MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie has condemned the actions of Russia in Ukraine.
Mr Beattie backs the calls of the Scottish Government for an immediate cessation of such aggressive activities.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“Like most people I have watched the events in Ukraine unfold with complete disbelief. Here in the 21st century we have a modern nation attacking another with no provocation and no credible justification.
“Not since the dark days of the Nazis in the run up to World War II has this happened.
“The new Russian Tsar, Vladimir Putin, has shown his true colours. For years he has been building up his armed forces with a view to imposing his will on Europe. Ukraine may only be his first objective. Clearly he seeks to rebuild the old Russian/Soviet Empire which would require “annexation” of many of our friends such as Poland, Hungary, Romania and many more.
“It is important that all nations stand firm against this crude bullying and deny Putin the easy victory he clearly expects. If we do not have the courage to do this then the situation will only get worse and our democratic way of life will change for ever as we fall under the malign influence of Russia’s autocratic rulers.
“Putin only understands strength and resolve. We must show that in plenty.
“The UK Government has too little in the way of defences around Scotland. It must now provide that security for which we are contributing to.
“In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers are with the gallant people of Ukraine who are fighting against all the odds to preserve their freedom and way of life against what has become a fascist state.
“I stand in solidarity with Ukraine.”
MITIGATING VINDICTIVE TORY POLICIES COSTS MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN £21.8 MILLION THIS YEAR
SNP MSP COLIN BEATTIE: FUNDS SPENT PROTECTING SCOTS FROM TORIES MEANS LESS MONEY AVAILABLE TO FIGHT COST OF LIVING CRISIS
The SNP Scottish Government had to spend £10.1 million in Midlothian and £11.7 million in East Lothian to mitigate vindictive Tory UK Government policies in Scotland this financial year, meaning there is less money available to support hard-pressed Scots families through the deepening Tory cost of living crisis.
Across Scotland as a whole, the range of Scottish Government spending commitments to counter negligent Westminster policies is now an astronomical £594 million a year. And the figures do not include almost £3.5billion of social security benefits which, while devolved, are needed to support and supplement insufficient welfare benefits paid by the Tory UK Government.
The figures also do not include the £290m announcement by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes last week to give hard-pressed households £150 each.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“To protect the people of Midlothian and East Lothian, the SNP Government is having to commit an estimated £21.8 million- a substantial amount from its restricted budget - to mitigate vindictive and immoral Tory policies inflicted on our community.
“If these Tory policies - which bring misery to the country’s most vulnerable - did not exist, then it would free up Scottish Government cash to spend the equivalent of an extra £109 for every man, woman and child in Midlothian and East Lothian to deal with the spiralling cost of living.
“Devolution was meant to provide Scotland with the opportunity to do things differently but, with Westminster holding the key economic levers like borrowing, the Scottish Government is severely constrained. That opportunity is even further restricted if it is continually having to commit eye-watering amounts simply to right the wrongs of the Tories’ underhand austerity agenda at Westminster which is targeted at ordinary people and families.
“It says something about their priorities that, while they cut funding to help ordinary people, they pursue a tax cut for banks that will benefit them by £4bn at the expense of public spending.
“Scotland’s opposition parties are constantly demanding the Scottish Government spends its limited budget on opposition priorities without ever identifying where the money is coming from. Well, this is many millions of pounds that could be diverted to these areas if it was not being used to protect Scots from the worst elements of Westminster control.
“And it’s not just the Tories to blame. Labour and the LibDems, through their support for Westminster control, perpetuate vindictive Tory governance on the people of Scotland. In 2014 those parties promised that Westminster would be better at tackling those problems for Scotland. The sad fact is that those promises of Westminster support were empty.
“Almost £600million is a vast amount. If the Tories at Westminster would only properly fund the areas in which the SNP Scottish Government must spend to mitigate and protect people, jobs and businesses, this cash could be redirected to make transformational changes in other areas of Scottish life.
“Sadly, the direction of travel of this Westminster Government means things will only get worse. It is why the people of Scotland will have the opportunity to choose a different path with a post-pandemic independence referendum once the crisis has passed.”
ADDITIONAL DOUBLE PAYMENT SEES CARERS IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN RECEIVE UP TO £694.20 MORE THAN REST OF UK
1,440 carers in Midlothian and 1,285 carers in East Lothian have received the Scottish Government Carer’s Allowance Supplement payments, unique in the UK, since it was introduced in September 2018.
The Carer's Allowance Supplement is an extra payment introduced by the Scottish Government for people in Midlothian, East Lothian and across Scotland, who get Carer's Allowance. Awarding a double payment was a decision taken by the SNP Scottish Government to recognise the extra burden the pandemic has placed on carers. The additional payment meant that carers in Midlothian and East Lothian received up to £462.80 in December 2021. This is second time a double payment has been made with the first being in summer 2020.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the Scottish Government’s additional payments which mean that eligible carers in Midlothian and East Lothian received up to £694.20 more in support last year than carers in the rest of the UK.
Commenting SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie said:
“Carers have undoubtably been particularly hard hit throughout the pandemic so I’m glad the SNP Scottish Government choose to address this by introducing an additional Coronavirus Carer’s Allowance Supplement payment which helped support 2725 carers in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“The SNP’s commitment to help improve the lives of carers is an incredibly important one. Carers make an immense contribution to the health and wellbeing of loved ones and it is essential that they have the support they need to provide care and have a fulfilling life.
“The Carer’s Allowance Supplement was the first payment the Scottish Government introduced when establishing Scotland’s new social security system in 2018. In total, £188 million has been paid to carers since its launch and it is making a huge difference to carers in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“We are using the powers we have in Scotland to build a social security system in Scotland centred on the principles of dignity, fairness and respect but that is set against a cruel system at Westminster which is cutting support at a time when those on the lowest incomes need it most. That is why the people of Scotland must have the choice to choose a different path which gives Scotland full powers over social security, so we can provide for those that need it most.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed new figures showing that low income households in Midlothian have been supported by £4,026,470 from the Scottish Government.
Households in Midlothian have received £1,114,060 from Low Income Pandemic Payments and £894,920 from Bridging Payments that support families with children in receipt of free school meals.
Households in East Lothian have received £1,067,840 from Low Income Pandemic Payments and £949,650 from Bridging Payments that support families with children in receipt of free school meals.
Across Scotland, these payments have amounted to the SNP Scottish Government delivering more than £145 million to more than 530,000 low income households – including more than 143,000 school age children receiving Bridging Payments.
Commenting SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“The pandemic has been incredibly difficult for so many families for a variety of reasons – some have lost wages and jobs, others have seen an increase in heating bills as we all spent more time at home – I’m glad that the SNP Scottish Government has been helping families in Midlothian and East Lothian to get through this tough time with £4,026,470 of support and this is in addition to other Scottish low income benefits and the Scottish Child Payment
“We know that families in Midlothian and East Lothian are going to continue to feel the pressure as we face a cost of living crisis so it is reassuring to see the Scottish Government’s focus on helping those who need it most and their commitment to delivering bridging payments this year.
“Sadly, the contrast between the SNP Government in Holyrood and the Tories at Westminster could not be clearer. While the SNP get on with extending the Scottish Child Payment to under 16s and doubling the payment to £20 per week per child from April, the Tories are cutting support for those who need it most and implementing unfair tax hikes on households.
“It’s now beyond all doubt that Westminster control is not working for people in Midlothian and East Lothian. The only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to build a fairer society.”
Following temporary closure of Bonnyrigg Post Office, the branch will now be re-opening on Monday 7 March 2022 at 09:45.
Locals residents will find the branch re-located at Startastic Scents & Sweets, 70 High Street, Bonnyrigg, EH19 2AE.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“I am pleased that an alternative option has been found for the residents of Bonnyrigg and a post office branch has been saved from permanent closure.
“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 the above news and I am sure local people do too.”
MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN RECEIVE £93,700 TO SUPPORT CARE EXPERIENCED FAMILIES
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the news that Midlothian will receive £44,609 and East Lothian will receive £49,091 to support care experienced families or children who are on the edges of care.
The SNP Scottish Government will distribute £3.275m of support across Scotland and it will be in addition to the £41m provided through the Winter Support Fund.
Commenting Colin Beattie said:
“Many children across Midlothian and East Lothian who are on the edges of care or are care experienced are often in families on low income and will be experiencing a cost of living crisis made worse by a UK Tory government that has cut Universal Credit and failed to address the challenge of rising energy prices.
“As the cost of living crisis starts to spiral this will be welcome funding for these families and ensure that they have immediate resources to ensure they can stay together.
“Later this year families will also receive further support from the Scottish Government with the launch the £500m whole family wellbeing fund.
“However, the SNP Scottish Government continues to support families in Midlothian, East Lothian and across Scotland with one hand tied behind its back. That is why the people of Scotland must be able to choose a better path towards an independent country.”
Local MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the announcement of a new grant to support local bus services while passenger numbers recover from the COVID pandemic.
The Scottish Government has committed £93.5 million of the 2022-23 Budget to support bus operators, due to the changed travel patterns during pandemic restrictions.
Colin Beattie MSP said:
“As passenger numbers recover across Midlothian North and Musselburgh due to the easing of restrictions, I’m delighted to see the Scottish Government offering significant support for Scotland’s bus services.
“Committing nearly £94 million for 2022-23 offers financial certainty for companies and for passengers, and ensures our communities can remain connected by vital local bus links.
“Our travel options play a crucial part in Scotland’s transition to Net Zero - and this grant is an important step in protecting sustainable travel, cutting car kilometres and supporting connected communities across Scotland.”