New figures have revealed that 14,193 families in the Lothians have benefitted from a Baby Box, as the Scottish Government announced a new design in time for Mother’s Day.
Across the country, over 80,000 Baby Boxes have been delivered since April 2017.
The new boxes will also encourage families to become more environmentally friendly, with parents-to-be receiving a voucher for a reusable cloth nappy, and liners.
Scotland’s Baby Box contains a selection of clothes, as well as every day must-haves, like a bath towel, a travel changing mat, muslin cloth squares, a bib, a digital thermometer, and books.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“Every child, regardless of their circumstances, should get the best start in life.
“At the heart of the Baby Box is a message about fairness and opportunity, which is why I’m delighted to see that 14,193 new families have benefitted from it in the Lothians.
“96% of expectant parents in Scotland are now requesting a Baby Box – and more than 80,000 have been delivered. That’s a huge vote of confidence in the Baby Box.
“Given how beneficial they are to parents and newborns, long may that continue.
One million people have signed a petition calling on Article 50 to be revoked following the Prime Minister’s catastrophic handling of Brexit.
Last night, following a meeting with the Prime Minister, the SNP’s leader at Westminster Ian Blackford said it was time for Theresa May to face the fact that her disastrous Brexit deal has been “resoundingly rejected”.
Alongside Green, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat leaders the SNP agreed on steps to secure a Commons vote on the revocation of Article 50.
Midlothian has had over 1,500 signatures added to the petition with the numbers growing every hour.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“The Prime Minister’s handling of Brexit has been an absolute disaster – and, with just days to go, we’re still none the wiser as to what’s going to happen.
“The fact that more than a million people have now signed this petition speaks volumes. It’s essential that we press pause and go back to the people.
“We cannot accept the false choice that our only options are between the disaster of the Prime Minister’s deal or the catastrophe of a No Deal. But if parliament cannot agree on a way forward then we’ll seek to revoke Article 50.
“Scotland did not vote for Brexit and we should not be dragged out of the EU against our will.
“The strength of feeling among my constituents and people across Scotland is becoming clearer by the day – they deserve a choice over their future.”
To sign the petition please go to - https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584
On the 15th March 2019, Paradykes Primary School in Loanhead received the ‘National Nurturing Schools Award’. This accolade is awarded to schools who demonstrate exemplary practice in embedding a nurturing culture throughout their school, enhancing teaching and learning by focusing on emotional needs and development in a whole-school environment.
Mrs Jennifer Sommerville, Acting Deputy Head Teacher said:
"Nurture is one of our core values at Paradykes. Staff are mindful of it in everyday practice and this has helped us make an environment where children feel valued and aspire to achieve their best."
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, attended the award ceremony on 15th March and commented:
“This award is a true recognition of the great work being done at Paradykes Primary in creating its own nurturing culture. My strongest congratulations go to all those who participated in the process.
“I will be lodging a motion at the Parliament recognising this fantastic achievement.”
Chief Executive of nurtureuk, Kevin Kibble, said:
“We are delighted to award Paradykes Primary School with the National Nurturing Schools Award in recognition of the outstanding and inspirational work of their whole staff team in embedding nurturing principles throughout the school.
“The beneficiaries of their hard work every day are the children attending the school, their families and the wider community. Our standards to achieve this award are exacting and many congratulations are due to the staff, pupils and everyone associated with the school.
“We look forward to working with many more schools to help them to embed principles to support the emotional and behavioural needs of their pupils and to help more schools to achieve this prestigious award.”
Photo shows Kirsten Mann (nurtureUK’s national training officer) and Colin Beattie MSP with two Paradykes Primary School pupils.
BREXIT STILL THE BIGGEST THREAT TO SCOTLAND’S ECONOMY
Unemployment has fallen to a record-low in Scotland, as latest figures show Scottish economic growth outperforming the rest of the UK.
Levels of unemployment have reached a new low of 3.4% in Scotland, outperforming the rest of the UK – with UK unemployment at 3.9%.
