Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP Colin Beattie has given his backing to Euan’s Guide – a website which reviews the disabled access standards of local venues – and encouraged people across Midlothian to use the site to review local bars, restaurants and other venues.
The website was started by Euan McDonald – who suffers from Motor Neuron Disease – in a bid to share information on disabled access with other people with accessibility needs – and now boasts Stephen Hawking and JK Rowling as celebrity backers.
SNP MSP Christina McKelvie welcomed Euan to an event at the Scottish Parliament this week – which saw MSPs hear from 130 people involved with disability access issues.
Commenting, Colin said:
“This is a fantastic initiative which can make a real difference to the social lives of disabled people across Scotland, as well as their friends and families.
“Disabled people often face challenges in accessing everyday venues which most people don’t have to think twice about – with proper information about disabled facilities often being a process of trial and error.
“Euan’s Guide is looking to change that and provide a reliable portal for information on disabled access for venues across Scotland – which would help disabled people across the country enjoy access to the bars, restaurants and cinemas which most people take for granted.
“I would encourage people across the constituency to contribute to the website and rate local venues – and make a real difference to the quality of life of disabled people in our community.”
Founder of Euan’s Guide, Euan McDonald, said:
“Following years of investigating, me and my family have built up something akin to a local directory on disabled access that we were keen to share with others with accessibility needs. And then we thought that there must be thousands if not millions of people who have the same issues that we do so we decided to take this a step further and create a site that will benefit the whole disabled community.”
Commenting on the vote at Westminster to support the Tories plan for a permanent cap on welfare spending, which was supported by the vast majority of Labour MPs despite a small backbench rebellion, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, SNP Welfare spokesperson, said :
“The SNP voted against the welfare cap today because it piles yet more pain onto our poorest pensioners, carers, disabled people and low income families. This cap is just a crude, blunt, instrument. It is shocking that so many Scottish Labour MPs have backed the Tories, especially after the rhetoric at their conference in Perth.
“The cap once again puts the most disadvantaged people in our communities on the front line. It is blatant ring-wing politics, not aimed at solving any of the long term problems which are getting worse because of Westminster’s austerity agenda, an agenda now supported by all the anti-independence parties.
“The best way to reduce and manage welfare spending is to restore the economy to a state of health, and that’s what this Westminster government is failing to do. If the government was serious about reducing welfare spending, it would be creating more job opportunities in sectors that pay a living wage; it would be investing more in childcare to enable parents to work or increase their hours; and it would be building more affordable homes and taking action on housing costs.
“In Scotland we’re spending a lower proportion of revenue and GDP on social protection than the UK as a whole, and we have invested heavily in affordable housing, with the highest rate of new build social sector homes anywhere in the UK. Only with a YES vote in September can we get all welfare decisions back to Scotland, and ensure that we have no more of this crude short term political gesturing, and really tackle our problems .”
The building at King George V Park, Bonnyrigg Leisure Centre, has been the subject to interest from local groups proposing to rent it from the council. Yet, to the shock of the community, the council has proposed the Centre be demolished.
Proposals from the Bonnyrigg Centre Trust and Midlothian Fitness Academy include plans to reopen the Centre as a community hub, play facilities and/or sports facilities. Both bids are options much closer to what the community is saying it needs than the council’s for demolition.
A final decision will be made by the Full Council at a meeting in Dalkeith next Tuesday. Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North, reacting to the news said:
“It would be a great loss for Midlothian if the Bonnyrigg Leisure Centre were to be demolished. This is an opportunity to empower people of Midlothian. I urge the council to take this chance to collaborate with the community for a working solution.
The tens of thousands of pounds earmarked to reduce a great building to rubble could be used to team up with the community to make sure this plan is successful. Constituents have asked for further considerations concerning the community to be discussed before demolition of the Centre. I hope the Council works with the Midlothian community to find a solution.”
Coastal Communities Fund
Colin Beattie MSP (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) is encouraging all eligible organisations in Musselburgh to apply for the Coastal Communities Funding (CCF).
The focus of CCF’s purpose is that “coastal communities will experience regeneration and economic growth through projects that directly or indirectly create sustainable jobs, and safeguard existing jobs”.
The CCF programme has been extended to the end of the 2016/17 financial year. Round three will combine the budgets for this period, in an effort to give an increased pot and encourage more ambitious use of CCF funds.
A total of £14.4 million in funds will be split in Scotland between the Highlands and Islands (£8.6million) and the Rest of Scotland (£5.8 million).
The deadline for applications is 30th April 2014.
Commenting Colin Beattie, MSP, for Musselburgh said:
“I am glad to see funding has been extended and applications are being accepted for this latest round of Coastal Communities Funding.
“I openly encourage any and all eligible groups in the Musselburgh area to submit an application for CCF and continue to promote sustainable economic growth and jobs.”
The list of Scotland’s villages, towns and cities that will welcome the Queen's Baton Relay was announced today by Glasgow 2014.
