Rhoda Grant MSP raises school bullying at FMQs

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant “gets to the heart of a societal problem” while raising bullying in schools at FMQs.

Today, Mrs Grant raised with the First Minister for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, that school bullying does not only happen within school and that it also takes place outside and on the way to school. This causes problems for schools as they cannot be responsible for what happens to pupils off school grounds.

She then asked the First Minister what steps her Government and Police Scotland are taking to protect children from school bullying when it takes place off school grounds and what actions are being taken to hold bullies to account.

This comes after reports of incidents in Lochaber where bullies attacked peers off school grounds. In some cases, these attacks were filmed and posted online for other school pupils to see.

The First Minister agreed with Mrs Grant and said she gets to the “heart of a societal problem”. She then said that there is a collective responsibility to tackling bullying off school grounds from Police Scotland and from national and local Governments. She then ended by saying that we all have a part to play in ensuring that children are protected and safeguarded.

Speaking after FMQs Rhoda Grant MSP said: “The First Minister is correct in stating that this is a societal problem and it is one that needs to be addressed.

“Children now face bullies on and off school grounds. Whether that be outside school, on the way to school or on social media. These attacks are preplanned in that they are recorded from before the start of the attack yet Local Authorities and Police seem unable to provide solutions leaving child victim without protection.”

SNP accused of “empty promises” on A9

Scottish Labour have accused the SNP of doubling down on their broken promises on the A9 after the Scottish Government voted against Labour’s amendment calling for the project to be progressed as a matter of urgency.

The party said the vote exposed the SNP’s “empty promises” on the A9.

Meanwhile, Fergus Ewing broke the party’s whip to back Labour’s amendment.

Commenting, Scottish Labour Transport spokesperson Neil Bibby said:

“The SNP claimed they were still absolutely committed to dualling the A9, but today they have abandoned these empty promises by voting against their own position.

“It is shameful that the SNP-Green government have refused to acknowledge that this deadly road needs upgraded as a matter of urgency.

“The SNP are putting their coalition deal with the Greens ahead of Highland communities.

“This vote is just the latest example of the chaos and splits engulfing this out-of-touch SNP government.”

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, who also spoke to the Petitions Committee earlier today, urging a Parliamentary Inquiry into this betrayal said:

 “None of the Highlands and Islands SNP MSPs spoke in the debate. Indeed it was MSPs from Greenock & Inverclyde, East Lothian and East Kilbride who spoke from the backbenches for the SNP.

“SNP Highlands and Islands MSPs have abandoned the Transport Minister over the A9. The Scottish Labour Party with its amendment was looking for confirmation from the Scottish Government that they remained committed to dualling the road but they voted against their own stated position.

“Communities throughout the Highlands and Islands are outraged, and rightly so. The SNP-Green Scottish Government now needs to apologise to these communities and come clean about their future plans for the A9.”

Scottish Labour’s Amendment

S6M-07977.1 Neil Bibby

As an amendment to motion S6M-07977 in the name of Graham Simpson (A9 Dualling), insert at end “; notes the statement made by the Minister for Transport on 8 February 2023 that the Scottish Government is still ‘absolutely committed’ to dualling the A9, and believes that this project is a priority and should be progressed as a matter of urgency.”

Proposed improvements at Tore Roundabout welcomed by MSP

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, is pleased to be advised that initial improvements at the Tore Roundabout will be introduced imminently in a bid to improve safety in the area.

The MSP was approached by concerned constituents following a number of accidents in the area last month. Mrs Grant was unsure if the spate of accidents in January were related to weather conditions, but nonetheless contacted Transport Scotland to see how the suggested improvements from the A9 North Kessock to Tore Study (published in 2021) were developing.

Mrs Grant has been advised that BEAR Scotland is currently progressing the design of three resurfacing schemes in the vicinity of the Tore Roundabout on the A9 and that the first scheme is likely to be completed prior to the end of the current financial year.

In addition, the MSP has been advised that ‘Traffic speed surveys were carried out in 2022 around Tore Roundabout to inform a review of the speed limit. Taking the findings of these into account, BEAR Scotland, has developed a proposal for a reduction in the speed limit from the national speed limit to 40mph at this location.’

