2030 Climate Targets

Thursday 18th April 2024 will go down as the day that Scotland went from being a world leader on climate targets to being a world leader in scrapping climate targets. This is a betrayal to not only the Scottish people, but populations across the world who are already facing the severe consequences of climate change.

Scottish Labour supported the 2030 target when it was put into law and we cannot support its removal because of the incompetence of the SNP who were more interesting in headlines than maximising Scotland’s huge potential and delivering the net zero transition that is needed.

The ambitious targets set by the Scottish Parliament have not been backed up by ambitious action from Scottish Government Ministers – be they SNP or Green. The announcements made by the Scottish Government in April contained very few new actions and was simply another reminder of the slow progress that the SNP, and their previous Green partners in Government, had taken on getting to Net Zero.

My colleague Sarah Boyack MSP, who is Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Just Transition is seeking urgent clarification from the Scottish Government on what will be contained in their proposed Bill and when it will come forward to Parliament.

Scottish Labour will scrutinise the proposals but we are clear that legislation could waste months, if not years, talking about process rather than focusing on making the changes across buildings, the economy, transport and energy we urgently need to reach net zero by 2045.

If elected this year a UK Labour Government would implement a Green Prosperity Plan which would establish GB Energy, a publicly owned green energy generator, invest in local power, back the green technology of the future and create thousands of jobs from plumbers and builders to technicians and engineers to get on with achieving our net zero targets.

Remember the dead – Fight for the living

It was an honour to represent the Scottish Labour Party at the Workers’ Memorial service in Inverness this afternoon.

Trade union representatives present echoed why we need to remember those who lost their lives in the workplace and keep pushing forward to ensure Health and Safety regulations are continually reviewed and acted upon.

I paid tribute to Ken MacMillan (formerly of UNISON) who, along with others, worked tirelessly to establish the memorial stone and the annual services that now take place every year at Friars Shott on the banks of the River Ness.

Cllr Bet McAllister and I laid a wreath at the memorial stone after the service.

Grantown Medical Practice

Grantown Good News Story
I was delighted to join fellow MSPs, Grantown Medical Practice staff and local campaigners yesterday to announce that the refurbishment work to the practice will continue and no longer face delay.
After a cross-party political campaign, significant local support and strength of feeling, the Scottish Government have signalled that the Grantown Medical Practice refurbishment can continue after initially pausing the construction, which is at an advanced stage. This is great news. I want to thank all of those who were involved in the campaign, as well as those who I worked alongside to push for this capital project to continue. It was reassuring that the case of Grantown, where pausing the capital project may have cost more in the long term rather than finishing as planned, signals a measured approach where capital projects can be judged on a case-by-case basis.

Right to Food (Scotland) Bill

My Private Member’s Bill: Right to food (Scotland) Bill

I am delighted to share that I have lodged my Private Member’s Bill: Right to Food (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill will incorporate the human right to food into Scots law and provide for a body to be responsible for oversight and reporting. Access to food is a human right, but it is currently being denied to too many people in Scotland.

Now more than ever, we need to make the human right to food a reality, enshrined in law. Food poverty is a chronic issue that harms so many people. At a time when the NHS is under real strain; the health, social and economic costs of poor diet is increasing meaning action is already urgent.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the individuals, groups and organisations that have provided valuable feedback and support throughout the consultations in putting together this proposed Bill. Your contributions were vital to help shape this legislation and I appreciate all the effort that has gone in so far. Now that I have lodged the final proposal, there is one month to secure the support of at least 18 other MSPs from two or more parties on the parliamentary bureau. During this month, the Scottish Government can also decide to step in and take on the proposed Bill. If this is taken up, the Government would then have to enact legislation on this in a set timeframe.

My Bill would ensure access to healthy, nutritious food is a human right, underpinned and reinforced by a commitment in law.  It is simply wrong that, in Scotland today, children are going hungry, and people are suffering from malnutrition.

Individuals and organisations can contact their MSPs to support the Private Member’s Bill which can be accessed on the Parliament website, here


MSP cautiously welcomes new A9 Dualling plans

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has said she is “not too confident” that the latest plans and timescales for the dualling of the A9 between Perth and Inverness will be met but she is hoping we now get some progress on the dualling which was promised so long ago.

The MSP was speaking after the stakeholder briefing in Inverness this morning which was attended by campaigners, business leaders, Police Scotland and elected members who were advised of the latest timescales and plans for completion of the road. She said it was good to see the timeframes in place but stressed that much of the actual construction work will not be carried out until the end of the project and MSPs need to keep the pressure on the Scottish Government until then to ensure timeframes don’t slip again.

Mrs Grant asked what would happen when an anticipated seven stretches of the road will be under construction concurrently and what will happen during periods of winter weather to ensure the traffic still flows.

