Sturgeon and Ross to meet at community club tackling drug crisis

The First Minister and the Scottish Conservative leader are meeting at the Bluevale Community Club on Monday.

Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross will meet at the Bluevale Community Club in Glasgow east end. STV News
Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross will meet at the Bluevale Community Club in Glasgow east end.

Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross will come together in a rare move with plans to tackle Scotland’s drug problem to be announced in Glasgow’s east end.

The First Minister and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives will meet at the Bluevale Community Club which helps people with substance abuse issues in Glasgow on Monday morning.

The party leaders are meeting amid Scotland’s drugs death crisis which has claimed a suspected 722 people’s lives in the first six months of this year.

The organisation’s founder, Kenny Trainer, said he does not want the meeting to be just a photo opportunity.


“We welcome the visit by the First Minister and Douglas Ross to see first-hand not only what we are trying to achieve here at Bluevale Community Club but also meet the people who remind us daily why we do it,” he said.

“We have seen too many friends and family members die while seeking access to the help they needed and that’s why we back any rights-based approach when it comes to drug treatment – one based on holding decision makers to account where necessary.”

Mr Trainer said he wants all parties and both the Scottish and UK governments to put their differences aside and agree on how to tackle Scotland’s problems.

The charity provides fitness classes, nutrition, support classes for mental health and addictions, linking in with local nurseries, schools, clubs and organisations to make a wide support network within the community.


The First Minister will announce almost £100,000 in funding to help Bluevale continue providing its recovery and wellbeing services.

Sturgeon said: “The rights of individuals to access effective treatment and support underpins our national drugs strategy.

“But we know there is more to do to make these rights a reality which is why we launched the National Mission backed by an additional £250m over the next five years to improve and increase access to services for people affected by drug addiction – including an investment of £100m on residential rehabilitation.

“We are determined that every penny of that will make a difference to all those affected by this public health emergency.”

Bluevale is run with 24 volunteer staff members and four young employees funded through the Step-up programme which supports young people into employment as part of the Young Person’s Guarantee.

Monday’s meeting comes after Sturgeon challenged Ross to visit a working-class area with her in the wake of the UK Government’s £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit, with the Conservative leader agreeing but suggesting they visit the Bluevale Community Club in Glasgow’s Haghill.

Ross called on the First Minister to back the Scottish Conservatives’ Right to Recovery Bill.


It seeks to enshrine in law the right to addiction and recovery services, including short and long-term residential rehabilitation.

“Scotland’s drug death crisis is our national shame,” Ross said, “It demands political leadership.

“Communities scarred by drugs need action, not more empty words. This visit must result in solutions, not more of the same. 

“Frontline experts and families who have lost loved ones back our Right to Recovery Bill. We need the government to come onboard.

“Our Bill would cut through the broken treatment system and guarantee people can get the help they need. It would mean more support for frontline community projects like Bluevale, who have helped hundreds of people without any government funding.”

Last week, Ross said he will not stand in the way of a pilot scheme on drug consumption rooms.

Amber Gibson’s brother in court charged with murder and sexual assault

The 16-year-old was reported missing from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, after failing to return home last Friday night.

Police Scotland

The brother of a teenage girl found dead in woodland has appeared in court charged with murder and sexual assault.

Amber Gibson was reported missing from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, after failing to return home last Friday night.

The 16-year-old’s body was eventually discovered in the town’s Cadzow Glen park on Sunday morning.

Connor Gibson, 19, appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court on Friday charged with murder and sexual assault under section two of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.


He was also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He made no plea and was remanded in custody to appear again in the next eight days.

STV News
Hamilton: Flowers left in tribute to the teen.

Amber’s death was initially treated as unexplained, but police later launched a murder inquiry following a post-mortem examination.

Tributes have been made online to the teenager and flowers have also been left in the centre of Hamilton and at Cadzow Glen.

More on:

Six cases of Omicron linked to Steps concert at Glasgow’s Hydro

Scottish Government says cases of the Omicron variant have more than doubled and are no longer linked to a single event.