People across Scotland, from the Shetland Islands to Dumfries and Galloway, will have the chance to be involved in the celebrations and countdowns to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games, and show their support for Team Scotland.
The baton will visit all 32 Local Authorities and over 400 communities across Scotland before reaching the final stop of its global trek in Glasgow. Musselburgh is along the Queen's Baton relay route, passing through on 17th of June.
More details and highlights of the baton’s journey in Scotland will be announced as the time gets nearer. Successful baton-bearer nominations from thousands of applicants will be announced on the 31st of March.
By June 14th when the baton reaches Scotland, it will have travelled through all other 69 nations and territories of the Commonwealth over 248 days. The Queen’s Baton Relay is a unique tradition of the Games that uniting two billion citizens of the Commonwealth celebrating sport, diversity and peace.
Colin Beattie MSP, for Musselburgh, commented:
"The Queen's Baton Relay provides a unique opportunity to show the world what Scotland has to offer and it will provide encouragement and inspiration for children and young people to get involved in sport and the Commonwealth games.
I look forward to its route through Scotland and am confident it will receive an enthusiastic welcome from Musselburgh."
Scottish National Party Westminster Leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP has asked Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg if he agrees the Ministry of Defence should be held accountable to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) following the revelation today that Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has had to correct his statement that there was “no measurable change in radiation discharge” at Dounreay.
Angus Robertson MP raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions after it was revealed Philip Hammond had to make the “ministerial correction” some 7 days after he made his original misleading statement in the House of Commons.
It was revealed there had been a significant incident at the naval prototype reactor in Dounreay in 2012. The Ministry of Defence, who are responsible for the operations and safety at Dounreay, only informed SEPA of the situation after 9 months and requested that they did not make the information more widely known.
Commenting, Angus Robertson MP said:
“On the day the Defence Secretary has had to issue a hugely embarrassing correction to his misleading statement, the Deputy Prime Minister has failed to agree that the MoD should be held accountable to SEPA.
“It was clear Nick Clegg had no idea about the UK government’s massive blunder.
“This mistake is completely unacceptable. After sitting on this information for two years, you would think the Defence Secretary would be able to get it right.
“It took the MOD 9 months to inform SEPA, and for almost two years the UK Government failed to notify Scottish Ministers on such important issues.
"Westminster, with these vastly expensive weapons of mass destruction, are treating the people of Scotland with contempt. This makes it even more essential that we vote YES in September. It is the only way we can be sure that we get rid of Trident for good.”
Midlothian youngsters have a great chance to enjoy the thrills of mountain biking, after Mayfield and Easthouses Youth 2000 project received an award of £6,700 from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.
The cash will be used to buy ten top-of-the-range mountain bikes, along with helmets and repair kits and make the bikes available to local young people who don’t have one of their own.
Y2K also plan to run an eight-week course on bike maintenance and encourage those taking part to become ‘cycle leaders’ and go on to become mentors to fledgling cyclists, while some of the course leaders can earn a formal qualification.
The course will include weekly trips on local cycle paths, and at least one trip to Glentress, Scotland’s dedicated mountain biking centre near Peebles.
Local MSP Colin Beattie has already praised the project in a Scottish Parliamentary motion, signed by 19 of his fellow MSPs.
Colin, who presented the cheque to Y2K staff member Tommy Campbell, said: “I think this a really good project that will encourage young people to take up cycling, which is a really healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around.
“I am also impressed with the plans to introduce a mentoring course, and give some young people the chance to get a formal qualification in bike maintenance”.
Tom McAughtrie, Scottish Trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust said: “We are delighted to support this project which meets some of our key objectives in terms of training for employment and encouraging people to adopt a healthy lifestyle”.
Sharon Stoddart of Y2K said: “This all began because we wanted to run some cycling activities, but we quickly discovered that many local youngsters either don’t have their own bikes or they are in really poor condition.
“We are really grateful to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust for giving us an Award that enables us to tackle both these issues in such a constructive manner”.
The publication of new statistics showing that more social sector homes were completed than in six out of the eight years that Labour and the LibDems were in office has been welcomed today.
The figures show that there were 4,097 social sector homes completed in 2013, more than in six of the eight years when Labour and the LibDems were in office.
The figures also show that in five of the seven years the SNP has been in office, more local authority homes have been built than the 346 homes completed in the entire eight years of the Labour/LibDem Executive combined.
In the last four years of the previous Labour/LibDem administration, just six local authority homes were completed across the whole of Scotland.
Commenting, SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald who sits on the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee said:
“These figures are a welcome demonstration that we are continuing to deliver a substantially better record on building social housing than the previous Labour/LibDem managed when they were in office.
“In no small part this is thanks to the new generation of council house building we are constructing across Scotland.
“The 1,232 council homes built in Scotland in 2013 alone are a stark contrast to the mere six managed in the entire last term of our predecessors.
“The Scottish Government’s track record speaks for itself and I know that everyone is determined to ensure that the good work continues.”