Nurseries and Early Learning Childcare (ELC) settings in Midlothian and East Lothian are being urged to apply for Scottish Government funding to help children take part in outdoor learning and development whatever the weather.
The SNP Government is committing £1million of funding to nurseries and other education centres to buy children warm winter clothes, so they can enjoy playing outside.
It comes as nurseries and other settings are encouraged to take learning outdoors to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The package will be available to all funded ELC centres and will ensure that three- and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds have access to suitable outdoor clothing.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“Outdoor play is an incredibly important aspect of any child’s learning and development, so it is extremely important that we can maintain that during the current pandemic.
“No child should go without winter clothing when it gets colder and that is why the Scottish Government is plugging the gap for parents and ELC settings that are unable to provide clothing.
“I would urge all nurseries and ELC centres in Midlothian and East Lothian to apply for their share of the £1million funding when it opens in January 2021 to ensure no child goes without at an extremely important stage of their learning.”
The new Mayfield Primary School Campus set to be built in Midlothian will be backed up by millions of pounds of Scottish Government funding.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney made the announcement that the Scottish Government will be investing £800million in state-of-the-art facilities across the country. Midlothian will see a share of the funding, as the planned building of Mayfield Primary School Campus will be part of it.
The funds will supplement cash already injected into the project by Midlothian Council as part of stage 2 of the Learning Estate Investment Programme which aims to benefit around 50,000 pupils across Scotland by the end of the next Parliament.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“The plans to build Mayfield Primary School Campus will be of great benefit to young people in Midlothian and I am delighted the Scottish Government is providing a further boost to the project.
“Not only will the project improve education in the area, but it will be welcome good news to the construction industry which has had some tough times throughout the pandemic. The work will support jobs in the area and provide stability for the sector.
“I am very much looking forward to seeing the completion of the Mayfield Primary School Campus build, as the Scottish Government has a fantastic track-record in providing state-of-the-art facilities that are modern, low-carbon and ready for the digital age.”
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, has held his fourth annual Christmas Card Competition for school children within his constituency. The school children are invited to submit their designs to Mr Beattie, who then selects his favourite design to be used as the Christmas card which he sends across the area to constituents, businesses, colleagues, charities and local organisations. Book vouchers are awarded to the winner and the two runners up, as well as to the three best overall classes. The top prizes this year were a £60 book voucher for the Individual Category and a £100 book voucher for the Best Class Overall Category.
Judging for the Christmas Card competition took place with Monica Patterson, Chief Executive of East Lothian Council, and Jo Stewart, Co-Founder of Stewart Brewing. The competition was very popular once again this year, receiving a large number of entries from schools across Midlothian and East Lothian.
This year’s winners were:
Colin Beattie MSP commented:
“I always thoroughly enjoy holding the Christmas Card Competition for school pupils across the constituency, as it highlights the level of skill and creativity our local children possess. The card designs are always imaginative and unique, and choosing a winner is always a tough decision.
“I hoped this year especially to provide local youngsters with something to look forward to, following what has been a very challenging year with Covid-19.
“Even although I couldn’t visit the schools in person this year it was nice to have virtual meetings with the classes to congratulate them on their wins.
“I would like to thank all the schools who got involved in the competition, and to thank all the children who worked hard on their designs. It was certainly a difficult competition to judge! A special congratulations to Amelia on winning – I am sure that all those who receive my Christmas card will be delighted to receive such a special card, designed by a local child.”
£9.914 MILLION FUNDING REACHES MIDLOTHIAN AND £11.059 MILLION FOR EAST LOTHIAN TO TACKLE IMPACT OF COVID-19
EXTRA SNP GOVERNMENT FUNDING TO SUPPORT COUNCIL SERVICES
Midlothian has received an additional £9.914 million and East Lothian has received an additional £11.059 million from the SNP Government to support local services and tackle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Local authorities will also receive their fair share of a further £184.8 million which is currently undistributed but will be allocated following parliamentary approval.
The extra funding has also been provided to help offset the drop-in revenue that Midlothian and East Lothian Council have lost during the pandemic and brings the overall support package to councils over the COVID-19 pandemic to more than £1 billion.
