Constituency MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, has called for an urgent ban on Glyphosate weed killer by Midlothian Council, following concerns that its use has been reintroduced in the local area.
The product was previously banned by Midlothian Council, but has since come back into use in the local area.
MSP Colin Beattie commented:
“I have been contacted by a group of residents from Danderhall who have alerted me to the use of Glysophate weed killed by the council in the local area and they have made me aware of the community’s concerns in relation to this.
“This specific weed killer was banned for use by Midlothian Council in February 2019, however they have since started limited use of the product again in Midlothian’s green spaces.
“I don’t believe this is acceptable. The product was correctly banned in the first place and not only is this weed killer particularly threatening to vegetation and insects – particularly bees and butterflies - but there is also evidence which proves it has carcinogenic effects on humans. This weed killer should have no place in our local community and we need to ban it to protect wildlife and also public health.
“I have written to the SNP councillors at Midlothian Council to ask for their support in taking action to bring this product out of use and they have assured me they will continue to oppose its use locally. It’s time for the Labour-led council to take some action here and do what’s right to protect our local wildlife and communities.”
Constituency MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie has congratulated Bright Green Business on organising the Environmental Placement Programme for offering innovative placements to graduates. These placements allow graduates to work for a host organisation with a focus on making their professional setting more environmentally minded.
The EPP hosted its annual awards ceremony this week to pay tribute to those who have undertaken their placements this year, and to celebrate those who have gone the extra mile in this role. Mr Beattie has sponsored this event in the Scottish Parliament for several years, and noted he was glad to see it return in a virtual capacity.
Colin Beattie MSP commented:
“As we face a global Climate Emergency, it is absolutely critical that we have innovative thinkers who are minded towards how we can have the most environmentally friendly country possible and who aren’t afraid to take drastic steps to protect our society from the harms of climate change.
“I was delighted to sponsor the EPP Awards in a virtual capacity this year which are organised by Bright Green Business. I have sponsored this event for many years in the Scottish Parliament and I am pleased to see it return in an online format.
“The EPP Awards celebrate those who have gone the extra mile during their placements to find innovative ways to make their host organisations more environmentally friendly. I would like to congratulate this year’s winner, Rowan Stanforth, who won the award of ‘Most Enterprising Environmental Intern 2020’, and also the runner up, Kathleen Painter.
“I commend all those who have undertaken one of these placements and have worked to help build a more sustainable Scotland and to promote a style of thinking that incorporates doing more to protect the environment in our everyday workplaces.
“The EPP has placed over 1,000 students into organisations across Scotland and that this has generated long term employment for young people. Last year, 60% of EPP graduates being hired by their host organisation following their placement. This figure demonstrates to me what a high calibre of candidates are involved in these programmes, and how well respected their work is within the businesses and organisations who host them. It is truly remarkable and proves just how successful these placements are.
“Bright Green Business have also asked me to note that if any businesses would like to host these placements to help make their workplace greener, then they should get in touch with them.
“In light of the success of this programme, I have submitted a Parliamentary motion recognising the merits of the scheme. Congratulations to all those who have undertaken an EPP Placement and a big thank you to those involved in organising the scheme and the host organisations who have welcomed the graduates into their businesses.”
Constituency MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie has urged food and drink projects in Midlothian and East Lothian to apply for a new Scottish Government fund launched to drive projects that celebrate locally sourced and produced food and drink.
The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership was launched to help the sector with its recovery from COVID and prepare for Brexit, supported by £5 million from Scottish Government for 2020/21. An additional £50 million will be provided over 2021/22.
Since 2018 the fund has awarded over £350,000 to 79 creative, innovative & collaborative projects across the regions of Scotland.
Grants of up to £5000 are available to applicants, and the deadline to apply is 15th March 2021.
MSP Colin Beattie said:
“Our world-class food and drink sector has faced an extremely challenging year, so this funding - which will contribute to its recovery from Covid-19 - comes at an important time.
“Between Brexit and COVID-19, there are very few food and drink businesses which haven’t been seriously affected - but it’s vital our food and drink industry keeps growing and bringing benefits to Scotland and also locally to Midlothian and East Lothian.
“This money will play an important role in promoting food and drink in local communities and delivering benefits to Scotland’s local food and drink sector over the long-term.
“I’d encourage all eligible groups and businesses in Midlothian and East Lothian to apply before the deadline on 15th March.”
£201,400 PAID TO FAMILIES IN MIDLOTHIAN AND £196,200 PAID TO FAMILIES IN EAST LOTHIAN FROM SCOTTISH WINTER HARDSHIP FUND
2,014 FAMILIES IN MIDLOTHIAN AND 1,962 FAMILIES IN EAST LOTHIAN RECEIVE £100 WINTER PAYMENT
2,014 families in Midlothian and 1,962 families in East Lothian have received a £100 COVID winter hardship payment to support them through one of the most difficult winters in living memory.
