Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, has held his fifth annual Christmas Card Competition for all primary school children within his constituency. The school children are asked to design a Christmas Card which fits in with the annual theme – this year the theme was ‘Together with Family’. The winning design is then used as the official Christmas card which Mr Beattie sends across the area to constituents, businesses, colleagues, charities and local organisations.
Book vouchers are awarded to the winner and the 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.
There were a high volume of entries this year from primary schools in Midlothian and East Lothian which made choosing the winning entries a tough decision for Mr Beattie and his fellow judges Stephen Thomson from JK Thomson in Musselburgh and Trish Sime from Bonnyrigg Rose FC.
This year’s winner was Eva Redmond, a P7 pupil from Lasswade Primary School. 2nd place was Millie Cairns from Wallyford Primary School, 3rd Place was Yvie Burnett from Kings Park Primary and 4th Place was Oliver Kecik from Loretto RC.
For the overall class prizes, winners were 1st place – P5M from Woodburn Primary School, 2nd place – P4/5 at Paradykes Primary School, and 3rd – P6 at Musselburgh Primary School.
Commenting Colin Beattie MSP said:
“The Christmas Card competition is always the highlight of the festive season for me. The skill and talent of the designs get better and better every year, it really makes choosing the winner a difficult job.
“I would like to thank all the schools for their entries this year and all the children who worked so hard on their designs.
“A special congratulations to the winner Eva – I am sure all those who receive my Christmas Card will love your design.”
Judging – Stephen Thomson from JK Thomson (left), with Trish Sime from Bonnyrigg Rose FC (middle) and Colin Beattie MSP (right).
Winner – Eva Redmond.
Colin Beattie has welcomed £4bn of investment in Scotland’s social security system announced in the Scottish budget to support families across Midlothian and East Lothian.
The 2022/23 budget includes £197m for the Scottish Child Payment – which is set to be doubled to £20 per child per week at the start of April next year.
Children across Midlothian and East Lothian will also be supported to have the best start in life with £17.8m into the Best Start Grant and £13.1m investment in Best Start Foods.
Those with a disability will be supported by billions of pounds of investment through support like the by £1.9bn of investment into the new Adult Disability Payment and £444m in the Disability Living Allowance.
With carers benefiting from £314m of investment in the Carers Allowance, plus the £41.8m investment in the Carer’s Allowance Supplement.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“The SNP Scottish Government continues to build a social security system built on fairness, dignity and respect.
“Nothing demonstrates that more than the commitment Nicola Sturgeon made earlier this year to double the Scottish Child Payment at the start of April, earlier than planned. This will benefit families across Midlothian, East Lothian and Scotland.
“Along with the Scottish Child Payment, the SNP Scottish Government continues to ensure that children in Midlothian and East Lothian have the best start in life with payments like Best Start Foods and the Best Start Grant.
“Compare and contrast this with the callous decision by the UK Tory government to cut Universal Credit by £20-a-week at time when families needed it most – the tale of two governments facing the people of Scotland could not be more stark.
“That is why we cannot trust the Tories to protect the future of families here in Midlothian, East Lothian and across Scotland. Which is why we must be able to choose a better path that would allow Scotland to have full powers over social security to build a fairer, independent country.”
NEW GUIDANCE TO REDUCE OMICRON SPREAD PUBLISHED
SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie has today welcomed the publication of new guidance to help businesses employees and customers stay safe and reduce the spreading of Covid-19.
The guidance, which comes into effect at 00.01 Friday 17th December 2021, is part of the Scottish Government’s efforts to tackle Omicron, the new variant of Covid-19. Other measures being asked of the people of Midlothian and East Lothian include limiting contact with other households, getting their vaccines and boosters, testing regularly, keeping windows open and rooms ventilated and working from home wherever possible.
Commenting SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie said:
“The emergence of the Omicron variant is not what people across Midlothian and East Lothian wanted to be hearing about a couple weeks before Christmas but we can all help play our part to overcome it.
“This new guidance for businesses and customers in Midlothian and East Lothian is very welcome. It will help reduce the speed of the spread of Covid-19 and keep our NHS safe at this difficult time.
