Colin Beattie MSP has given his reaction to the supreme court ruling on which took place on Wednesday 23 November.
The UK Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to hold a second independence referendum.
Mr Beattie states the Supreme Court ruling must be respected but it demonstrates that Scotland is not part of a voluntary union.
Commenting Colin Beattie MSP said:
“The decision by the UK Supreme Court to rule against the right of Scotland to hold a referendum on its constitutional future brought clarity to the view of London on the rights of the people of Scotland.
“In their view Scotland has no democratic rights outside of Westminster despite politicians consistently reiterating that Scotland is an equal partner in the Union with England. They further have repeatedly emphasised that it is a voluntary partnership between equal nations.
“This single decision by the UK Supreme Court completely debunks those reassurances. Scotland is no longer in a voluntary union with England and clearly it never was. We are held within this debased union by force of law and the majority votes held by England in the Westminster parliament.
“Democracy must and will prevail. We must all defend our Parliament and our rights to decide our own future through the ballot box.”
ALL ELIGIBLE FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN UNDER-16 ELIGIBLE FOR SUPPORT
The Scottish Child Payment has been increased from £20 to £25 per week per child, meaning 5,020 families in Midlothian and East Lothian are set to receive a boost to their household incomes from the Scottish Government.
Eligibility for the payment, which is only available in Scotland, has also been extended, meaning eligible families in Midlothian and East Lothian with children under the age of 16 can now apply for the Scottish Child Payment.
Colin Beattie is encouraging families in Midlothian and East Lothian to apply for the support.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“The extension of the Scottish Child Payment could be a turning point for families in Midlothian, East Lothian and across Scotland as the support is extending from £20 to £25.
“We have already heard from anti-poverty charities how the payment has been ‘game-changing’ for families with children under-6 and now as the support is extended to families with children under-16 more will have extra cash in their pockets to get through this Tory-made cost of living crisis.
“The Scottish Child Payment is only available in Scotland and demonstrates how the SNP Scottish Government is building a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect.
“However, the Scottish Government continues to work with one hand tied behind its back by a UK government which is preparing to inflict austerity 2.0 on families across Scotland.
“There is only one way we can escape the chaos of Westminster and build a fairer, more equal Scotland and that is by becoming an independent country.”
FAMILIES IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN SAVE ON AVERAGE £5,000 ON CHILDCARE COSTS
The number of children benefitting from free early learning and childcare in Midlothian stands at 1,711 and East Lothian stands at 1,949. Saving the average family £5,000 per eligible child on childcare costs.
Among the children who are eligible, 216 eligible two-year-olds and 3,471 across Midlothian and East Lothian are taking up the 1140 hours on offer.
Across Scotland, 83,237 children aged between two and five were accessing the full 1140 hours of ELC for free.
Figures also show the number of children accessing free ELC has increased by 3% on the previous year.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“Scotland is the only part of the UK to offer 1140 hours of free childcare to all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds.
“This has saved families in Midlothian and East Lothian £5,000 per eligible child, which is a significant saving at a time when costs are skyrocketing as a result of the Tory-made cost of living crisis.
“Childcare also benefits children too by enriching their early years and giving them the confidence and skills they need to prepare them for school.
“The Scottish Government continues to provide support for families in Midlothian, East Lothian and across Scotland with measures like this and other support like the Scottish Child Payment, which will be extended to all eligible under-16s by the end of the year.
“However, it continues to do so with one hand tied behind its back by a Westminster government that has slashed support for families and has caused the biggest squeeze on household budgets in decades.
“That is why only with independence can we fully support families and build a fairer, more equal country.”
SCOTTISH ECONOMY LOSES £2.2BN IN TRADE TO EU
Brexit has cost Midlothian and East Lothian the equivalent of £82million as Scottish exports have plummeted since the UK left the EU to the value of £2.2bn.
Figures from HMRC show that exports have dropped 13% in the past two years from £16.7bn to £14.5bn.
The £2.2bn loss is equivalent to Midlothian losing £38million and East Lothian losing £44million.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“Brexit has been an unmitigated disaster for every area of Scotland, including in Midlothian and East Lothian. These latest figures show why it is essential for Scotland to become independent and re-join the European Union.
