Headlines: September 21st, 2009

The Scottish Parliament is expecting a record number of people at a meeting in Alness today. The Parliament’s Petitions Committee will be the first Scottish Parliament committee to meet in the town, in Ross-shire, when it holds a meeting at Alness Academy.

The Petitions Committee receives all public petitions made to the Parliament and decides what action should be taken on them. Options include writing to the Scottish Government, a local council, or other public bodies asking what action they will take. It is a key way for Scots to raise concerns with their MSPs.

More than 100 primary and secondary school children from Alness, Dingwall, Invergordon and Dornoch are expected to attend the meeting, as well as interested members of the public.

Petititions being considered include calls for better out of hours GP cover in remote area, safety measures on the A96, and free public transport for young people. Two Alness Academy pupils will present their petitions, one calling for blood donors to be paid, and the other asking that funding for school trips does not disadvantage young people in more remote and rural areas of Scotland.

Frank McAveety, the committee’s Convener (chair), said: “It looks as if we will break all records for public attendance, which is great news.

“We hope everyone from members of the public, community groups and school children come along to watch a committee of their Parliament at work and take part in a question-and-answer session with committee MSPs about petitions, what the Parliament does and how to engage with it.”