New figures show that the SNP Government provided support to thousands in each of Scotland’s local authorities – with more than £14 million paid out to families in December.
In Midlothian £201,400 was paid out to 2,014 families and in East Lothian £196,200 was paid out to 1,962 families.
The payment, announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was made available to families who were in receipt of free school meals and was paid from 30th November to the start of the winter school holidays.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“With the Scottish Government rolling out the Scottish Child Payment and supporting hundreds of thousands of families across Scotland with the £100 COVID winter hardship payment, the SNP is making a real difference to people’s lives and lifting children out of poverty.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time for families in Midlothian and East Lothian who may have faced lost earnings, increased food bills and cold weather. The £100 winter payment will hopefully have eased the financial strain many have been facing.
“In contrast to the Tories at Westminster, the SNP Scottish Government is doing all it can to ensure kids who receive free school meals do not go hungry.
“Alongside introducing the Scottish Child Payment, Best Start Grant and Best Food Grants, this SNP Government is committed to supporting children, whereas the Tories are planning to slash Universal Credit and get rid of the £20 uplift when families need it most.
“The only way Scotland can escape Westminster austerity and build a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect is by becoming an independent country.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment, which is set to make a difference to families across Midlothian and East Lothian at a time when they need it most.
The new SNP Scottish Government benefit will provide families with a much-needed boost as it will give eligible families and carers £40 every four weeks for each child under six.
Payments are due to start at the end of this month and Colin Beattie, constituency MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, is urging parents who have not applied yet to do so as soon as possible.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“The introduction of the Scottish Child Payment will be a welcome boost for families across Midlothian and East Lothian. I would urge anyone who hasn’t applied to do so as soon as they can so they can receive this benefit that is unique to Scotland.
“The Scottish Child Payment has been described as ‘game-changing’ as it will make a difference to the lives of thousands of children across Scotland.
“As the Scottish Government rolls out this new benefit it is in stark contrast to the Tories at Westminster who are planning on taking away the £20 uplift to Universal Credit at a time when families need it most.
“Along with the Best Start Grant and other benefits rolled out by Social Security Scotland, the Scottish Child Payment is forming part of a benefits system built on dignity, fairness and respect, working for the people of Scotland, not against them.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed an announcement by the SNP Scottish Government that B&Bs in Midlothian and East Lothian will be eligible for a lockdown grant.
Businesses can receive a £2,000 grant for every 4 weeks they have been in lockdown if they do not pay non-domestic rates but do pay council tax.
The grant will be allocated by local councils, who should soon contact business owners that are eligible for this money.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“Lockdown restrictions have been incredibly difficult for the tourism industry, especially small B&Bs and this grant from the Scottish Government will be welcome relief for those that have felt the impacts of restrictions.
“B&Bs in Midlothian and East Lothian have played their part in suppressing the virus and stopping the spread and they should not suffer as a result of something that was of no fault of their own.
“I would encourage all B&Bs owners to take these grants and for local authorities to contact eligible businesses as quickly as possible to ensure funds are in their accounts as soon as possible.”
Colin Beattie, Constituency MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, has encouraged local constituents to ensure that they take up their vaccination appointments when they are offered them. He has also urged constituents to be patient, and to not overwhelm GP’s by submitting enquiries about the vaccinations.
Colin Beattie MSP commented:
‘We all know that the best way that we can protect ourselves and others from Covid-19 is by getting vaccinated. We are now well underway with our vaccination programme, having vaccinated over 1 million people in Scotland with a first dose so far. I would like to encourage everyone who is offered the vaccine to ensure that they take it, for the good of the public health in Scotland.
‘I have been receiving lots of correspondence from worried constituents who have not yet been contacted about their vaccine. Please be patient with this. Our health workers are going as fast as they can to roll this vaccine out and ensure it is distributed as widely as possible. Please do not contact your GP to ask when you will receive your vaccination, as this will overwhelm our health services.
‘The nature of the vaccination is that it is a rollout, so because of this it is very normal that many in each category will not have heard about an appointment in the first week or two of their JCVI priority group. Not everyone in the group will get the vaccine on day one by the definition of a rollout. There will be several weeks of calling people forward within each priority group, and so if you haven’t heard anything in the first period of the vaccination target dates then this is nothing to worry about and you will undoubtedly be contacted soon after.