“Only with independence can we get back on the road towards prosperity as both Labour and the Tories offer no way back to the European Union, just continuing decline under Westminster control.
“Industries in Midlothian, East Lothian and across Scotland are suffering as a result of the disastrous Brexit, the only way Scotland can flourish and realise our full potential is by becoming an independent country in the European Union.”
Colin Beattie MSP has expressed his disappointment over the closure of the McColl’s Store located in Jarnac Court, in the heart of Dalkeith.
Early this year McColl’s faced administration difficulties and were bought over by Morrisons which has now been cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority.
Morrisons plan to convert 1,164 locations into Morrisons Daily stores but have made the decision to close 132 McColl’s stores they do not see viable.
Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP, Colin Beattie commented:
“I am disappointed at the decision Morrisons have taken to close the McColl’s store in Dalkeith. This store is located in the heart of Dalkeith, and it will be a great loss.
“A real concern is the current employees who may face redundancy. I would encourage Morrisons to work closely with them to avoid this risk and seek alternative locations of employment for the employees.
“Unfortunately, we are living in difficult times with the current cost-of-living crisis creating great uncertainty for business and jobs. Thus, it is important now more than ever jobs are protected, and employees are given the best support throughout this process.
“If any employee impacted by this decision is struggling to receive the correct support, I would encourage them to contact me for assistance at Colin.Beattie.MSP@Parliament.Scot.”
MSP COLIN BEATTIE WELCOMES REFRESHED BABY BOX TO SUPPORT MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN FAMILIES FACING RISING COSTS
41,408 BABY BOXES ALREADY DELIVERED IN NHS LOTHIAN
Midlothian North and Musselburgh SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the news that Scotland’s Baby Box – 41,408 of which have already been delivered across NHS Lothian – is receiving a makeover for its fifth birthday.
The Scottish Government introduced the Baby Boxes scheme in 2017, entitling every newborn in Scotland to a box containing essential items intended to make sure that every child has the best possible start in life.
Based the latest figures for number of Baby Boxes given out by health boards, 235 622 boxes have been distributed to parents across Scotland since the start of the project.
Commenting MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, said:
“I am delighted that Scotland’s much cherished Baby Box is being given a makeover in time for its fifth anniversary. Already, 41,408 baby boxes have been delivered across NHS Lothian by the SNP in government since 2017.
“With updated clothing designs, the refreshed baby box also now includes a baby toothbrush to promote oral health from the very beginning of a baby’s life.
“The arrival of a new baby is a wonderful moment for every family in Midlothian and East Lothian but, as every new parent no doubt appreciates, the costs of welcoming a new addition to the family are significant - particularly when household budgets are under increasing pressure with the cost-of-living crisis.
“Regardless of the circumstances of new mums and dads, receiving a baby box as a celebration of their new arrivals - and the essential items needed for the first six months of their child’s life – really is a welcome gift.
“And the addition of a toothbrush in the baby box for the first time will hopefully encourage good dental health from the beginning and all the way through life.
“The baby box is one of many transformative actions the SNP is taking to make a real difference to children and families on low incomes – like the game changing Scottish Child payment, which will soon be £25 per week per child.
“While the SNP government continues to deliver bold policies in government for a fairer Scotland, with the limited powers at its disposal, it is only with the full powers of independence that we can properly build a better future that works for everyone.”
Colin Beattie MSP has expressed his delight as work on the first A68 crossing located near the community centre in Pathhead began on Monday 24 October.
The A68 Focus Group which is chaired by Mr Beattie worked with key stakeholder Transport Scotland to secure funding for two controlled crossing points within Pathhead subject to community agreement.
There have been two residential surveys which sought the opinion of the local community to determine the best location for the two crossings. It was agreed that outside the community centre and the top of Roman Camp were the most suitable options.
The crossings will make the A68 safer for both road users and pedestrians.
Local MSP and A68 Chair, Colin Beattie commented:
“I am pleased to see work start on the first crossing on the A68 in Pathhead.
“The A68 through Pathhead has long been in need of improvements and is the local road which connects families, friends and communities.
