In my last column I highlighted the latest tragic drugs deaths figures in Scotland which laid bare the scale of the issue.
Since then, it was reported that alcohol related deaths in Scotland rose to 1,245 – the highest in 13 years and an increase of 55 compared to 2020.
According to the charity, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP): “During lockdown, our drinking habits changed, with light drinkers drinking less but heavy drinkers drinking more.”
Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, Chair of SHAAP said; “The Scottish Government must increase funding and resources for alcohol services, to ensure that vital support is in place for people living with an existing alcohol problem.
However, The Scottish Government reduced the number of drugs and alcohol rehabilitation beds from 352 in 2007 to 70 in 2017!
Despite warnings of the consequences this would have, Nicola Sturgeon went ahead with the cuts until admitting in 2021 that she had “taken her eye off of the ball.”
The SNP need to refocus on the day job and get our public services back up to a decent standard.
Last week I was glad to join an event at Macduff Aquarium to mark its inclusion in the recently submitted Levelling Up Bid by Aberdeenshire Council in conjunction with local groups and myself.
The ambitious bid focuses on the renovation and extension of Macduff Marine Aquarium, and the development of a cultural quarter in Peterhead.
Under the proposed plans, a significant modernisation of the existing aquarium at Macduff would improve the visitor experience and include expanded exhibits and enhanced facilities.
A spectacular two-story extension would take advantage of coastal views and include a new café-restaurant, education suite and community space.
The £5.7million project would also involve an external revamp of the building, a new children’s play area and path links along the coastline.
I visited the aquarium not long after covid restrcitions were lifted and learned more about how important this facility is to marine research.
I am told the aquarium is the largest facility housing exclusively ‘local’ species of its kind in Scotland and was due to host a national event of different aquariums.
However, this was not possible due to the pandemic.
Now, this bid, if successful will be a significant investment into the aquarium, allowing it to showcase even more of our local sea life.
The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund is designed to invest in infrastructure which improves everyday life across the UK.
The projects within this bid respond strongly to the ambitions of the fund by proposing significant investment in the cultural infrastructure in Banff and Buchan’s coastal areas.
I’ve been delighted to offer my formal support to the bid as part of the application to the UK Government
During recess, I have been visiting areas across the constituency, from Peterhead’s Scottish Week, to Invercairn Gala and Turriff Show.
This month I am conducting my regular summer surgery tour of the constituency – the first since 2019.
Now that Covid restrictions are lifted, I am looking forward to getting back to visiting towns and villages across to the constituency to meet residents and take forward their concerns.
I will be visiting over 40 locations from 15 August and also remain available for surgeries by appointment as usual.
For more information about where I will be and when, visit www.davidduguid.com/advice-surgeries