A Transport Scotland official advised that the intention is to have one lane on each carriageway open where at all possible and when not possible, traffic management will be in place. In terms of ensuring the road stays open during periods of winter conditions, the MSP was advised that the appointed contractor will have responsibility to ensure gritting and snow clearance takes place to allow the flow of traffic to continue.

Commenting afterwards, Mrs Grant said “Like everyone else in the room this morning, I had a fear that these timescales and promises could slip again. It is however my job, and that of every elected politician in the Highlands to ensure timescales do not slip and to seek regular assurances from the Scottish Government that all is on time.

“People in the Highlands and Islands are angry and let down by the Scottish Government and there is, very understandably, trepidation about the plans going forward.

“The Cabinet Secretary Designate, Fiona Hyslop, said the A9 is the transport backbone of Scotland and we need to get the promised work done to improve safety and journey times.

Mrs Grant concluded “I welcomed a question from the floor seeking a commitment to improve the A9 north of Inverness too and while no commitment was offered on this, it does no harm to remind Ministers that the A9 goes right the way to the top of the Scottish mainland and this should be on their agenda going forward too.”

Scottish Government leaves the North to crumble

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, says the SNP Government is leaving the North to crumble.

The MSP again raised the issue of the condition of the roads in the Highlands with the Scottish Government as she highlighted that the roads backlog for repairs in the Highlands this year stands at a staggering £233million.

Minister for Transport, Fiona Hyslop, responded that in 2024-25, Highland Council will receive £582.1 million to fund all local services, which equates to an extra £26.7 million to support vital day to day services, an additional 4.8% compared to 2023-24. The Minister advised that in addition all Councils will receive their fair share of the currently undistributed sum of £365.3 million.

Rhoda Grant said “Hot on the heels of the Scottish Government telling health boards to pause any capital building projects, the Transport Minister tells me that the Council’s total annual budget for this year is little more than twice that which is required to fix our roads.

Mrs Grant was advised by Highland Council in December that the 2023 Headline Backlog for road repairs in the region is £233,631,000 with the 2023 Steady State being £33,990,000.

The MSP continued “My plea to Government was that the repair figure had increased from last year’s figure of £200million and, with Highland Council having the longest road network in Scotland, it stands to reason that they require proportionate resources to allow for the necessary repairs needed.

“I asked the Minister to give the matter consideration and provide Highland Council with the resources they need to carry out the required repairs to the region’s roads before someone gets seriously hurt travelling on roads that are not fit for purpose.

She concluded “I have been ignored as has every driver who is dodging potholes in the region. It’s simply not good enough. Vehicles are being damaged by the potholes and it will only be a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt, or worse, driving on our crumbling roads.”

Mrs Grant met with Caithness Roads Recovery (CRR) in August last year to discuss the scale of the problem. CRR Co-Founder, Iain Gregory, said “The county of Caithness is now no more than a patchwork quilt of neglect, an area apparently regarded as being so far from the seat of power in Holyrood, that it can safely be ignored and marginalised, and the needs of the people disregarded. The Scottish Government would do well to note that this is a grave error.

Mr Gregory continued “As our roads, our pavements, our schools across the Highlands, and our infrastructure, crumble before our eyes, and as even the long-promised funding for our desperately needed Healthcare upgrades is snatched away from us, public anger is growing by the day. The time has come for Scotgov to take action – not words, not promises, but action – and action now.”

The picture shows Iain Gregory of CRR and Rhoda inspecting roads in Caithness in August 2023.

Castlebay Pupils fight to save the Screen Machine

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament congratulating pupils from Castlebay School in Barra in garnering support from Dame Judi Dench to save the iconic Screen Machine.

Mrs Grant, who has been campaigning herself to save the mobile cinema said “The Screen Machine is a much loved asset for many of our rural communities. It provides so much pleasure, allowing people of all ages from smaller communities to access what many of us in more urban areas take for granted.

“A trip to the cinema is a real treat and provides temporary escapism from the daily chores and stresses that we all deal with.

“The Screen Machine has integrated itself into the fabric of rural life over the years and any, and all, support to save it is very welcome.

She concluded “Good on the pupils from Castlebay who took the initiative to contact Dame Judi for her support. I hope it pays off.”


The text of the motion is detailed below:-


Motion Number: S6M-12009
Lodged By: Rhoda Grant
Date Lodged: 29/01/2024

Title: Castlebay Pupils Fight to Save the Screen Machine

Motion Text:

That the Parliament congratulates the pupils from Castlebay School, in Barra, on writing to Dame Judi Dench and encouraging her to support the campaign to save the Screen Machine; understands that the mobile cinema, which needs to be replaced, provides entertainment to people in Scotland’s most rural communities; believes that, as the UK’s only 80-seat, air conditioned mobile digital cinema, which visits more that 40 locations in the Highlands and Islands, it is both innovative and educational; thanks Dame Judi for lending her support to save the mobile cinema, and wishes the pupils from Castlebay well in their efforts to save the iconic resource.