Train_Arrival via IStock

Six cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus have been linked to a Steps concert that took place at Glasgow’s Hydro on November 22.

The Scottish Government said on Friday that Omicron cases have more than doubled in Scotland and are no longer linked to a single event.

A total of 16 new cases of the variant have been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours, taking the overall number to 29.

Several different sources, including the Steps concert, are linked to the rise in cases of the variant of the virus.


Six cases are linked to the concert on November 22, but none have been identified so far in relation to the band’s concert on November 23.

The Scottish Government said the risk to those who attended the concert is low and close contacts of positive cases are being identified.

It said nobody from the concert needs to isolate unless they are asked to by Test and Protect or if they develop symptoms.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The number of Omicron cases now being reported in Scotland is rising, and cases are no longer all linked to a single event, but to several different sources including a Steps concert at the Hydro on November 22.


“This confirms our view that there is now community transmission of this variant within Scotland. Given the nature of transmission we would expect to see cases rise – perhaps significantly – in the days ahead.

“However, health protection teams are continuing work through contact tracing, isolation and testing to slow the spread as far as possible while we learn more about the new variant’s impact. Ministers are also keeping the situation under daily review.”

Cases of the new variant have been recorded in Highland, Grampian and Forth Valley health boards for the first time, at three, one and five respectively.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is now home to 11 cases, while NHS Lanarkshire has nine.

The Omicron outbreak in Scotland started in the latter two areas, with nine cases linked to a single private event on November 20.

Meanwhile, Scotland has recorded 16 coronavirus-linked deaths and 2432 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to the latest data.

It means the death toll under this daily measure, of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, is 9634.


The daily test positivity rate was 7.6%, according to data published by the Scottish Government on Friday, up from 7.4% the previous day.

There were 652 people in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19 as of Wednesday night, down 28 in 24 hours and, of these, 46 people were in intensive care, down two.

So far, 4,350,133 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, 3,954,992 have had a second, and 1,790,728 have been given a third dose or booster.

Environmental groups call on UK Government to end Cambo project

Siccar Point Energy says it is disappointed at Shell’s change of position but remains confident in the merits of the project.

Espen Mills via Greenpeace

Environmental groups have called on the UK Government to step in and end the proposed Cambo oil field off the coast of Shetland.

Shell, who have a minority stake in the controversial project, announced on Thursday evening it would not be investing in the field, which is waiting approval from the regulator.

Shell has a 30% stake in the controversial development, off the coast of Shetland, originally licensed in 2001.

Citing the potential for delay and a lack of strength in the economics, the multinational company said it had concluded against investment.


Siccar Point Energy, Shell’s partners in the development, said it was disappointed at Shell’s change of position but that it remained confident in the merits of the project.

Jonathan Roger, the company’s CEO, said: “We are in consultation with the regulator and stakeholders on taking Cambo forward and the next steps required to do that.

“It is widely accepted that oil and gas is needed to support the UK during the transition to preserve jobs and provide enough power for our homes and businesses.

“Norway continues to invest in both new oil and gas and renewable developments to deliver a fair and managed transition, but the UK is at risk of damaging its economy and increasing imports with a higher carbon impact if new developments are not brought forward during this time.


“The Cambo licence dates back 20 years and production has already been accounted for in net-zero plans drawn up by the Climate Change Committee, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

“Domestic production is declining rapidly and is unable to meet current and future demands even with new developments such as Cambo.”

However, Caroline Rance from Friends of the Earth Scotland said Shell’s announcement “spells the end of the line” for the project.

She said: “[This] is great news for the climate and all those people around the world who are living on the frontline of climate impact already.

“It looks incredibly unlikely that Siccar Point Energy, the company who own the 70% stake, would be able to attract anybody else into this project now.

“Shell are one of the biggest, best resouced, most experienced oil companies in the world and if they are saying ‘this is uneconomic and this is too risky’ it really doesn’t look like they are going to get anybody else to come in and take that stake.”

