MSP FOR MIDLOTHIAN NORTH AND MUSSELBURGH ANGRY AS LOCAL VIRGIN MONEY BRANCH CLOSES
Virgin Money have announced they will close the Musselburgh branch on 20 January 2022 alongside 11 other branches in Scotland. They cite a decrease in the number of customers using the branch as the main reason for closure.
The closest branch for customers will be located at Virgin Money Edinburgh – George Street.
Local MSP Colin Beattie commented:
“I am furious to hear of another branch closure in my constituency.
“Virgin Money already closed one branch in Dalkeith, with Musselburgh being promised as the alternative branch for their customers. Now customers from both areas will be expected to travel into Edinburgh for face-to-face support. Virgin Money have yet again let their customers down and broken a promise to the community – and not least their promise to myself.
“This announcement today is completely unfair and disadvantages the most vulnerable customers in our community, especially those who do not do online, or telephone banking and it is important that any alternative solutions proposed by Virgin Money are inclusive to all their customers. Some of our businesses will now be left abandoned by their own bank.
“Our high streets need to provide vital services such as banking and postal services. The continued closure of these services means our high streets will no longer meet the needs of our communities - economically and socially - and fulfil their primary purpose to serve the community. We need an alternative to the current banking system which fails to support our needs.
“I have reached out to Virgin Money to discuss this matter and ensure customers are still provided a service which meets their needs.”
It has been announced that Woodburn Post Office will close on Tuesday 2 November 2021. The Post Office have stated that the retail partner CJ Lang will withdraw their services from this date and would welcome any applications from potential retail partners interested in running a branch locally.
MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie commented:
“When it was first announced in June that the Woodburn branch was at risk. I had discussions with both CJ Lang and the Post Office to encourage them to find an alternative solution. I’m disappointed that this has not yet been found.
“The local community relies greatly on the services provided by the Post Office. The closure of services such as post offices and banking facilities is damaging to our communities and further disadvantages those in the community that need these services in their day to day lives.
“This is a great loss to Woodburn and I encourage any potential retailers to consider this opportunity to help restore this vital local service.”
COLIN BEATTIE CONDEMNS SCOTTISH TORIES FOR BACKING “SHAMEFUL CUTS TO UNIVERSAL CREDIT”
The Scottish Parliament has voted overwhelming to support cancelling the Tory UK Government’s planned £20 cut to Universal Credit next month. Following the vote, Colin Beattie MSP condemned the Scottish Tories for backing the cut which will rip over £1,000 from 7297 families in Midlothian and 7917 in East Lothian.
The pressure for the Tory Government to scrap their plans has been building up for a number of months. The Scottish Government has written to the UK Government on eight occasions throughout the pandemic asking for them to make the uplift permanent and to extend it to legacy benefits, and hundreds of anti-poverty campaigners, human rights experts, cross-party committees and the devolved Governments have all urged the UK Government to keep the lifeline.
The Tory’s planned cut has also faced opposition from their own Conservative colleagues in Westminster - including former Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson and six former Tory DWP Secretary of States. This is on top of the four Cross Party Social Security committees of the devolved Parliaments. However, the current elected Scottish Conservatives are choosing to defend the biggest welfare reduction since the 1930s.
Commenting SNP MSP Colin Beattie for Midlothian North and Musselburgh said:
“Today the Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly spoke and demanded the Tory UK Government halts their plans to scrap the uplift to Universal Credit. Sadly, we also witnessed every single Tory MSP failing to stand up to their Westminster bosses in opposing the £20 a week cut – the biggest welfare cut since the 1930s.
“I was proud to stand up for the 15,214 households across Midlothian and East Lothian and send a strong message to the Tories at Westminster that we reject its plans to rip more than £1,000 a year out of the hands of the most vulnerable at a time when they need it most.
“I am quite frankly shocked, but not surprised, that the Scottish Tory MSPs not only voted to back the Universal Credit cut which will condemn thousands of families to poverty, but actively defended it – the Nasty Party is well and truly back.
“History will remember them for this - Scottish Tory MSPs are letting down thousands of families and children by supporting this callous cut in favour of propping up their Tory chums in the UK government who are imposing these policies on the people of Scotland.
“This demonstrates once again how the people of Scotland cannot afford to continue to suffer under Westminster control. We need to have the option of choosing a different path in a referendum which can give us the full powers of independence where we can build a fairer Scotland.”