The new figures come after Scotland’s Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, announced that businesses, including taxi drivers, travel agents and those working in the hospitality sector, across Scotland will benefit from a new £185 million package of targeted coronavirus support.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, said:
“The pandemic has put enormous pressure on households, communities and local services right across Scotland, and it’s right that the SNP Government has ensured Midlothian and East Lothian Councils have more funding to deal with this.
“This funding boost is supporting access to food, welfare payments and frontline services, and is just one way the SNP is providing to individuals and businesses to protect jobs and incomes.
“There’s even more cash to come – and if we all stick together, and continue following the rules in the coming months, we will beat this pandemic.”
SNP DELIVERING FOR SCOTLAND WHILE WESTMINSTER IN CHAOS
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the announcement of more than 100 ambitious new policies and proposals to support Scotland’s green recovery and help deliver a just transition to net zero.
They form part of the Climate Change Plan 2018 – 2032, which has been updated to reflect the world’s most ambitious climate targets as enshrined in Scotland’s Climate Change Act 2019.
The Plan includes:
- additional funding of £120 million for zero emission buses to accelerate the decarbonisation of Scotland’s bus fleet and support the Scottish supply chain.
- £50 million to support the creation of Active Freeways to provide sustainable transport links between our towns and cities
- £50 million to transform vacant and derelict land, ensuring that this land is utilised for maximum environmental and community benefit
- phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030
- creating 1 million zero-emission homes by 2030
MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie said:
“As a country, we face a huge challenge in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, but the climate emergency has not gone away - and it must be absolutely central to our recovery from this COVID crisis.
“Scotland has made significant progress in tackling climate change and building a greener economy, but we know there is still work to be done and the SNP Government is determined to learn lessons from this extraordinary year.
"Scotland is already a world-leader on tackling the climate crisis and delivering green energy. By contrast, Westminster has wasted years obsessing over nuclear power, with a complete lack of ambition over the energy technologies of the future.
"Climate change is without doubt the single biggest challenge we face, and the updated Climate Change Plan will help us achieve our contribution to combatting climate change, grow Midlothian and East Lothian’s economy and productivity, and improve the wellbeing of everyone who lives here.”
Families in Midlothian and East Lothian will be eligible to receive 1140 of free childcare from August 2021, following an announcement from the SNP Scottish Government.
Children’s Minister Maree Todd made the announcement today after the rollout of expanded childcare was paused to allow local authorities to put all their efforts into tackling COVID-19.
Parents are being urged to apply now for childcare if they need it in time for August next year.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“I know the impact the pandemic has had on families in Midlothian and East Lothian and this announcement today will be welcome news for them.
“The Scottish Government was well on-track to deliver the 1140 hours duty in April, but it was necessary to put a pause, not a stop, on the plans in order for councils to put their resources into fighting coronavirus.
“Not only will the expansion be good news for parents, but it also opens up employment opportunities as we look recruit more childminders to be able to provide the 1140 hours.
“I would encourage all parents to apply for free childcare as soon as possible so they can access the services they are entitled to.”
GUIDANCE FOR PEOPLE IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN SELF-ISOLATING UPDATED FROM MONDAY
MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh Colin Beattie has welcomed the announcement that the Scottish Government’s self-isolation payment will not be impacted, following an update that anyone required to self-isolate will need to do so for 10 days, rather than 14 days.
The £500 grant - which will not be reduced as a result of the updated clinical guidance - is for those who will face financial hardship due to being asked to self-isolate and will be targeted at people who are in receipt of Universal Credit or legacy benefits.
The four chief medical officers of the UK announced on Friday that close contacts of a positive case and those returning from countries without a travel corridor will be able to self-isolate for 10 days instead of the current 14 days from Monday.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“Self-isolation, both for contacts identified by Test and Protect and through the foreign travel quarantine requirements, is critical to protecting people and reducing the spread of COVID-19.
“While self-isolation may be for a shorter period, it remains vital that everyone who is required to do so remains at their home or other named address for this time. Only by doing this can we break the chain of transmission of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.
