SNP MSP FOR MIDLOTHIAN NORTH AND MUSSELBURGH WELCOMES HEALTH MEASURES IN THE FIRST MINISTER’S PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has said the Scottish Government’s proposals will go a long way to improving the health of the community in Midlothian North and Musselburgh.
The SNP Scottish Government announced plans to establish a Mental Health and Capacity Reform Programme as part of modernising mental health and capacity legislation, enhancing the protection of people’s rights.
The First Minister also committed to taking action to reduce vaping, tackling their environmental impact and consulting on the banning of disposable vapes.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, said:
“The First Minister’s Programme for Government demonstrates the SNP’s commitment to improving the lives and wellbeing of people across Midlothian North and Musselburgh.
“The SNP Scottish Government recognises that too many Scots are dealing with mental health challenges, which are only compounded by cost-of-living pressures, and is determined to take meaningful action to ensure people get the support they need.
“The SNP is also aware of concerns regarding the impact of vaping, both on the increasing number of young people using vapes and on the environment. I am very pleased to see steps being taken to address the impact of these devices.
“As Westminster continues in its intransigence, refusing to take meaningful action to support people during these difficult times, the SNP Scottish Government is determined to do all it can to support people with health issues and protect our environment.”
The First Minister’s Programme for Government can be found here.
SNP ONLY PARTY OFFERING REAL CHANGE WITH INDEPENDENCE
Colin Beattie, SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, has warned that damaging Tory and Labour policies are cutting the incomes of thousands of working families after new analysis revealed 2,670 children across Midlothian and East Lothian are impacted by the two child benefit cap.
The analysis, conducted by the SNP using the latest available data from the UK Government Department for Work and Pensions, found that 2,670 children in Midlothian and East Lothian are missing out on receiving vital financial support due to the Westminster two child benefit cap.
These findings come on the back of the Labour Party admitting it would keep the Tory two child cap, a policy which has pushed more than 20,000 Scottish children into poverty. In sharp contrast the SNP Government has lifted 90,000 children out of absolute poverty thanks to policies such as the game changing Scottish Child Payment.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“Damaging Westminster policies are cutting the incomes of families across Midlothian North and Musselburgh who are struggling to make ends meet.
“The revelation that 2,670 children in Midlothian and East Lothian are being harmed by the Tory’s cruel two child limit policy is shameful – The SNP Government’s national mission to eradicate child poverty is being undermined by Westminster at every step.
“In the Scottish Parliament this week the SNP backed a motion calling out cruel Westminster welfare policies. All the while Labour MSPs sat on their hands and failed to oppose a policy harming 2,670 children in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“Families across Midlothian North and Musselburgh are suffering like never before – and while Labour under orders from their London bosses are happy to see this continue – the SNP will stand up against harmful Westminster policies at every opportunity.”
NEW SCOTTISH EDUCATION EXCHANGE PROGRAMME OPENS DOORS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN MIDLOTHIAN NORTH AND MUSSELBURGH
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has said the announcement of a new Scottish Education Exchange Programme in the First Minister’s Programme for Government will “open countless doors for young people across Midlothian North and Musselburgh”.
The SNP Scottish Government is to launch a new exchange programme which would prioritise placements for disadvantaged young people, following an initial test and learn project this year.
Principal of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, has welcomed the programme, saying “the return on this investment could be immense” for young people across Scotland.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, said:
“The new Scottish Education Exchange Programme will transform the life experience and open doors for young people across Midlothian North and Musselburgh.
“The First Minister’s ambition for young people in Scotland is clear, and the SNP Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that all youngsters, regardless of their background, have equal opportunities to learn and thrive.
“Programmes like this not only enrich the lives of young people by offering them a chance to study abroad and broaden their horizons, they also improve communities like Midlothian North and Musselburgh.
“In the face of a Tory Government at Westminster which continues to deny young people participation in Erasmus+, and a Labour party which refuses to even acknowledge the damage caused by Brexit, the SNP is determined to support the youngest members of our society.
“I am thrilled to see the First Minister’s further investment in young people in Midlothian North and Musselburgh.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie, has welcomed the news that a pay deal has been agreed for all police officers in Midlothian North and Musselburgh.
A 7% increase to pay and allowances, which will be backdated to 1st April 2023, ensures a cumulative increase of 12.35% in police officer pay since April 2022.
The agreement was reached following extensive dialogue and negotiation through the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) – a body made up of representatives from the Scottish Police Authority, Police Scotland, the Scottish Government, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS), Scottish Police Federation (SPF) and the Scottish Chief Police Officers Staff Association (SCPOSA).
Police officers in Midlothian North and Musselburgh perform an essential role in keeping local communities safe and SNP MSP Colin Beattie has said that this pay deal recognises the hard work and valuable contribution they make to daily life.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“Police officers perform an essential role in keeping communities across Midlothian North and Musselburgh safe and this pay deal recognises their hard work and valuable contribution.
“Despite the difficult financial environment created by Westminster, I strongly welcome the direct action taken by the SNP Government to invest £11.6 billion in policing since 2013 to ensure that people in Midlothian North and Musselburgh remain safe.
