Yesterday Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, showed his support for the ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ campaign.
Established in 1996, Show Racism the Red Card is the UK’s anti-racism educational charity and utilises the high-profile status of football and football players to help tackle racism in society. The charity aims to combat racism through enabling role models, who are predominately but not exclusively footballers, to present an anti-racist message to young people and others.
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, said:
“The ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ campaign is one that I give my strongest support to.
“There is no place for racism anywhere in our society. That is why I am only too happy to play my part in supporting the campaign.
“I hope that the high profile of footballers and others will ensure this message reaches everyone in Scotland and beyond."
For more on the charity see the website at http://www.theredcard.org/about/
Today Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie demanded urgent action from the relevant authorities to clean up the sewage that has polluted the Mary Burn and River Esk. He visited the site on Saturday the 22 of September to see the issues first hand.
The debris that has made its way to the burn are things like wet wipes and sanitary items, which has polluted and affected wildlife as well as risked public health of both people and animals.
Mr. Beattie has written to Scottish Water, Midlothian Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to ask them to take immediate measures to remove the pollution, protect local residents and wildlife from the effects of it, to initiate a thorough investigation examining how the pollution originated and what steps will be taken to prevent reoccurrence.
Mr. Beattie intends to continue to visit the site regularly to observe the clean-up process and ensure a clean environment.
Colin Beattie MSP said:
“To have the beauty of this rural gem polluted by sewage sediment and sanitary waste is of real cause of concern to the environment and to the effect it has on public health.”
“Based on the number of people who have contacted me in regards to this issue, it is clear that the burn is in great usage from children or ramblers. It’s a great concern that the burn itself has put the entire ecosystem in danger, and it’s important to ensure these issues do not happen again.”
“I understand from Scottish Water that a clean-up is now in progress, but it hasn’t been made clear to me how long this is going to take or how expensive it’s going to be.”
“I’m seeking solid reassurances that this situation won’t reoccur.”
For the full video of Mr Beattie’s visit see the link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1Alf49RTQM
POSITIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH AS SCOTLAND MOVES AHEAD OF UK
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has praised new figures showing that Scotland’s economy has outperformed the UK’s in the second quarter of this year.
According to official figures, announced by Scotland’s Chief Statistician, the economy in Scotland grew by 0.5% in the second quarter of 2018 while growth in the UK was at 0.4%.
In the first half of this year, Scottish GDP grew by 0.8% - ahead of the UK at 0.6% over the same period, and already higher than the 0.7% growth forecast by the Scottish Fiscal Committee for 2018 as a whole.
The last year has seen the Scottish economy grow by a total of 1.7%, whilst the UK lags behind on 1.3%.
This growth in Scotland comes as concerns increase over the handling of Brexit negotiations, with Brexit potentially costing the Scottish economy £12.7billion a year - the equivalent of £2,300 for every person in the country.
Colin Beattie MSP said:
“It is extremely encouraging to see that economic growth in Scotland is exceeding expectations – benefitting people in East Lothian, Midlothian and across the country.
“These latest figures show the success of the Scottish Government’s approach, focused on building a strong economy, investing in business and enterprise and supporting the industries of the future.
“This success is welcome, but Brexit poses a real threat to Scottish jobs and household incomes – since the European single market is over eight times bigger than the UK market alone.
“Single market membership is absolutely crucial to protecting the jobs, incomes, and hard-won rights of millions of people across Scotland and the UK. The Tories must urgently commit to staying in the single market.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has highlighted the serious effect on local communities when Bank closures happen throughout Scotland and within the Midlothian North and Musselburgh constituency.
In a debate on the Economy in the Scottish Parliament, Colin Beattie said “The inconvenience to local businesses and personal customers, many of whom are vulnerable and elderly, was considerable. Bank closures continue the pernicious hollowing out of our communities, as libraries and other local facilities that formed the heart of communities are closed or run down.”
Commenting after the debate, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“Bank closures are not just an inconvenience; they are an attack on the sustainability of our smaller towns and villages.
