Talented school pupils, thriving businesses and controversial local issues will come into focus this month when the Scottish Parliament comes to Dumfries on Monday 23 February.
Parliament Days were initiated by the Parliament in 2012. With Presiding Officer the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP taking the lead, Parliament is moving out of Edinburgh and into communities around Scotland. The aim of Parliament Days is to inspire local people to take an interest in and engage directly with the Parliament and its work.
On Dumfries Parliament Day young women studying at Maxwelltown High School will tell the Presiding Officer what inspires them and in turn find out how they can get involved in politics.
The Presiding Officer will also meet the people behind BSW Sawmill’s local success story. BSW Timber is the largest sawmilling business in the UK, with the Dalbeatie business employing around one-hundred staff at its fifty-six hectare site, with a capacity to produce more than 300,000 cubic square of sawn timber each year for construction, decking and packaging.
It is anticipated that two petitions on controversial local issues will be heard by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee when it meets at Easterbrook Hall.
Local councillor Andrew Wood will call for MSPs to review the regulations meat rendering plants must comply with; and local businessman David R Slater will call for the Government to provide no further funding for Council plans to convert historic views at Whitesands into a £12 million flood defence scheme. There will also be a question and answer session where local people can find out more about how they can petition the Scottish Parliament about the issues that matter to them.
The Presiding Officer said:
“We know that the people of Scotland want to be involved in the political process and that is why I want the Parliament to get out and about across Scotland all the more often.
“The Scottish Parliament belongs to all the people of Scotland and Dumfries offers the Parliament a great opportunity to hear from the community about the issues that matter to them.”
To date the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee has received more than 1,500 petitions from the public. Petitions can result in a wide range of actions, including parliamentary debate, changes to law and policy direction and even official government apologies for past wrongs.
PPC Convener John Pentland MSP commented:
“One of the things I am proudest of as Convener of the Committee is that, unlike the system in place at Westminster, each and every petition lodged is considered properly by the Committee at a formal meeting. The PPC consists of seven MSPs from all the main parties. Although we may have our political differences, we wholeheartedly agree that we want many more people in Dumfries, who are passionate about campaigning for positive change, to submit a petition directly to the Scottish Parliament.”
For more information, please visit www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentdays
You can also follow us on twitter @scotparl and @SP_Petitions and #PDDumfries
Photographs of Dumfries Parliament Day will be available free of charge.