New in brief – population summit, missing bird, MSP’s fuel freeze bid in vain

Scottish Government Minister John Swinney will be the keynote speaker at a ‘population summit’ which aims to build the economy of Argyll and Bute.

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth will address the event on May 9 in Dunoon.

Last year it was revealed here that the Argyll area’s population was falling faster than anywhere else in Scotland; the council wants to build thousands of new houses to try and address the issue.

People in Kilcreggan are being urged to look out for a bright yellow budgerigar which escaped from its home on Wednesday.

Susie Will’s pet Matilda flew out of her home at the junction of School Road and Argyll Road and she is asking anyone who sees the bird to call her on 07849 178206.

“She can’t have got very far, and is probably hiding in a tiny wee place,” said Susie: “I just hope she is managing to eat.”

MSP Jackie Baillie has accused the SNP of being on the side of big energy firms after they failed to back a Labour motion tackling fuel poverty.

The Dumbarton constituency MSP led a debate in the Scottish Parliament this week, saying her proposals would save families £120 a year by freezing gas and electricity bills.

Afterwars she said of the SNP: ““Their refusal to work across party lines is disappointing, if not unexpected.

“Alex Salmond has met with the ‘Big 6’ eight times since 2010. Not once has he asked them to cut their prices.”