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Ian Murray MP’s award-winning eNewsletter
for Autumn 2014
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Welcome to my eNewsletter for
Autumn 2014

I can’t include everything in the eNewsletter but please get in touch if you would like to raise or get my thoughts on any issues. (based on 650 MPs)
The Referendum
Whatever the result, September 18th was always going to go down as a momentous day in the history of Scotland and the UK.  After over two years’ campaigning, record numbers of people voted and we should all celebrate that.  Indeed, I feel that the most important thing to say is whichever way you voted, thank you for voting.    

The focus should now be on coming together as a united Scotland and refocusing all our efforts on dealing with the issues our country faces.  You can read more of my thoughts on this in the Evening News article I wrote on the morning of the result.

Although the result of the referendum was No, the conclusion was clear -; it was a Yes to change with a stronger Scottish Parliament.  The Smith Commission – whose members are drawn from all the political parties – are now tasked with that, showing that the vow on more powers is on track.  You can contribute your views on strengthening our Scottish Parliament by emailing them to  Further information is also available by clicking here.

As I wrote in the Evening News in the days following the 18th, it can’t just be about where power lies, but about what to do with the powers to improve the lives and ­livelihoods of Scots.  I’ll certainly play my part in pushing for a stronger Scotland within the UK.

Gracemount Post Office Opening
Last month I opened the newly refurbished Post Office in Gracemount.  Postmaster Surria Khan and her team do a brilliant job serving local residents and the improved facilities, with new services now available, will improve things even more.
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Midmar Allotments
Open Day

Midmar Allotments really is a great credit to the local community and I was delighted to spend some time at their Open Day in August.  The event raised over £700 which will allow them to keep offering this great opportunity to the people of South Edinburgh to grow their own fruit and veg.  The allotment is a jewel in the City and we must continue to resist any development on the site.  Along with local residents, I have made representations to the City Council’s Local Development Plan consultation to make that clear.
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Gilmerton Shootings
Following several firearms incidents in the south of the city over the past couple of weeks, police are cracking down on crime in the area to keep people safe. 

I have been in close contact with local Officers who have asked me to reassure constituents that incidents like this are extremely rare but in light of this they have stepped up high visibility patrols in the areas of Gilmerton and the Inch.
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Restoring the Meadows Jawbone
Many constituents in South Edinburgh will be familiar with the Jawbone Arch, the iconic structure on the main path between Marchmont and the city centre across the Meadows.  The Jawbone is in need of restoration and Edinburgh World Heritage is spearheading fundraising so that this historic feature can be enjoyed by generations to come.  I’m backing this campaign and I hope you’ll join me.
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Strike a Pose
I had the pleasure of hosting the Inch Community Centre’s Fashion Show in aid of the Centre’s new Children Wing.  The Inch Community Centre in the south side of the city supports the local area by providing a wide range of activities for all ages.  The management committee have now decided to convert a previously unused section of the building into a new children’s wing.  Best wishes to everyone at the Centre with their efforts.
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DEBRA – For people whose skin doesn’t work, they do
I visited DEBRA’s charity shop in Stockbridge to find out more about the charity’s work and how they play a vital role in supporting those who suffer from the skin condition Epidermolysis bullosa (EB).  Thanks to all the staff at the store who took time out to show me what they do and telling me about EB.
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Keeping things fresh at Sainsbury’s Cameron Toll
I visited Sainsbury’s at Cameron Toll Shopping Centre following the store’s recent refurbishment.  I donned a hat and white coat for a tour of the new facilities and met a number of staff who had received training through Sainsbury’s Food Colleges. 
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Other highlights…

  • Craighouse “Call-in”    Read more
  • PF Counselling Therapy Garden    Read more
  • 20 mph speed limits in Edinburgh    Read more
  • Street lights at Inch Park    Read more
  • Local Development Plan (LDP) 2    Read more
  • Checking-in to Cameron Toll Travelodge    Read more
  • Post Office current account opening    Read more
MPs v Journalists Charity Football Match
This year, I played in the Football Association’s annual Labour vs Political Journalists football match at Party Conference in Manchester.  Despite my footballing skills, the Labour MPs lost on this occasion with the Lobby team scoring right at the end to make it 3-1.  The match was held in aid of cancer charity Breast Cancer Care – a very worthy cause.
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Binning the Bedroom Tax
Earlier this month I voted against the hated Bedroom Tax during a debate in Parliament which considered the Affordable Homes Bill, a Private Members Bill.  The Bill passed second reading by 306 votes to 231.  Labour has always been clear and consistent in its opposition to the Bedroom Tax and has committed to repealing it if elected to Government next year.
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Straight Red Card to Migrant Labour Abuse
I’m supporting the construction workers union, UCATT and Building Workers International (BWI) campaign to demand FIFA and the Qatari government uphold respect, dignity and equality for migrant workers who are building infrastructure for the 2020 football World Cup.  I spoke with campaigners from Ucatt at party conference who are doing an excellent job.
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Giving the right support to live – David Reilly – Guest Blog
In a guest blog, disability campaigner and constituent David Reilly writes about Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill which was debated in the House of Lords earlier this summer.  The laws concerning assisted dying are extremely complex and emotive issues, and there are strongly held ethical and moral arguments on both sides.  This means there needs to be an honest and open debate on these issues, and I really value the contribution David makes. 
Read more

If you would be interested in writing a guest blog on this or any other topic, please do get in touch.

Other highlights…

  • We Will Beat Cancer Soon – Plain Cigarette Packaging    Read more
Labour’s Minimum Wage Pledge
The introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in 1999 was a great achievement of the last Labour Government but today this policy faces new challenges.  The NMW helped tackle exploitation but people now often rely on benefits or tax credits to top up their wage so they can simply afford the essentials.  This is because the value of the minimum wage has not kept pace with to cost of living in recent years.  This can’t be right. 

At Conference this year, Labour announced plan’s to raise the NMW to £8 an hour by 2020, a move that will put an extra £3,000 a year in the pockets of Britain’s lowest paid workers.  Usdaw, the trade union, are backing this plan and you can watch my short video for them by clicking the image opposite.
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“Small Business” in the title is not enough

As Shadow Business Minister, I’ll be scrutinising the Government’s Small Business, Enterprise and Employment (SBEE) Bill which was announced in the Queen’s Speech earlier this year.

There are several areas in the Bill where we feel the legislation is piecemeal and does not go far enough to remove the barriers which are preventing small businesses from thriving and surviving. 

Also, I’m pleased that new legislation is being proposed to tackle Zero Hour Contracts and penalise those employers who don’t pay the National Minimum Wage (NMW).  However, we’ll be looking closely at these proposals in the coming months to ensure they will properly combat those problems.
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