“Banks have not been particularly honest in their engagement on the subject. For example, RBS stated that it would never close the last bank in town, but that is exactly what it has done. Figures from 2016 suggest that that has happened 165 times in Scotland and the north of England. It has happened in communities including Kilmacolm, Gourock, Prestonpans and, more locally, Newtongrange, and Pathhead in my constituency.
“Bonnyrigg is one of the largest towns in my constituency and contains a large number of small businesses whose turnover is mostly in cash. They need to be able to bank those takings, but without a local bank or adequate arrangements through the post office, the businessman needs to take time out of his day to travel to the nearest bank branch, or instead pay for the money to be uplifted.”
“Banks need to revisit their assumptions and engage with that bigger picture, and the Scottish Government must have a role in that engagement.”
TORIES GEARING UP TO TRADE AWAY SCOTLAND’S INTERESTS
The Tory government is gearing up to take protections away from East Lothian’s iconic food and drinks industries in order to strike post-Brexit trade deals, SNP MSP Colin Beattie has warned.
The UK Minister of State for Trade Policy confirmed during an appearance before Holyrood’s Finance Committee this week that neither the Scottish Government nor the Scottish Parliament would be granted a formal say in future trade negotiations.
On Geographical Indication (GI) Protections, for Scotch Beef and Scottish Salmon for example, the UK minister, George Hollingbery MP said:
“In most free trade deals, certainly the ones I’ve looked at recently, you have to demonstrate a certain level of penetration into market and or desire amongst consumers for that GI to gain protection, so on the whole quite a few UK GIs which we promote fail that test when going to the Japanese market or say the South Korean market. Whisky, no problem at all. Amazingly, blue and white stilton actually quite often get through but there are several others, which we would like to protect which just don’t have sufficient penetration to warrant GI status in that market.”
The EU Protected Food Name scheme safeguards produce on the basis of geographical status or traditional recipe or method, giving legal protection against imitation and ensuring that premium products are not undermined.
On safeguarding Scottish food standards from an influx of chlorine washed chicken and hormone injected beef, the minister also commented:
“That will all be a matter for negotiation - there are offensive interests, there are defensive interests, there are some things you refuse to accept, there are other things you may have to give and all that in the end will come out in the wash.”
The Tories have already failed to protect Scottish products in the EU-Canada trade deal, setting a worrying precedent.
Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP, Colin Beattie said:
“It is alarming that the Tory trade minister confirmed the SNP’s fear this week – that the Tory government is gearing up to take protections away from East Lothian in order to strike a quick trade deal in markets like Japan and South Korea.
“It is completely unacceptable that we could be in a position in the near future where UK trade deals are imposed on us from London that do not properly protect the interests of East Lothian’s iconic food and drink brands, leaving them open to cheap knock-offs from abroad.
"The Tory government must immediately set out provisions for enhanced involvement of the devolved administrations in trade negotiations.
“We cannot afford to put East Lothian’s valuable food and drink sectors in the hands of the Tory Brexiteers, who think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it.”
Colin Beattie, Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP, asked a parliamentary question to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity on how the Scottish Government’s investment in the £1.3 billion Edinburgh and South-East City Region Deal will help to deliver inclusive economic growth across the region and benefit residents within his constituency.
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary responded to Mr Beattie’s question advising that the Scottish Government has committed £300 million over 15 years to the Edinburgh and south-east Scotland city region deal to support delivery of a programme of investment to stimulate inclusive economic growth and create jobs right across the city region. The deal was signed in August by the First Minister and we look forward to working with partners in the coming years to deliver it. The partners will use the deal to deliver a transformative impact across the whole city region and deliver new jobs, new homes and skills training. For the two areas that Colin Beattie highlighted, there will be direct investment in the Easter Bush campus of the University of Edinburgh in Midlothian, which features prominently in the data driven innovation programme; in the food and drink Innovation campus, which will be located at Craighall next to the Queen Margaret University campus at Musselburgh; and in a £120 million upgrade to the Sheriffhall roundabout to deliver benefits to all users of that part of the A720 Edinburgh bypass.
