Council

By Cllr. James Calder

It has been over 6 months now since I was elected as the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Dunfermline South and I have to say it has been very exciting for me. It has been enjoyable to represent the people of Dunfermline South and also to be helping to advance Liberal Values in the Council.

To recap at the election I was one of 7 Lib Dems elected to Fife Council, and the only Lib Dem elected in the West Fife area. As such, for me it has been important that I am carrying the weight of our area of Fife in the Party too.  I was also fortunate that my predecessor in Dunfermline South, Tony Martin, was an excellent Councillor, and I have been aiming to try and keep up his good work in the local area.

Within the Ward I have been working on a number of issues. As Dunfermline has been hit significantly in front-line cuts in staff for Parks, Streets and Open Spaces, I have been fighting for more funds for our Green areas and in particular for staffing, as many have asked me about this. I have also been working to improve the roads locally, and have had some notable successes, including in Fir Grove, the roundabout between Morrison Drive and Masterton Road and it now looks as though there will be resurfacing on Morrison Drive too. I am also seeking improvements to pavements, including within Pitcorthie and Abbeyview. Another issue I have been tackling recently has been Amazon lorries going through residential areas, and I am pleased to say that after discussions with Amazon they will be looking to put signage up both outside the warehouse and on the Motorway to redirect lorries away from the residential parts of town.

I would also like to add that much of these successes also depended on the help and assistance of the local Community Councils, and it has been a pleasure to have been attending them.

Outside of the wonderful job of improving Dunfermline South and Dunfermline as a whole, I have also been fortunate in being made the Fife Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson. In this role I have been taking on a number of issues. I have helped to ensure that children at Masterton Primary continue to go to school in their city of Dunfermline. I have been challenging the Council Administration on teacher numbers, and the Scottish Government on the fact that Fife receives a lower share of Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding than I believe it should be. One of my key successes was getting the Council Administration to agree into looking to make the School Uniform grant for children with lower income backgrounds higher, as in Fife we are both below the Scottish Average and the Scottish Government recommendations.

Overall it has been an exciting time, and I would like to thank the hard work of everyone else who has made this possible, including the local Liberal Democrat team. I will continue to work my hardest as a local Liberal Democrat Councillor.

Following the meeting of the Full Fife Council on the 5th October, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Councillor James Calder has expressed concern over the attitude of the SNP/Labour Fife Council Administration towards schools.

Councillor Calder has commented,

After the behaviour of Councillors in the SNP/Labour Administration in the last Full Council Meeting, I am concerned that they are out of touch with the reality in our classrooms. When I asked a question asking if  they would take action in reducing class sizes for P4-P7 after a shocking rise of over 50% for pupils in class sizes of over 30, I couldn’t quite believe the response.

The SNP Education Convenor stated that this was ‘normal’ and then dismissed the concerns of a teacher I spoke to who stated this often presented a nightmare, claiming that was just the views of one teacher. However I have had similar views articulated by a number of teachers. I would like to see some of these politicians handling classes of this size and I think teachers should be given more support.

Later in the Council meeting I was astonished to hear the SNP Council co-leader attacking opposition politicians for simply scrutinising the Council’s record in education. Claiming we were attacking education as a profession is of course nonsense – teachers are doing a great job despite the SNP.

Of course it is no surprise this attitude has been taken considering that this Administration’s political masters at Holyrood have consistently underfunded education and caused problems with their interventions over the years. We have seen Scotland slide down the Pisa International rankings. Incredibly the attitude of some of the SNP Councillors is rather than to try and fix this, they instead decided attack the credibility of these findings.

The Council Administration has to step up to the plate and take a positive attitude to fixing our educational problems, rather than trying to discredit opposition politicians who are simply holding them to account.

Woodmill High SchoolWith the publishing of The Local Benchmarking Framework Report by Fife Council for 2016/17, Fife Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, Councillor James Calder, has commented this shows the need for Fife to receive a higher level of Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding.

James Calder has said, “With all indications that Fife should be due significantly higher levels of Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding due to the high numbers of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, the 2016/17 Local Benchmarking Framework Report has given further signs that Fife schools should be receiving more from the Scottish Government.

“While we are making progress in Fife, we are still below the national average in S4-6 exam performance on all levels of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This shows Fife should be a priority for the Scottish Government’s Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding.

“My question is why does the SNP Scottish Government instead feel Fife children don’t even deserve to be in the top 10 of local authorities when it comes to funding?”

Woodmill High SchoolWith the long-awaited release of the Dunfermline and West Fife catchment area review, James Calder, Councillor for Dunfermline South, is raising concerns on the impact for both parents and children in the area. Children in the catchment areas for schools such as Masterton Primary would be moved to Inverkeithing rather than go to school in Dunfermline.

Councillor Calder has commented, “Parents and children will rightly be concerned at the proposals. In particular I am worried that children in Masterton aren’t getting to go to their local High School and are being bussed out of town. After so many years of problems with capacity at the Primary School, this acts as a double-blow.”