In November, as COP26 ended in Glasgow, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon voiced her strongest opinion so far on the proposed development, saying: “I don’t think that Cambo should get the green light.”


She had previously urged the UK Government to reassess the plans, amid growing concern over the impact of fossil fuels on climate change.

Speaking to STV News on Friday, she said: “We can’t shut oil and gas off overnight. Nobody’s suggesting that, and we mustn’t leave those who currently work in oil and gas on an economic scrapheap, but for the sake of the planet, Scotland, the world has to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels.

“And the challenge for countries like Scotland is to do that by building up the alternatives, so that we meet our energy needs without being more reliant on imports, but to do that in a way that we’re creating alternative jobs for the skills and the jobs that are currently in oil and gas.”

The Cambo field will produce 170 million barrels of oil equivalent during its 25-year operational life and 53.5 billion cubic feet of gas, enough to power 1.5 million homes for a year, accoring to Siccar Point Energy.

UK energy minister Greg Hands said: “As a UK Government, we are very supportive of the sector, we did a deal with the oil and gas sector, the North Sea transition deal, last year, we stick by that deal, working with the sector to decarbonise the move to net-zero, while also recognising the importance, particularly of gas, as a fuel – 55% of the UK’s gas is drawn from the UK continental shelf.

“We need to recognise the importance of that energy source going forward.

“The project was licensed in 2001, 2004, there would still be further UK Government approvals to come in future. But really in terms of the future of the project, that would be a matter for the companies involved, or potential future companies, to have a look at it.”

Industry bosses say continuing to extract oil and gas from the North Sea is crucial for the country’s energy needs

Jenny Stanning, external relations director at Oil and Gas UK, said: “This is a commercial decision between partners but doesn’t change the facts that the UK will continue to need new oil and gas projects if we are to protect security of supply, avoid increasing reliance on imports and support jobs.

“However, we know that to deliver the transition to a lower carbon future, investor confidence remains essential.

“The government has made clear that gas and oil have a critical role to play in the nation’s future energy supply and we will continue to work with governments, industry and politicians of all parties to make this case.”

Social care in meltdown: ‘I want to be treated like everyone else’

Kate Walsh lives with cerebral palsy and is relying on her mum for help after one of her carers suddenly quit.

STV News

Kate Walsh doesn’t want to be looked after by her mother but has little choice after her care package was axed overnight due to a lack of staff.

The 29-year-old has cerebral palsy and wants to live a normal life.

“As a young person, I don’t want my mum helping me,” she told STV News.

“My friends, who are able-bodied, wouldn’t have their mums look after them. I want to be treated like everyone else.”


Her case has highlighted the unprecedented staffing shortage that could leave thousands of people without social care this winter.

Kate usually has three personal assistants to help her with everyday care. That was slashed three weeks ago when her main carer, who comes seven evenings a week, suddenly quit.

Strapped for staff, the care provider said they were unable to provide a replacement for Kate, so her mum Jacqueline is now plugging the gaps.

Several local authorities across the country are asking care providers to reassess and reduce support “where safe”.


The sector is “haemorrhaging” staff and a workforce exodus is expected this winter, according to Donald Macaskill, the chief executive officer of Scottish Care.

Kate’s mum Jacqueline, who works part-time, has now been forced to take on 26 hours of caring a week.

When she called Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership to ask for help, she says she was told they were short-staffed and there was “nothing” they could do.

She said: “They said they’re having to prioritise critical and end-of-life care, which I completely understand. We keep hearing about how the crisis in care is affecting older people but there’s people like Kate needing care.”

Jacqueline says she doesn’t mind helping Kate, but can’t see an end in sight.

“It’s an unwritten expectation,” she said.

“If I don’t put Kate into bed, she can’t get into bed herself, if I don’t put her to bed in the morning, she can’t do those things herself. If I don’t who will?


