Local MSP for Musselburgh, Colin Beattie has joined campaigners calls to help save the Hollies Day Centre in Musselburgh.
The Hollies offers a vital service to the Musselburgh community, and especially to the elderly community. The day centre has been at the heart of the community on the High Street for 60 years and now faces risk of closure due to difficult circumstances.
A petition has been set up by the Hollies to help save the day centre.
Constituency MSP Colin Beattie said:
“I am deeply concerned at the potential closure of the Hollies. It has been a long-standing service in the Musselburgh community, especially for the elderly and provides a central hub to meet and socialise.
“This service remains vital to the community in tackling isolation and loneliness which we know many people faced especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Hollies provides a safe and welcoming environment for the elderly population of Musselburgh and allows them to retain their independence within this setting.
“I give my full support to their petition and have offered help in any way I can to save the Hollies from closure. I know how much the day centre makes a difference to the lives of my constituents in Musselburgh and how important it is to their wellbeing.
“I have pushed East Lothian council to take action on this matter and it is time for them to step up to help save this much loved and used community facility. The Hollies is at the heart of Musselburgh and it would be a great loss to the community if it were to close.
“I would encourage the people of Musselburgh to get behind this campaign and head to the Hollies to sign the petition.”
SCOTTISH CHILD PAYMENT INCREASE AND PARENT EMPLOYMENT PACKAGE
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the package of measures announced today by the Scottish Government to provide immediate support and break the cycle of child poverty for people across Midlothian and East Lothian.
Shona Robison, the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, announced an increase of a further £5 to the 'game-changing' Scottish Child Payment - bringing the total payment to £25 per week per child at the end of the year, following the increase to £20 next week.
This move will see the SNP Government’s package of five family benefits for low income families, including the increased Scottish Child Payment, now totalling over £10,000 to low income families by the time a first child turns 6, and £9,700 for subsequent children.
It directly benefits 4,330 of children in Midlothian and East Lothian already in receipt of the payment.
In contrast, families in England and Wales receive less that £1,800 for the first child and under £1,300 for subsequent children.
The SNP Cabinet Secretary also announced:
It is estimated that, through these and current Scottish Government actions, 60,000 fewer children will be living in relative poverty in 2023/24 compared with 2017.
Commenting SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
"Today's package of measures to tackle child poverty is hugely welcome and the impact it will have on households in Midlothian and East Lothian cannot be underestimated - increasing the Scottish Child Payment even further, to £25 per week per child, will make such a difference to families struggling to cope with the Tory cost of living crisis right now.
"This stands in stark contrast to the Tory Chancellor’s spring statement which utterly failed to provide any meaningful lifeline support for people in Midlothian and East Lothian who are facing soaring energy bills and a cost of living crisis now - and that was a political choice.
"I am glad that families in Midlothian and East Lothian have an SNP Scottish Government taking serious, life-changing action to protect them where it can within limited powers and a fixed budget. The significant parental employment package also announced will help people of Midlothian and East Lothian into fair and sustainable work.
"Other political parties must now recognise the reality that whilst the SNP is doing what it can to put money in people’s pockets in Scotland and tackle poverty, Westminster is consistently undermining Scotland’s efforts through their damaging policy agenda.
"Today's actions from the Scottish Government make it crystal clear that Midlothian and East Lothian, and the people that live here, would be better off with independence and all the levers to tackle poverty and hardship.”
I would firstly like to thank my constituents for their continued patience whilst negotiations take place to help find a solution to the access issues at Riverside Medical Practice. I understand that this is an increasingly worrying situation and there is an understandable frustration at the lack of progress being made to solve these access issues. Please be assured that I have highlighted these frustrations and pushed for action to be taken now. These access issues are pre-pandemic and have continued on for too long.
I am now having regular meetings with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf, Scottish Government Officials, and the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP) to discuss the access issues, convey patient concerns and ultimately, find a solution. We met yesterday again to discuss the work being undertaken to help the patients at Riverside.
I am afraid at this moment no further information can be shared until finalised. However, I would like to provide reassurances to my constituents that your concerns, fears and anxieties are not unseen or unheard. I am due to meet again with the Cabinet Secretary and the ELHSCP after which I hope I can provide a more detailed update to these ongoing discussions.
I will continue to push for action to be taken sooner rather than later and if anyone has any issues in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me.
Colin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh has welcomed the news from that social security payments issued by the Scottish Government will increase by 6% on April 1st.
Subject to parliamentary approval the Job Start Payment, Young Carer’s Grant, Funeral Support, Best Start Grant and Carer’s Allowance Supplement will increase by 6%.
Families in Midlothian and East Lothian will also expect a doubling on the Scottish Child Payment and an increase in Best Start Foods in April.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“The SNP Scottish Government is reacting quickly and effectively to support the people in Midlothian and East Lothian with the increasing Tory cost of living crisis.
“Many families across Midlothian and East Lothian are facing a squeeze on their incomes as food, fuel and household bills sky-rocket, plus many working people will have their pay packets hit by a Tory hike in National Insurance in April.
“The SNP Scottish Government is taking action to tackle the cost of living, the Tory Chancellor should follow suit and introduce a package of measures to help people in Midlothian and East Lothian and across Scotland.
“Despite these actions by the SNP Scottish Government, it continues to tackle these issues with one hand tied behind its back and only with the full powers of independence can we build a fairer country.”
