Colin Beattie MSP is backing Cancer Research UK’s Scale Down Cancer campaign to help prevent obesity-related cancers across Scotland.
Scotland has one of the heaviest populations in Europe, with around two-thirds (64%) of adults and more than one quarter (22%) of children in Scotland overweight or obese.
Colin Beattie MSP heard about Cancer Research UK’s Scale Down Campaign, which calls for the urgent implementation of the Scottish Government’s proposal to restrict supermarket multi-buy discounts on foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt.
Given that obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking, it is critical that action is taken to tackle Scotland’s obesity challenges.
Research shows that shoppers who buy more on promotion are more likely to be overweight or obese (72%) meanwhile two thirds of the public in Scotland back moves to restrict price promotions on foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt.
Colin Beattie MSP said: “Four in ten cancers are preventable, yet not enough of us know that obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Given the devastating impact that cancer has on families in Midlothian North and Musselburgh, it’s vital we take action on obesity.
“We cannot let obesity become the new normal in Scotland, and that’s why I’m joining forces with Cancer Research UK and the Scale Down Cancer campaign.”
Gordon Matheson, Cancer Research UK’s Public Affairs Manager in Scotland said:
“You cannot walk into a shop without being bombarded by offers to buy 2 for 1 mega bars of chocolate or fizzy drinks. We need to tackle the link between the price-promotion of junk food and obesity. Together we can beat cancer but that means tackling avoidable causes like obesity as well as supporting world class research and cancer care.
“An obese child is five times more likely to become an obese adult. Scotland’s current weight problem will only get worse unless we act now.”
“By introducing laws to restrict multi-buy offers on junk food and sugary drinks, the Scottish Government can help stack the odds of beating cancer in our favour.”
MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN RESIDENTS URGED TO HAVE THEIR SAY ON NEW PROPOSALS
Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP, Colin Beattie, has given his backing to an announcement from the First Minister that councils will be handed powers to regulate and control short term holiday lets.
The move follows concerns that the number of short term accommodation lets in Midlothian and East Lothian, offered by platforms such as Airbnb, is restricting the volume of available residential properties available in tourist destinations.
Colin Beattie MSP is encouraging local residents to have their say on the Scottish Government’s plans as part of an online consultation that runs until 19th July 2019.
The proposal is part of a package of new housing initiatives announced at the SNP’s spring conference in Edinburgh this weekend – including a new £150 million scheme to help young people get on the property market with loans of up to £25,000 available to assist with a deposit for a new home.
The consultation can be found here (https://consult.gov.scot/housing-services-policy-unit/short-term-lets/consultation/subpage.2016-07-07.1474135251/) or by searching ‘Scot Gov short term lets consultation’ online.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“While short term letting sites, such as Airbnb, have helped contribute to Scotland’s booming tourism industry they are making it harder for people in city centres, and tourism hotspots, to find permanent homes to live in.
“The SNP Government is looking to proactively tackle this issue by handing councils the power to control the number of lets and ensure they make a contribution to the local services they use.
“I’ve heard from many constituents who are concerned about this issue, and would encourage everyone to ensure their views are heard before the consultation closes on 19th July 2019.”
APPLICATIONS FOR NEW SCOTGOV BENEFIT OPEN THIS WEEK
185 families in Midlothian and 165 families in East Lothian received a payment of £600 on the birth of a first child, and £300 on the birth of any siblings, thanks to the Scottish Government’s Best Start Grant scheme.
Since opening for applications in December, nearly 10,000 low income families across every area of Scotland got help from the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby payment, with the new benefit paying out £3.5 million in the first three months.
This week, the First Minister announced a brand-new benefit as part of the Scottish Government’s new Best Start Grant package, which will build on the success of the Pregnancy and Baby Payment.
Applications are open for the new payment, which will see low-income families paid a further £250 when their children start nursery and school.
The Early Learning Payment is for children aged between two to three and a half and can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys, books or days out.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“This substantial increase in support for families and new babies shows what can be achieved if we take a different approach to social security – using Scotland’s new powers to support families across the country.
“In just the first two months of the Best Start Grant, the Scottish Government got more money into people’s pockets than the DWP had managed under the old system in an entire year.
