Aberdeen DONSIDE

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                                  ABERDEEN DONSIDE CONSTITUENCY (Scottish Parliament)                                                 

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JACKIE DUNBAR MSP

Jackie Dunbar was elected as the MSP for ABERDEEN DONSIDE on 6 May 2021, succeeding Mark McDonald. 

Born in Peterhead and educated in Elgin, Jackie has lived in the Middlefield area of the constituency for many years. First elected to Aberdeen City Council in 2007, she was Depute Provost in 2009-12 and SNP Group Leader in 2015-16. Currerntly, she is a Councillor for Northfield & Mastrick North, and was latterly the Deputy Leader and Housing spokesperson of the SNP Group. One of her achievements was to successfully campaign for the Gordon Highlanders monument in the Castlegate.

Jackie's partner is Don Law and they have a daughter, Dawn Law.                         

 

 

 

E-mail:    jackie.dunbar.msp@parliament.scot                                                      

Tel.:  0131 348 5067 (Parliament).

Contact Jackie on Facebook.      

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                            CORONAVIRUS hasn't been eliminated yet -- but we're getting there

Most restrictions were lifted on AUGUST 9. But keep wearing your mask in indoor settings, including shops and buses. Social distancing is still  recommended, but not required by law. Working from home is still advised. Permission is still required for outdoor events with over 5,000 attending, and indoor events with over 2,000.

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A tribute to BRIAN ADAM                                                                                                              

In her first Parliamentary speech on June 3, during a debate on education, JACKIE DUNBAR said: "It was an honour to use part of my speech to pay tribute to the late Brian Adam, my friend and mentor."

Deputy Presiding Officer. Given that this is my first speech, I feel that it is only right that I focus on my constituency. Aberdeen Donside is a diverse area which lies to the north of the Granite City, from Kingswells to Woodside, Dyce to the Brig o' Don -- and a'thin' in atween. It is the honour of my life to be elected the MSP for Aberdeen Donside, the area where I have lived and raised a family over the last 30+ years. I would like to thank the good folk of Aberdeen Donside for putting their faith in me, and I pledge to you all today to do my very best for you, my very best for our constituency and the very best for our country over the next five years. I would also like to pay tribute to Mark McDonald for all of his tremendous work during his time as the Member for Aberdeen Donside. He most certainly did a fantastic job representing his constituents, and I would like to wish him all the best for the future.
Deputy Presiding Officer. I am now the third SNP MSP to hold the seat, and I would also like to pay a personal tribute to the late Brian Adam, who first won the seat for the SNP back in 2003. I first met Brian when I first joined the SNP in 1990. At the time he was the local Councillor for the area that I live in. He went on to be the Regional MSP until he won the Aberdeen North (later Donside) seat in 2003. I am proud to say that I have followed him in his footsteps. I too am the Councillor for the same area, and now I am also proud to be that MSP. My constituents have very long memories, and out on the campaign trail I was regularly asked how I planned to live up to his legacy. And the response was, and is, simple. Brian was my friend, Brian was my mentor and Brian taught me everything I know. I will always aspire to live up to his high standards. To Brian's family can I say thankyou. Thankyou for your continued support, your kind words and your well-wishes.  

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FIRST MINISTER's Questions

From JACKIE DUNBAR (Aberdeen Donside) on June 3:-- First Minister. Scottish communities are, to this day, paying the price for the scorched earth policy inflicted on Scottish industries in the 1980s by Thatcher and her hypocritical Scots Tories. What assurances can the First Minister provide to my constituents working in the oil & gas sector that no-one will be left behind as we make the necessary and just transition to renewable energy?

FIRST MINISTER:-- Can I take this opportunity to welcome my good friend Jackie Dunbar to this Chamber. I think she just demonstrated in that question what a powerful contribution she is going to make here. I'm not sure the Tories are going to like it, but I think most of the rest of us will. This is a really important issue. I grew up in Ayrshire in the 1970s and 80s, and I saw first-hand the impact on communities when a Government didn't care about protecting individuals and communities from the impact of economic transformations. We must not make that mistake again. Failing to plan for the transition to Net-Zero is not an option, and that's why we are working with trade unions, businesses and communities to develop just transition plans to ensure that our approach is a fair one. And that commitment to just transition is really, really vital. I've already appointed our Just Transition Minister (Richard Lochhead), who will implement the recommendations of the Just Transition Commission, and maintain the Commission to advise us right through this Parliament. I believe a majority in this Parliament are committed to that transition to Net-Zero. But I also hope a majority are committed to making that transition fairly, because that's in the interests of every individual and community in our country.