“The government or someone somewhere needs to make care more of an attractive option for jobs, so they see it as valuable and viable option.” 

A Clackmannanshire and Stirling HSCP spokesperson said: “Social care services are facing an extremely challenging period across Scotland – not just here in Clackmannanshire and Stirling.

“Staff shortages, increasing demand for support and other pressures have created an incredible strain on local services and, like many other parts of Scotland, we have had to review existing care packages to help us prioritise those with the most critical and complex care needs, people currently waiting to be discharged from local hospitals, and the most vulnerable in our communities.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We’re committed to improving the experience of the social care workforce, including improving fair work that we know is crucial to addressing longstanding recruitment issues in the sector, increasing pay and working with partners to set standards that employees can expect to be met.”

Power restored to 900 homes following Storm Arwen as army deployed

The army has been deployed to help residents in the north-east who have been without power for a week.

STV News

Power has been restored to 900 homes that were disconnected following the impact of Storm Arwen.

Of the remaining 1600 homes still off supply, engineers hope to have 1100 reconnected on Friday and the rest on Saturday.

The army has been deployed to help residents in the north-east who have been without power for a week since the storm caused “catastrophic damage” to the electricity network.

Around 130 troops have been sent to carry out door-to-door checks and offer welfare support.


UK energy minister Greg Hands was in Aberdeenshire on Friday to meet those who helped out in the area.

The 900 customers were reconnected during the night from Thursday into Friday.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) say they are continuing to proactively contact customers still off supply to offer extra support, including accommodation and meals.

And regulator Ofgem has launched a review into the response of energy network companies and has removed a limit on compensation to allow customers to claim up to £140 per day they are without power.

STV News
Aberdeenshire: UK energy minister Greg Hands met those who helped and those affected by Storm Arwen.

The remaining 1600 includes single or small groups of houses fed by SSEN’s low voltage network who are mainly located in rural and isolated communities, with Aberdeenshire the main area still affected. 

SSEN expects to restore power to a further 1100 homes throughout the course of Friday and into the evening, where it remains safe for work to continue and subject to no unforeseen difficulties with ongoing repairs. 

Around 500 customers are expected to be restored throughout the course of Saturday. 

Mark Rough, director of operations, said: “Our teams made further progress overnight as we focus all efforts and resources on restoring the final customers who remain off supply following the catastrophic impact of Storm Arwen.

“Additional teams continue to be deployed to Aberdeenshire to support restoration efforts, as well as enhancing welfare provisions in the region, with our teams continuing to proactively contact those customers who remain off supply to offer whatever support we can.

“We fully recognise the challenge Storm Arwen has presented to all our customers who have been impacted, particularly those who are still without power, and we would once again like to apologise for the difficulties our customers are facing. 

“We would also like to thank our customers for their patience, understanding and the support they have shown our teams and would reassure all customers still off supply that we are doing everything we can to reconnect power as soon as possible.


“For anyone still off supply, we would encourage them to call 105 and our teams will look to provide whatever support is required.”

Detectives launch investigation after injured man dies on road

An investigation has been launched into the death, with police appealing for witnesses to come forward.

© Google Maps 2020
Edinburgh: Police have launched an investigation.

A man found fatally injured on an Edinburgh road died on the street on Thursday night.

Emergency services were called to Acamdemy Park at around 8.50pm after the man was discovered with serious injuries.

But Scottish Ambulance Service staff pronounced him dead at the scene.

An investigation has been launched into the death, with police appealing for witnesses to come forward.


Detective inspector Jonny Wright, from Gayfield CID, said: “Officers are investigating after a man was found fatally injured on the roadway at Academy Park, Edinburgh, on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

“At around 8.50pm the man was found with serious injuries. Police and the Scottish Ambulance Service attended and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Enquiries into the full circumstances remain ongoing and a police presence will remain in the Academy Park area throughout Friday.