Colin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh has announced that he will hold his annual Christmas card competition for local schools. The competition will be open to all primary school children from the Midlothian North and Musselburgh constituency. Mr Beattie has written a letter inviting all eligible schools to take part.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“This is now the fifth year of running the Christmas card competition for the primary schools in the Midlothian North and Musselburgh constituency. I enjoy having the opportunity to engage with the local schools and believe that it is important for the children in my constituency to be part of something fun and creative.
“The winning design becomes my official Christmas card, which I send to local organisations, businesses and politicians throughout Midlothian and Scotland. I love seeing the variety of different designs and the creativity of our local young people. Every year the entries have been great, and I do hope they are even better this year.
“All of the primary schools in the constituency have been sent an invitation to take part and this also outlines the deadlines and the prizes. There is a prize for first, second and third place. There is also a first, second and third place prize on offer for the ‘best class’ category. The theme this year is ‘Together with Family’.
“Last year, with the Covid-19 restrictions in place, the competition was more limited and I couldn’t visit the local schools to congratulate them in person. I very much hope that this year I will be able to personally congratulate all winning pupils and classes for their contributions and look forward to seeing all their fantastic entries.”
Photo: Last year's winner Amelia Luckyn-Malone and Colin Beattie MSP
Local Alister Hadden has been nominated as a Local Hero by Colin Beattie MSP.
In July all 129 MSPs were invited to nominate a constituent who makes a positive difference to the lives of others – often with little recognition - as their Local Hero. Taking place in early October, all Local Heroes will make a contribution to the Scottish Parliament’s Opening Ceremony events to mark the start of the new parliamentary session.
Colin Beattie MSP said:
“As the Sixth Session of the Scottish Parliament gets underway, it’s right that the people of Scotland are placed at the heart of our events.
“Together with my fellow MSPs, we want to celebrate the achievements of our Local Heroes from across every constituency and region in Scotland.
“Alister’s work is truly inspirational and has the heart of the community at the forefront of all his goals. He currently sits as Chair of the Wallyford Community Council and has been the spearhead of many local projects through the Community Council such as the Wallyford Mining Memorial Stone and fundraising to bring to fruition a sculpture of small steam locomotive nicknamed the Wallyford Pug.
“However, Alister’s local efforts do not stop there and he shows a clear passion for preserving and exhibiting local history. He is a past President and honorary member of The Old Musselburgh Club and convenor of the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh commemoration ceremony on the Club’s behalf. As well as being a member and treasurer of the Pinkie Cleugh Battlefield & Tapestry Group and Chair of Musselburgh Museum & Heritage Group.
“Alister is also involved in the Hollies Trustees in Musselburgh and Musselburgh Probus Club taking the role as vice chair for both. The list may appear extensive, but these are only a few examples of all the work Alister does for the communities of Wallyford and Musselburgh which make a positive difference to the lives of others.
“I could not think of another person more deserving of this nomination.”
SNP EXPOSES HORRIFIC EXTENT OF TORIES’ UNIVERSAL CREDIT CUT ACROSS MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN
SNP MSP FOR MIDLOTHIAN NORTH AND MUSSELBURGH, COLIN BEATTIE, BRANDS CALLOUS POLICY “A CRIME AGAINST DECENCY”.
Colin Beattie has blasted the Westminster Tory Government’s decision to strip 15,214 families in Midlothian and East Lothian of the £20 Universal Credit uplift as “a crime against decency”.
New research from the Scottish Parliament’s independent information service SPICe reveals 176,935 working households, 104,536 single parent households, 33,143 carer households, 11,887 households with disabled kids and a further 66,143 households with disabilities across Scotland will lose more than £1000 a year.
And the figures expose the appalling scale of misery that this callous Tory decision will inflict on 7297households in Midlothian and 7917 households in East Lothian.
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“This Tory government’s choice to inflict the biggest overnight cut to social security since World War II - hammering people both in and out of work – is a crime against decency.
“The sheer scale of misery they will inflict on 15,214 households across Midlothian and East Lothian is horrific. It will have a devastating impact on working families, single parent families, carer families and many others to find or stay in a job, stripping many of the ability to put food on the table or keep warm as we head into winter and with rising energy costs.
“The Tory decision to press ahead with this – with the support of their Scottish MPs – will also take much needed money out of the local economy when it is trying to recover from Covid. The Tories must rethink this inhumane policy.
"While the Scottish Government tries to combat deprivation with game-changing policies like the Scottish Child Payment, these efforts are being cancelled out by constant waves of Tory austerity.
"It is another clear demonstration of the tale of two governments in Scotland – with one at Westminster which cuts social security support during a global pandemic regardless of the consequences, and one at Holyrood which is tackling poverty head on through a range of actions including the Scottish Child Payment.”