Transport Scotland also advised Mrs Grant that ‘BEAR Scotland is continuing to develop the outline proposals for active travel improvements at Tore Roundabout, with a detailed design of the proposals programmed for 2023/24. These timescales reflect the need for traffic modelling to optimise the performance of the new layout for non-motorised users whilst minimising the impact on motorised traffic. This will include assessment of options for signals to control traffic movements, and allowing pedestrians to cross the carriageway at dedicated crossings as an improvement to road safety.’

Rhoda Grant said “It’s not clear if the accidents last month were weather related but nonetheless, it’s good to hear that BEAR Scotland is to carry out resurfacing schemes in the vicinity of the roundabout. I’m told the first of the three schemes is likely to be carried out before the end of this financial year.

Mrs Grant continued “It is deeply worrying that pedestrians have to take their life in their hands and cross 4 lanes of dual carriageway at present and while it still has to go out for consultation, I very much welcome the proposals in the pipeline to reduce the speed limit in the run up to the roundabout to 40mph, together with the proposed option to install dedicated crossings to allow pedestrians to cross the carriageway safely.

“Any measures that improve safety on our roads will always be welcome.”


The proposed 40mph speed limit covers the two trunk road approaches, the A9 north and south of Tore Roundabout and the A835. The Highland Council has agreed to promote a reduced speed limit on the two A832 minor road approaches to Tore Roundabout, which are the responsibility of The Highland Council.

The second resurfacing scheme is planned for construction in the 2023/24 financial year with the third planned by the end of the 2024/25 financial year, subject to budget allocations.

A9 dualling delayed

Commenting on news that A9 dualling has been delayed as the contract is re-tendered Scottish Labour Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant said:

“This is a total betrayal of the Highlands and yet another broken election promise.

“Lives are being lost on this dangerous road while communities go without the upgrades they have waited years for.

“It is shameful that on the day Volodymyr Zelensky is addressing the UK Parliament, SNP Ministers are trying to blame the war in Ukraine for the their failure to deliver a manifesto pledge from 2007.

“This is a mess of the SNP’s own making – and the Minister’s desperate excuses can’t hide that.

“The SNP need to come clean and tell us when they will actually deliver this long overdue promise.”

Inverness campaigner has petition considered at Scottish Parliament

Today the Scottish Parliament’s Citizen’s Participation and Public Petitions Committee considered petition PE1723 on Essential Tremor.  Brought forward by petitioner and formidable campaigner Mary Ramsay from Inverness, the petition calls for Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) technology to be made available on the NHS.

The non-invasive and effective treatment could benefit over 4000 patients currently living with essential tremor.  The treatment can also be used to treat a number of conditions and offers the opportunity for further research.

Mary has campaigned for disability rights and equality for more than 40 years.  She remains mystified that since starting her campaign in Scotland, England has two centres which now use MRgFUS. “We have long waiting lists here, folk are waiting to access invasive Deep Brain Stimulation, some are being referred south of the border to receive MRgFUS treatment, at a cost.  It’s madness that the Scottish Government are not seizing the opportunity to provide it on the NHS, a treatment that we have the capability and resources for.

I am thankful that the Committee continues to consider my petition but it would fantastic if they could push the Scottish Government and National Services Division to come forward with more clarity on the decision making process.

In March we have an event in the Scottish Parliament for politicians to come and meet with patients and clinicians.  I hope the Cabinet Secretary for Health will attend to hear, first hand, the massive benefits this can have for people.  Hopefully this will assist them with their decisions making process.  I will continue to campaign for MRgFUS treatment to made available here on the NHS.”

Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour Highlands and Islands MSP has been supporting Mary with her petition. “I am disappointed that we are no further forward but I hope that this will change in the near future.  I have asked the Committee to write to both the Scottish Government and National Services Division asking for an update.

This would be a brilliant opportunity for the NHS in Scotland to roll out a treatment that would not only benefit so many but provide opportunities for world renowned research into many areas.  I hope that the Mr Yusuf will see the light after the event in March and pave the way for more formative and positive action.”


CalMac pay-outs rose four-fold

Scottish Labour has revealed that the amount being paid out in compensation to CalMac customers has soared four-fold over the last four years.

In 2018-19 – the year that the delayed Ferguson’s Marine ferries were originally scheduled to be delivered – a total of £159,000 was paid out to CalMac customers for disruptions. This works out at an average of £13,250 a month.

