Arran holds a special place in SNP hearts, as our 69-vote victory on the island in 2007 secured Cunninghame North by 48 votes and the first SNP Government by one seat. This one!
Since his first three surgeries on Arran on Monday 11 June 2007, Kenneth Gibson has held 378 on the island, across nine communities, prior to lockdown in March 2020 and dealt with thousands of individual enquiries as well as working with many islanders and organisations to:
• Secure the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service
• Save Corrie Primary School
• Provide a new Shiskine Health Centre
• Deliver the Lamlash Bay “No Take” zone and South Arran Marine Protected Area.
• Obtaining a fuel derogation after the UK Government had excluded the Clyde islands
• Stop HMRC closing Arran Aromatics under a previous management
• Maximise island broadband coverage
• Extend the summer ferry service extended from six weeks to six months
• Build more affordable Housing
• Bring the SNP Government Cabinet to Arran (pictured with this post)
• Supported the construction of the new Montrose House
• Helped many businesses secure COVID-19 related grants
Looking forward, the SNP Government has awarded a massive £3,612,000 to Arran Development Trust through an Offer in Principle Grant from the Rural & Islands Housing Fund to build 43 new homes in Lamlash. A grant of £2,380,000 has also been awarded to North Ayrshire Council to help build 34 new council houses in Brathwic Terrace.
Kenneth has been very active in the Scottish Parliament on Arran’s behalf, not least by speaking in every single ferry debate questioning every ferry statement since 2007, constantly seeking improvements; from protecting the Lochranza to Claonaig route a decade ago to delivering the £12.6 million MV Catriona five years later and monthly participation in the Arran Ferry Committee, to helping to save the Brodick to Ardrossan ferry route and improve route resilience.
The SNP Government’s 13% above-inflation increase in financial support for ferry services in the 2021-22 Budget - which the Tories and Labour voted against - will help CalMac maintain lifeline services to Arran and respond to the imminent easing of travel restrictions.
To ensure island communities thrive, the SNP Government recently published its first Annual Report of the National Islands Plan. The Plan sets out 13 strategic objectives and over 100 commitments to be delivered over five-years, including addressing population decline, improving transport, providing better housing and tackling fuel poverty and improving digital connectivity.
The contribution of island communities such as Arran to Scotland’s identity, cultural heritage, economy and civic life cannot be overstated.
In these tough times, the SNP Government under Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership has always put islanders front and centre and, if re-elected, will continue supporting Arran’s recovery from COVID.
Therefore, #BothVotesSNP on 06 May!