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All Speeches

  • Article: Apr 7, 2014

    Friday 28 March

    Good morning conference.

    I would like to add my own welcome to that of Councillor Ian Yuill.

    I am proud to have represented Aberdeen and the North East region at Holyrood for the last seven years, and my nearby home town of Ellon before that as a councillor.

    Throughout this time, it has been a pleasure to work alongside a strong local team of Liberal Democrats. Each of us driven by the aspiration to make a difference to our communities. Focused on highlighting the needs and interests of local people. Together, we have succeeded in delivering a great deal for this region.

  • Article: Apr 3, 2014

    2 April 2014

    The Deputy Presiding Officer (John Scott):

    The next item of business is a debate on motion S4M-09557, in the name of Alison McInnes, on stop and search.

    14:40

    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD):

    It is a privilege to open the debate on behalf of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

    Yesterday marked the first anniversary of Police Scotland and the abolition of Scotland's eight regional forces. As members will be aware, we opposed the creation of the single force, because we feared that it was based upon deficient legislation, that savings claims were unproven and that it would lead to a one-size-fits-all approach to policing in our local communities.

  • Article: Mar 19, 2014

    Tuesday 18 March

    15:32

    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD):

    I add my thanks to the four committees for the commentary that they have provided on their scrutiny of the third national planning framework draft document. The framework lays the foundations on which we can protect and enhance the quality of our natural and built environments. It is an opportunity to highlight key national priorities and to define how planning can contribute to securing sustainable economic growth. It also informs private and public investment decisions.

  • Article: Mar 13, 2014

    Tuesday 11 March 2014

    15:36

    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD):

    I, too, acknowledge the work of the legislation team during the passage of the bill, and I thank the witnesses, who took the time to make their views known, and our Justice Committee clerks, whose assistance has, as ever, been very helpful.

  • Article: Mar 3, 2014

    Tuesday 25 February 2014

    17:38

    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD):

    I congratulate Murdo Fraser on securing this important debate.

    From the perspective of the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Police Scotland, the cessation of the traffic warden service earlier this month establishes a uniform approach to parking enforcement across the country. However, what that one-size-fits-all policy has actually achieved is inconsistency of service provision, and it invites anarchic parking in towns and cities throughout Scotland. The reform will mean that, in the majority of the country for the foreseeable future at least, high-street businesses could suffer as customers are unable to find parking places. The vibrancy of our town centres will be diminished if people believe that it is easier to visit out-of-town shopping facilities.

  • Article: Mar 3, 2014

    Wednesday 26 February 2014

    15:15

    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD):

    The Scottish Liberal Democrats are deeply concerned, too, about the dismantling of local services across Scotland and the manner in which that is occurring. Sixty police public counters are set to close; road safety units and the police traffic warden service have been scrapped; and the network of police and fire control rooms and service centres is to shrink, to the extent that 999 and 101 calls that are made anywhere in Scotland will be diverted to the central belt.

  • Article: Mar 3, 2014

    Thursday 27 February

    15:32

    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD):

    The bill contains a number of welcome reforms. There is a clear need to ensure that Scotland's criminal law and practice comply with the European convention on human rights. At stage 2, we should carefully consider many issues that the committee identified, including investigative liberation, the appropriate detention limit, the use of the term "arrest" and the basis on which all those activities are conducted.

  • Article: Feb 21, 2014

    Thursday 20 February, 12:51

    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): I thank John Mason for securing this important debate.

    We have heard how family, friends and carers can make a unique contribution to the assessment and sustained recovery of people who are affected by substance abuse. We have heard how they provide a source of care and support in the community.

    However, there is no doubt that contending with a loved one's addiction and the chaotic or intense lifestyle that can accompany it can be overwhelming and can place an enormous strain on relationships. Family members can feel drained, lonely, stigmatised, guilty and stressed. They are at increased risk of abuse and ill health. In the case of children, the situation can impact on their educational attainment and life choices and increases the risk that they themselves will develop substance abuse problems. Of course, sadly, bereavement poses further challenges for hundreds of families each year.

    We must do all that we can to minimise such impacts. We must adopt an inclusive approach to recovery and focus on removing obstacles that discourage or prevent families from getting the assistance that they want. For a decade, Scottish Families Affected by Drugs provided assistance and effectively raised awareness of families' needs, and I applaud the extension of its remit last year to encompass people who are struggling with alcohol. I welcome news that the charity is expanding the breadth and depth of its services, with a new family support development officer in my region, North East Scotland, and initiatives such as online family support groups.

    Work in my region is complemented by that of organisations such as the Grampian Family Support Forum, which Nanette Milne mentioned. The forum was formed in 2010 by concerned parents and has established itself as a voice for the thousands of people who are affected by a loved one's drugs misuse. It promotes family support groups and the benefits of mutual peer support. The chair, Sheila McKay, a founding member, told the Parliament at time for reflection in March 2012:

    "We want to use our lived experience to make positive changes within our communities. Why? Because, when you are qualified to speak, people listen."-[Official Report, 7 March 2012; c 6921-2.]

    I believe in empowering such recovery networks. We must establish local services that are designed to meet local needs and are directed by local people.

    Many of Scotland's prisoners are battling addiction-40 per cent are likely to have an alcohol problem and two thirds test positive for illegal drug use on admission to prison. Given the clear links between those circumstances, I wonder whether there could be further collaboration between organisations that assist families who have loved ones in prison and organisations that deal with addiction. To what extent do formal throughcare arrangements exist to stop families falling between the cracks on an offender's release? Perhaps the minister can shed some light on that.

    The nature of Scotland's relationship with drugs and alcohol can be changed only through significant social and cultural change. Early intervention and education are key; in the meantime we can work with volunteers and professionals to further develop the capacity that is required to help people who are recovering from addiction and the people who must contend with the consequences of that harm.

    Parents, grandparents and siblings are among the people who are most at risk of further harm. However, they are often also best placed to influence the course of their loved one's addiction, providing insight, improving outcomes and limiting the impact on other vulnerable family members.

    Investment in a whole-family approach to the delivery of recovery services demonstrates that families are a fundamental part of the solution and not an afterthought.

  • Article: Feb 7, 2014

    5 February 2014

    17:27
    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): I, too, congratulate Jenny Marra on securing this important debate. On the eve of the international day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation, which is sponsored by the United Nations, I add my voice to those who are calling for an end to this most brutal abuse of girls and women.

  • Article: Feb 7, 2014

    6 February 2014

    15:53
    Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): I, too, am grateful to the minister for arranging this debate and for providing an update on how the Scottish Government is seeking to confront the challenges posed by new psychoactive substances. Any opportunity to shed a little more light on this shadowy but increasingly prevalent industry is welcome.

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