“I would like to recognise and thank those on the Police Negotiating Board who worked in good faith to achieve an agreement that works for all parties involved.
“In Scotland we have an SNP Government that is committed to keeping communities in Midlothian North and Musselburgh safe - whilst also working to support those responsible for doing so through the Westminster cost-of-living crisis.” ENDS
THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT’S PROGRAM FOR GOVERNMENT IS FOCUSED ON SEIZING SCOTLAND’S ECONOMIC POTENTIAL AND REDUCING POVERTY.
Click Today First Minister, Humza Yousaf announced a Programme for Government (PfG) for 2023-24 that builds on the three missions to deliver: equality; opportunity; community.
Commenting on the PfG, Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh said
“This PfG will benefit my constituents in Midlothian North and Musselburgh as it puts us on a path towards tackling some of the big issues facing the country.
Many of the announcements made today by First Minister Humza Yousaf deal with the issues that are areas of concern for my constituents.
I welcome plans to ban single use vapes in Scotland as part of plans to protect public health, our young people and the environment.
I am pleased that Private and voluntary sector staff working in Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Early Learning will now receive at least £12 an hour from April.
I am encouraged that we will make further preparation for the expansion of universal Free School Meals for all pupils in primaries six and seven.
These are just some of this years program that will build upon the success of the Scottish Child Payment, that benefits 11,495 children in East Lothian and Midlothian.
By making choices in Scotland that are socially just, we have used the Scottish Government’s fixed budget and limited powers to tackle inequality and poverty and protect people, as far as possible. This has protected us from the harm inflicted by UK Government cuts and austerity, as well as the ongoing cost of living crisis.
This government continues to support key pillars that were long abandoned elsewhere in the UK, such as free education, free prescriptions, free personal care and so much more. Despite the increasingly challenging context that we face, the SNP Government has successfully balanced the Scottish Budget every year; and this Programme for Government continues our mission to protect the most vulnerable “.
FAMILIES IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN RECEIVE £12.7 MILLION IN SUPPORT FROM SNP GOVERNMENT
11,495 children in Midlothian and East Lothian have benefitted from the Scottish Child Payment, according to the latest figures released by the Scottish Government - with £12,745,020 having been paid to families.
The payment of £25 per week, available to eligible children under the age of 16, is one of five family payments available from the Scottish Government which provide regular financial support to low income families.
The Scottish Child Payment is designed to combat child poverty and support families across Scotland, and these figures demonstrate the significant impact of this for 11,495 children in Midlothian and East Lothian, and 316,190 across the whole of Scotland.
Following its introduction in February 2021, the payment is the most ambitious anti-poverty measure to be implemented in the UK. It has been hailed as a “game-changer” in tackling child poverty by the Child Poverty Action Group and described as a “lifesaver" by parents.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said
“The Scottish Child payment was designed to tackle child poverty head on, so it is great to see the SNP’s benefit providing real support to 11,495 children in Midlothian and East Lothian - with £12,745,020 having been paid out to local families.
“I am conscious that, as we head into the winter months, and with the Tory-made cost of living crisis continuing to affect households across Midlothian and East Lothian, families will face even greater challenges, with many struggling to make ends meet. The Scottish Child Payment will therefore be even more vital.
“Having increased the Scottish Child Payment by 150% since its introduction and expanded eligibility to under 16s, it is clear the SNP Scottish Government is determined to use the powers it has to tackle child poverty and support Scotland’s most vulnerable families.
“The profound impact of the Scottish Child Payment, in the face of both Westminster parties' pursuit of cruel policies and cuts, perfectly demonstrates the need for Scotland to have the full welfare and tax powers of an independent country. Only this way can we build a fairer and more prosperous country."
Bonnyrigg Post Office will be re-opening the branch as a permanent service on Thursday 28 September 2023 at 13:00. This will be in a new location – Premier Store, 8 -10 Dundas Street, Bonnyrigg, EH19 3AS, where it will be known as Bonnyrigg Post Office.
The full time branch closed, in September 2018. In the interim, to serve the local community with continued access to Post Office services, a temporary Mobile service operated from Settlement Project, 76 High Street, Bonnyrigg, EH19 2AE, while a permanent solution was found. This service will cease after the last service date on Monday 25 September 2023 at 12:45.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“I am pleased that a full-time post-office branch location has been found for the residents of Bonnyrigg.
I know from my constituents how much locals rely on the post office and how important it is that they are located in a central area for all to access – especially for the most vulnerable in our communities.
I very much welcome this news and I am sure local people do too.”
NEW RESEARCH LAYS BARE THE COST OF WESTMINSTER’S BEDROOM TAX IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN
Local MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, has slammed Labour’s leader in Scotland, Anas Sarwar, for u-turning on his commitment to abolish the bedroom tax after new figures reveal Midlothian and East Lothian was forced to spend £6.7 million mitigating the Westminster policy.