The welcome jobs numbers come as economic growth in Scotland hit 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2018 – higher than the 0.2% for the UK as a whole.
The official statistics show that Scotland’s economy has now grown for eight consecutive quarters.
However, Brexit still remains a threat to Scotland’s economy, with research showing that Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal would lead to a 6% fall in GDP by 2031, costing each person in Scotland £1,600.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“Today’s figures prove that Scotland’s economy remains strong – consistently outperforming the rest of the UK on a variety of measures.
“Although these figures are encouraging, the threat to Midlothian and East Lothian from Brexit is real and the warning signs are clear. People in Midlothian and East Lothian will be understandably concerned with the complete lack of clarity from the UK Government, especially this close to the Brexit deadline.
“With unemployment in Scotland falling, it’s vital that we do all we can to protect our businesses and industry amid the ongoing Brexit uncertainty.
“The SNP has a plan to grow our economy and we will continue to work hard to support it through difficult times ahead, so that Scotland can remain an open,
European nation inside the world’s largest single market.”
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, today condemned the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Forty-nine people have lost their lives and at least 20 been wounded in the shootings, following which one man has now been charged with murder.
Mr Beattie said:
"I was horrified and outraged to hear of this atrocity. This is nothing other than a mindless act of murder by terrorists. I send my deepest condolences to New Zealand and the New Zealand Muslim community and most especially my thoughts go out to all those families affected by today's terrible attack.
"People must be allowed to worship wherever and however they like without fear of hatred. It is important that we stand against Islamaphobia and all hate crimes. Scotland's diversity is one of our strengths and we value and appreciate our relationships with our different faith communities."
Today, Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP Colin Beattie expressed his dismay at East Lothian Council’s stance over pupils attending climate change demonstrations.
In correspondence with the Council, Mr Beattie discovered that the Council had informed schools that pupils absent due to attending these demonstrations will see their Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) ‘impacted detrimentally’.
An EMA is a weekly payment of £30 paid directly to eligible young people who are continuing in post-compulsory education (i.e. beyond the age of 16) or have left school and are taking part in an Activity Agreement. In contrast to East Lothian Council, Edinburgh City Council was reported (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-47456281) as allowing pupils to attend climate change protests if prior permission had been given.
Mr Beattie commented:
‘I am in disbelief at East Lothian Council’s actions here.
‘Not only is this step mean-spirited, but it also suggests that the Council don’t care about young people having a say in their future.
‘Personally speaking, I am proud of the youth of Scotland showing that they understand climate change and how it will affect them. We have far too many people who deny climate change and voices displaying the truth need to be heard.
‘Edinburgh City Council has rightly show the way this situation should be dealt with.
‘I call on East Lothian Council to reverse this policy and to ensure all Education Maintenance Allowances are fully paid for those pupils attending climate change protests.’
For more on EMAs, see the website at: https://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/info/210557/schools_nurseries_and_learning/11902/education_maintenance_allowance
Today, Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP Colin Beattie showed his support for the Comfort Teddies initiative.
The Comfort Teddies initiative is a partnership between Children 1st and local police stations, introduced by Longhaugh Police Station in Dundee, which works with the wider community in Dundee who knit teddies for young children.
These teddies are distributed by police officers in a wide variety of situations with children, as an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) aware approach to addressing childhood trauma. This local initiative is now being rolled out by local police and other emergency services across Scotland.
Mr Beattie commented:
‘This is a brilliant idea.
‘Not only will these teddies provide great comfort to children who’ve been through all sorts of trauma, but as they’re knitted locally this is a fantastic way to bring communities together.
‘This initiative also provides a means to overcome any perceived intimidation children may have when talking to police and other emergency services and will help them speak more freely.
‘I will not comment as to whether I took my teddy home!’
Last week Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP, Colin Beattie, met with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport following overwhelming public concern regarding the serious lack of appointments to see a doctor and the poor level of service offered by Riverside Medical Practice, which has been strongly condemned by the MSP.
