SNP MSP Colin Beattie has told EU nationals in Midlothian that “you remain welcome here” after Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union.
Midlothian voted to Remain in the EU by 62.1% – alongside every other local authority area in Scotland.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made clear that it would be a “democratic outrage” for Scotland to now be dragged out of the EU against its will.
The Scottish Government is now exploring all options to protect Scotland’s relationship with Europe.
Commenting, Mr Beattie said:
“Midlothian, like the rest of Scotland, voted to remain within the EU – a vote to protect our place in the world’s biggest single market and the jobs and investment that depend on it.
“It’s significant that the result in Scotland came after a campaign that was positive about the EU and the benefits of freedom of movement.
“As your MSP, I want to tell the citizens of other EU countries living in Midlothian that you remain welcome here, Scotland is your home and your contribution is valued.
“The many EU citizens studying or working at Edinburgh College should also be reassured that the Scottish Government is doing everything possible to protect our membership of the EU.
“It’s deeply disappointing that the result in Scotland was not echoed across the whole of the UK – but Scotland has spoken decisively and we will make that voice heard.”
Colin Beattie MSP today received assurances from the Scottish Government that they are actively supporting workers affected by the potential closure of First Bus’ East Lothian depots.
Mr Beattie wrote to the Government following the announcement made by First Bus in May, and today received a response that details:
- The Minster for Transport, Humza Yousaf, met with First Bus on 31st May to get a full understanding, reasoning and impact of the closures;
- The Minister met with Union representatives, and confirmed First Bus are continuing consultation with workers;
- The Minister has been assured that First are conducting one to ones and looking at options for redeployment;
- The response to Mr Beattie also confirmed that PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment) are also working with the company and workers to provide assistance including relocation, re-training and financial advice.
Mr Beattie commented:
‘The consequences of these potential closures will be felt by our communities. It’s therefore imperative that the Government provides as much support as possible.
‘I will be working hard to ensure the workers affected get the Government help they need throughout this highly stressful period.
‘I thank the Minister for his response to my letter, and I’ll continue to engage with the Government on behalf of my constituents.’
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has urged community groups in Midlothian North and Musselburgh to apply for a new £2 million fund to help local communities have a greater say in decision-making.
The Scottish Government’s Community Choices Fund will allow community groups to organise participatory budgeting events. These events give communities the opportunity to make decisions on how and where investment is spent in their area.
Participatory budgeting is recognised internationally as a way for local people to have a direct say in how, and where, public funds can be used to address local needs.
The Community Choices Fund is the latest step in the Scottish Government’s roll-out of participatory budgeting across Scotland.
Commenting, Mr Beattie said:
“Every community in Scotland has different needs and challenges. We want to see more decision-making handed to local people – especially in choosing local spending priorities – and groups in the constituency shouldn’t miss out.
“The new Community Choices Fund is a real opportunity for communities to vote on investment, shape services and address the issues that are important in their area.
“Participatory budgeting is gaining real ground in Scotland with a large number of councils taking the lead to date and helping to organise over 50 events this year. These events have included decisions on housing revenue, roads capital spending, and the procurement of a bus service.
“However, it’s important that community organisations and community councils are also able to take the lead and reach out to people in communities across the constituency and throughout Scotland.
“The SNP want to give communities more control to shape their futures – and I hope there is a range of ideas and applications from organisations across Midlothian North and Musselburgh.”
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, today highlighted the steps the Scottish Government is taking to help reduce GP waiting times. This follows Mr Beattie’s question to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison, at yesterday’s Portfolio Questions in the Parliament.
The Cabinet Secretary confirmed that the Scottish Government will be spending £20.5 million on the primary care transformation programme, £6 million in developing digital services such as online appointment booking, and £16.2 million to recruit 140 new pharmacists to work directly with practices.
The Cabinet Secretary also reiterated the Scottish Government’s action to free up more time for GPs by abolishing the GP payments system, and highlighted the £170 million investment in projects delivering new or refurbished GP premises and the Government’s hub programme that’s delivering over £500 million-worth of community healthcare infrastructure.
Mr Beattie commented: ‘From the number of constituents who have contacted me on this issue, it’s clear that steps need to be taken to improve GP access. I’m reassured at the Scottish Government’s proposals.
‘The pressures on GP surgeries are substantial these days, in particular as a result of increases in housing. We need to balance infrastructure with development to ensure that constituents can get the medical help they need when they need it.
‘While solutions will not appear overnight, I’m sure the steps the Scottish Government is taking will see results.’
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, today commented on the housing rumours regarding ‘Da Vinci rapist’ Robert Greens. Greens was jailed in 2005 for raping and battering a Dutch student near Rosslyn Chapel.
Rumours had been widespread that he would be moving into a house in Preston Place, Pathhead. Mr Beattie has now clarified with Midlothian Council that Mr Greens is not moving into the property but a local family will be in the very near future.
Mr Beattie said: ‘I am glad to be able to put people’s minds at rest. Many concerned residents had rightly contacted me and I had to take action to seek answers.
‘When I met with Pathhead residents last night, the strength of feeling clearly indicated that Greens would not be welcome. If he had been moved into this property – with families with young children on either side – it would have been a disaster waiting to happen.
‘I raised this urgently with the Council and I can confirm to residents that a local family will be moved into this property. The rumour mill had clearly got out of hand but we can be reassured now that, wherever Greens is re-housed, it won’t be in Pathhead.’
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed new figures showing an increase in the number of Modern Apprenticeships in East Lothian – as the SNP in government exceeds its overall target for the 5th year in a row.
The figures published this week show that the number of Modern Apprenticeships in training in East Lothian has grown from 474 to 503 – as the national figure for apprentices has increased to 25,818.
The SNP in government has committed to boosting the number of Modern Apprentices across Scotland to 30,000 by 2020.
Commenting, Mr Beattie said:
“Modern Apprentices make a real contribution to the local and national economy – offering our young people better career prospects and having a positive impact on the businesses and industries which take them on.
“That is why I’m so pleased that the number of young people in East Lothian benefitting from these excellent opportunities has grown over the last year – and that the SNP Government has exceeded the national target for apprentices for the fifth year in a row.
“But there is clearly more work to do – and the SNP in government is committed to increasing opportunities for our young people by boosting the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 30,000 across Scotland by 2020. And I’m looking forward to even more people across East Lothian benefiting from this type of opportunity.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has highlighted a Police Scotland amnesty on unlicensed air guns – and urged those who do not intend to have their weapon licensed to make use of the amnesty, which runs for another two weeks. The scheme, launched last week, has seen more than 2,000 weapons handed in to police stations across Scotland.
The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act comes fully into force in December this year and will make it an offence, from July 2016, for a person who owns an air weapon not to have a licence for it. This broadly follows the existing principle and practices of firearms legislation and will protect public safety by ensuring that only a person fit to obtain a licence can own an air weapon.
Commenting, Mr Beattie said:
“I am encouraged by the response from the public to this air weapon amnesty, which has led to 2,000 weapons being taken off our streets.
“From the 1st of July this year new legislation will require everyone who has an air weapon to have a licence to keep it – this is to ensure that such weapons are only ever used in a safe and responsible way.
“I would encourage anyone who owns an air gun, but does not intend to license it, to take advantage of this amnesty and hand the weapon in to a designated police station.”