Diary of an MP
Russell Brown

Munitions workers

I had the honour of inviting former Second World War munitions workers from our region to be formally recognised for the first time at the Armistice Day parade at the Cenotaph in London. Margaret Proudlock and Margaret Sheilds, both aged 89, travelled down from Dumfries to join the march along Whitehall and were the only participants from Scotland.

It was a public acknowledgement of our country’s gratitude for the sacrifices they made as part of the war effort. I know it meant a lot to them to be there and they were very proud to be representing former munitions workers from across the UK.

This is an important milestone in our ongoing campaign to get recognition and I will continue to campaign for a monument or medal.

Flooding

We have again seen the disastrous impact of flooding in our region, with awful scenes in Newton Stewart and the Whitesands in Dumfries again under water. I am meeting with the council to discuss a way forward, because people want to know what can be done to protect their homes and businesses from flooding.

Shambellie House

The campaign to keep Shambellie House open has seen the community, local politicians and businesses come out in force. National Museums of Scotland (NMS) has now put that decision back until February, but we had been asking for a 12-month postponement to give time for all options to be considered. Given that NMS initially didn’t think any consultation was required, local people will need reassurance that this three-month stay of execution isn’t just a token gesture.

We need to see meaningful consultation and a real effort to try to keep the museum open. Collaboration with other organisations is key to plans for a long-term future, and I really do question whether this can all be achieved in just three months.

Road markings

Road markings have been proven to be one the cheapest and most effective ways of improving road safety. The Road Safety Markings Association has studied road markings on the A75 and A76 and I am alarmed that they found that over half of the road markings need replaced, with a quarter so worn out that they require urgent attention.

The A75 and A76 are key routes in our region, used by many people every day, but lives are being put at risk because simple road markings aren’t being kept to a good enough standard.

Council buildings

It has been revealed that Dumfries and Galloway Council spends £875,000 per year paying rent for properties they don’t own, which house a range of services form public toilets to offices and libraries.

Since 2000, the council has also spent nearly £1.3m on various projects to improve properties they lease throughout the region. Given that UK and Scottish government cuts mean that the council has to make savings of £27 million over the next three years, including nearly £8 million next year alone, it’s more important than ever that the budget is spent properly.

Local people will rightly be asking why the council has been cutting so many jobs over the past few years when it still spends so much on leasing buildings. I want to see the council carefully consider which of the buildings it owns can be brought back into full use, and so lease fewer properties, as well as look at selling buildings they no longer need. This could save millions in running costs and maintenance, as well as bringing in badly needed income from the sales.

Get in touch

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any help or advice. You can get my contact details on my website at www.russellbrownmp.com or call 01387 247902 (Dumfries) or 01776 705254 (Stranraer).