“We are currently working to establish how the man came to sustain his injuries and would ask anyone who saw or heard anything of concern within Academy Park, between 8.30pm and 8.50pm on Thursday, or has any information in relation to the incident, to contact us as soon as possible.


“Those with information should contact Police Scotland on 101 and quote incident number 3329 of December 2, 2021.”

Two men and woman back in court over Caroline Glachan’s murder

The body of the 14-year-old was discovered on the banks of the River Leven on August 25, 1996.

Police Scotland
Police: Caroline Glachan was murdered in 1996.

Two men and a woman have reappeared in court over the murder of a schoolgirl 25 years ago.

The body of 14-year-old Caroline Glachan was discovered on the banks of the River Leven, near Place of Bonhill in Renton, West Dunbartonshire, on August 25, 1996.

Police Scotland
Murdered: Three suspects have reappeared in court.

Andrew Kelly, 42, Robert O’Brien, 43, and Donna Brand, 42, were charged with the teen’s murder last week.

All three, from Dumbarton in West Dunbartonshire, made no plea when they appeared at the town’s sheriff court last Thursday.


They again made no plea when they returned to the dock on Friday.

All three suspects were remanded in custody pending their next court appearance, which is yet to be confirmed.

Killer murdered friend then set him on fire underneath motorbike

Jordan Dickson left Craig Sneddon with at least 18 wounds after a brutal knife attack on January 17 this year.

© Google Maps 2020
The indictment stated Dickson murdered his friend by repeatedly striking him with a knife and then set fire to his body.

A killer murdered his friend then set fire to his body after a row about a minor bike accident.

Jordan Dickson left Craig Sneddon, 41, with at least 18 wounds after a brutal knife attack on January 17 this year.

The 25-year-old then fled the scene, but later confessed to a woman he had left the dad-of-one “burnt to a crisp”.

A couple walking their dog later that morning made the grim discovery of Mr Sneddon’s charred remains under Dickson’s burning bike on Fordel Path in Dalkeith, Midlothian.


Dickson – who was on a curfew at the time – has now been jailed for a minimum of 19 years after he pled guilty to murder at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday.

Dickson had gone to Mr Sneddon home in Wallyford, East Lothian, the night before the killing.

In the early hours, the pair were spotted on Dickson’s Kawasaki bike.

They eventually ended up at Fordel Path sometime after 12.30am.


Prosecutor Eric Robertson then told the court: “There are no eyewitnesses to what happened there, but Jordan Dickson accepts that while there had assaulted Craig Sneddon in terms detailed in the charge.”

The indictment stated Dickson murdered his friend by repeatedly striking him with a knife and then set fire to his body.

Dickson phoned a taxi to collect him around a mile from the scene to get him away and he headed to his home in Musselburgh, East Lothian.

He went on to speak to a number of people in the hours after.

This included claiming to his sister Bianca that he had been in a “fight” with Mr Sneddon and “said something about a bike”.

Around 4.30am, he stated to a friend: “I need help. I cannot talk on the phone.”

Dickson added to this man there allegedly had been a confrontation between him and Mr Sneddon.


Prosecutor Mr Robertson said: “He told the man that after he stabbed Craig Sneddon in the neck, he poured petrol on top of him, placed the motorcycle on top and set fire to him.”

Dickson then went to the home of a friend of his other sister yelling he was “in trouble” and had “killed someone”.

The advocate depute told the hearing: “She did not believe him. He said he had ‘burnt the guy to a crisp’. He said he was referring to Craig Sneddon.”

The killer later jumped on a bus in Wallyford and confessed to a passenger: “I am going to get done with murder.”

It was around 9am that morning the tragic discovery of Mr Sneddon’s body was made.

A couple had first noticed rising smoke and the smell of burning.

Mr Sneddon’s body was initially too badly damaged to be identified.

Relatives became concerned when they could not contact Mr Sneddon that morning.

They went on to learn it was his body found at the path after DNA tests.

Mr Robertson said he had suffered at least 18 wounds to his face, head and neck.

