Malcolm Bruce and Jo Swinson are campaiging for more investment in activities for young people
Malcolm Bruce MP, Scottish Liberal Democrat President, visited East Dunbartonshire today to kick-off the campaign for the General Election with a pledge for massive new investment in activities and leisure for Scotland’s children.
The ambitious plans would be funded by the additional resources available to Scotland from the Liberal Democrat proposals for fairer tax.
Malcolm joined Jo Swinson at the Park Centre in Kirkintilloch, a community facility used by many different groups including young people taking part in leisure activities, people with learning disabilities studying computer skills.
The Scottish Liberal Democrat proposals include:
- a new entitlement to free swimming in public pools
- a new entitlement to a week’s free outdoor education during secondary school
- a new fund to provide more affordable activities for children through clubs offering sport, leisure, music, art and environmental activities.
Launching the Scottish Liberal Democrat proposals, Party President Malcolm Bruce MP said: “At this election Scottish Liberal Democrats will offer real solutions to the real problems people face everyday. And we will be positive. We will address people’s hopes, not play on their fears.
“Launching our campaign last week Charles Kennedy said that Liberal Democrats are ambitious for Britain. We want a fairer Britain. A Britain of real opportunity for young people and of dignity for our older people. That agenda will be at the heart of our campaign here in Scotland.
“The size of the Scottish budget remains a matter for Westminster. Our proposals for fairer tax mean that the Liberal Democrats are the only party at this election that will deliver additional resources to invest here in Scotland.
“Liberal Democrats have real ambition for Scotland. Today, Liberal Democrats are focusing on our ambition for children in Scotland. We want to raise their hopes and aspirations. We want to broaden their horizons and their opportunities. We want to invest in our children now when they need it most.
“Our pledge today is for a massive new investment in activities and leisure for Scotland’s children.
“We will be campaigning on the positive contribution that our children can and do make to Scotland. We will be talking our children up, not talking them down. Because for Liberal Democrats, Scotland’s children are our greatest resource, not our greatest threat.
“Liberal Democrats in government are already driving the agenda for reform within our schools. With the additional resources from a Liberal Democrat government at Westminster, we will focus on the six sevenths of a child’s life which is spent out of school.
“We will invest more than £300 million, over the term of the next parliament, in new leisure and outdoor activities for young people. And we will invest this money with four objectives in mind: improving health; increasing knowledge of the environment; broadening horizons; and diverting young people away from trouble.
“We will give children a new entitlement to free swimming in public pools aiming to get more children active. We will also increase the amount of money available to fund sport clubs for children, and we will support a bi-annual Scottish Mini-Olympics to help develop a competitive spirit in schools and sports clubs.
“Research shows that outdoor education and outdoor adventure activities for children have many positive benefits including improved health, self esteem, teamwork and communication skills. Children can learn new skills, and can learn more about the environment in which they live. We want to build on the piecemeal provision currently in Scotland. That’s why Liberal Democrats will give every child a new entitlement to a week’s free outdoor education during secondary school. We will encourage schools to use this entitlement to build on existing provision and we will take the burden off teachers by giving them more support from people with expertise in this area.
“Liberal Democrats want to broaden horizons and help children to benefit from new experiences and skills. That’s why we will create a new fund for local authorities and the voluntary sector to provide more affordable activities for children through clubs offering sport, leisure, music, art and environmental activities. This support will allow many more children to participate in new activities at evenings, weekends and during school holidays.
“The vast majority of young people are not involved in crime or anti social behaviour. We want to make sure that remains the case by creating a new activities fund to give young people positive alternatives. We will empower young people by giving them a say in what services they most need in the community and we will encourage local businesses and agencies to support these projects. These might include midnight football or basketball leagues which have proved successful in some areas such as Aberdeen in keeping people out of trouble.
“We have never made any secret of our ambitions for education. In the twenty first century, if Scotland is going to be prosperous, if people are going to make the most of their talents and their lives, we need to invest in our children and in education in its widest sense.
“A vote for the Liberal Democrats will deliver more investment in Scotland’s children. Free swimming; outdoor education; new sport and leisure activities. That is how Liberal Democrats will put children at the heart of our campaign. That is how Liberal Democrats will invest in our children when they need it most. That is how we will address people’s hopes, not play on their fears.”