The Scottish Liberal Democrat Leadership

I am saddened to learn that Tavish Scott has decided to step down as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Tavish has been an excellent leader of the party and the bad, very bad, result on Thursday is not of his making.   I’ve texted him this afternoon to pass on my personal thanks to him for his service as party leader – Tavish visited Dundee on numerous occasions and, as I said to him, the party owes him a great debt of gratitude.   

There’s one other person I have sent a text to this afternoon – Willie Rennie, new MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife.   I urged Willie to stand for the party leadership.   Willie is the obvious choice for the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats – he’s able, articulate and committed.   I hope he will decide to stand;  if he does, he will certainly have my support.

Willie Rennie with myself at a party conference

From Tavish tonight …

Dear Fraser,

I wanted to email to thank you for the incredible efforts you’ve made over the campaign so far.  The thing that drives me forward every morning is the knowledge that thousands of Scottish Liberal Democrat members and supporters are working so hard to get our message across on doorsteps right across the country.

Everyone is already working very hard indeed.  But I am asking everyone to join me in doing a bit extra over the final few days to return as many Liberal Democrat MSPs to Holyrood as possible.  Think of what a Scottish Parliament would be like without a stronger team of MSPs motivated by our values, our ideals and priorities?

I know how tough this election has been for everyone.  But we have to use the last few days to enthuse our supporters and encourage voters to back their hard-working local Liberal Democrat candidates. I know we would all like to spend a bit of time getting away from it all.  We can, but not just yet!

We are the only party working to keep our public services local.  Only the Scottish Liberal Democrats are resisting dangerous plans that could see 3,000 police officers lose their jobs, and £300 million wasted on centralising control of social care. It is in challenging times like this that a strong liberal voice is needed more than ever in the Scottish Parliament. If we are not around to fight for what we believe in, for whatScotlandneeds at this difficult time, who will?

Your work, your efforts can really make a big difference. Thank you again so much for your support.

Yours sincerely

Tavish Scott

Leader

Scottish Liberal Democrats

WEB:   http://www.ScotLibDems.org.uk

TWITTER:   http://twitter.com/TavishScott

Tavish Scott : Liberal Democrats improving the Scottish Budget for students and colleges

Dear Fraser

 Today’s Scottish Budget is a major boost for students and colleges.

It has delighted the National Union of Students who have said: “The Scottish Liberal Democrats have worked very hard for students on this issue” and “This is great news”. 

It will help tackle a crisis faced in Scotland’s colleges from 1st April this year. They can’t afford to wait for a new government. They need action now. As news reports in the last few days have highlighted, there are potential course closures at Elmwood, James Watt, North Highland, Dumfries & Galloway and Carnegie College and many more.The changes we have negotiated from the Scottish Government will give thousands of students access to bursary support. That will mean they can take up their studies and find ways into work. 

We have also secured funding for more than a thousand new places directly at colleges. This will help colleges who are facing severe financial pressures. 

We have also secured funding for additional modern apprentices and training opportunities that rely indirectly on colleges. I raised the issue of apprenticeships in renewable energy at FMQs in the autumn. This is tackled in the Budget changes we have secured. 

We are also very pleased that we have secured funding for a second year for our idea of a Post Office Diversification Fund. This benefited fifty post offices in the last year and can now benefit more this year. The fund helps post offices introduce new types of business (such as hot food or drinks). It will help them stay open, serving their communities. 

Of course, this Budget and the changes we have secured will not solve all of the problems that Scotland faces. Colleges and communities still face enormous challenges. Much will have to wait until after May. Our plans for government envisage a spending review and budget revisions very quickly after the election. We have already spoken with the Permanent Secretary’s senior officials in order to brief them on our intentions to move rapidly in government.

But the steps we have secured today mean a better Budget for Scotland than would have been the case without the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Yours sincerely,

Tavish Scott MSP

Leader, Scottish Liberal Democrats