“The SNP in government has consistently demonstrated a commitment to increasing financial support for families, bringing equality to Scotland’s children by helping them towards the best possible start in life.
“With full powers over social security, Scotland can be the best place for a child to grow up.”
This Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Week (22-28 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.
The charity currently funds 10 research projects in Scotland with the studies receiving over £3.56million over their lifetimes.
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, pledged his support for the crucial research being done in Scotland to stop MS.
Mr Beattie said: “I give my strongest support to the work the MS Society does in raising awareness of multiple sclerosis. This condition can be incredibly debilitating, leaving sufferers thoroughly exhausted and in severe pain. MS Awareness Week is a great opportunity for everyone to find out more about this illness. ”
Morna Simpkins, director of MS Society Scotland said: “This MS Awareness Week we are highlighting 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 contributing and joining a global group of fundraisers people can help us find new treatments for people living with the often painful and exhausting condition.”
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.
UNIVERSAL CREDIT ‘KEY DRIVER’ OF INCREASING NEED FOR FOOD PARCELS
The number of emergency parcels handed out by food banks in Scotland rose by nearly a quarter over the last year, according to the UK’s largest food bank provider.
The Trussell Trust said its food banks provided more than 210,000 packages to people in crisis in 2018-19 – up 23% from the previous year. In Midlothian, 3,851 and in East Lothian, 5,294 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in crisis by food banks.
The food bank provider said that issues with the Tories flagship welfare reform Universal Credit were a “key driver” of increasing food poverty.
In Scotland, 42% of food bank referrals made due to a delay in benefits were linked to Universal Credit.
DWP ministers recently admitted the direct link between Universal Credit and soaring foodbank use – something which Tory MSPs have consistently denied.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“The botched roll-out of Universal Credit has been a disaster – driving people into poverty, and forcing families to rely on food banks.
“In a country as wealthy as ours it’s unacceptable that emergency parcels and food banks have become so commonplace – and we know, beyond any doubt, that Tory policies are to blame.
“The SNP has long made the case for a halt to the roll-out of Universal Credit but those pleas fell on deaf ears. It is unacceptable for the UK government to keep side-lining this issue while families go hungry.
“The disastrous Tory record on welfare shows why Scotland should have the power to take our own approach – rather than leaving these powers at Westminster.”
Colin Beattie MSP, has welcomed the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon’s, statement outlining the steps the Scottish Government will take to progress the debate on Scotland’s future in light of Brexit. The statement also included the action that will be taken to protect the option for an independence referendum to be held within the current term of the Scottish Parliament.
The Bill to be put forward in the Scottish Parliament, will protect the option of an independence referendum within this parliamentary term. Once the Bill is passed it would only require the transfer of power at a later date via a Section 30 Order to proceed to a vote on independence.
This announcement comes as the Brexit shambles continue in London, as the Prime Minister deals with her own party in disarray and a Labour Party unable to agree on Brexit Policy.
Speaking after the announcement, Colin Beattie MSP said;
“I welcome the announcement from the First Minister. It is now critical that the Scottish Government make these plans to protect Scotland’s interests.
In Westminster, Scotland’s voice has continued to be ignored and we need to do all we can to protect ourselves, our jobs and prosperity.
We cannot remain in a failed union run by a morally bankrupt political elite which is completely out of touch with the ordinary people.
In direct contrast to the Westminster Brexit process, the Scottish Government are seeking to move forward to protect Scotland as best they can.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has called for re-assurances that local bank branches will remain open in Midlothian and East Lothian, after concerns over the number of banks and building societies which have closed across the country were raised.
A Which? study revealed that 5 banks and building societies have shut their doors in Midlothian and 5 in East Lothian, and almost 400 banks and building societies have closed across Scotland since 2015.
Communities across Scotland are rightly concerned about the impact of the decision to close will have on local businesses, employees, the elderly and vulnerable and all those who need access to banking services.
SNP MSPs and MPs have been arguing for the reversal of hundreds of bank branch closures across Scotland, and a Holyrood committee urged that banks should be required to consult with customers, businesses and the wider community before closing local branches.
