Thousands of Ukrainians have had to flee their homes as explosions and blasts continue to puncture the sky. Russia’s flagrant disregard for democracy is unacceptable.
The human suffering that this unprovoked conflict will wreak upon an innocent population is unbearable. I wanted to say to our Ukrainian friends in my column this week that we stand with you – we are on your side. We must stand together to face down those who threaten individuals, families, communities and the freedoms we have taken for granted. The Scottish Conservatives, along with the UK Government and the Scottish Parliament, condemn in the strongest possible terms Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.
It is encouraging to see our Prime Minister take the lead in Europe on this issue, despite the UK no longer being within the EU, and we must support whatever measures he, and other leaders, determine to be necessary.
Closer to home, I was appalled to learn that Angus could face large rises in council tax and cuts to services due to the lack of local authority funding provided by the SNP Government. Yet again the Scottish Government doesn’t give Angus the attention it deserves.
Our local services have been underfunded and investment in infrastructure has been badly neglected. It’s shocking that Angus Council has been left in its most challenging financial position on record.
This is exactly why the Scottish Conservatives want to restore power to local communities and reverse the centralisation we’ve seen under 15 years of the SNP.
Meanwhile, I am receiving a lot of correspondence from constituents on NHS waiting lists who are struggling to get the treatment they need. I was shocked to learn last week that the Royal College of Emergency Medicine estimated 500 people died needlessly in Scotland in 2021 because of delays to being seen in A&E. The blame for this lies squarely with the SNP. Their poor workforce planning has left A&E departments stretched beyond breaking point and unable to handle the number of patients attending.