As warnings about the Tory cost of living crisis continue to grow, SNP MSP Colin Beattie has issued a fresh call for the UK government not to increase national insurance.
Local MSP Colin Beattie has said that 'the Tories have a moral duty to urgently step in as household incomes are on course to collapse by the most since the mid-1970s.' The fresh calls come after reports that the Russian war in Ukraine is adding to the intense pressures families face, as the price of oil and wholesale gas continues to soar.
Commenting SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie said:
"The Tory cost-of-living crisis is hitting families across Midlothian and East Lothian hard right now and, if reports are right and the UK government refuses to take any proper action to tackle the issue, then it's only going to get worse.
"Not only are the Tories not providing any measures to support households but they are breaking their own promises not to increase the rate of National Insurance contributions – gravely letting down people in Midlothian and East Lothian , who deserve far better.
"With reports showing that SNP policies are reducing the financial challenges facing families right now, it is ever more clear that the only way to deliver a fairer future for people across Midlothian and East Lothian is to become an independent country."
HOUSEHOLDS IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN TO BE SHORT-CHANGED BY £243.69
Midlothian is set to be short-changed by £4,942,097 and East Lothian set to be short-changed by £5,724,662 due to Tory smoke and mirrors over support for those struggling with the cost of living. This equates to £123.13 per household in Midlothian and £120.56 per household in East Lothian.
Tory Chancellor revealed he would be providing Scotland with an additional £290m to help with the cost of household council tax bills.
However, Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has revealed that there is no additional money Scotland to help low-income families pay their council tax.
In a letter to Holyrood’s Finance committee Ms. Forbes reveals the Scottish Government was expecting to receive £852m from the Treasury but will instead receive £814m. Meaning the Scottish Government will have to find funds from elsewhere in its budget to cover help people in Midlothian and East Lothian pay their council tax bills.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“It is scandalous they have tried to pull the wool over the eyes of people in Midlothian and East Lothian by claiming they would be providing extra cash to deal with the cost of living crisis, but instead are short-changing Midlothian and East Lothian by £10,666,759 and households by £243.69 each.
"Rishi Sunak made a huge fanfare about how Westminster was being generous to Scotland when the truth is that they have provided nothing extra at all.
"And again, the Scottish Government has to make good on another broken Tory promise by finding funds from its limited budget to help out hard-pressed families by cutting £150 off their council tax bills.
“This is real cash to deal with the cost of living crisis, not Tory smoke and mirrors. This trend is all too familiar to people in Scotland – when it comes to the Tories, all we get is cuts, not cash.
“This once again demonstrates that it is only with the full powers that independence would bring that we can provide support for those on the lowest incomes instead of having one hand tied behind our backs by relentless Tory cuts.”
4,330 CHILDREN IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN BENEFITTING FROM ‘GAME CHANGING’ SCOTTISH CHILD PAYMENT
SNP MSP, Colin Beattie, has welcomed statistics out today which show that approximately 2,255 children in Midlothian and 2,075 children in East Lothian are in receipt of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Child Payment, set to double to £20 per child per week in April.
The payment was introduced in 2021 to support low-income families with children aged under six by providing regular, additional financial support for families already in receipt of qualifying benefits to assist with the costs of caring for a child.
As of 31 December 2021, it is estimated that 104,000 children across Scotland were in receipt of Scottish Child Payment – equating to £45.2 million worth of payments by the Scottish Government – and that is expected to rise to over 400,000 eligible children by the end 2022 which is when the benefit will be extended to children under the age of 16.
Commenting SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie said:
“I am delighted that 4,330 children across Midlothian and East Lothian are benefitting from the Scottish Child Payment which will double in just a month’s time.
“Come April, this means that 4,330 children and families across Midlothian and East Lothian receive £20 per child per week - four times the amount originally demanded by campaigners and illustrating just how focussed the Scottish Government is on meeting Scotland’s Child Poverty targets.
“Once again though, the tale of two governments is striking. While the SNP is doubling the Scottish Child Payment to lift thousands of children out of poverty, this game changing action is being undone by the Tories at Westminster who have cut £20 per week from many of the same families – knowingly pushing thousands of families into poverty.
“The people in Midlothian and East Lothian deserve the chance to escape the damaging policies we get under Westminster control and choose a better path, one with the full powers that an independent Scotland would bring and allow us to build a fairer society.”
NHS Lothian has recorded record numbers of staff levels this year with 23,116 employed by the health board – a 15.1% increase over the past five years.
Across Scotland, more than 155,000 staff have been hired, with increases in whole-time equivalent (WTE) staff for ten consecutive years.
In NHS Lothian there has been a 4.3% increase in the past year in staffing levels and a 15.1% increase in the past five years.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“Our NHS staff in Midlothian and East Lothian have shown incredible dedication and commitment to our health service in the past two years and beyond. We will never be able to thank them enough for their heroic efforts.
“Under the SNP Scottish Government, staffing levels in the NHS in Scotland have increased to record levels. The Scottish Government’s long-term investment in the workforce has accelerated since the outset of the pandemic and we are seeing that in reality, with a 15.1% increase over the past five years here in NHS Lothian.
“The SNP also continues to recognise the effort of our staff having offered them the best pay rise in the UK. They also continue to be the best paid health staff compared to their counterparts in the rest of the UK.”