Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Cost of living crisis: New Perth and Kinross Council leader vows to boost welfare and mental health support

Councillor Grant Laing, the new leader of Perth and Kinross Council.
Councillor Grant Laing, the new leader of Perth and Kinross Council.

The new leader of Perth and Kinross Council says he plans to expand welfare and mental health support in response to the cost of living crisis.

Councillor Grant Laing has assumed control of the local authority at a time when people across the region are experiencing rising bills and inflation.

Some charities claim even those living in more affluent areas of Highland Perthshire are now seeking out help with debt.

Mr Laing’s new administration has already approved a £700,000 package over the cost of living crisis.

But in his first interview since becoming leader of the minority SNP administration at the council, Mr Laing has told The Courier he will go further.

Attempts to address ‘mental health crisis’

He said: “We plan to increase the services that the welfare rights team are offering, with a view to helping locals make sure they’re receiving all of the benefits they are entitled to, as many people don’t.

“We are also very aware that the cost of living crisis has also caused a mental health crisis, and we are going to be investing money into charities and services that can offer people dedicated support.

“Our plans will become apparent at our next budget following consultation with officers, members of the public, the third sector, businesses and other parties.”

Mr Laing says other priorities for his time in office will include using the council’s legislative power to regulate second homes and holiday lets, and rejuvenating high streets.

Councillor Grant Laing and councillor Eric Drysdale.
Mr Laing with deputy council leader Eric Drysdale.

The Strathtay councillor insists the £26 million investment into Perth City Hall will help boost the city centre economy, following the loss of several shops in recent months.

Mr Laing said: “We will improve transport links in the area to make the centre more accessible for everybody.

“We want to inject money into improving bus services.

Leader’s door ‘open to ideas’ on economy

“We will be getting on the ground to see what needs fixed and see what local people want to happen.

“The City Hall is a big part of our rejuvenation plans. The new project’s direct aim is to bring people to Perth.

“We are confident that this will attract more tourism, and therefore strengthen our local economy.

“Attracting investment in our towns is a priority and we will be working hard over the next five years to spell out the benefits of businesses coming to Perth and Kinross.

Works on Perth City Hall are underway
Work is taking place to revamp Perth City Hall.

“Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom, and our door will always be open to those with ideas about how to revitalise our town centres.”

Meanwhile, Mr Laing says the SNP group plans to use all legislative powers available to him to regulate both second homes and holiday lets.

It comes after a raft of applications across rural parts of Perth and Kinross in recent months to turn disused or derelict buildings into holiday accommodation.

New legislation on short-term holiday lets

He said: “New legislation was passed by the Scottish Government this year, which will mean all local authorities must establish licensing schemes for short-term holiday lets with all hosts and operators, and have a licence by July 2024.

“We will explore what other legislative options are open to us.

“We are determined to do all that we can to ensure this issue is properly regulated.

It is vital we get the right mix of holiday accommodation and affordable accommodation for residents

“We want to create more social and affordable housing options so that local people are not priced out of the area.

“To do this, we are analysing the current housing situation and working through possible solutions.

“Tourism is an important part of the Perth and Kinross economy, so it is vital we get the right mix of holiday accommodation and affordable accommodation for residents.

“There isn’t going to be one quick fix for these issues.”

‘I’m the provost of Perth and Kinross aged 28 – here’s how I got there’

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

Conversation

[[title_reg]]

Please enter the name you would like to appear on your comments. (It doesn’t have to be your real name - but nothing rude please, we are a polite bunch!) Use a combination of eight or more characters that includes an upper and lower case character, and a number.

By registering with [[site_name]] you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy

Or sign up with

Facebook Google

[[content_reg_complete]]

[[title_login]]

Or login with

Forgotten your password?

[[title]]