will take the time necessary develop the detail of our policy with the people directly affected by it.

“As we continue to co-develop the measures for our four tier support framework, we remain committed to supporting active farming and food production with direct payments now and have a phased approach for integrating new conditionality. Financial support is available right now to help farmers prepare for the changes that are coming – and today we are also launching a call to the sector to participate in interviews, surveys, online and in-person workshops, over the coming months that will help shape future support and how it is delivered.

“Our Agricultural Reform Route Map provides a clear set of programme dates to explain when current schemes will transition or end and when more guidance, support and information will be available. This will be updated and we will communicate with the agriculture sector to ensure everyone is fully prepared and supported for change.”


The Tarbet Hotel has been sold to a growing Scottish hospitality chain.

The Manorview Hotels and Leisure Group has purchased the Tarbet Hotel on Loch Lomondside.

Positioned at the point where the A83 to Argyll and Bute diverges from the A82 to the Highlands and Glencoe, the 68-bedroom hotel is passed by thousands of tourists every year.

David Tracey, the managing director of the Manorview group, said: “Manorview are delighted to be the new custodians of The Tarbet Hotel.

The venue is in such an iconic and beautiful part of Scotland, and we are excited to contribute to the growth and success of Argyll and Bute’s vibrant tourism sector.”



A new development of more than 300 much needed affordable, energy efficient homes has been completed in Argyll and Bute.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison, right,  met residents and viewed some of the newly completed homes at the Dunbeg estate near Oban, during the visit of the Travelling Cabinet meeting in Inveraray.

The development, which received £35 million in funding from the Scottish Government alongside additional funding from Argyll and Bute Council and Link Group, represents an important contribution to the housing need in Argyll and Bute.

The majority of the new homes are for social rent, and all of them have air-source heat pumps to provide affordable energy and tackle fuel poverty in an area that is off-grid. A number have been adapted to make them more accessible.

Ms Robison said:  “We fully understand the housing challenges in this part of the country. The new homes I visited will make it easier for people to stay in Argyll and Bute, and for others to move here for work or other reasons. It was clear from speaking to residents that this development has been widely welcomed.

“As we mark the start of Challenge Poverty Week, it’s also important the majority of these new homes are for social rent and come equipped with heat pumps that will lower the cost of energy for individuals and families.

“The Scottish Government is visiting Argyll and Bute to set out for local people our ambitious plans to boost growth, reduce poverty and build a more equal and fair society. We want to help the region to thrive, and delivering good-quality, affordable housing is a crucial part of that work.”

Inveraray, where the Scottish Cabinet held its recent meeting.


An independent Commissioner to advocate for the welfare and safety of patients will be appointed following the passing of a new Bill.

The Scottish Government’s Patient Safety Commissioner Bill, passed unanimously by Parliament, will help to amplify the voice of patients and drive safety improvements across healthcare.

The Bill will allow the Commissioner complete freedom to consider or investigate any issue they believe to have a significant bearing on patient safety in healthcare, and they will be able to hear from patients and their families as well as gather information from healthcare providers, to inform their work.

The Commissioner will be independent of government and the NHS and will be accountable to the Scottish Parliament. Following the passing of the Bill, work to appoint an individual to the role will begin shortly.

Public Health Minister Jenni Minto and patients in local hospitals.

Public Health Minister Jenni Minto said: “Our responsibility is to do all we can to make sure healthcare is made as safe as possible, and that in the future, when patients and families have concerns about the safety of their care, they do not have to struggle to make their voices heard. This important Bill champions the value of listening to patients and will ensure people’s voices are heard clearly and strongly throughout the health care system in Scotland. I am very grateful for Parliament’s unanimous support.

“The Commissioner will be a powerful independent champion for everyone receiving healthcare, regardless of the setting in which it is delivered. They will work collaboratively with healthcare providers to make improvements but also hold them to account to ensure Commissioner recommendations are followed, and that patients are listened to.

“We have listened very carefully to views across Holyrood as to how to strengthen the role of the Patient Safety Commissioner. The amendments accepted by the Parliament today demonstrate the collaborative approach the Government has taken.”


The number of racist incidents reported by NHS staff has doubled to more than 400 a year in the past five years, according to new figures.

In 2022/23 there have been 437 incidents, up from 213 in 2018/19.

The figure for 2022/23 is up on 2021/22 when NHS staff reported 384 racist incidents.

The data came from 12 of Scotland’s 14 health boards as two were not able to provide the information.

The figures were obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through a Freedom of Information request.

The party’s leader and health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton, above right,  said: “It makes me very sad to think that hardworking NHS staff or vulnerable patients could face racial abuse.

“The fact that incidents have risen sharply in the past five years should be a shot across the bows of anyone who thinks that Scotland is immune to this kind of appalling behaviour.”


First Minister Humza Yousaf met community group Inspire Inveraray to see first hand their ongoing work to regenerate the local pier as part of wider transformation plans for the area.

The community group purchased the pier in July 2023, using £121,374 from the Scottish Government supported Scottish Land Fund, to bring it back into operation, providing greater access for leisure and water sports, fishing activities and further connections to surrounding towns. The pier had previously been privately owned for 20 years and has been closed to the public for the past five years.

First Minister Humza Yousaf and a puffer at the pier in Inverarary.

First Minister Humza Yousaf took a tour of the pier ahead of the 51st Travelling Cabinet and discussed how the funding had enabled the group to take on community ownership.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “Community empowerment is a key aim for this government and it was great to see in person a perfect example of a local group, supported by the Scottish Government, taking power of local assets for their community benefit as well as supporting the local economy.

“We are fully committed to ensuring that Scotland’s regions are able to thrive and contribute to a growing sustainable economy. I look forward to discussing this with the people of Inveraray and the wider Argyll and Bute area to achieve this within their local communities.”



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