FIRMS IN MIDLOTHIAN BENEFIT FROM £3.119M AND EAST LOTHIAN BENEFIT FROM £4.192M IN BUSINESS RATES SUPPORT
The Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme provided £3.119m of support for businesses across Midlothian and £4.192m in East Lothian.
The Small Business Bonus Scheme, delivered by the SNP in 2008/09, supports local firms by reducing their rates liability or taking firms out of business rates altogether.
With businesses across Scotland receiving a total support relief of £240.663m last year, SNP MSP Colin Beattie has said the Scottish Government’s commitment to local jobs and communities across Midlothian is clear.
Commenting, local SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“These figures prove the success of the Small Business Bonus Scheme for firms across Midlothian and East Lothian.
“Businesses in Midlothian have benefitted from a massive £3.119m and East Lothian have benefitted from a massive £4.192m in rates support, providing stability for local jobs and communities and giving firms that valuable headroom to grow and thrive.
“While Labour and the Tories have no credible plans between them, the SNP is getting on with the job – creating a better business environment in Midothian and East Lothian, boosting employment and creating a business environment where local companies can flourish.”
SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, voted yesterday to back the Scottish Government’s budget for the coming financial year – securing a cash boost for the NHS while offering economic stability in the face of Tory Brexit chaos.
Despite Westminster cuts of almost £2 billion over the last decade to Scotland’s block resource grant, the SNP has committed £729 million extra for health and care services – with spending on NHS frontline boards rising by £430 million.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay also announced an £8 billion investment in Scotland’s education system, including £120 million delivered directly to head teachers – helping schools address the poverty related attainment gap. Scotland’s colleges will benefit from a £606 million investment over 2019-20, while universities will receive more than £1 billion.
As part of the Scottish Government’s plan to almost double the paid-for provision of childcare to 1,140 hours from August 2020 for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds, the budget also commits £500 million to support the expansion of early learning services and facilities across Scotland.
The SNP’s plans also ensure local councils receive a fair funding settlement, delivering a total local government settlement of £11.1 billion next year – that includes an additional £90 million to the core spending grant.
This budget will ensure Scotland remains the lowest taxed part of the UK – keeping council tax increases below the 5% cap in England while ensuring 55% of income taxpayers will pay less in Scotland than they would elsewhere in the UK.
Commenting, SNP MSP, Colin Beattie, said:
“With Westminster in complete chaos, the SNP has delivered certainty and stability for Scotland’s economy with a budget that protects our cherished health service and supports our schools here in Midlothian North and Musselburgh.
“I am delighted that Holyrood has given its backing to a progressive budget that will help create a more prosperous and equal society for all.
“This budget confirms Scotland as the fairest taxed part of the UK, with most income tax payers paying less than they would elsewhere.
“Brexit remains the biggest threat to Scotland’s economy, which is why the Tories should rule out a no-deal outcome before it’s too late.
“This Brexit shambles simply reinforces the case for an independent Scotland, where we could take real control of our own future, continuing to build one of the world’s most successful economies on a firm foundation of strong and dependable public services.”
The Tory welfare spokesperson Michelle Ballantyne bizarrely claimed today that the hated Bedroom Tax did not exist showing another sign of a Tory party in denial over their own policies.
During a meeting of Social Security Committee on Thursday 21st February in the Scottish Parliament, Michelle Ballantyne claimed that “there’s no such thing as a bedroom tax,” in a shocking dismissal of the Tory policy which affected 80,000 Scots.
SNP MSP, Colin Beattie, has called for Michelle Ballantyne to apologise for these remarks – after the MSP previously made outrageous comments about low-income families. Ms Ballantyne was widely condemned last year for refusing to apologise after declaring that the two child cap is fair as “people on benefits cannot have as many children as they like.”
The MSP also denied the overwhelming evidence that Tory welfare cuts have caused the surge in foodbank demand – since admitted by DWP boss Amber Rudd MP.
The Scottish Government has been mitigating the bedroom tax since it was introduced and will spend more than £61 million through Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) next year to do so again to protect people from this shocking tax that puts people at risk of rent arrears and homelessness.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“It is completely unacceptable that Michelle Ballantyne would deny reality like this.
“Michelle Ballantyne has previously refuted clear evidence that her party is causing surging foodbank demand, since admitted by DWP boss Amber Rudd MP.
“These comments were outrageous, and her disregard for the real-life consequences of the hated ‘bedroom tax’ cannot be ignored. If Ms Ballantyne won’t apologise, Jackson Carlaw must take action.