A spokesperson from the Medical Practice has indicated that improvements in the way patients are being cared for in Musselburgh are in the process of being made.
Early evaluation of the way services are now being delivered since the launch of the Collaborative Working for Immediate Care service, which is run by East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, and the merged Eskbridge and Riverside Medical Practices, demonstrates that patients, who previously would have seen a GP, are now seeing the right clinician at the right time for their specific needs.
The new service developed in partnership by the Riverside Medical Practice, NHS 24 and the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP) ensure that urgent care is dealt with on the same day and patients should have no anxieties about being seen by the right professional at the right time.
Through this new way of delivering patient care, it not only provides an increase in the number of patient appointments with Practice GPs and other healthcare professionals, but also an increase in appointment length for patients with complex needs. A recent survey conducted within the practice demonstrates that more than half of patients agree that they do not always need to see a GP.
Work is also underway by the ELHSCP to implement a new telephone and IT system that will support call demand into the Practice.
Patient involvement in getting services right is very important and this is very much recognised by the Riverside Medical Practice who are encouraging local residents to get involved with their Patient Participation Group.
Speaking after meeting with the Cabinet Secretary, Colin Beattie said:
“I would like to assure all of my constituents that patient care is of paramount importance and that all agencies involved in the new way services are being delivered within the Musselburgh Primary Care Centre are focused on delivering the best care possible.
Riverside Medical Practice is working with other organisations to ensure that improvements are made and I would encourage anyone with any issues regarding the Practice to get in touch with them and become involved with the patient participation group.
I am hopeful that the improvements being made by the organisations will be seen by patients and a vastly improved service will be delivered. I will continue to closely monitor the future performance of the practice and ask patients to keep me advised on whether the improvements are working."
New figures released by the Scottish Government estimate that businesses across East Lothian will save £0.3M and Midlothian will save £0.4 thanks to an SNP policy to protect small businesses.
The Scottish Government’s decision to cap increases in poundage rates to below inflation will result in lower business rates for firms across Scotland.
The move will save businesses in Scotland a total of £35.2 million - leaving 90% of businesses facing a lower poundage than in England.
MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, has said small businesses in the local area will also benefit from a host of targeted rates relief measures worth more than £750 million.
Announced by SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay in his 2019/20 budget, businesses across Scotland will continue to benefit from the Small Business Bonus, ensuring that 100,000 businesses pay no rates whatsoever.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“It’s great news that businesses across East Lothian will save £.03M and Midlothian will save £0.4 thanks to the SNP’s latest measure to protect small businesses.
“In the face of Westminster chaos, this SNP Government has delivered a package of new initiatives that deliver for Scotland’s economy while safeguarding the future for small businesses.
“With the Scottish Government continuing to support East Lothian and Midlothian through the Edinburgh City Region Deal, and £1.275M on its way to East Lothian and £910,000 on its way to Midlothian as part of the new Town Centre Fund, this policy is just one of many introduced by the SNP that ensures East Lothian and Midlothian remains a great best place to do businesses and invest.”
Today, Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP Colin Beattie expressed his frustration and disappointment at the decision by enjoyleisure's board to withdraw its creche service.
The service is presently run at enjoyleisure's sports centres in Musselburgh, Tranent, Haddingtion, North Berwick and Dunbar. It is expected to be withdrawn from these centres throughout 2019.
Mr Beattie remarked:
'There is no doubt this decision is highly disappointing.
'Constituents have been in touch with me to say how angered they are that this service will no longer be available, and I strongly agree with them.
'This past week the First Minister announced £50m of funding to help new mothers with their mental health. We know that exercise is highly beneficial for mental health, not to mention physical health, and yet new mothers in East Lothian are going to find it more difficult than ever to properly exercise.
'I note a campaign has been set up urging enjoyleisure to reconsider its decision and I implore the board to take note of this.
'We should be doing everything we can to promote exercise to new parents. Closing the creche services flies in the face of sound common sense and reason.'