Despite repeated calls for action, and its role as majority shareholder in RBS, the Tory Westminster government has failed to lift a finger to prevent the closures.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“These bank closures contribute to a lack of banking facilities, which will hit local families, small businesses, and tourism in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“More and more of us do our banking on the internet or by phone, but that simply isn’t an option for everyone. A face-to-face banking service is indispensable for many people, and banks must engage with people and businesses on their needs before deciding to close a branch.
“It would be a huge loss to Midlothian and East Lothian to see any more branches shut their doors - this could leave a significant number of elderly and vulnerable people without the preferred or necessary level of face-to-face service.
“My SNP colleagues and I will continue to fight for urgent action to ensure our communities have full access to adequate banking facilities.”
Colin Beattie MSP and Councillor Colin Cassidy, last week, attended the Newbattle Storm Water Works after being alerted by a member of the public about a spillage of oil. On arrival at the site they were met with an oil spillage extending to the bottom of the track just off Newbattle road.
At the gates to the water works, both the MSP and Councillor were shocked to find a large amount of car parts, engine oil, tyres and documents had been dumped. The containers holding the engine oil have leaked badly and spilled across a wide area.
Police Scotland, SEPA and Scottish Water have all been alerted regarding this issue and both the MSP and the Councillor are pressing for a clean up to begin.
Speaking after attending the site, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“It is absolutely appalling that someone has decided to dump this rubbish and to apparently deliberately allow the oil spill to potentially enter the water system.
I would like to thank the member of the public for alerting myself and Councillor Cassidy to the issue and I hope that the clean-up begins soon.”
Councillor Cassidy said:
“For anyone in this day in age to do this to the environment and cause so much damage is beyond words. I thank all the authorities’ involved for their cooperation.”
Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP, Colin Beattie, has committed to lobbying the Scottish Government after a significant number of planning objections are passed either through the Council or by the Government Reporter without enough importance being attached to sometimes serious objections from local communities.
Recently in Roslin, two applications for housing developments were approved despite a high volume of objections and a petition from the local community and in Musselburgh the Quayside development was approved despite the majority of the community against the development happening . Despite the concerns of the public, the planning process does seem to ignore the concerns of local communities.
Speaking on this issue, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“Most communities accept that there is a need for housing but also see the need to mitigate the impact of the new housing by making often small changes to planning conditions, which would improve the outcomes for local communities and make planning applications more palatable.
It cannot be acceptable in a democratic society for the wishes of large numbers of genuinely interested local residents to be ignored or dismissed.
Just because objections come from members of the public who will be impacted does not mean that this is simply “nimbyism”. I have been impressed by the strength and logic of some of the arguments made and have been surprised that greater weight was not given to properly informed local opinion.
There has to be a change to improve transparency and to improve the “value” of local voices, when planning applications are considered. This does not mean that planning applications will grind to a halt; simply that the voice of the public has to be listened to; respected; and visibly given a higher importance than it appears to receive at present.
Failure to make this change, I believe, will result in a deterioration of public confidence in the planning system. While I am not part of the planning process, I intend to lobby the Government Minister responsible to seek a better way forward for local communities.”
MSP: “YOU WILL ALWAYS REMAIN WELCOME IN SCOTLAND”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has made an impassioned plea to EU citizens living in Midlothian and East Lothian to stay in Scotland amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty.
This week First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, made a commitment to EU citizens that Scotland remains their home - promising to continue making a strong case for their rights to be protected in any EU exit scenario.
The SNP leader has written an open letter to EU citizens to confirm a new ‘Stay in Scotland’ package that will consist of:
• £250,000 for community based support across Scotland
• a support and advice service for EU citizens with more complex needs or particular challenges
• a toolkit for employers, including posters, factsheets, digital content and guide directing EU citizens to further guidance
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“It is important to make clear that EU citizens will always remain welcome in Midlothian and East Lothian, and I will continue to do all I can to help people stay in Scotland.
“It’s wrong for the UK government to oblige EU citizens who have built their lives in Scotland, and who contribute massively to our economy and communities, to apply for the continued right to remain in their own homes.
“With absolutely no clarity from Westminster, this announcement from the First Minister will provide welcome support for EU citizens in across Scotland.
“I’d like to urge anyone who has issues or concerns they would like to discuss with me to please get in touch.”