“Community engagement has been key throughout the process of determining the location of the crossings. These crossings will not only make it safer for all in the community but address the wider concerns regarding road safety, speeding and access to community facilities.
“I would like to thank residents of Pathhead, the Tynewater Community Council, Transport Scotland and all involved in the A68 Focus Group for their support in making this happen.”
Information on the works can be found at: https://www.traffic.gov.scot/travel-news/projects-and-events/new-pedestrian-crossing-a68-pathhead
Image Credit: BEAR Scotland
TORY U-TURN AND LABOUR ABSTENTION COULD SEE ENERGY BILLS IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN RISE TO £5000
WESTMINSTER CONTROL AGAIN EXPOSES DEEP FLAWS OF DEVOLUTION
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has warned struggling households in Midlothian and East Lothian could face bills of up to £5,000 next April after the Tories performed another screeching U-turn and scrapped protections offered to families on the energy price cap - and Labour abstained on an SNP amendment that would have prevented this.
In scrapping the majority of the proposals contained in former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s financial statement, the latest Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a scaling back of the energy price cap freeze, which will now last for only six months instead of the two years initially promised.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie branded the decision reckless, warning households in Midlothian and East Lothian face massive energy bill rises again in April 2023.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said: “There is no doubt Scots are paying a heavy price for Westminster’s failures and would be better off with the full powers of independence.
“This calamitous UK Tory government has reversed its proposals that crashed the UK economy and recklessly removed the very little protection they offered to households through an ever-worsening cost of living crisis.
“First they were way too late to act on energy bills, and now households in Midlothian and East Lothian face even bigger rises in April when the help is scaled back in the latest example of Westminster austerity.
“What’s worse is that, given a chance to stand up for struggling households, the Labour Party once again sat on its hands and refused to offer up real opposition, leaving families in the firing line.
“Labour’s failure to support the SNP once again exposes the democratic deficit where the vast majority of Scotland’s MPs vote one way while Westminster MPs vote for the total opposite. This is an intolerable situation we would escape with independence.
"Scots should no longer be forced to bear the rising cost of Westminster failure. We need the full powers of independence to set a better path and escape the Tories for good.”
Colin Beattie has urged people in Midlothian and East Lothian to take extra care if using alternative heating and lighting methods to try to keep energy bills down this winter following a warning from the fire service.
As a result of the Tory made cost-of-living crisis, people are turning to alternative energy sources like wood-burning, candles and electric blankets. In response, the fire service has warned people could ‘inadvertently’ put themselves in danger of accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Colin Beattie has echoed those calls for people in Midlothian and East Lothian to take extra care if they need to use alternative energy sources over the winter.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“Thousands of people will be in a desperate situation this winter due to the Tory cost-of-living crisis and being forced to turn to alternative ways of heating their homes.
“In a country as rich as the UK people should not have to turn to wood-burning to heat their homes and candles for light.
“However, if anyone is forced to use these methods, I would urge them to do so with extra caution as these can present an additional fire hazard in the home.
“With so many people facing difficulties in keeping warm this winter, I would encourage everyone in Midlothian and East Lothian to be extra vigilant to avoid putting themselves and their households in avoidable danger."
Colin Beattie MSP welcomed new powers to ensure the safe use of fireworks which are set to come into force on Monday 10 October.
The legislation makes it a criminal offence for anyone to supply fireworks or other pyrotechnic articles to a child or person under 18.
The Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Act 2022 passed by the Scottish Parliament on 29 June includes a number of provisions to improve public safety across Scotland and work is progressing to ensure all powers set out in the Act are put in place in a timely manner.
SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie commented:
“I am pleased to see these powers come into effect, especially ahead of Bonfire Night.
“The supply of fireworks or other pyrotechnic articles to a child or person under age 18 will now be a criminal offence and those in breach of the legislation can face £5,000 fine, six-months imprisonment, or both.
“Fireworks can be enjoyed but it is vital that they are done so safety. We have seen year after year the devastating life-changing injuries fireworks cause to both humans and animals if they are in the wrong hands.
“This is a massive step to ensuring greater public safety and making Midlothian and East Lothian safer.”