Pathologists said they could “not fully rule out” the possibility of other stab injuries.

After initially being held the next day, Dickson told police: “I do not understand. No comment.”

Dickson’s lawyer said he accepted his reaction to anything which apparently happened that night was “disproportionate”.

Ian Duguid, defending, said the pair had “embarked on a journey” on the bike with Mr Sneddon later in control.

The QC went on: “There was a collision or a minor accident and both came off the motorcycle.

“It was that event which caused the argument between the two men.”

Mr Duguid said Dickson claimed Mr Sneddon had initially gone for him before the killer viciously lashed out.

Lady Stacey handed Dickson a life sentence.

She told him: “What you did was wicked and cruel. After what happened, you did nothing by way of reporting or trying to get help.

“You did nothing apart from setting fire to his body. The family of Craig Sneddon will find that extremely hard to deal with.”

Detective chief inspector Bryan Burns said: “Jordan Dickson subjected Craig Sneddon to a brutal attack which ultimately resulted in his death.

“He has now admitted his responsibility for this and will face the consequences of his actions.

“Our thoughts are with Mr Sneddon’s family and friends at this time. We hope that the conclusion of this case brings at least a degree of closure for them.”

UK’s largest offshore wind tower factory to be built in the Highlands

The Port of Nigg factory will open in 2023, creating more than 400 full time jobs.

GEG via Global Energy Group
Port Nigg: The project will cost £110m

The UK’s largest offshore wind tower factory will create more than 400 manufacturing jobs when it opens in Scotland in 2023, a spokesperson for lead partner Global Energy Group said.

The Port of Nigg factory, to be known as Nigg Offshore Wind (Now), will be capable of producing up to 135 towers per year.

The site, north of Inverness, will be 450 metres long and will cover an area of 38,000 square metres, equivalent to more than five football pitches.

The £110m project is a joint operation between Global Energy Group (GEG), which has its headquarters in Inverness, and Spanish offshore wind tower manufacturing specialist Haizea Wind Group.


Tim Cornelius, chief executive of GEG, said: “The continued focus on a just transition to a carbon neutral economy has received fresh impetus as a result of the impact of Covid-19.

“The Scottish and UK governments are looking for opportunities presented by the now inevitable energy transition from a dependency on hydrocarbons to clean and sustainable sources of energy, to create jobs and generate sustainable economic growth.

The announcement of a state-of-the-art tower rolling factory at the Port of Nigg is said to be a leading example of the “green recovery” in action.

“It will create more than 400 direct long term, high-value jobs, and will offer our existing clients and new customers, from around the world, the opportunity to buy ‘Scottish’ – meaning offshore wind developers can achieve their local content targets whilst helping the UK economy recover in a green and sustainable way.


“The facility will also create more than 1000 indirect jobs in the Scottish and UK supply chain.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Haizea who will bring their tower manufacturing expertise and knowledge to the Highlands of Scotland.”

A GEG spokesperson added that construction is expected to start in January next year, with site preparation and commissioning expected to take about 18 months.

This will support 1248 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs across the supply chain in building works and equipment supply.

GEG added that regional staff, historically employed in the oil and gas industry, will have the opportunity to be re-trained and upskilled at the Nigg Skills Academy.

The factory is expected to receive funding support from the Scottish Government via Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the UK Government via the offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We need bold, collective action to tackle the global climate emergency, and the growth of our renewables sector over the next 10 years will be truly transformative, helping to deliver a just transition to net zero and a greener, fairer future for us all.


“This significant investment in Scotland’s energy sector is testament to the skills, expertise and innovation within our industry.

“We are delighted to financially support this cutting edge offshore wind towers facility, through Highlands & Islands Enterprise.”

The Now factory is expected to receive backing from SSE Renewables, Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power.

SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “Today’s announcement shows that SSE is willing to put its money where its mouth is to support development of the Scottish manufacturing capability for the offshore wind sector.

“We have worked with Global Energy Group and stakeholders for more than two years to get to this point.”

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