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Road Users Urged to Give Opinions on Road Maintenance.

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has urged road users regionwide to give their views to a Parliamentary Committee on the effectiveness of the current approach to road maintenance in Scotland and whether current funding levels are sufficient.


The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee are carrying out a Pre-budget inquiry into roads maintenance in Scotland, with a view to making recommendations to the Scottish Government ahead of them publishing their draft budget in December.

The deadline for evidence to the Committee--6 September - is fast approaching, although anyone wishing to give his or her views can also contact Colin Smyth, who is a member of the Committee, beyond this date as the Committee is not scheduled to consider the evidence until the end of September.

Scotland’s road network consists of almost 56,000km of roads, as well as footways, bridges, lightning, signs and lines. Local authorities are responsible for 25,600km of classified roads and 26,800km of unclassified roads. Transport Scotland is responsible for 3,600km of motorways and trunk roads, which make up only around 6% of the road network but account for a third of the traffic.

Audit Scotland, in a series of reports on roads maintenance in recent years, has been critical of the standard of local roads, within the context of declining budgets.

Colin Smyth said, “If there is one issue that can often dominate my inbox and advice surgeries it is complaints about the state of our roads. Despite often the best efforts of councils who spend millions on repairs and resurfacing, there is no doubt that the plague of potholes is getting worse not least because of Government budget cuts. That’s why the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee are carrying out a Pre-budget inquiry into roads maintenance in Scotland, with a view to making recommendations to the Scottish Government ahead of them publishing their draft budget in December. The Committee wants to hear from road users across Scotland, whether you area a large commercial transport operator, a small local businesses, a community groups or an individuals to develop a deep understanding of views on how our roads are being maintained. The call for evidence was made in June but with the deadline approaching I’m urging anyone who hasn’t submitted a view to do so soon, as it is vital that the voice of the south of Scotland is heard on a issue that impacts on so many people in our area.”


The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee would like to hear views on the following areas:

• How have recent spending decisions on roads maintenance affected the quality of Scotland’s roads, road users, businesses, public services, and the economy?
• If spending on roads maintenance continues at current levels, what could be the likely effects on the above groups?
• How could any negative effects of reduced road spending best be addressed?
• Is the current model of funding and delivering roads maintenance, which is split between Transport Scotland and local authorities, the most economic and efficient option? 

Responses should be sent, wherever possible, electronically and in MS Word format to:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has said that delayed discharge in Dumfries and Galloway is spiralling out of control.


Colin Smyth MSP Supplied

It comes has latest figures published by the Scottish Government’s Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland show that in July 2019 1,712 bed days were lost due to delayed discharge. This came at a cost to NHS Dumfries and Galloway of £398,896.

The figures reveal a 70% increase in lost bed days compared to the same time last year when 1,005 bed days were lost due to delayed discharge.

In the first four months of the new financial year 6,495 bed days were lost, this came at a cost of just over £1.5 million for the health board.

Delayed discharge is when a patient is medically cleared to go home but cannot leave hospital, often because a social care package is not in place.

Colin Smyth said, “It is clear that SNP Scottish Government cuts to our local NHS and Dumfries and Galloway Council are causing delayed discharge to spiral out of control. SNP Health Secretary’s have previously promised to eradicate delayed discharge but now the delays are getting worse.  This SNP Government are completely failing to tackle this crisis and each delayed discharge is a drain on NHS resources which are being spent keeping people in hospital, needlessly putting people at risk of hospital-acquired infections.

“In the month of July alone delayed discharge cost NHS Dumfries and Galloway nearly £400,000 - that’s money that could be spent on medicines, more staff and new equipment.

“This is no reflection on the hardworking staff who d a fantastic job but are seriously under resourced. We must end the cuts to our NHS and councils to stop patients needlessly being kept in hospital simply because there is not enough resources for the social care package needed to let them go home and be cared for there.”


