Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Cumbernauld Primary Should Re-open

I was saddened to read reports that the school building on Glasgow Road, Cumbernauld Village, is becoming vandalised and derelict - and have reiterated calls I made in submission to the North Lanarkshire Draft Local Plan process at the beginning of November.

The building is deteriorating rapidly, yet demand for primary school places is increasing in Cumbernauld, and the new shared primary campus on Eastfield Road is already struggling to cope with demand.

Re-opening the primary school in Cumbernauld Village would mean the building once again becomes a place of learning and development that unites the community in pride, instead of a place of vandalism and destruction that unites the community in concern.

The recent Scottish budget announced by Finance Minister John Swinney included £115 million extra capital for local authorities in 2008/09 which can be invested in schools.

New houses are being built north of the A80, and almost 100 new homes will be constructed in Cumbernauld Village in the coming months. Consideration must be given to re-opening the Village Primary School to cater for the huge number of new pupils these houses will bring.

Warm Welcome for Warm Homes

Last Friday I had the opportunity to visit two constituents who have benefited from the Warm Homes Campaign - a national programme run by fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland that aims to cut the number of people living in fuel poverty and reduce cold-related illnesses by raising awareness of the help available to people who cannot afford to heat their homes in winter.

Fuel poverty and excess winter deaths in an energy rich country such as ours are a disgrace. The work of Energy Action Scotland in raising awareness of these issues is hugely important and I fully support their efforts. I particularly welcome their Warm Homes Campaign, which is offering huge benefits to those at most risk of the effects of fuel poverty and cold related illness in Scotland.

People who are worried about keeping warm or who are struggling to pay their energy bills are encouraged to contact the Scottish Government’s Warm Deal freephone on 0800 316 6009 to ask what help is available.

It is important to remember the social value of saving energy as many fuel poor households currently ration their energy usage. The fear of debt when you are on a low income and living in a poorly insulated house is very real. Much more needs to be done to achieve the target of affordable to heat homes for all.

The awareness campaign by Energy Action Scotland runs in November and December and is supported by eaga.