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I have written to both the current Prime Minister and his predecessor; the Deputy Prime Minister and his predecessor; the current International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell MP and his predecessor (Douglas Alexander), inviting them to visit Levenmouth, one of the 4 unemployment blackspot’s in Fife. This area was selected merely as an example of many similar locations throughout the country. Unfortunately, none of these accepted the invitation nor had the courtesy to respond, but the drivers of this petition will be readily demonstrated and evidenced.

The same invitation was extended to the current Culture Secretary, Fiona Hislop and to Ms Tricia Marwick, whilst she was my MSP, but again I did not receive the courtesy of a response.  I did however receive a response from the former Presiding Officer, Mr Alex Ferguson, and at least that gentleman had the courtesy to respond, even although he politely declined.  I have not raised it with the re-elected Scottish Government as they spend £9 Million per annum on foreign aid. The presiding officer, Ms Marwick has returned my mail unopened as she has guessed the content of my evidence.

I offer an open invitation to any serious politician of any level, concerned about the welfare of their constituents, or to those who would criticise this petition to tour the example area and thus present them with an opportunity to re-consider their position. For those critics who would argue against this position, I would simply challenge them to face the unemployed, the poor, the victims of crime, parents of children whose schools have closed or are closing, students whose courses are cut, and all of us who have increased health risks by the closure of hospital wards, through lack of funding, as mere examples from a whole range of challenges, and explain their views. Should they win full support from a non-staged managed audience, I will put my hands up and say that I got it wrong-but I truly believe that I have not, and am prepared to put this to the test, something, as has been proven, the supporters of foreign aid are unwilling to accept.

My previous petition on the same subject was rejected but since then the economy has been in a downward spiral, with re-capitalisation of the banks, a recession, a structured and non-structured budget deficit, which cannot be sustained and thus cost reductions are necessary. The economy is now in a much poorer state and this should support re-visiting the cost of foreign aid, in light of the current situation and lack of public support for this expenditure.