Today Colin Beattie MSP and Danielle Rowley MP welcomed this week’s news that the UK Treasury would not object to a Government decision to reduce Fixed-Odd Betting Terminal (FOBT) maximum stakes from £100 to £2. SNP MSP Mr Beattie and Labour MP Ms Rowley campaigned on the issue earlier this year, engaging cross-party support from local councillors as part of the campaign.
Both wrote to Westminster regarding the current £100 FOBT maximum betting threshold and received responses reflecting the Government’s measures for reducing risks to vulnerable people and children as well as improving protections around online gambling, gambling culture, and advertising.
In her response to Mr Beattie and Ms Rowley, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch MP noted that results and responses to a 3-month Government consultation on the current FOBT maximum stakes are expected to be released “in due course.” Meanwhile, recent talks between Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond MP and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock MP reflect optimism for a decision to be reached within the coming months.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“I appreciate the helpful response from Tracey Crouch as it clarified Westminster’s stance on the issue of FOBT maximum stakes. I believe this shows that the UK Government is both cognisant of this problem and intent on finding the best solution for the population. Gambling can become a hidden illness with incredibly negative effects and FOBTs in particular encourage impulsive decision-making that can become detrimental to people, their families, and communities.”
“I look forward to a response from Westminster’s 31 October consultation and further developments regarding a decision on the maximum stakes.”
Commenting, Labour MP Danielle Rowley said:
“I welcome the news that the Treasury would not object to reducing Fixed-Odd Betting Terminal (FOBT) maximum stakes from £100 to £2. I am glad that the Minister has an understanding of how this issue can impact families. The responsibility is now on the Government to take action and legislate on FOBT maximum stakes. I look forward to seeing the consultation responses and seeing changes which would protect our communities from the harmful effects of FOBT. However, it is clear that this is an issue that we need to continue to campaign on until effective legislation is passed to limit FOBT maximum stakes.”
See more at: https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/culture/opinion/campaign-fairer-gambling/94696/campaign-reduce-fobt-stake-%C2%A32-clears-treasury
The SNP’s Colin Beattie has said that there is clear evidence the process for delivering internal audit across the public sector in Scotland needs reviewed.
This follows the Auditor General for Scotland’s appearance at Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee, where Colin Beattie raised concerns over reported weaknesses in a number of Public Sector Internal Audits.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“I am encouraged that the Auditor General is going to come back to brief Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee in September following the failure of Public Sector Internal Audits to detect problems on a number of occasions.
“We need to ensure we are getting value for money from the highly paid internal auditors that provide contracted audit services across the public sector in Scotland.
“There is clear evidence that there is a problem and we need reassurance whether the existing internal audit process is fit for purpose as soon as possible. This is in the best interests of the public sector in Scotland.”
On Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Week (23-29 April) MS Society Scotland were in the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of the important role research plays in the lives of people affected by MS.
MS affects more than 11,000 people in Scotland and can cause problems with how we walk, move, see, think and feel. But the MS Society is driving research into more – and better – treatments. Kiss Goodbye to MS encourages people to give up their guilty pleasure this May to raise money for research.
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, pledged his support for the campaign, saying:
“I wholeheartedly support the Kiss Goodbye to MS campaign. Multiple Sclerosis is an incredibly complex condition that can leave sufferers thoroughly exhausted and in severe pain. It will be difficult to give up those guilty pleasures but this is for a noble and highly worthwhile cause!”
Morna Simpkins, Director for MS Society Scotland said: “On this MS Week we would like to highlight the importance of MS research. For more than 11,000 people in Scotland, living with MS is a daily reality. This is why the MS Society is driving cutting-edge research into more – and better treatments to ultimately stop MS.
“By joining a global group of fundraisers and taking part in Kiss Goodbye to MS, your small sacrifice could help us find new treatments for people living with MS and their loved ones.”
MS is an unpredictable condition that is different for everyone. It affects how a person thinks, feels and moves. For support and information, please contact the helpline on 0808 800 8000.