“If Michelle Ballantyne is who Jackson Carlaw believes should be running the Scottish Social Security System then that speaks absolute volumes about the Scottish Tories.”
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian and Musselburgh, pledged his support for the Marie Curie Great Daffodil project on Saturday, 16 February. Upon arriving in the chilly afternoon at the Tesco in Musselburgh, Colin gave a warm greeting to the volunteers and others present, and reaffirmed his support for this worthwhile cause.
Marie Curie is an inspirational organisation, providing support and exceptional care for families living with a terminal illness. Their staff and volunteers care for more than 40,000 terminally ill people in the UK each year. Not only do they take care of the individual suffering from the incurable disease, but they are also attentive to the needs of the family, friends and community members who may be effected by this well.
Of Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal, Colin said, ‘This is truly an outstanding work. Not only are they providing terminal individuals with dignity and care, but they are also providing the means for stronger, happier communities through the support they provide to all those affected in such circumstances. I am proud to support such a significant cause, and hope that they will be successful in raising the money they need through their Great Daffodil Appeal.’
Angela Davidson, community fundraiser for Marie Curie, stated, “Whatever your story, donating and wearing a daffodil pin during March unites you with millions of others to help make sure all dying people get the care and support they deserve. Volunteering just two hours of your time at a collection near you means that you are raising money to help make sure more dying people get the care and support they need at the end of their lives. What’s more, collecting is lots of fun, you can do it on your own or with friends, and Marie Curie will support you from the moment you sign up.”
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT WARNS OF 7% FALL IN GDP
The Scottish Government has warned that a no-deal Brexit would hammer Scotland’s economy, with national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) predicted to fall by up to 7%.
The Chief Economic Advisor to Scotland reports that a no-deal Brexit has the potential to push the Scottish economy into recession, with unemployment rising and trade and investment disrupted. If prolonged, the shock of Scotland’s departure from the EU could lead to significant structural change in the economy.
The report warns that Midlothian Council and East Lothian Council will face economic shock and possible job losses, noting that between 15-19% of the workforce in Midlothian and East Lothian will be exposed to economic damage from a no-deal Brexit.
Previous research has already shown the damage of the Tories’ proposed Brexit deal, which would see a 6% fall in GDP by 2031, costing each person in Midlothian and East Lothian £1,600.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“These new figures are yet another warning that a no-deal Brexit would be devastating for communities in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“A no-deal Brexit is not inevitable – but we know that Theresa May’s deal is dead in the water, with even her own party refusing to accept it. The SNP has fought tooth and nail to seek an extension to the Article 50 process, and find compromise to protect Scotland’s interests.
“But Scotland is being ignored by Westminster and it’s no wonder people have completely lost trust in the UK Government.
“As Tory and Labour politicians ignore Scotland’s interests and stand in the way of us making decisions over our future, more and more people are drawn to the opportunities and hope for the future that independence offers.
“We need to stop the clock on Brexit, rule out No Deal, which would cause economic damage to Midlothian and East Lothian, and prevent the Tories dragging Scotland out of the EU against our will.”
Colin Beattie MSP has welcomed the announcement that all secondary school pupils in Midlothian will all have access to CPR training before they leave school.
The decision follows a nationwide campaign by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland charity encouraging councils across Scotland to make the life-saving commitment.
Colin Beattie MSP said:
“I’m really pleased that Midlothian has now joined with other local authorities to commit to training all secondary pupils in CPR. This move will bring about significant benefits for the pupils and their local communities.
“It’s important not only because it means they could potentially help save the life of a loved one, friend or someone else in their community, but also because it gives them new skills and knowledge for life.
“I congratulate Midlothian Council for committing to this initiative and BHF Scotland for their successful campaigning on the issue.”
GP practices in Midlothian and East Lothian will receive a funding boost this year, the Scottish Government has unveiled.
The Scottish Government has announced that an additional £20 million support will be given to GP practices across Scotland to help with the costs of running their practices.
The ‘GP Premises Sustainability Loan Scheme’ aims to ease the financial burden associated with owning a General Practice – in turn helping to improve recruitment and retention. It means that GPs who own their own premises can apply for long term interest-free loans worth up to 20% of their practice’s value.
A total of 172 practices across Scotland have successfully applied for loans – around 50% of the total eligible.