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STONEYWOOD paper mill                                                                                                                  

The future of Aberdeen's last paper mill seemed more secure after managers announced that its 25 year-old combined heat & power plant (CHP) would be replaced with more modern equipment.

The Stoneywood paper mill, south of Dyce, was established by James Moir in 1770, and is now the only remaining paper mill on the River Don. 450 jobs were saved in September 2019, after a management buyout from owner Arjowiggins, with the deal being  supported by £7million of funding from Scottish Enterprise. However, in Nov. 2020, loss of business caused by the coronavirus pandemiic resulted in the workforce being cut by 70. Arjowiggins Creative Papers Ltd. produces "wood-free" paper for greetings cards, labels, brochures and luxury packaging.  

On May 31, Aberdeen Donside MSP Jackie Dunbar said: "I was pleased to meet with Arjowiggins this morning to hear about plans for a new combined heat and power plant at their Stoneywood paper mill, and am looking forward to working with the Scottish Government to ensure a future for the mill -- a valuable employer in my constituency."

###  Paper-making used to be one of Aberdeen's main industries:--  Culter Mills Paper Co. Ltd. at Peterculter closed in c1980; Donside Paper Co. Ltd. on the River Don at Tillydrone, closed in 2001; and C. Davidson & Sons Ltd. at Mugiemoss, Bucksburn closed in 2005.

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  JACKIE donates her COUNCIL salary

Jackie Dunbar MSP is foregoing the salary she is entitled to as a continuing city councillor.

On May 11, she said: "It has been a privilege representing the Northfield & Mastrick North ward at Aberdeen City Council for the last 14 years." Her intention is to remain as a councillor for another year in order to avoid an expensive by-election, which would cost the city's taxpayers over £30,000 -- almost double that of a councillor’s salary.

Jackie is donating her entire remuneration as a councillor to local charities. First to benefit were various food banks. Mastrick Community Centre, got a new dishwasher and, later on, new mats for their Parent & Toddler Group, and a new bingo machine for the Over-50s Group. Middlefield Community Project said: "We would like to thank Jackie Dunbar, MSP for Aberdeen Donside, for the kind donation to purchase items for our food parcels to distribute to families in our community. This is greatly appreciated." Future Choices said: "Sincere thanks to the MSP for Aberdeen Donside, Jackie Dunbar, for her very kind donation of £150 to go towards transport costs for those who are vulnerable and isolated in her constituency, and to enable them to get along to our limited lunch gatherings. We are extremely grateful for this support."

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CORONAVIRUS vaccinations

The former John Lewis store in George Street is now the main venue for coronavirus vaccinations in Aberdeen.

The Aberdeen City Vaccination Centre replaces the P&J LIve Arena at TECA in Bankhead, where the last immunisations were administered on September 5. Sandy Reid, Aberdeen City Lead for the vaccination programme, said: "P&J Live has been a fantastic home for us. Since the mass-vaccination centre opened on 1 February 2021, we have logged more than 210,000 appointments. That has been a massive undertaking, and could not have happened without a huge effort from teams working right across health and social care – or the willingness of the general public to roll up their sleeves."
The new centre will provide a range of immunisations, including the annual ‘flu programme, ongoing coronavirus jabs, and many other regular adult and child immunisations. The responsibility for these vaccinations has transferred to Health & Social Care Partnerships from general practitioners, and citizens will now be given appointments at, or invited to attend, centres like these across Scotland. Those who are over 18, living in Aberdeen and haven't yet had their first coronavirus vaccination, can arrange to receive this by booking an appointment:  Tel. 0800 0304 713. Phonelines are open Mon-- Fri., 9am--5pm and calls are free.  More information at:  https://www.nhsgrampian.org/    Click on "Covid-19."              

On June 25 it was announced that 3,709,801 had received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccination, while 2,647,397 had received a second "jab." Supplies permitting, it was expected that all adults would be offered a first dose by the end of July. The whole of Scotland moved to Level Zero on July 19, depending on all necessary vaccination and harm-reduction measures being met. Subject to these conditions continuing to be met, all major remaining coronavirus restrictions were lifted on August 9.

