View from Holyrood by Gil Paterson MSP

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It has been an extremely busy time in the Scottish Parliament post-referendum as we return to the day-to-day business of our busy chamber.

Among many of the issues we have been dealing with – while still waiting for the Westminster Unionist parties to deliver their much-publicised vow (or should that be bribe?) of new powers for the Parliament – the Scottish Government is proposing new legislation to block local authorities from chasing up the historic Poll Tax debt.

The fact that they are using the new electoral roll information compiled before the referendum for the purposes of debt collection is simply underhand and unacceptable. We should do all we can to encourage people to use their vote, not find ways to dissuade them.

The much hated Poll Tax – foisted on Scotland by Margaret Thatcher 25 years ago – is history and must be consigned to the dustbin forever.

At a time when the Westminster coalition government is hammering the poor and vulnerable in society – and the working poor are struggling on a daily basis – this is cynical and outrageous. It is costing councils who have been attempting to do this more to administer the collection than they are actually managing to collect – where is the sense in that?

On a happier note for many independence supporters, SNP membership in Bearsden and Milngavie has risen by approximately 400 per cent since the referendum. With a General Election looming in May next year, I leave you to consider the implications of that. We are living in interesting political times.

I am also extremely proud of yes and no voters who showed the rest of the world the civilised way to make change the Scottish way – democratically and with no violence.

Finally, I was pleased to learn that Bearsden and Milngavie have had their applications to become Fairtrade towns accepted by the Fairtrade Foundation. This is good news and thanks must go to the many volunteers and campaigners who made this happen.

My surgeries have resumed, and tomorrow (Friday, October 17) I will be at Milngavie Town Hall at 5pm, if you wish to discuss any issue. If you wish to make an appointment outwith that time, email gil.paterson.msp@scottish. parliament.uk or phone 0141 952 9677