The new GP contract in Scotland is backed by £110 million in 2018/19 to ensure that GPs are able to spend more time with patients, and less time on paperwork. The Scottish Government is investing a further £7.5 million to improve GP recruitment and retention in 2018/19.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“People in Midlothian and East Lothian will welcome this significant investment in our local NHS service, which will help family doctors deal with the costs of running their practice.
“The extra investment will make becoming a GP an attractive career choice and encourage more people to join the profession - which will in turn make it easier for practices in Scotland to retain and recruit staff.
“This news is extremely encouraging, especially for those practices in rural areas who may struggle to recruit new members of staff. I encourage eligible GPs in Midlothian and East Lothian to consider whether they would benefit from this scheme.
“The NHS is one of our most treasured institutions, and the SNP in government is absolutely committed to ensuring it stays fit for the future.”
UK GOV TO BLAME FOR “YEARS OF UNNECESSARY CRUELTY AND SUFFERING”
Jeremy Balfour MSP must apologise for the Tories refusal to accept responsibility over the rise in foodbank demand, SNP MSP Colin Beattie has said – after DWP boss Amber Rudd finally admitted Universal Credit was leaving people without food.
Foodbank providers and other experts have consistently argued that there was a direct link between Tory welfare reform and the staggering rise in food poverty.
Despite the overwhelming evidence, Tory welfare spokesperson Michelle Ballantyne argued: “What we haven't got is hard evidence about what the real causes are… I haven't yet seen the concrete evidence of where that's coming from.”
Amber Rudd yesterday admitted that there was a direct connection, saying: “It is absolutely clear that there were challenges with the initial rollout of Universal Credit –and the main issue that led to an increase in food bank use could have been the fact that people had difficulty accessing their money early enough.”
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“We have known for years that Tory cuts were driving up foodbank demand – yet Tory politicians preferred to stick their fingers in their ears than accept reality.
“The impact in Midlothian North and Musselburgh has been undeniable.
“Finally Amber Rudd has admitted that Universal Credit has left people penniless – although that admission fell well short of the apology required.
“The Tories must now accept that they were wrong to deny the link – and Jeremy Balfour should apologise for the shameful impact his party’s approach has had, inflicting years of unnecessary cruelty and suffering.
“And with the Tories accepting that their policies have left people dependent on charity to feed themselves, we urgently need a new approach to welfare – modelled on the Scottish example, built on dignity and respect.”
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, has received an update with regards to the long-awaited improvements to the A720 Sheriffhall Roundabout. This will see major upgrades that will improve the movement of current and future traffic along the A720 between Gilmerton and Old Craighall.
The Draft Orders, Environmental Statement and Compulsory Purchase Order plans are expected to be released in July, with a 12-week objection period for the public to express their views. The work on the Sheriffhall Roundabout is expected to last around 24 months, with the dual carriageway function maintained throughout the whole process.
The funding for this major project has been received through the Edinburgh City Deal and the cost for the improvements is estimated between £90-120M.
Commenting, Mr. Beattie said:
“The update on the Sheriffhall Roundabout is very welcome and will see the much needed improvements happen in the near future. Once the project has been completed the improvements will ease congestion at the roundabout and hopefully reduced travel times.
“I look forward to seeing the Draft Orders, Environmental Statement and Compulsory Purchase Orders and working with Transport Scotland and other agencies to make sure this project starts at its earliest convenience.”
FAMILIES IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN BENEFIT FROM SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
Families in East Lothian and Midlothian have benefitted from £2.7 million paid through the Scottish Government’s new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment scheme since it opened for applications.
Since December, Social Security Scotland has made payments to more than 7,000 low income households. The support provided to families across Scotland, as of 31 January 2019, totals £2.7 million.
The Best Start Grant, which provides low-income families with financial support during the early years of a child’s life, sees eligible applicants receive £600 for their first child - £100 more than the UK government’s equivalent in England.
Best Start Grants replace and expand on the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant by providing eligible families with £600 on the birth of their first child, and £300 on the birth of any subsequent children.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“I am delighted that more Scottish families are receiving help from the Scottish Government’s new social security system, which puts dignity, respect and fairness at its heart.
“£2.7 million worth of payments - more than the DWP paid out in a full year under the previous system - will ensure that all Scottish children get the best possible start in life.
“It’s vital that the SNP government can provide help at a time when many families in my constituency are seeing UK government social security support drastically reduced, and Universal Credit is causing hardship across Scotland.
“By reversing and mitigating Tory cuts that have been so damaging to families in Midlothian and East Lothian, and ensuring that we support those on the lowest incomes, the SNP is building a social security system which provides a safety net for the most vulnerable in society.”