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Lower COUNCIL TAX

Every Scottish household benefits from lower tax bills which are, on average, £500 less than in England.  And the SNP Government is delivering a Council Tax freeze.

JACKIE DUNBAR says: "Thanks to the SNP, Council Tax has now been frozen for nine consecutive years, saving the average household £1,500 in total on a Band D bill."

"The SNP Government has delivered a new progressive tax system, ensuring 54% of Scottish taxpayers will pay less in 2021-22 than other countries in the UK. This is whilst strengthening our public services with extra investment, and protecting those on lower incomes. We will scrap the Council Tax for everyone below age 22 --- saving a young person living alone in a Band B property around £750."

"By contrast, between 2007-08 and 2015-16, Council Tax has increased by 12% in England, and soared by 32% under Labour in Wales. The SNP is providing a helping hand to those who need it."

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Higher funding for HEALTHCARE

JACKIE DUNBAR said the SNP Government has delivered record high healthcare funding.

The 2021-22 health portfolio spend will exceed £16billion, with resource funding up by over £6.4billion (70.9%). Some other achievements:--

► There are 19,500 (15%) more staff in Scotland’s NHS, since 2007.

► Scotland’s core accident & emergency (A&E) services are the best performing in the UK.

► For over five years, Scotland has had the highest number of GPs per head of population anywhere in the UK. 

► The provision of IVF (in vitro fertilisation) has been expanded – making access the fairest and most generous in the UK. 

► Scotland is leading the world in alcohol pricing -- being the first country to implement minimum unit pricing. 

Free tuition for nursing and midwifery students has been protected – and their bursary rose to £10,000 in 2020.

Parking charges at all NHS-run hospitals have been scrapped – saving patients and staff over £42million. 

► Our NHS staff deserve more than applause!  1% is not enough. That's why the SNP Scottish Government has offered a 4% (at least) pay rise to over 154,000 staff. Frontline nurses will see an average annual increase of £1,200

► One of the first acts of a re-elected SNP Government will be to begin work on a National Care Service.

► All charges for NHS dental treatment will be abolished.

► Charges for non-residential care will be abolished, to ease the financial pressure on those accessing care and to support their right to independent living.

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Restoring our RAIL network and stations

JACKIE DUNBAR, and fellow city SNP MSPs Kevin Stewart and Audrey Nicoll, have written to the Transport Minister urging him to support plans to create a community rail network in Aberdeen.

They fully support The Campaign for North East Rail (CNER) in its efforts to re-open urban stations as well as railway lines in Aberdeenshire. Jackie said: "We need new stations. including at Cove, Kittybrewster and Bucksburn." 

"If we look back to the Sixties we can see that Bucksburn had a thriving station, and I believe part of the station platform is still in place. Stronger transport links to the north of the city can only be a good thing and I actually think community stations could be quite transformative to Aberdeen. The CNER's proposals have the potential to be a massive boost to the Aberdeen economy, increase footfall in the city centre, and help us on our national journey to reach net-zero carbon emissions."

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BAIRNS -- not BOMBS! 

Scotland is to become the first devolved nation in the world to directly incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law.

On March 16, MSPs voted unanimously for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill to become law, meaning public authorities will have to comply with children’s rights. The Bill will signal a cultural shift that has the potential to transform children’s lives in Scotland. The UNCRC sets out the specific rights that all children have to help fulfil their potential, including rights relating to health and education, leisure and play, fair and equal treatment, protection from exploitation and the right to be heard. Aberdeen Donside candidate Jackie Dunbar said: "Each day from now until the election, I will be sharing some of the great achievements of the SNP which have benefited us all. To kick off, I can’t think of anything better than this week’s landmark news that the UNCRC has now been enshrined into Scots Law."

SNP Deputy Leader Keith Brown commented: "This week has been a tale of two governments. While the UK Government announced its intention to dump more nuclear weapons in Scotland, our SNP Scottish Government passed transformative legislation to strengthen children’s rights. I’m so proud that our party has been at the forefront of opposing nuclear weapons. While Labour is now firmly the cheerleaders for Trident, we will always stick to our principles. Boris Johnson is happy to splash tens of billions of pounds more on bombs --- while presiding over a rise in child poverty and food bank use."