South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the SNP’s ambitious new plans to tackle climate change and build a fairer country, outlined today in this year’s Programme for Government.


Joan McAlpine MSP Supplied

Setting out her plans for the year ahead, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out how the Scottish Government would tackle the climate crisis with a range of new measures including £500 million of investment in public transport.

The Scottish Government will put in place a ‘Green New Deal’, harnessing the power of the Scottish National Investment Bank to attract £3 billion of investment into green projects.

It was also confirmed that the Scottish Child Payment, a brand new benefit to tackle child poverty, will be launched earlier than previously announced – with the first payments made by Christmas 2020.

Other commitments include:

  • Decarbonising Scotland’s railways by 2035, and making the Highlands and Islands the world’s first net zero aviation region by 2040
  • Developing regulations so that new homes from 2024 must use renewable or low carbon heat
  • Providing an additional £20 million of funding to help tackle the drugs emergency
  • Putting in place a Women’s Health Plan to tackle women’s heath inequalities

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:

“The SNP has achieved a huge amount in government – in just the last year we’ve increased NHS funding, increased teacher numbers and pay and delivered brand new benefits through our Scottish Social Security Agency.

“Our plan for the year ahead is an ambitious set of proposals to tackle climate change and build a fairer country.

“Even in the midst of Westminster chaos and instability, the Scottish Government is determined to get on with improving lives in [AREA] and across Scotland.

“But it cannot be stressed enough – while we are doing everything we can to move Scotland forward, the threat to our economy and our society posed by Boris Johnson’s plan for a No Deal Brexit remains.”

Millions of Brits have no willpower and give in to cravings every single time

Millions of Brits have no willpower and give in to cravings every single time.


Chocolate supplied by SWS Digital

The average adult experiences an urge to eat the likes of chocolate, crisps and cheese four times a day – 122 times every month.

An eighth of the population admitted they give in to their desires EVERY time they kick in, and four in 10 surrender to half of them.

The study of 2,000 adults found other popular cravings include bacon, toast and ice cream.

While one quarter admitted they feel ‘unhealthy’, more than a third feel both ‘satisfied’ and ‘guilty’ when they give in.

The research was commissioned by Kallo as it prepares to unveil its restaurant pop-up, mysteriously named 'KRC'.

The pop-up will serve up a range of takeaway dishes morning, noon and night, to satisfy any type of takeaway food craving – just don’t expect the traditional kebab and chips.

Instead, you can sample wares like the ‘Halloumi Doner’, with Kallo’s lentil cake, topped with sliced aubergine, halloumi, tomato salad and chilli sauce.
Kallo’s brand controller Duncan Bell said: “This research shows just how often we get cravings and how hard they are to avoid.

"The large percentage of these cravings are for foods we class as unhealthy.

“It’s often a struggle to satisfy these desires – a piece of fruit may not make us feel as content as a chocolate biscuit – or healthy food isn’t seen as ‘convenient’ as unhealthy snacks which we can simply grab and eat.

“We hope our pop-up will inspire more Brits to cure their cravings by making homemade healthier snacks, using fresh ingredients commonly found in the home.”

The research also found chocolate, crisps and cake are the top foods we feel most ‘guilty’ about wanting.

The prime time for cravings to kick in is the after-lunch slump – at precisely 3:31pm.

And the average time to give in was found to be 3.50pm, showing Brits can only keep their willpower strong for around 20 minutes.

Similarly, over a quarter of respondents said they get more cravings on weekdays than weekends.

Temptations are also high between 8-10pm, and to avoid cravings a third said they ‘distract’ themselves.

A further two in 10 attempt to turn to something ‘healthy’ instead and a quarter drink some water to help pass the craving.

Over four in 10 also pre-plan their meals in order to try and avoid snacks, but Brits predict they spend around £9 on satisfying their food desires every week.

But it all comes down to the taste, as 43 per cent admitted they are most likely to surrender to a sweet craving, while one quarter would give in to savoury.