In the first four months of 2022-23 alone, CalMac had already paid out £215,000 – an average of £53,000 per month.

This means passengers are facing more delays and disruption on CalMac routes, costing the publicly-owned operator four times more than it did in 2018-19.

Labour warned that the late Ferguson’s Marine ferries along with years of poor planning under the SNP have left island communities with an ageing fleet and left taxpayers with spiralling costs.

Commenting, Scottish Labour Islands spokesperson Rhoda Grant said:

“These spiralling costs expose what a mess the SNP have made of lifeline ferry services in Scotland.

“Our ferry fleet has been left to rust because of years of failed planning, as well as the ferry fiasco where the Scottish Government have failed to deliver two new ferries.

“Now islanders are stuck with chaos, cancellations and delays while taxpayers foot the bill.

“The SNP have no short-term answers and no long term plan to fix this shambles. We need a national ferry building programme that supports Scotland’s shipbuilding industry and delivers the ferries we need.  In the meantime, they must buy additional tonnage to have enough capacity to cover the daily breakdowns that are happening due to the ageing fleet.”

MSP asks for progress on Tore safety improvements

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has written to Transport Scotland to ask what stage the road safety improvements identified for the Tore area are at.

Potential improvements were identified in the recent A9 North Kessock to Tore Study and, following recent accidents in the area, the MSP is keen to know what stage things are at.

Rhoda Grant said “While I appreciate that the recent accidents may have been due to weather conditions, nonetheless, I am keen to see improvements introduced as soon as possible in the area.

“We have seen some short term improvements introduced at the Munlochy junction which are very welcome and I’d like to see things improved around the Tore area too.”

Useful telephone numbers this Christmas Period

My constituency and parliamentary offices will be closed until 9th January 2023.  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

Clear Your Head 

Mikey’s Line 

Text: 07786207755

Breathing Space 

Telephone: 0800838587





Let there be light

‘Let there be light’ said MSP Rhoda Grant, checking progress of a dark public underpass in the middle of Aviemore after long delays.

But this afternoon (30.11.22) a team arrived from Highland Council finally to instal illuminations into the ceiling of the brick tunnel linking Grampian Road’s busy shopping centre with Dalfaber Road on the other side of the Strathspey Steam Railway line.

Lighting up at Aviemore. Picture: David Macleod
Lighting up at Aviemore. Picture: David Macleod

On hearing the news of the work start from the Strathy, Mrs Grant said “I’m delighted to see that the work has begun as we head into the winter months.

“These new lights will not only make the pathway safer for pedestrians to use but they will enhance the appearance of the area too.

“I’m grateful to the constituents who raised the issue with me and campaigned so hard to have this valuable work carried out.”

Following much local despair at the state of the dark pathway from the Butcher’s Burn beside Te Vault nightspot, the work had been scheduled for the end of October and due to be completed by mid November.

Article and picture courtesy of the Strathspey & Badenoch Herald

Stalled Aviemore lighting work to begin this week.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, was disappointed to learn that the work to install the lighting at the railway underpass in Aviemore had not yet started, in spite of this having been scheduled to begin almost a month ago.

The work was due to start at the end of October and due to be completed by mid November. However constituents advised the MSP that these scheduled dates had not been met by Highland Council and there were real concerns about this, given that construction works on the Dalfaber rail crossing and road closure mean that this route is the main pedestrian route to Dalfaber at the moment. Constituents advised the MSP that negotiating the underpass and the flooded path is very dangerous at this time.

Given the increased pedestrian numbers together with the ongoing dangers present in the area, Mrs Grant contacted Highland Council again last week asking for an urgent update from them detailing why the work had not yet commenced as was scheduled and asking for a new timeframe of when the work would be carried out.

Rhoda Grant said “Constituents have been very patient here but their fears over safety in the area are very real.

“I was informed late on Friday that the problem was due to resourcing issues within the Inverness team. The Council tells me it has addressed the issue by moving staff from other areas to carry out the works and that the works are due to start early this week, weather permitting.

“They advise that there will be some disruption for pedestrians in the underpass as the works commence but I’m sure folks will put up with the disruption just to see the new lighting finally being installed.”

Picture courtesy of Strathspey & Badenoch Herald