"At the same time, the SNP Government has been delivering bold and progressive change for Scotland. We’ve outlined our strategy to deliver 100,000 more affordable homes, with at least 70% for social rent --- on top of over 96,000 we’ve already built. We’re putting ScotRail into public hands. We’re freezing Council Tax across the country, and reforming the private rented sector to deliver for tenants. It’s clear that Scotland is on a different path from that of out-of-touch Westminster Tory governments we haven’t voted for."

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Our EDUCATION is first class !

JACKIE DUNBAR says: "The SNP Government has made education a priority and is dedicated to tackling the attainment gap in our communities. We have invested £576million since 2015, and have put money directly into the hands of head teachers, to enable them to spend money where it matters the most."

Other key achievements have been:--

Since 2012, we have invested over £1billion per year in Scotland’s universities.

Scotland provides the best package of support for university students anywhere in the UK –- with free tuition; low interest rates for student loan repayments; and a minimum income guarantee of £7,750 for the poorest students.

A record 260,490 students enrolled at our world-class Scottish universities in 2019-20. 

Latest HESA statistics show we have met the key target to have 16% of students from the most deprived areas of Scotland at universities  by 2021.

We have provided extra resources to local councils –- allowing spending on education to increase in real terms for the past three years – up by £189million in 2018-19. 

958 schools have been upgraded since 2007, providing well-designed, accessible and inclusive learning environments for pupils.

We’re providing our further education students with record levels of support. £138million in 2020-21 –- up 58% in real terms since 2006-07.

All 167,838 pupils in primaries 1 to 3 now benefit from access to free school meals, allowing families to save around £400 per child per year.

We’ve introduced a national minimum school clothing grant of £100 to help more families afford school uniform costs. 

Every schoolchild in Scotland, from P1 to S6, will be given a free internet connection, plus a laptop, Chromebook or tablet -- to use in school or at home -- if the SNP Scottish Government is re-elected to power.

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SCOTTISH FOOD AGENCY

The re-elected SNP Government will create a Scottish Food Agency to promote Scottish food and drink, and boost exports.

JACKIE DUNBAR commented: "Food & drink are one of the jewels in Scotland’s crown, with brands know around the world. To build on this success, a re-elected SNP Government will create a Scottish Food Agency to promote food, drink and horticulture, attract investment, and help improve supply chains and infrastructure."

January saw the worst collapse of trade with the EU since comparable records began 20 years ago. The effects on Scotland were particularly grim. Overall, EU exports from Scotland were 63% down -- more than 20% worse than the UK figure. There has been a staggering drop of 83% in fish and shellfish.  Meat exports were down by 59%, dairy products by 50% and whisky by 15%.

Scotland's Trade Minister Ivan McKee said: “Scotland has been completely ignored throughout the whole Brexit process, and we are now paying the price of Tory incompetence, with a deal that hampers every aspect of our trade. Our long-standing ties with our European neighbours have been ripped apart by a Brexit agreement that we did not vote for. Our rural areas are also crying out for help – yet the Tories remain silent."

 

More LOCAL PRODUCE in convenience stores

A programme to promote the sale of local produce in convenience stores is being funded by the Scottish Government.

The Go Local initiative will see at least 21 grants paid to convenience store operators, allowing increased sales of fresh, healthy, locally-sourced products to customers. The overall fund of £190,000 will be used to develop retail space in shops, and the appointment of a dedicated specialist with extensive retail and sourcing experience to maximise consumer choice and available display space.

The Go Local programme, administered by the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF), is now in its second year, after an evaluation of the pilot phase showed the success of the initiative had far exceeded expectations. Industry leadership organisation, Scotland Food & Drink will assist the project with local sourcing support. A study found stores participating in the Go Local initiative each added an average of 30 square metres of added space, allowing a 34% increase in the number of local products stocked. Outlets which took part in the project also saw a 40% increase in sales of local produce, while it is estimated additional local economic benefits were in excess of £157,000 per store.

On June 27, Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “This funding comes at an important time and will help food and drink producers be part of our sustainable recovery, and overcome the challenges presented by Brexit and the pandemic. We know that consumers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from, and are looking for high welfare and production standards. A diverse and successful convenience store sector is ideally placed to give customers the greater choice of locally-produced, healthy produce they are looking for, while at the same time helping to achieve our net-zero targets by reducing food miles. These grants and the specialist expertise on offer underlines our commitment to supporting this important sector, and I would not only urge store operators to apply for funding, but for customers to continue supporting their local shops.”