“The booster rollout is also going very well, with Scotland being the first nation in the UK to have over 50% of over 18s having had their Booster, but we know that we must do more in light of Omicron.
“I urge everyone across Midlothian and East Lothian to help us all stay safe and protect our NHS by following these new guidelines, as well as all other protections the Scottish Government have put in place.”
Today in Chamber, Colin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh asked the Scottish Government if they could provide an update on the proposed works at Sheriffhall roundabout as part of its £300 million commitment to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.
He also asked what action the Scottish Government are taking to address the delays to the works at Sheriffhall Roundabout and asked the Scottish Government to provide any reassurance to the constituents that this is in hand.
The Minister for Transport, Graeme Dey MSP in response has given his reassurances that the Scottish Government are committed to delivering the grade separation at Sheriffhall Roundabout.
A large number of objections have been received to the proposed works but the Transport Minister today provided reassurance that Transport Scotland is currently trying to resolve this. Although, due to the high number of objections received the Minister has noted a public inquiry may have to be held.
The Minister does state, however, that Transport Scotland is working hard to satisfy all objections and have now issued replies to all the objectors.
Commenting Colin Beattie said:
“I understand the frustration of my constituents at the lack of progress being made with the works at Sheriffhall Roundabout and how these are much needed.
“I mentioned in Chamber that this is a key travel route used by many of my constituents and those in the surrounding areas. The large volume of traffic often leads to a bottleneck situation.
“I’m pleased the Minister could provide an update that all objections have been responded to now by Transport Scotland which shows some progress.
“I agree with the Minister that it is important that all stakeholders and surrounding communities impacted by any works should be properly consulted and have their objections heard. I do hope Transport Scotland’s responses have addressed many of the concerns raised to avoid any further delay to these works.
“I will continue to monitor the progress of the works and keep my constituents updated with any new developments.”
Local MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed record investment in Scotland’s NHS, including £1,639.3 million for NHS Lothian
The Scottish Government Budget confirmed £18 billion for Health and Social Care, including £12.9 billion for health boards through the pandemic and to accelerate the recovery of vital services.
The Budget also supports the creation of a new National Care Service - the single greatest public health reform since the establishment of the NHS.
Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes also outlined:
Coin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh said:
“The Scottish Government’s Budget commits £18 billion for Health and Social Care this year - that’s the highest investment in the history of the Scottish Parliament.
“Prioritising the NHS was a key commitment of the SNP in May’s election, so I’m delighted to see the SNP Scottish Government delivering on this commitment despite a challenging financial outlook.
“In NHS Lothian, the Scottish Government has committed £1,639.3 million to NHS Lothian- an increase of £69.8 million on last year’s Budget.
“This year, Scotland’s block grant has no Covid consequentials from the UK government - meaning when Covid spending is included, our budget decreased from last year. Prioritising Health and Social Care is absolutely the right thing to do - but it means difficult decisions elsewhere in Scotland’s budget.
“Scotland doesn’t have the powers to borrow for our pandemic response under Westminster control, so the UK government must now deliver new money to aid Scotland’s fight against Covid.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the £500,000, announced in the Scottish Government’s budget, to lay the ground work for the establishment of a National Care Service.
The SNP Scottish Government’s budget announced record funding of £18 billion for Health and Social Care - the £500,000 was included by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes, as part of a total investment of over £718.9 million for social care.
The MSP has said that the investment, alongside announcing a £10.50 minimum wage for social care staff, is a clear indication of the SNP’s commitment to create of a National Care Service that looks after people across Midlothian and East Lothian.
Commenting Colin Beattie said:
“I am delighted to see the SNP’s commitment to establishing a National Care Service backed up in this budget with £500,000 investment as part of the £18 billion earmarked for Health and Social Care.
“Over the past two years, the importance of our social care services has never been clearer and people across Midlothian North and Musselburgh deserve a social care system that is consistent in the quality of service they receive.
“Creating a National Care Service means that each of us in Midlothian North and Musselburgh and our loved ones will receive the consistency, equity and fairness we deserve in the care we need.
“Getting this right is crucial to allowing everyone to take part in society and will have the ability to transform peoples' lives for the better. I am glad that the SNP Scottish Government are taking the steps needed to make this happen.”