Sign up for Kiss Goodbye to MS on the MS Society website at www.mssociety.org.uk/kissgoodbyetoMS
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has signed the pledge to #saynotopuppydealers in order to help combat illegal puppy farming and is urging others to do the same.
The Scottish SPCA has today (Monday 16 April) launched a joint campaign with the SNP Scottish Government, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, RSPCA, Battersea, Dogs Trust, University of Edinburgh, PAAG, Trading Standards Scotland, One Kind, Blue Cross and BSAVA to put an end to the illegal puppy trade.
The campaign’s new website aims to be the main source of information for the public on what to be aware of when thinking about buying a puppy and avoiding illegal puppy dealers.
Thousands of puppies are born into the illegal puppy trade each year, which the Scottish Government estimated to be worth £13m in 2017 in Scotland alone. Many of these puppies are kept in horrendous conditions, are often removed from their mothers too early - causing distress, harm and health problems, all in the name of a quick profit.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie, Midlothian North and Musselburgh:
“I am supporting the #saynotopuppydealers campaign to raise awareness of the illegal puppy trade and to help people in East Lothian and Midlothian realise that although it can be hard to walk away from a puppy that looks like it needs your help – purchasing a puppy from puppy farms in the illegal trade will only fuel the industry and another dog will soon take its place.
“There are thousands of dogs across Scotland in rescue centres needing a home – yet the illegal trade in puppies continues to be a lucrative source of income for many. We need to do all we can to reject this trade and ultimately improve animal welfare by starving the industry of profit.
“The advice of this new joint campaign is to walk away, report your concerns, and stop the trade. I hope more people will join me and sign the #saynotopuppydealers pledge.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie is encouraging consumers to shop locally and support the 2,410 Midlothian small businesses and the 3,170 East Lothian small businesses.
The Scottish Government is committed to supporting businesses in Scotland, including retailers, providing the most competitive package of non-domestic rates reliefs anywhere in the UK in the 2018/19 budget. This includes the Small Business Bonus scheme that has already saved smaller firms £1.5bn, lifting 100,000 business premises out of rates altogether.
SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh Colin Beattie commented:
“Shopping locally is good for communities, good for the environment and great for the local economy, supporting 13,820 workers in Midlothian and 15,600 workers in East Lothian in small businesses.
“Today’s market provides many new challenges for retailers, including the move to online shopping as well as Brexit-fuelled inflation and more expensive imports that translate into higher prices at the checkout. Brexit is the biggest threat facing the Scottish economy and the SNP will continue challenging the Tory government’s extreme Brexit plans and standing up for Scottish businesses and jobs.
“Given these challenges, wherever possible, we should all seek to support East Lothian and Midlothian’s huge variety of brilliant independent, locally run businesses. Each small business offers something unique and special, and it is important that we support them and help our local economy to thrive in a market that is increasingly dominated by the big players.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie is calling on local groups in East Lothian and Midlothian to apply to the Scottish Government’s new £6m Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund that is now open for applications.
The Scottish Government announced the fund in response to increasing visitor numbers across rural Scotland and in order to help provide the services and facilities that are needed to improve visitor experiences.
The new fund will support a wide range of improvement projects – such as parking, camping facilities, recycling points and footpath access, in areas such as the North Coast 500 route as well as at Historic Environment Scotland sites.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh Colin Beattie said:
“The tourist industry is vital to the local economies, which attract visitors from all over the world each year.
“The new £6m Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund can help improve the visitor experience for the increasing number people visiting East Lothian and Midlothian and alleviate pressure on transport, services and facilities across rural Scotland.
“This support for infrastructure will enable even more people to enjoy this most beautiful country in the world and is an example of the SNP Scottish Government listening to and responding to the needs of rural Scotland.
“Local groups that would like to bid for this funding are encouraged to get their applications in now to avoid disappointment.”
The new fund will be administered by public sector partners working with local authorities and with input from communities and the industry to identify projects requiring support.