‘Within each priority group, the GP surgery will determine who gets what appointment and they will take into consideration differences in overall health. Some younger than you may get the vaccination more quickly because they may be assigned to a different GP, clinic, or distribution centre, and therefore they are working to a different list.
‘Some clinics will receive supplies before others, as we try to ensure that as many people around the country get access to the supplies and that they are distributed fairly and effectively. This is very typical in a rollout because it would be impossible to offer everyone in a priority group an appointment on the same day.
‘I do, of course, understand that people are anxious and eager to be vaccinated, but the best thing we can do right now is let our health workers, who are the experts in this, work through their lists as quickly as they can and not hinder them by overwhelming them with enquiries.
‘We should all familiarise ourselves with the information on the Scottish Government website which alerts to when each category should expect to receive their vaccination and then patiently wait to be contacted by NHS Lothian with a date and time.
‘If you have concerns the best place to get more information is by contacting the Covid-19 Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013.’
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed millions of pounds of funding from the Scottish Government for drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, including those in Midlothian and East Lothian.
Announced by Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, £145.3 million will be committed to alcohol and drugs services, including £50 million to reduce drugs deaths in Scotland.
Last week, the SNP Government provided £3 million for NHS boards to increase provision of residential drug rehabilitation placements and improve access to treatment and harm reduction services - including £53,495 for Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership and £53,495 for East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership.
The Scottish Budget 2021-22 commits £16 billion in total to improving the nation’s health and supporting the NHS in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commenting SNP MSP, Colin Beattie said:
“The millions of pounds committed in the Scottish Budget to tackling drugs deaths demonstrates how seriously the SNP Scottish Government is taking the issue.
“Over the past year, the pandemic has presented an incredible challenge for our health and support services and that has been recognised by the Scottish Government with a commitment of £145 million into drug and alcohol services.
“We have some fantastic services in Midlothian and East Lothian, some of which are run by volunteers who give up their time to help the recovery of others. I am sure this funding will be a boost to them.
“We know that action is needed now to tackle the drugs death emergency Scotland faces. Along with the appointment of the new Drugs Minister, the SNP Government is making significant steps to tackle Scotland’s drugs crisis.
"The SNP will continue to provide investment for direct interventions to address health inequalities, exacerbated by COVID-19, to create a Scotland where we can all live longer, healthier lives.”
Constituency MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, has said the SNP Government’s Council Tax freeze will provide financial relief to thousands of local households during tough times.
Last month, Scotland’s Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, announced a £90 million fund to compensate local authorities who choose to scrap planned rises in Council Tax.
Now, Colin Beattie has called on the local council to make use of the fund and freeze their rates at current levels for the next year – which would mean that Midlothian Council would receive £1.66 million and East Lothian Council would receive £1.95 million of support.
Under the draft budget plans, a majority of taxpayers will also continue to pay less income tax than they would in the rest of the UK.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“We all know the financial impact that this global pandemic has had in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“So it’s great news that this SNP Government has sought to provide relief to households by supporting local authorities to freeze increases in Council Tax for the coming year.
“If Midlothian and East Lothian councils choose to do the right thing and freeze their rates, they will be fully-supported to the tune of £1.66 million for Midlothian Council and £1.95 million for East Lothian Council. It’s time they gave local residents that assurance.
“In these tough times, the SNP Government has proven that where Scotland has the powers, we will take a different approach to give Scots the fairest deal in the UK.”
DIRECT INVESTMENT TO INCREASE MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN
Constituency MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, has welcomed direct investment in mental health services in the Scottish Budget, which will increase by £139 million and take overall spending in mental health to over £1.1 billion.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes confirmed that the Scottish Government will be making £15 million available to support the continued establishment of local mental health services.
An additional £500,000 will also be made available to health boards this financial year to provide dedicated mental health support for health and social care staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Samaritans said they "welcome the recognition by the Scottish Government of the impact of Covid-19 on Scotland's mental health and wellbeing in today's Scottish Budget. We are pleased to see this recognition matched with an increase in direct investment in mental health services."
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“This Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on many people’s mental health - and it’s welcome that the Scottish Government has recognised this and committed to investing over £1.1billion into mental health services.
“Lockdown restrictions, although vital for stopping the spread of the virus, have themselves had a negative impact on many people’s health and wellbeing, with more people experiencing financial insecurity alongside social isolation and the anxiety of living through a pandemic.
“As such, mental health support is an absolute priority for this SNP Government, and this Budget supports overall mental health spending of more than £1.1 billion, which will contribute hugely to our recovery from the pandemic in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“This is a significant step forward in the SNP government’s package of measures to improve the mental health support available for children, young people and adults across Scotland.”
To find out what I've been doing in Parliament, click on me!