Labour’s Anas Sarwar promised in 2013 “if we were in government tomorrow, we would abolish the bedroom tax”, before the party’s Economy Spokesperson in Scotland confirmed earlier this week a Labour government now won’t scrap the Tories’ bedroom tax or two-child cap on benefits.
Statistics have revealed that, since 2019, the Scottish Government has spent over £251,000,000 mitigating the bedroom tax through Discretionary Housing Payments.
Further analysis from the SNP has also shown that families in Scotland have been disproportionately hit by the bedroom tax, with one in three (33%) housing benefit claimants in Scotland having their benefits reduced compared to one in six (16%) in England.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“Under Anas Sarwar and Keir Starmer, Labour has u-turned on their cast iron commitment to scrap the bedroom tax which is impacting a huge number of my constituents in Midlothian North and Musselburgh.
“In the middle of a cost of living crisis, Labour’s refusal to scrap the cruel bedroom tax and ease the financial pressure on households across Midlothian North and Musselburgh, is a disgrace.
“Anas Sarwar has been taking lessons from his boss Keir Starmer with this barefaced betrayal of working families. After over a decade of Westminster austerity, people are crying out for real change and compassionate leadership – but Labour doesn’t want to listen.
“The SNP Government is being forced to mitigate the bedroom tax to the tune of £65 million a year – money that could be reinvested elsewhere if Labour had the courage to get behind the SNP and end these abhorrent policies for good.”
Colin Beattie MSP has welcomed the publishing of ‘Citizenship in an independent Scotland’; a new Independence Paper from the Scottish Government which outlines what an independent Scotland’s vision for a fairer, inclusive and welcoming approach to citizenship would look like, and how this would be key in tackling population decline and growing the economy.
By adopting an inclusive approach to citizenship, as outlined in fifth paper in the SNP Government’s ‘Building a New Scotland’ series, more people would be able and attracted to live and work in Scotland and Midlothian North and Musselburgh; boosting local and national economies and also Scotland’s population.
The process would be modelled on the Irish citizenship system; allowing those born outwith the country after independence to be automatically entitled to Scottish citizenship, if one of their parents is a Scottish citizen.
The paper also includes proposals for a fairer fee system for citizenship applications and a commitment to establish an independent Migrants’ Commissioners, which was a key recommendation of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review.
This compassionate approach, centred on upholding human rights, is in stark contrast to the inhuman and not-fit-for-purpose immigration system championed by Westminster Tories, who’s Illegal Migration Bill has been heavily criticised for breaching legal obligations to refugees fleeing conflict.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh said:
“Scotland and Midlothian North and Musselburgh wants no part to play in the Tory government’s punitive and exclusionary approach to citizenship and immigration, and I welcome this new paper from the Scottish Government – which shows how we can use an inclusive approach to citizenship in an independent Scotland to grow our population and support our economies to thrive.
“Scotland is known globally for our welcoming people and hospitable traditions, so it’s only right that the approach of an independent Scotland to citizenship reflects this, and leaves no one with a rightful claim out in the cold.
“From a hard Brexit they didn’t vote for to an austerity driven cost of living crisis, people in Scotland are paying a heavy price for being tied to the compassionless Westminster Tories, who’s unelected Lords and over privileged ministers have no place dictating Scotland’s democratic institution. It’s time to choose a better path with independence and build a welcoming and economically prosperous Scotland that leaves the light on for all."
COLIN BEATTIE MSP THANKS ALL INVOLVED IN CARRYING OUT THE EXTERNAL REVIEW INTO RIVERSIDE MEDICAL PRACTICE
The final report from the highly anticipated External Review into Access and Capacity of Riverside Medical Practice and Associated Services has now been published.
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, has praised the work carried out by the external review team, and that of Riverside Medical Practice in identifying the issues and establishing where improvements needed made to improve the overall patient experience.
The initial report, following 5 months of information gathering, made 17 recommendations where improvements should be made. Following 6 months of work by Riverside Medical Practice and East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, progress has been made with many of these 17 recommendations and work will be ongoing with several others.
Commenting, Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh said “I am extremely grateful to all involved with bringing together the External Review Team, and to Riverside Medical Practice for working with them to look at how to improve the patient experience for many of my constituents.
For many years I have been pushing for action to be taken as it was clear that patients had concerns with accessing care, and with being able to contact the practice by telephone. Following discussions with our First Minister Humza Yousaf, in his previous role as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, I was able to stress the importance of Riverside Medical Practice within our community, and to request his support in forcing the necessary improvements to ensure all my constituents have access to medical care at the point of need.
Now the independent review team have completed their role in the process, and published their final report, it is clear that whilst progress has been made, there are still many points outstanding. My hope is that Riverside Medical Practice and East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership continue to make progress on all 17 recommendations and complete the good work that has been started over the last 6 months. I do not see the process as reaching its conclusion as there is still work to be done, and as such I will continue to monitor the situation and will be looking to see continuing progress. Over the years I have been contacted by many constituents reporting their concerns with the practice and I would like to encourage patients continue to get in touch with me if they encounter issues in accessing care.”