Sewer investigation taking place in Harbour Road, Inverness

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has welcomed a long awaited investigation into the sewer along Harbour Road in Inverness. The MSP was contacted by IDM Safety Solutions (IDM) back in September 2022 advising of a problem with sewage back spilling into premises on Harbour Road though their toilets.

Mrs Grant met with the Managing Director of IDM, Iain Macphail (pictured above), and one of the businesses affected. It became apparent that the problem was not restricted to just one business however with other businesses along Harbour Road also submitting pictures and video footage to the MSP showing the scale of the problems they had experienced.

Mrs Grant subsequently set up a roundtable meeting with the affected business owners, some of whom had incurred significant clean-up costs, together with Scottish Water and Highland Council who had appeared to be blaming each other for the problem.

She said “Given the clear environmental and health and safety implications, I pressed for a meeting with both Scottish Water and Highland Council.”

Following the meeting in December 2022, Scottish Water arranged for their specialist drainage engineer to visit affected sites with a view to progressing an initial investigation into the problem. In early February 2023, Highland Council confirmed that the road gullies on Harbour Road had been cleared as a result of the meeting.

The MSP continued “Appeals to both Scottish Water and the Scottish Government to fund the clean-up costs fell on deaf ears and the only way through was to keep pressing for the cause of the problem to be properly investigated.”

Scottish Water has now confirmed that an investigation, involving CCTV of the sewer, is scheduled to start this week, with the relevant traffic management in place. They advise that due to the scope and scale of the FMAP investigation required at this location, it has meant that this has been put through their capital delivery process to be programmed.

Scottish Water advise that the FMAP survey is expected to last 4 weeks with the work taking place at night to minimise disruption in the area as much as possible. Issues such as silt/fat/wipes, etc. will be cleared at the time of the survey and, once the survey is complete, the data obtained will then need to be input and analysed for hydraulic modelling. This analysis they say, will take time and they work on a prioritised basis across Scotland to ensure highest priority is given to those properties at greatest risk of internal sewer flooding.

Rhoda Grant said “Progress to date has been slow but I am pleased to now be advised that the investigation of the sewer will start this week. I hope this will result in positive action being taken to address the problem and I thank the businesses who have taken the time to highlight their situation to me.”

Iain Macphail of IDM Safety Solutions said “This has been a challenge for our clients and others affected by the continual waste water ingress to their businesses and places of work and I am extremely grateful for the support of Rhoda and her team to continually push for this investigation which will hopefully allow the issue to be rectified for all those affected by it.”

Mrs Grant concluded “I will be keeping a close eye on what the investigation shows as we simply must get this situation resolved given the nature of the problem.”

Labour responds to new A9 delay

Commenting on the news that the dualling of the A9 will be delayed for over a decade, Scottish Labour transport spokesperson Alex Rowley said: “This is a shameful betrayal of the communities that have been given assurances over dualling for years from this government.

“This news will be a hammer-blow to businesses and communities and means that safety concerns will persist for over another decade.

“This new date is some 28 years after the SNP first promised the dualling – no wonder public confidence has collapsed.

“The people of Scotland should not pay the price of SNP-Green incompetence.”

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said: “The announcement of one section to by dualled in the next four years is not going to pacify my constituents’ anger at the lack of progress.

“This government knew it was not going to meet its 2025 promise, yet tried to hide that.

“I asked the Cabinet Secretary if she will give detail as to the key differences between design and build and Mutual Investment Models, and where the risk for each lies, and if she would tell my constituents how they can realistically gauge progress towards completion themselves, given the government’s deception in the past?

“I didn’t get answers to these questions but I will continue to press the Scottish Government to provide this detail.”

Useful telephone numbers this Christmas Period

Useful telephone numbers this Christmas Period

My constituency and parliamentary offices will be closed until 8th January 2024.  We will aim to respond to you when we return.

If you have a pressing or urgent concern during this Christmas period, please read through the below list and contact the relevant organisation.

NHS Highland – serving both Highland and Argyll and Bute

Telephone number: 01463 704000

Highland Council

Argyll and Bute Council 

Moray Council 

NHS Grampian – serving Moray area

NHS Shetland 

Shetland Islands Council 

NHS Orkney 

Orkney Islands Council 

NHS Western Isles 

Western Isles Council 

Emergency Telephone – 999

Non emergency – 101

NHS 24 

Telephone – 111


Mental Health Support 

NHS Western Isles Mental Health and Learning Disability Services

Mental Health Support Services in Moray 


Telephone  – 116 123

Mikey’s Line 

Text: 07786207755

Breathing Space 

Telephone: 0800838587