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.”
AT LEAST 4,075 CHILDREN IN MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN TO BENEFIT FROM DOUBLING OF SCOTTISH CHILD PAYMENT.
SNP MSP, Colin Beattie, has welcomed the First Minister’s announcement that the Scottish Child Payment will be doubled from April 2022.
The announcement will see at least 2,120 eligible children across Midlothian and 1,955 eligible children across East Lothian receiving £20 per week per child from spring next year, with more than 106,000 children across Scotland immediately benefitting from the increased payment.
Since the launch of the Scottish Government payment on 15 February 2021, £595,900 has been issued in payments to families in Midlothian and £535,800 issued to families in East Lothian since February.
It is now expected that over 400,000 children could be eligible for the doubled payment by the end 2022, which is when the benefit, which is unique in the UK, will be extended to children under the age of 16.
Commenting SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie said:
“I am delighted that at least 4,075 children across Midlothian and East Lothian will have their Scottish Child Payment doubled in just four months time. This will give £20 per child per week to 4,075 children in Midlothian and East Lothian - four times the amount originally demanded by campaigners.
“The Scottish Government’s national mission to tackle child poverty is absolute - with £1,131,700 having been provided to families across both Midlothian and East Lothian since February, and almost £32 million across Scotland as a whole.
“The doubling of the Scottish Child Payment to £20 is the type of bold action that makes a real difference to people’s lives and shows how focussed the Scottish Government is on meeting Scotland’s Child Poverty targets.
“Once again, the tale of two governments is striking. While the SNP are doubling the Scottish Child Payment to lift thousands of children out of poverty, the Tories at Westminster have just cut £20 per week from many of the same families – knowingly pushing thousands of families into poverty.
“The people in Midlothian and East Lothian deserve the chance to escape the damaging policies we get under Westminster control and get the chance to choose a better path, one with the full powers that an independent Scotland would bring and allow us to build a fairer society.”
Recent figures show Midlothian Council is being ripped off to the tune of £11 million and East Lothian £10 million, as they continue to pay for wretched PFI contracts – eating in to vital council education spending.Research from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has found that the amount being forked out by Midlothian Council is 12% and East Lothian 10%, of its education resource funding, meaning millions are being wasted on the contracts.
PFI contracts were introduced by the Tories and adopted by Labour during their time at the helm of the Scottish Government.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“The rotten PFI contracts were introduced by the Tories but supercharged by the Labour-led Scottish Government and unnecessarily cost councils across Scotland, including in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“It is incredible that the lasting legacy of Labour governments continues to be felt as schools’ budgets are eaten up significantly by these wretched contracts.
“The SNP scrapped PFI contracts, meaning that money can be spent on Scotland’s young people and not on absurdly expensive contracts.
“This demonstrates how we still cannot trust Labour with the public purse in Scotland as we continue to pay for their disastrous decisions in government.”
SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, has welcome the Scottish Government’s rollout of financial support for families of children with a disability.
The new payment, which provides money to help with the extra costs of caring for a child with a disability or ill-health condition, opens for applications across the country today.
For the first time anywhere in the UK, disability benefit applicants can apply for Child Disability Payment online, as well as by phone, post or face-to-face.
As the Child Disability Payment replaces the UK Government’s Disability Living Allowance for children, this is for new applications. Those already receiving Disability Living Allowance for children do not need to apply. These approximately 52,000 current cases are being automatically transferred in phases from the Department for Work and Pensions to Social Security Scotland and will be completed by spring 2023.
This is the first of three complex disability benefits to be introduced by the Scottish Government, with Adult Disability Payment to start next year.
Commenting SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, said:
“The Child Disability Payment is a significant milestone for Scotland’s new social security system.
“I’m extremely pleased that families in Midlothian and East Lothian will benefit from a simplified and much less stressful system that allows them to apply for the payment online, by phone, by post or face to face. For too long families have faced an overly complicated process that feels like it’s been designed to keep them out.
“I’m glad that people in Midlothian and East Lothian, and right across Scotland, are benefitting from an SNP Government that is putting dignity, fairness and respect at the heart of its social security system.”
Colin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh and Chair of the A68 Focus Group is pleased to announce that following lengthy discussions between the Group and Transport Scotland, Transport Scotland have allocated funding for two controlled crossing points within Pathhead subject to community agreement.
The funding, which has been sourced from the Scottish Government’s Active Travel budget, will deliver improved safety along a section of the A68 through Pathhead.
A recent Pathhead-wide survey, conducted by the A68 Focus Group, found that 92% of respondents agreed that the A68 was difficult to cross.
A full consultation will be carried out to allow feedback from the community and the consequences to be considered before progressing to detailed design of measures.