People’s Energy Company located in Shawfair, Midlothian announced it was to cease trading affecting around 350,000 homes, 1,000 businesses and putting 450 jobs at risk.
Ofgem are currently working to help customers and will appoint new suppliers to take on the households and companies served by People’s Energy Company.
Commenting, local MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh Colin Beattie said:
“I am disappointed to hear about People’s Energy Company entering administration and fully understand the impact this will have on local jobs and customers that the company serves all over Scotland.
“I have written urgently to the Scottish Government seeking reassurances and assistance for both the employees and customers.
“In the meantime, if you are an employee affected by this and facing redundancy, please get in touch with PACE for assistance on 0800 917 8000 or visit https://careers.myworldofwork.co.uk/career-advice/facing-redundancy
“If any of my constituents are affected by this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.”
4,124 CHILDREN ACROSS MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN BENEFIT FROM SCOTGOV CHILD POVERTY MISSION
Low income families in Midlothian and East Lothian will benefit from a £320 uplift before Christmas as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling child poverty.
Colin Beattie welcomed the payments which Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison highlighted during a debate on the commitments in the SNP Scottish Government’s Programme for Government which aim to create a fairer society.
Families eligible will receive payments of £160 per child in October and again in December. Two Bridging Payments of £100 have already been made which takes the total to £520 this year.
The cash is equivalent to the Scottish Child Payment - a £10-a-week benefit to assist with the costs of caring for a child aged under six years old. The Scottish Government will extend the Scottish Child payment to all eligible under-16s by the end of 2022 and are committed to double the payment to £20 per week as quickly as possible.
The Social Justice Secretary highlighted the payments in the Scottish Parliament just a day after the six Tory MPs failed to vote to stop the UK government’s plans to cut the incomes of six million people across the UK by £1040 a year - the biggest cut to welfare since the 1930’s.
Commenting SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie said:
“I know that many families in Midlothian are finding it hard just now. The impact that the pandemic has had on household finances is real, and has only been made worse by the cost of Tory’s obsession with Brexit and their unrelenting cruel austerity agenda.
“I am pleased that in Scotland, we have an SNP Scottish Government doing right thing by its citizens with these payments meaning £211,200 in the pockets of 2,112 low income families in Midlothian and £201,200 in the pockets of 2,012 low income families in East Lothian.
“The Scottish Child Payment is already the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK and we have committed to doubling it to £20-a-week per child as soon as possible in this parliamentary term.
“It’s clear that building a better future for children in Midlothian, and right across Scotland, is of at the top of the agenda in the SNP’s Programme for Government.
“As the Tories plough on with their indefensible move to cut £20-a-week in Universal Credit from those who need it most, the SNP Government are using the powers we have to provide real, practical help for families in Scotland. It’s crystal clear that the only way to keep Scotland safe from Westminster cuts is to become an independent country.”
It was an honour to attend and lay a floral tribute at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh 474th Anniversary Ceremony this afternoon.
On this day, 10 September 1547, the last pitched battle between the Scots and the English was fought. Today was the chance to commemorate and pay our respects to over 10,000 Scots who died in battle protecting their country from invasion.
I would also like to thank the Pinkie Cleugh Battlefield Group for all their work in making this event happen.
THE WHEELS ON THE BUS WILL KEEP GOING ROUND
Colin Beattie has welcomed the news that up to £42 million in funding will be made available by the Scottish Government to support bus operators to maintain services in Midlothian and East Lothian.
The announcement was made today by Minister for Transport, Graeme Dey, and forms part of the up to £96.8 million that the Scottish Government had already made available in 2021-22.
Bus services have been a crucial way of getting people around safely in Midlothian and East Lothian throughout the pandemic, and Colin Beattie has said their role “will become ever more important as we emerge from the pandemic and build a greener country.”
This announcement from the Scottish Government today is in addition to maintaining concessionary reimbursement and bus service operator grant payments at pre-COVID levels, and free bus travel for under-22s.
Commenting Colin Beattie said:
“Public transport in Midlothian and East Lothian has never been more important - throughout the past 18 months it is has been a lifeline to many and will continue to help Scotland reach its world leading climate targets.
“Buses in Midlothian and East Lothian not only help us all get around but Lothian Buses have gone further, supporting the COVID 19 vaccine rollout, by transforming some of their fleet into vaccination buses and I thank everyone involved in this initiative which is helping us gradually start to return to normality.
“I’m pleased the Scottish Government has recognised that additional support is still currently required to support our buses as we recover and I’m sure it will be welcome news across my constituency.”