There was an announcement this week that the Bank of Scotland branch in Loanhead is set to shut. This closure will come on the 4th of May 2020 and will be one of 14 branch closures across Scotland.
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh commented:
‘We are seeing far too many branch closures locally and it is simply unacceptable. Having a local bank is vital to communities and the Loanhead branch is an indispensable service for many local people.
Alternatives need to be sought instead of simply closing bank branches without thorough consideration or consultation. We should not simply be offered ineffective substitutes, such as post offices. We need to have a face-to-face banking branch that adequately addresses the needs of the community.
I would call on the UK Government to act and work harder to protect our local businesses and communities from careless decisions like this. I would urgently ask the Bank of Scotland to rethink the reckless decision to shut local services, as this only puts their customers at a disadvantage. I am determined to continue fighting for a better deal for my community with local businesses.’
Owen Thompson MP for Midlothian stated:
‘I am shocked to learn that Bank of Scotland are proposing the closure of their Loanhead Branch this May. This is the only bank in Loanhead and this decision is clearly short-sighted given the significant population increase in the local area. It is not good enough that constituents and local businesses will have to make longer journeys to have access to essential services that they should have locally. The Bank of Scotland need to reconsider this decision immediately.’
'In light of this announcement I have spoken to Bank of Scotland to call for an urgent meeting which is due to take place in the coming days. I also highlighted this issue to local Councillor, Kelly Parry and to Pat Kenny, Chair of Loanhead's Community Council, who share my concerns that this closure will bring loss to the local community'
Kelly Parry Councillor for Midlothian West said:
“The Community in Loanhead will be hugely disadvantaged by this decision, which will have an impact on the most vulnerable of residents, as well as the Loanhead business community. I would urge the Bank of Scotland to reconsider this shocking move and protect this vital face to face service for Loanhead.”
Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed a Holyrood vote backing the right for Scotland to hold an independence referendum.
A majority of MSPs endorsed the right of the people of Scotland to have a say over their future.
Most Scots believe that the Scottish Parliament, rather than Westminster, should decide whether there should be an independence referendum.
A Survation poll published this month found that 61% of Scots believed the matter should be for Holyrood, with only 39% believing Westminster should decide.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“This week Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against our will.
“In 2014 we were promised that voting No meant staying in the EU, and many people in Midlothian and East Lothian voted on that basis.
“In a democracy, when the facts change people have the right to change their mind.
“I was elected on a manifesto commitment to hold an independence referendum in the exact circumstances we now face.
“The Scottish Parliament has backed the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine their own future – and most people believe it should be for Holyrood to decide, not Boris Johnson.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed new figures showing a 6% fall in homelessness applications in East Lothian between September 2018 and September 2019.
The Scottish Government has invested £32.5 million into Rapid Rehousing and Housing First to prioritise permanent, settled accommodation, as the first response to minimise the length of time people spend in temporary accommodation.
The government also changed the Unsuitable Accommodation Order in 2014 so that families with children and pregnant women only stay in accommodation, such as B&Bs, for a maximum of seven days.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“Everyone should have a home of their own, and any level of homelessness is too high.
“While we must not become complacent, it is very welcome that the number of applications in East Lothian has fallen.
“The SNP in government is determined to tackle homelessness and good progress is being made on our £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan.
“It’s now vital that we do all we can to prevent homelessness in the first place, and ensure that when it does happen support is available to move into settled accommodation quickly.”
TORY CUTS UNDERLINE NEED FOR FULL POWERS OVER WELFARE
The Scottish Welfare Fund made 1,285 payments to people in Midlothian and 1,305 to people in East Lothian in the last financial quarter – to help pay for essentials such as food, heating costs, and household necessities.
A total of 220 Community Care Grants and 1065 Crisis Grants were awarded in Midlothian, and 340 Community Care Grants and 970 Crisis Grants were awarded in East Lothian between July and September 2019 - an increase of 2% in Midlothian and 23% in East Lothian compared to the same period last year.
The stats come just days after a new report revealed that the most vulnerable will be hit hardest by the UK decision to leave the EU, and Brexit will lead to increased job losses, the cost of living and food prices pushed up, and reductions in public spending.
Since its launch in April 2013, the Scottish Welfare Fund has paid out almost £220 million to over 357,000 households across the country – with 28,390 households in Midlothian and 24,455 households in East Lothian receiving help from the Scottish Government fund.
In total a third of households receiving awards were families with children.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“The Scottish Welfare Fund is a vital lifeline for many people facing poverty or crisis.
“But the fact that so many households in Midlothian and East Lothian have been forced to turn to the fund for emergency financial help is extremely concerning.
“The Scottish Government spends millions every year shielding Scots from UK Government welfare cuts. That our devolved Government should have to protect its citizens from the cruelty of the UK state is unacceptable and unsustainable.
“And with the threat of Brexit still alive – the risk is real that tens of thousands more people could be pushed into poverty in Scotland, and left at the mercy of this heartless Tory government.
“Only with full powers over social security can we begin to make Scotland an equal country with a dignified and fair welfare system. Until then, the SNP will continue to do everything in our power to tackle poverty and support low income families.”
LOCAL MSP SAYS SNP MAKING SCHOOLS “FIT FOR THE FUTURE”
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