Colin Beattie MSP has welcomed significant investment in education and skills to aid Scotland’s recovery from COVID, which was outlined in Holyrood at the Scottish Budget statement last week.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP confirmed that resource and capital spending would increase by nearly £200 million – one of the biggest rises in the history of the Scottish Parliament.
The significant investment has been welcomed as confirmation of a “determination to support learners of all ages and at all stages”.
Colin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh said:
“This year’s Scottish Government Budget sees a significant increase in investment for education - a key priority for the SNP government.
“From scrapping music tuition fees to expanding free school meals into primary four and five - with plans to extend this to all primary school pupils - and nearly £2 billion for universities and colleges, this is arguably the most ambitious settlement for the education sector in the history of the Scottish Parliament.
“Children and young people in Midlothian North and Musselburgh deserve every opportunity to fulfil their potential from nursery, into school and beyond. It’s right that the SNP Scottish Government has put investment in education and skills at the heart of this Budget.
“With record investment, I’ll be delighted to back the Finance Secretary’s budget in Parliament - it confirms the SNP’s determination to support learners of all ages at all stages.”
MULTI-BILLION POUND INVESTMENT IN MAKING SCOTLAND GREENER
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed commitments in the 2021-22 Scottish budget that set Scotland on a path to a Just Transition while securing hundreds of thousands of oil and gas jobs.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes announced the first £20m of the 10-year £500m being invested by the SNP Scottish Government into a Just Transition. The investment will increase year-on-year.
There were also other spending commitments in the budget to make Scotland greener, including £350m towards decarbonising one million homes across Scotland, and the equivalent of 500,000 domestic homes by 2030.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“The SNP Scottish Government continues to recognise the importance of our Just Transition away from fossil fuels - bringing jobs, communities and business along on that process to ensure that lessons are learned from the past and no one is left behind.
“The SNP is serious about our responsibility to move workers into green jobs for the future with £500m investment in the Just Transition fund.
“We have already seen workers benefitting from the Green Jobs Fund – with 750 green jobs already created through the project.
“It is disappointing that we do not see the same commitment to green jobs from the Tory UK government as they failed to invest in carbon capture, letting down the people across Scotland – they must immediately reverse that decision.
“This shows why we cannot trust the Tories to protect the future of energy jobs in Scotland. We must be able to choose a better future in an independent country.”
HIGHER PAY IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN PUTS £82.4 MILLION INTO LOCAL ECONOMY.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the news that teachers in Midlothian and East Lothian are paid £1,350-a-year more than the UK average teaching salary.
UK government figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the average annual salary for full-time Scottish teachers and other education professionals is £41,350. This compares with a UK average of just more than £40,000.
That extra £1,350 for for 985 teachers in Midlothian and 1,008 teachers in East Lothian represents about an extra £1.3 million for Midlothian Council and £1.4 million for East Lothian Council to support the local economy.
In total, the combined salaries paid to Midlothian and East Lothian teachers means £82.4 Million for the local economy.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“This is great news for teachers in Midlothian and East Lothian and it boosts the local economy by £2.7 Million.
“That cash injection would not be available with Tory control. And, as we have already seen with their post-Brexit laws, Westminster is bypassing the democratically-elected Scottish Government to allocate money based on Tory priorities.
“We have also seen what they have done in the north of England by cutting back on their promises of greater rail investment. They did the similar in the Highlands in the 1990s when they had control of that money. The lesson is clear: Westminster control means cuts not cash.
“The £71million difference in pay between Scotland and what teachers would get in England is clear evidence that the SNP Scottish Government is prioritising its investment in Scottish education and the future of the nation’s young people.
“Our commitment to Scotland’s teachers continues to pay off as the attainment gap continues to narrow, a record number of pupils from the most deprived backgrounds go on to further education and more are leaving with one Higher or more.
“Attracting and retaining good quality teachers is paramount and providing competitive salary levels is a key component in delivering that.
“The whole nation is grateful for the incredible job teachers across the country have done over the pandemic. In hugely difficult and trying circumstances their commitment and dedication has been commendable and we owe them a debt of gratitude.
“Despite the constant knocking tactics of opposition parties continually undermining it, Scottish education has so much to be proud of.”