“We should be seeking to ensure children can go to their local High School. We can surely do better and ensure that all children in Dunfermline can go to school in Dunfermline. For that reason I will continue to make the case at the Council on behalf of local parents and children.”

After a hard fought campaign James is looking forward to working hard for the local community.

Councillor Calder has said,

It is a privilege to be given this opportunity by the people of Dunfermline South. I would like to thank everyone who has given me their support and I pledge to work as hard as possible to ensure that the local area’s voice is heard in the Council.

We have problems caused by the Capacity Crisis in our schools locally as well as roads and pavements that have deteriorated into a poor state. I hope to work with fellow Councillors from all Parties to try and tackle these issues which need to be dealt with.

It is also important for me to be an approachable Councillor, and to that end I welcome anyone contacting me regarding issues that they would like dealt with.

 

Bryn Jones, our Dunfermline North Candidate

Bryn Jones, Dunfermline Liberal Democrat candidate for Dunfermline North, wants to improve the area. As such, here is his plan if he is elected:

  • Investing in sorting out the state of the roads. We need to get it right first time.
  • Fighting dog fouling – particularly in problem areas like on Tuke St, in Kingseat and parts of Bellyeoman.
  • Counter the problem of youth drinking by supporting police and promoting more youth activities.
  • Bryn is committed to prioritising education when elected.

Councillor Tony Martin (left) is backing James Calder (right)

Retiring Councillor Tony Martin is backing James Calder to put Dunfermline South First

With longstanding Dunfermline South Councillor Tony Martin retiring this year, he is backing James Calder to continue ensuring local people are put first.

James Calder lives and works locally and wants to continue the work of Tony Martin. Over the past couple of years, Tony has been mentoring him and feels James is ready to carry on his work locally.

Tony has said,

It has been a privilege and a great pleasure to be able to work for the people of Dunfermline South. Improving the area and keeping it well maintained has always been my priority and it has been great working with the Community.

I urge you to vote for James Calder. He is young, trustworthy, energetic and intelligent. I know he will work hard to continue carrying on the work I have started and to put the area first.

James Calder has added,

It has been great to learn the ropes from Tony, who has been a dedicated Councillor for many years now and has served Dunfermline South well. It is my hope that I can continue his good work locally and ensure residents will be my number one priority!

If elected I will be a Councillor who will put local residents first rather than being another SNP cheerleader for Independence. I will fight for dealing with the disastrous school capacity problems hitting Dunfermline, ensuring our roads and pavements are properly dealt with and that local people are listened to.

Callum Hawthorne

As someone who has lived in this ward all their life, I am concerned as you are about its welfare and fruition. I’m only 29, but in my short life I’ve seen a lot of change in the area and I want to make sure any future change is for the better. That’s why I’m standing as the Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate in the upcoming local council elections on Thursday 4th May 2017.

Having spoken to people in the community and taking into account my own experience, I have drawn up a small list of issues I think need addressed:

  • Fighting for education (Fife Council have announced a dramatic £3 million cut to the education budget due to lack of funding from the Scottish government)
  • Lower rates and funding for small-business owners (We need to encourage local enterprise to keep our communities strong and vibrant, as well as generating employment)
  • Dog fouling, especially along Coastal Path (We have beautiful scenery right on our doorstep, but we shouldn’t be deprived of enjoying for want of watching where we tread)
  • Greater childcare provision (many young families are struggling on single-incomes because insufficient childcare support is holding back entry in the job market).
  • Further consultation on proposed new flight paths for Edinburgh Airport (I’m aware there is concern over noise pollution concerning Route-D which will fly directly over North Queensferry)

Thank you for taking the time to read this. By electing me you are choosing a candidate with a positive and vibrant vision for our community. If you wish to contact me with any queries, issues or new ideas for our ward please email me at columbareturns533@gmail.com.

Aude Boubaker-Calder will be a local champion

Aude Boubaker-Calder is the Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for West Fife and Coastal Villages. Aude wants to be a local champion and ensure that the local area is given the attention it deserves.

Aude has said,

Having lived in West Fife for a number of years now, my priority is ensuring the very best for local people and public services. I am fed up to see the SNP Government ignoring West Fife. Rather than focusing on Independence, they should be fixing our roads, our services and schools.

That is why I will focus my attention on improving our area. Our schools, roads, accessibility and public transport badly need investment, and if elected I pledge to fight for that.

Dunfermline South bad state streets

James Calder observing the bad state of the streets of the Dunfermline South ward

After years of inaction by the Labour Fife Council administration, James Calder is sharing the frustrations of local residents in Dunfermline South over the state of our roads and pavements.
James Calder has said,

Tony Martin has done a great job in battling to get some of our roads resurfaced, but despite this some areas are neglected.

Enough is enough! This is damaging cars, and is unsafe for elderly and disabled people. Too many people are injured and too many cars are damaged. I will push Fife Council into resolving this.