"To ensure people do not experience financial hardship as a result of doing the right thing, the SNP Government has ensured that the £500 grant for people on low incomes who have been asked to self-isolate will not change.
“I’d urge everyone in Midlothian and East Lothian who is facing a loss of income due to self-isolating to apply for this payment.”
Spectator sports in Midlothian and East Lothian will receive a share of a £55million package announced by the SNP Scottish Government.
The support will help teams, such as Bonnyrigg Rose, Musselburgh Athletic and Whitehill Welfare, cope with a difficult period where they have been unable to welcome fans to matches due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amongst the funding, £30m will go to football, £20m to rugby and £2.2m to ice hockey and rinks.
The money goes over and above what has been provided by the UK government in Barnett consequentials and means the SNP Scottish Government can provide the funds each sport needs.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“Sport is an integral part of the lives of the people of Midlothian and East Lothian and I know the strength of feeling there has been from fans of different sports as many have contacted my office with their concerns.
“That is why I am delighted the SNP Government has responded by engaging with our sporting bodies and tailoring a funding package to each sport that has gone above and beyond what was provided by the UK government in Barnett consequentials.
“This has been a difficult time for many sports in the area, this will provide the support they need. I would urge everyone in Midlothian and East Lothian to ensure we keep following guidelines and doing our best to suppress the virus. If we can all do that then we can eventually return to stadia and watch our favourite team play.”
BUSINESSES IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN TO RECEIVE SHARE OF £185 MILLION SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT FUNDING
NEW SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT SUPPORT TO TARGET SECTORS IN NEED
Businesses in Midlothian and East Lothian will receive their share of targeted Scottish Government coronavirus funding worth £185million.
The funding was announced today by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and will benefit a wide range of sectors, such as taxi drivers, arts venues and the hospitality sector.
The Scottish Government is developing grant schemes for hospitality, the events sector, live music, arts, indoor football centres and the food and drink sector. A further £60 million will also be provided to the tourism sector.
In addition, there will be additional one-off payments of either of £2,000 or £3,000 available for hospitality businesses in January to help them deal with the traditional post-Christmas dip in demand.
Commenting on the announcement Colin Beattie said:
"This Scottish Government funding, which is designed to support firms and ensure that our economy is on the best possible footing when we get through this health crisis, is welcome.
“There is now light at the end of the tunnel, but we are coming into a notoriously difficult period for businesses as we head into the winter months, and this package should help support local businesses struggling to get by and support the sectors worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Local businesses and industries here in Midlothian and East Lothian are understandably concerned about the impact that coronavirus will have on our economy, but the Scottish Government will continue to listen to the needs of business and review and refine the Covid-19 support on offer.
“I'd encourage all businesses in Midlothian and East Lothian to continue to ensure they are receiving the support they’re entitled to."
A friendly chat is just a phone call away- Colin Beattie MSP supports Age Scotland’s Friendship Line to tackle loneliness this winter
Midlothian North & Musselburgh MSP, Colin Beattie doesn't want anyone to be alone this winter and is working to promote Age Scotland's national friendship line to older constituents who might be needing a chat and know someone is there to listen to them.
New research from Age Scotland, the national charity for older people, shows that more than 157,000 over 65s in Scotland are expecting to feel lonely over the festive season. This could be as many as two older people on every street in Midlothian North & Musselburgh.
Their free 0800 12 44 222 service offers older people the chance for a good chat, support and friendship. Volunteers are available to chat with people over the age of 50 about anything they want to discuss, and they can even schedule a regular weekly call. It is open from 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Age Scotland’s chief executive Brian Sloan said:
“We know that the Christmas period is the loneliest time of the year for many older people in Scotland but this one will be like no other. It’s heart-breaking that more than 157,000 over 65s expect to feel lonely this year, which could be as many as two older people on every street in Midlothian North & Musselburgh.
“The impact coronavirus has had on all of our lives has been drastic and as a result levels of loneliness throughout this year, among people of all ages, have been rising at an alarming rate. It has been particularly felt by the hundreds of thousands of older people who live alone, have no local support networks and who do not have access to the internet."