The programme to deliver draft options for this scheme is in the New Year with construction of the agreed options from the 2022/23 financial year.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“The A68 through Pathhead has long been in need of improvements and I am pleased that Transport Scotland have allocated funding to consider the provision of two controlled crossing points subject to detailed design and agreement with the community.
“The A68 is part of Scotland’s trunk road network, but more importantly for residents of Pathhead, it is the local road which connects families, friends and communities.
“By securing this funding, we will be able to make improvements to road safety for all local residents. However, safety for children and the most vulnerable when crossing must be our priority.
“I hope and expect the construction of these crossings will also help address wider concerns regarding road safety, speeding and access to community facilities.
“I am particularly pleased that the A68 Focus Group has engaged with the community in every step of the decision making process and I would encourage all Pathhead residents to take part in the consultation in the New Year.
“I look forward to seeing these proposals come to fruition.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has called on the Tory Westminster Government to make good on the money Scotland and Northern Ireland are owed as its share of the £20 billion from Boris Johnson’s ill-fated plan to build a bridge to Northern Ireland. Money which represents the equivalent of up to £253,056,235 for Midlothian and up to £293,126,868 for East Lothian.
The project – promoted by Boris Johnson was costed at £20 billion, but since the plans for the bridge were canned the money has not been allocated for spending in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Now, Colin Beattie is demanding that the money be allocated to Scotland to be spent on worthwhile transport projects that could transform connectivity in Midlothian and East Lothian.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“Whilst the crossing was a daft idea, the SNP will engage with ideas of how funding can be distributed to ensure worthwhile investment in transport links across Scotland which will benefit communities like Midlothian and East Lothian, £20 billion for a transport project in Scotland and Northern Ireland is worth up to £253,056,235 for Midlothian and up to £293,126,868 for East Lothian.
“The Tories are up to their old tricks again as we saw last time they had control of Scotland’s money. When they diverted cash from the Highlands to try to boost dwindling Conservative support in south-east England.
“What the people of Midlothian and East Lothian need is proper commitments that will make transformational changes to connectivity across the area. Midlothian and East Lothian
share of the cash would equal up to £253,056,235 for Midlothian and up to £293,126,868 for East Lothian. and the Tories owe the community that money which would make a significant difference in how people get around.
“This also shows once again how out of touch Boris Johnson really is with people in Midlothian, East Lothian and across Scotland as he has his priorities all wrong to bring about real change for people here.
“We cannot trust the Tories to act in the best interests of Scotland and that is why the people of Scotland should have the choice of a different path towards independence.”
Every young person under the age of 22 in Midlothian and East Lothian will benefit from free bus travel from 31st January 2022 after an announcement by the SNP Scottish Government.
The announcement was made by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and meets a key manifesto pledge by the SNP in the May elections.
This will mean that young people in Midlothian and East Lothian will have their opportunities to learn, work and travel opened up by the scheme.
Research from Transport Scotland has revealed that 70% of young people would use the bus more often if it was free.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beatie said:
“The SNP Scottish Government is once again making an investment in our young people’s future. By making bus travel free for U22s in Midlothian North and Musselburgh and across Scotland, opportunities for young people to work, travel and study are being opened up for them.
“Travelling by bus is one of the most environmentally friendly way to get across the country and research shows that young people recognise the vital role public transport will play in hitting our climate change targets.
“This move will not only be vital in our journey to net zero, but will also take pressure off young people and their families’ finances.
“Once again this is a demonstration of how the SNP Scottish Government continues to support young people in Midlothian and East Lothian and across Scotland have the best possible start in life.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattiehas said that the Tory UK Government’s budget, announced yesterday, makes it clear that “independence is the only way to give Midlothian North and Musselburgh a fair recovery from the pandemic.”
Colin Beattie has said that the budget – which has been described by the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies as “actually awful” for living standards - is failing the people of Scotland by failing to tackle the cost of living crisis, the Brexit crisis and the climate crisis whilst the Tory Government prioritise cuts the cost of champagne and giving tax breaks to bankers.
Commenting Colin Beattie said:
“What the Tory UK Government outlined yesterday does not meet the ambition needed to build a fair and sustainable recovery and to tackle the cost of living crisis.
“It's painfully clear that there will be no fair recovery from the pandemic under Westminster control.
“This Tory budgetfails Scotland as a whole and doesn’t go anywhere near supporting people in Midlothian and East Lothian, who are being hit by an energy crisis, a Brexit crisis, a labour shortages crisis and an inflation crisis Under Westminster control.
“The UK Government budget is leaving families in Midlothian and East Lothian hundreds of pounds worse off next year due to Tory cuts, tax hikes and the soaring cost of Brexit.
“It’s little wonder that, in May’s election, the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly for a different future when they gave the SNP the highest share of the vote since the dawn of devolution and a clear mandate for an independence referendum - Independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts."