‘GAME CHANGER’ ANTI-POVERTY TOOL VITAL IN TACKLING TORY COST OF LIVING CRISIS
3,915 children in Midlothian and 3,730 children in East Lothian have benefited from the Scottish Child Payment since it was introduced, according to new figures released by the Scottish Government.
Now available to all eligible children under 16, 7,645 children in Midlothian and East Lothian have received since the scheme’s inception in February 2021, totalling £5.5 million. The full roll-out has been described as a “watershed moment” in tackling poverty in Scotland.
The Scottish Child Payment is unique to Scotland and is projected to lift around 50,000 children out of poverty in 2023/24.
It has been hailed as a “game-changer” by anti-poverty charities and is backed up with £442 million of funding from the Scottish Government in the next financial year.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“I am delighted that these new figures show a significant uptake in families being supported by the Scottish Child Payment in Midlothian and East Lothian - with 7,645 children benefitting since its inception.
“The Scottish Child Payment, which is now £25 a week - a 150% increase - is a momentous achievement of this SNP Government and is the most ambitious poverty reduction measure in the UK.
“This flagship payment underlines the SNP Scottish Government’s unwavering commitment to tackling child poverty, particularly as the Tory cost of living crisis deepens.
“While the Scottish Government continues to dig deep in its fight to end child poverty, its efforts are repeatedly curtailed by the UK Government’s reckless pursuit of ideologically-driven austerity.
“Only independence gives Scotland the full powers to tackle poverty at source and uphold the values of respect, dignity and compassion for all.”
COLIN BEATTIE SUPPORTS NEW EPILEPSY AND MENTAL HEALTH SURVEY
Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP encourages estimated 885 constituents living with epilepsy to make their voices heard
Colin Beattie is calling on people living with epilepsy in Midlothian North and Musselburgh to take part in a new national survey to understand the affect epilepsy can have on mental health, launched this week by Epilepsy Scotland.
Epilepsy is defined as the tendency to have repeated seizures which start in the brain and there are an estimated 58,000 people in Scotland living with epilepsy, which is the most common neurological condition.
This new national survey looks to understand the experiences of people of all ages living with epilepsy across Scotland and seeks to identify which specific support measures should be highlighted.
Colin Beattie MSP said:
“I am delighted to support Epilepsy Scotland in promoting this vitally important national survey to understand the specific mental health needs of people living with epilepsy in Scotland.
“In the Midlothian North and Musselburgh constituency, there are estimated to be around 885 people living with epilepsy, which can have a significant impact on their day-to-day life and on mental wellbeing.
“People living with epilepsy are more likely to develop mental health conditions including anxiety and depression as a result of the condition.
“I would encourage all my constituents and people across Scotland with epilepsy to make their voices heard through this vital survey.”
Lesslie Young, Chief Executive of Epilepsy Scotland, added:
“We are pleased to have the support of Colin Beattie in promoting our ‘It’s Time to Talk about Epilepsy’ mental health survey to people living in Midlothian North and Musselburgh and across Scotland.
“Epilepsy can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and almost every person we support through our national helpline is affected by mental health struggles.
“To someone living with uncontrolled seizures, there is a significant psychological impact of never knowing when the next seizure is going to happen. For some who have controlled seizures, the medication can have side effects which affect mood and mental health.
“I would encourage anyone living with epilepsy to share your experiences through our survey, to ensure your voice is heard.”
The survey will run for six weeks and will close on Monday 13 March 2023.
To complete the survey, please go to https://www.epilepsyscotland.org.uk/mentalhealthsurvey/
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the news that around 5,100 households in Midlothian and 5,800 households in East Lothian will receive an automatic £50 from the Scottish Government’s new Winter Heating Payment in the coming few weeks regardless of the weather conditions.
The new payment replaces the Cold Weather Payment - a Westminster benefit administered by the DWP – that only paid out when the temperature in Midlothian and East Lothian fell far enough for an extended period.
This meant many areas across Scotland missed out on any help at all from one year to the next because it was just not cold enough for long enough.
In contrast, the new £50 Scottish payment is guaranteed to be paid to every eligible household regardless of what the weather is like.
Earlier this week, the SNP Scottish Government received the data needed from the DWP to identify everyone in Scotland who is eligible. That data is now going through a quality assurance process to make sure all payments are paid safely and securely.
And the money will be delivered to eligible households later this month and next.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said: “This really is a massive improvement for around 10,900 hard-pressed households in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“We have replaced the old Westminster payment – which only paid out when the temperature plunged for a sustained period – with a new Scottish payment that is reliable because it is guaranteed every year and does not depend on the temperature turning Baltic.
“It means those in need will get the much-needed extra cash this month or next without having to shiver away at home while hoping the weather stays cold long enough to trigger a payment.
“Last winter, no cold weather payments were made across whole swathes of the country. In total, only 11,000 people in the whole of the country received the cash from Westminster. This year, because of the SNP Scottish Government, around 10,900 households in Midlothian and East Lothian alone will get an extra £50 to help with the Tory cost-of-living crisis.
“And the total amount paid out by Westminster also varied enormously from year to year. Between 2015 and 2022, an average of only £8.3million was given out in Scotland to an average of 185,000 households.
“The new Scottish benefit will see £20million put into the pockets of 415,000 households in the next few weeks.
“That means around 10,900 households in Midlothian and East Lothian are guaranteed to receive £50 to help with their bills – regardless of how cold it is.”