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HAUDAGAIN link road                                                                                                                  

Following the completion of the AWPR, the heavily-congested A92-A96 Haudagain junction is being improved, with the construction of a bypass loop and the building of new houses.

The £48.5million project will involve a new dualled road from the A92 (North Anderson Drive at Manor Avenue) to the A96 (Auchmill Road at Manor Drive). Work started in the summer of 2018, with the demolition of 31 homes. The main £18million contract was awarded to Farrans Construction of Ireland in January 2019.

129 houses were eventually flattened in and around the quadrant formed by the new road. They will be replaced by 280 "residential units", built  by Dandara Ltd. of the Isle of Man. Retail outlets and green space will also be provided. The SNP's main operational office in the city, at 825-827 Great Northern Road, will remain.

In April 2020, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a "managed shutdown" of work on the site and, on January 8, it was announced that completion of the project -- originally scheduled for the Spring -- would be delayed by a further six months. Work subsequently resumed at the site on July 16. A contraflow system will be in operation for approximately eight weeks to allow essential work to be carried out. A 30mph speed restriction will also be in place, with a further reduction to 10mph at crossover locations. SNP MSP Jackie Dunbar, who lives locally, is closely monitoring the situation.

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   Aberdeen Bay WIND FARM

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), also known as the Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm, is an offshore wind test and demonstration facility located 1.5 miles from the coast, between Blackdog and the Murcar Golf Course.

It was a truly European project. Vattenfall, owned by the Swedish Government, was the overall supervisor of the development. The 11 giant turbines were specially designed by MHI Vestas A/S of Aarhus, Denmark. They consist of nine operating at 8.4MW and two at 8.8MW and were floated across the North Sea from Esbjerg. 626 feet high, with 262 feet blades, their total output of 93.2MW will supply enough clean energy to power more than 79,000 homes. The massive, yellow 1,800 tonne suction-bucket jacket foundations were manufactured by Eiffage Smulders of Antwerp, Belgium, and installation and cabling was all carried out by Boskalis NV of Papendrecht, Netherlands. The cost of the windfarm was £335million, with €40million coming from the European Commission.

Connection work began in early 2017. There are more than four miles of high voltage underground cable between the windfarm's new onshore substation at Blackdog and the SSE substation in Dyce. The first foundation was installed offshore in March 2018, and the first turbine in April. The eleventh and final turbine was erected near the end of May, with the first power being generated in July. On September 7, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, accompanied by Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse and representatives from Vattenfall, attended the official opening of the development. The windfarm generated £23million in turnover during its first six months of operation.

► In September 2011, Donald Trump said that the turbines would "spoil the view" from his Trump International Golf Course at the Menie Estate, near Balmedie. This is despite the fact that the nearest turbine is some way south of his course! The future US President launched a legal challenge against the Scottish Government's decision to grant planning permission in May 2013.  The hearing began at the Court of Session in November 2013 but was rejected in February 2014. 

### To learn more, click on:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1ZCq-JVbyc    

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                                    GORDON HIGHLANDERS MONUMENT                                                                                                       

Aberdeen's long-awaited monument to the Gordon Highlanders Regiment was mainly the result of a determined campaign by SNP Councillor and Deputy Provost JACKIE DUNBAR.

The £125,000 monument, which features two soldiers from different eras in the regiment's history, was unveiled on 15 Oct. 2011. Designed by Mark Richards, it was paid for out of the city's Common Good Fund.  The statue is in the Castlegate, and not far from the site of the former Castlehill Barracks. This was the regimental depot from 1881 to 1935, when they relocated to Bridge of Don. The old barracks were used as housing until their demolition in 1965. The Gordons were to lose their last battle in 1994, when they were legislated out of existence and became part of a new Highlanders Regiment.

► The Gordons monument came just five months after Jackie's colleague Kevin Stewart (newly elected as the MSP for Aberdeen Central) unveiled the city's equestrian statue of King Robert the Bruce. It is in front of Marischal College in Broad Street.

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WINNING FOR SCOTLAND !

The SNP won all three ABERDEEN constituencies in the Scottish General Election on 6 May 2021.

Election result:   ABERDEEN DONSIDE  

Jackie Dunbar            SNP          18,514

Harriet Cross              Con.           9,488

Heather Herbert         Lab.           5,505

Isobel Davidson      Lib. Dem.     2,162

Lucas Grant                TUSC            240

 

SNP HOLD.        Maj.  9,026.         Turnout 58.2%.