Commenting after portfolio questions Mr Beattie said: “I welcome the response from the Cabinet Secretary announcing that both Midlothian and East Lothian will receive investment in the Easter Bush campus, Queen Margaret University, as well as £120 million for the Sheriffhall roundabout upgrades
“The Edinburgh and South-East City Region Deal will be a massive funding boost for the communities of Musselburgh and Midlothian.
“Inclusive growth was a key consideration in the development of city region deal. The Scottish Government’s £25 million investment in the integrated regional employability and skills programme will maximise the synergies between the different projects within the deal and equip people across the region to benefit from the additional jobs that will be created by the investment over the next 10 to 20 years.”
Following recent reports that Bonnyrigg’s branch of the Bank of Scotland is due to withdraw its counter services, today local MSP Colin Beattie took steps to clarify the situation.
Mr Beattie wrote to the Bank’s Head Office in London and shortly thereafter received a response from David Martin, the Group Public Affairs Manager. Mr Martin explained the situation as:
- The branch is earmarked to be refurbished and reformatted.
- A new style of branch will be introduced that retains the same level of colleague support for customers but also introduces more automated and digital devices for faster banking.
Mr Beattie MSP commented: ‘I’m only too happy to hear this news firsthand from the Bank’s representatives.
‘Given the recent news about Bonnyrigg’s Post Office potentially closing, unconfirmed stories about the Bank of Scotland following suit do nothing but stoke more concern for local people.
‘I’m pleased to be able to clarify the situation surrounding this branch. I look forward to hearing more from the Bank in terms of this refurbishment and its commitment to the people of Bonnyrigg.
LOCAL SNP MSPS ENCOURAGE MIDLOTHIAN COMMUNITIES TO GIVE EVIDENCE TO “POLICING DURING MINERS’ STRIKE” REVIEW
Midlothian MSPs Christine Grahame and Colin Beattie have called on people in Midlothian who experienced the miners’ strike from March 1984 to March 1985 to consider giving evidence to the independent review of the impact of policing on mining communities during this time. A call for evidence has been issued by the review following the announcement of its establishment in June by the Scottish Government.
The review is led by John Scott QC, assisted by an Advisory Panel, comprising Dennis Canavan (former MP and MSP), Jim Murdoch (Professor of Public Law at the University of Glasgow) and Kate Thomson (former Assistant Chief Constable) with an interim report expected in January 2019 and a final report expected by June 2019. They are seeking to gather as much information as possible about the experience of communities, with the evidence gathered informing the report and any recommendations made to the Scottish Government.
Commenting Ms Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale said:
“The Miners' Strike may have taken place over thirty years ago, but I recall those events and the dreadful sight of police horses charging into striking miners. Representing Midlothian communities I am well aware that strong feelings about it persist in many of these.
“This review is a chance for those affected to put on record the impact that policing during this time had on them and I’d encourage anyone who was a miner, part of a mining community, a police officer or in some other way affected by the strike to consider submitting a response.”
Mr Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh added:
“Mining has been the lifeblood of many Midlothian communities going back decades. Many families will still be living with the memories of the horrific events during the strikes.
“We now have a chance to properly analyse what occurred in the period between March 1984 and March 1985. I hope anyone who can recall these events will take the opportunity to submit evidence, no matter how small the detail may be.”
The call for evidence can be found at https://consult.gov.scot/justice/policing-during-miners-strike-independent-review/ and responses are requested by Friday 30 November 2018.
Further information about the review can be found at: https://beta.gov.scot/groups/independent-review-policing-miners-strike/
Midlothian North MSP, Colin Beattie, has lobbied the Post Office to discuss the temporary disruption of service to the people in Bonnyrigg and surrounding areas after the announcement that they will close the doors to the local Post Office on 1st October.
Commenting Mr Beattie said: “I understand that many Bonnyrigg residents will feel frustrated and upset at the loss of their nearest Post Office. The situation is not ideal but I understand the Post Office are working hard to find a suitable location to set up another local branch.
“Your nearest Post Office branches are Eskbank Trading, Eskbank and High Street, Dalkeith.
“Unfortunately with the recent closure of the RBS in Bonnyrigg this is another massive inconvenience to the community and I will continue to monitor the situation and keep in touch with the Post Office to ensure the inconvenience is reduced to a minimum.”