One tenth admitted giving in leaves them feeling ashamed and frustrated and over half – 57 per cent – wish there were more healthy alternatives.

And over two thirds said they cave in to unhealthy cravings because they are more ‘convenient’.

But four in 10 of those surveyed via OnePoll find if they have healthy snacks they are less likely to want junk food.

While the majority of Brits seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to food choices, one in 10 admitted they are not confident in their knowledge of healthy and unhealthy foods.

And almost half – 47 per cent – worryingly find seeing foods online or in adverts makes them want it more.

TV chef Gizzi Erskine commented: "As somebody who has been part of pop-ups from the beginning, it’s always cool to see innovative ideas developing, so I was happy to be asked to be part of Kallo’s KRC pop up.

“When it comes to my craving it has to be Crispy Tuna Rice, which has its origins in the Californian food scene.

"It’s a confusing type of craving that feels like you’re craving junk, but it’s actually pretty healthy.”

The average Brit will spend 47 days queuing over their lifetime

The average Brit will spend 47 days QUEUEING over their lifetime, according to a study.


Queue supplie by SWS Digital

A poll of 2,000 adults revealed the average Brit will spend 51 minutes waiting in line each week – leaving it unsurprising the nation has a reputation for complaining about queueing.

Waiting in traffic was found to be the biggest time-consumer, with an average two hours and 25 minutes a month lost sat stationary behind the wheel.

On average, Brits say the longest they have ever stood in line was just over an hour, and 42 per cent have complained in the past, because of a wait.

The research was commissioned by Kurve Kiosks, whose CEO, Steven Rolfe said: “Standing in a long, polite queue is a shared national experience and part of British culture.

"But that doesn’t mean we have to like it, and it doesn’t mean improvements can’t be made.

“With technological advancements like self-serve kiosks streamlining the queueing process we believe the astonishing 47 days we spend waiting in line can be reduced greatly.”


Brits reported feeling bored, impatient and annoyed when stuck in a queue, which may be why 41 per cent prefer to choose a self-service kiosk over a cashier.

And while a third would still rather go to a manned cash point or a cashier, two in five believe self-service kiosks are more efficient.

However, Brits would still be happy to be served in person when it comes to fine dining, pubs and bars and coffee shops.

Even though we may be considered a nation which queue constantly, one third think having to wait to order food or drink is unacceptable.

And 62 per cent believe venues, bars, casual dining and coffee shops should be doing more to reduce queue time.

In an attempt to avoid a long line, 37 per cent of respondents have used a self-service kiosk at a fast food restaurant

Besides trying to avoid a queue, reasons given for choosing self-service were being able to avoid speaking to people, the freedom to design your own order and their general convenience.

In fact, a third would like to see more self-service kiosks at fast food restaurants, while a quarter would like to see them at visitor attractions.

The longest length of time Brits are willing to wait for fast food is seven minutes and 32 seconds.

It also emerged that while 15 minutes and 47 seconds was considered too long to wait for a visitor attraction, Brits have waited as long as 20 minutes and 13 seconds.

And 22 minutes and 20 seconds was deemed too long to wait for a concert to start, but many had experienced delays closer to half an hour.

To pass the time in line, 18 per cent play on their phone, one in 10 talk to the person next to them and a fifth daydream.

The majority of the nation - 64 per cent - believe people are getting ruder, meaning fewer people queue in a polite manner these days according to the research.

Despite our natural inclination to keep a stiff upper lip, 51 percent of those polled have told someone else off for skipping a queue, which is considered the biggest queueing faux pas by more than a third.

Steven Rolfe added: “It’s great to read from our research that consumers are feeling the benefits from using self-service kiosks and are aware of some of the inherent drawbacks of manned check-outs.

“And while it’s humorous to see many prefer the automated method as a way of avoiding social interaction, the improvements with regards to speed and convenience over the traditional method of queueing are our key takeaways.”