Councillor James Calder writes about his year in the Council representing Dunfermline South.
It has been a busy year in 2018 in Fife Council. There have been some ups and downs and but utlimately it continues to be a joy to be the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Dunfermline South.
As the Fife Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson, I have been very busy working to ensure we keep up the pressure on the Council Administration for our schools. One major success in December was withdrawing Fife from the SNP's controversial National Tests. Organisations such as the EIS trade union for teachers are highly critical of these tests. I have also been challenging the Administration to get on with dealing with the capacity issues in our schools and also helping make sure all children in Dunfermline go to school in Dunfermline.
The GP Out of Hours Closure at Queen Margaret has been another hammer blow on our local health services. I have been campaigning to reopen it and I hope at the end of next week we will see it reopened. I ran a petition which gained hundreds of signatures to reopen this service.
Dunfermline's green areas have also been a big issue that I have been fighting on. After I investigated some issues regarding this, it turned out Kirkcaldy received 50% more funding than Dunfermline for this department despite being smaller. This was due to historical reasons, and after I put pressure on the Council over a number of months I am pleased that they have agreed to increase the staff in Dunfermline by 10.
There remains many pressures for the Council. It looks as though the SNP will continue to give a poor budget settlement despite increases in the Scottish Government block grant. There is also plans for potentially removing Council maintenance in some green areas of 'private' land that they have maintained for decades which I believe is not the right decision. Next year will conitnue to be busy and I will continue to stand up for the Dunfernline area.