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Higher education University’s ignorance


In the early 1990s, the 100-acre Crichton Royal Asylum in Dumfries became redundant. Tis revived long-held ambitions for the town to host a university. Te successful result was the Crichton Campus. Glasgow University arrived in 1999, teaching the liberal arts of philosophy, history and literature. Te Crichton project was designed to stimulate the knowledge economy in a region reliant on farming, forestry and tourism and to reverse the flow of young people out of the region. In January 2007, Glasgow University announced it would cease undergraduate admissions in Dumfries. Tis was swiftly opposed by Alex Salmond. In August 2007 the new SNP Government committed £1.5m a year to the campus and undergraduate admissions restarted in 2008. In March 2011 Glasgow University proposed withdrawing the liberal arts from Dumfries. Despite the unanimous opinion of staff, students and stakeholders that this move would fatally weaken the Crichton project, the University Court rubber- stamped the decision on 22 June. In 2007, a detailed study found that further expansion of the Crichton campus project is


Welfare Make it fairer for fathers


David Cameron’s call for fathers to take a more active and responsible role in the development of their child has been welcomed by many. However, if actions speak louder than words then the actions of his own Secretary of State for Work and Pensions appear to be drowning out his boss. Changes to housing benefit mean that any father under 35 on low pay or out of work will have access only to shared accommodation possibly with someone they don’t know. Tis means they will be denied space


for their children to sleep over, making it more difficult for them to share responsibility for childcare. Tis presumably unintended consequence highlights once again how chipping away at the welfare system too often simply creates new problems instead of solving old ones.


GORDON MACRAE Head of Communications and Policy, Shelter Scotland


Housing Insulation a ‘win-win’


essential if Dumfries and Galloway is to reverse its economic decline. Glasgow University has not questioned these findings. It has simply ignored them. Unlike 2007, this year Glasgow University moved so swiftly that supporters of the campus project were wrong-footed. However, the speed with which the report recommending closure of the liberal arts was produced weakened its legitimacy. By exposing these weaknesses, supporters of the Crichton campus project intend to challenge the legitimacy of the decision made by the University Court on 22 June.


ALISTAIR LIVINGSTON


Dumfries


Our homes account for a quarter of Scotland’s climate emissions. Many of our poorest families live in homes with little or no insulation, resulting in them having to pay high energy bills and deal with the illness associated with the cold. In order to lift these households out of fuel poverty, protect public health and reduce the emissions caused by poor insulation, regulation is vital as we can’t rely on voluntary action alone. WWF Scotland recently published a new report – ‘Maximising the Minimum: the need for minimum energy performance standards in private housing’- which calls for a rapid improvement in the energy efficiency of the nation’s housing stock. Te report recommends that all homes sold or rented must meet the band ‘E’ rating on the Energy Performance Certificate scale (A-G) by 2015, and that the necessary financial packages are provided to make this possible for every homeowner and landowner.


Disability


Save people’s independence


It is devastating for disabled people that the powers to remove mobility payments from disabled people living in state-funded residential services are still in the Welfare Reform Bill as it moves into the House of Lords. Over the last few months, disabled people across Scotland have written to and met with their MPs and MSPs to explain how the Government’s plans will affect their lives. Some even made the long trip to London for the Hardest Hit march – the largest disability protest the


UK has ever seen. Yet, the plans remain. Tis is a policy that would have an appalling impact on 80,000 disabled people across the UK, and the Government must think again. It is now crucial that when the Bill goes to the House of Lords, peers act to remove it and save disabled people’s independence.


JACQ KELLY Scottish policy officer, Leonard Cheshire Disability


27 June 2011 Holyrood 75


Te Scottish Government already has powers in the Scottish Climate Change Act to make this happen. And it isn’t just good for reducing carbon emissions, for every £1 spent on keeping our houses warm, the NHS can save 42 pence on health costs. And thousands of jobs in the building industry would be supported. Tis is a win-win for the environment and the public purse.


ELIZABETH LEIGHTON & OTHERS


WWF Scotland


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