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Ian Murray MP – Summer 2015 eNewsletter
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Since my last update, Parliament has gone into recess but that doesn’t mean things quieten down. There has been lots going on in here in the constituency. 

As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can help in any way.

My first keynote speech – a new generation

On July 30th, I made my first keynote speech as Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.

In the months since the General Election, I’ve taken some time to think about the reasons for Scottish Labour’s drastic failure on May 7th. I’ve reflected on that in my speech and tried to set out what we need to do to earn back the trust of voters across Scotland. 

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Senseless damage to community garden
My office team and I went along to the Hermitage Garden, a project for autistic young people and adults after it was vandalised for the second time in a month. What senseless damage!

We donned our gardening gloves and picked up hammers and drills to help fix the damage. It was a wonderful afternoon where we repaired the poly tunnels and the small poly seed sheds. We thoroughly enjoyed mucking in and huge thank you to the team at Autism Initiatives for taking the time to show us around.

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Midmar Allotments Open Day
The annual open day at Midmar Allotments is always a highlight and a chance to pick up some excellent local produce. Along with local Councillor Paul Godzik, we chatted with plot holders.

Many remain concerned about the potential development of the nearby Midmar Paddock and the impact it could have on the allotment. Both Paul and I will continue to work with the local Save Midmar Paddock group on this. We don’t want to lose this valuable green space.

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Royal Edinburgh – The Hive visit with SAMH
One in four people in Scotland experiences a mental health problem each year – that’s well over a million people. SAMH is a chairty which provides comunity based services across Scotland for people with mental health problems. One such service is The Hive at the Royal Edinburgh in Morningside.

I have a great visit with Nina Allinson from SAMH to take in a music show at the centre and speak with some of the service users. Click the ‘Read More’ button for further information on the work of SAMH.

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Planning Update
There have been lots of planning applications and proposals here in South Edinburgh over the summer. I try to get this information out as wide as possible to the local areas affected.

As I have been saying for many years, we really need the planning system changed to be more responsive, transparent and fair to local people.

Click the ‘Read More’ button below for more details on the sites being proposed.

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FareShare food drive with Tesco Causewayside
I was really pleased to support the local Tesco store on Causewayside in their drive to help those in need with their food drive in partnership with FareShare UK.

Sadly, too many families need to rely on food banks to put food on the table because of welfare sanctions. That’s not right and needs to change. Thank you to all the staff for the work they do.


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Primary School Update
The new annex for South Morningside Primary at Deanbank was opened by Education Convenor, Cllr Paul Godzik. There will also be new classrooms at Bruntsfield and James Gillespie’s.

The statutory consultation on primary school provision is set to get underway as well. This looks at various options including the possibility of providing a new primary school in the area. I’ve been working alongside Paul to ensure that a new school is at the forefront of discussions for long-term solutions to the problems we are seeing.

You can contribute to the consultation by visiting the website here or email your views to All views should be sent by Tuesday 6th October. You can also attend one of the consultation events:

  • 3 Sept – South Morningside Primary School
  • 8 Sept – James Gillespie’s Primary School
  • 22 Sept – Bruntsfield Primary School
  • 29 Sept – St Peter’s Primary School
Edinburgh South Facts – Housing
Edinburgh South has a mix of housing, but is predominantly made up of home owners. Everyone should have access to a safe, warm and affordable home. So that means building more affordable homes and ensuring that the private sector is fair and puts a halt to spiraling costs of renting
Ride to London for Palestine
It was a pleasure to speak at the Ride to London event for Palestine a couple of weeks ago. Volunteers were cycling to raise money to support children in Gaza.

As I have done since my election in 2010, I’ll continue to push for a just political solution in the Middle East. Like many, I’m frustrated at the lack of progress with the peace process. I hope the UK Government will do everything possible to help create the climate necessary to help broke a return to meaningful peace talk.


Guest Blog

The single best thing you can do for your health
Dr Andrew Murray & Dr Nathan Stephens

In a guest blog, two of Scotland’s leading clinicians tell us about the small things we can all do to prevent us from chronic illnesses, like diabetes and heart attacks.

Many thanks for Andrew and Nathan for contributing.

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Learning Disability Week – Mencap Reception
In the UK, there are 1.4 million people with a learning disability but many feel they are not listened to by those in power.

Mencap have run a big campaign – Hear My Voice – to encourage elected representatives to pledge to listen more attentively to people with a learning disability and their families. 

The recent reception in Parliament was an excellent opportunity to hear the views of those with learning disabilities and the issues that are important to them.

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#iamcitizen – Citizens Advice reception
Citizens Advice Scotland provide an invaluable service to people across Scotland and here in South Edinburgh. They do a vital job making sure the public know their rights on a wide range of areas from housing and benefits to parking charges and payday loans.

It was good to meet with staff at their recent reception in Parliament to hear about the issues prevalent in Edinburgh South.

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Hunting Act – Government u-turn welcome
Due to widespread criticism and anger, along with a potential government rebellion, the UK Government dropped a vote on watering down the Hunting Act.

The Government’s decision to place this at the top of their agenda, at the expense of the real issue affecting rural communities, speaks volumes about their priorities.

Thank you to all the constituents who got in touch about this important issue.

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Supporting local convenience stores
I recently meet with the Scottish Groceries Federation to talk about the issues facing local convenience stores across Scotland. These stores are an important part of the make up of our local high streets and neighbourhoods.

Thanks to Chief Executive Pete Cheema, President Abdul Majid and Vice President Dennis Williams for taking the time to meet.

No More Hiroshimas
This year marked the 70th anniversary of the horrors of the bombing of Hiroshima. This is something that should never be repeated. It is important to remember the horrors of Hiroshima to ensure they are never again repeated. This anniversary allows us to reflect on the human cost of using nuclear weapons.

It was good to speak with campaigners who working for a world free of nuclear weapons and what steps governments across the globe should now take to continue to get rid of these devastating weapons.

Scottish Questions – Budget impact

At the monthly Scottish Questions, I pressed the Secretary of State on the consequences of the recent emergency Budget on Scotland. I’m particularly concerned about the changes to tax credits that the UK government have proposed – something that, I believe, will only exacerbate many in-work poverty families.

You can read more by clicking the ‘Read more’ button below or click the image below to read my piece for the Daily Record on the Budget.

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Scotland Bill – Committee Stage
The Scotland Bill moved to Committee Stage in June and July. This is when the Bill is debated line-by-line.

My colleagues and I have been leading the debate on extending the Bill. But we don’t just want power for the sake of it; we want powers for a purpose. I’ve put forward major amendments (see the infographic below). The UK government haven’t accepted them but I’ll continue to fight for them as the Bill continues to Report Stage and with my colleagues in the House of Lords.

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Grand Opening – The Polwarth Canal Garden
Polwarth Parish Church, 36-38 Polwarth Terrace, Edinburgh, EH11 1LU

Saturday 12th September from 2pm – 4pm
Grand opening of the Polwarth Canal Gardens and dedication of new gardens. Light refreshments will be served.
For more information, visit

South Edinburgh Employment Fair

Gilmerton Library/WEACT
Tuesday 8th September from 10am – 3pm
Come along to meet representatives from a range of organisations that can advise you about benefits and support you in looking for jobs, training, volunteering and learning opportunities.


Inch Community Centre – Charity Fashion Show
Inch Community Centre with Sainsburys Cameron Toll

Friday 11th September from 7pm for 7.30pm
Tickets £7.50 with a glass of sparkling wine included. All proceeds will go to the new children’s wing project.
Tickets available from Inch Community Centre, 225 Gilmerton Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5UF For more information, visit or call 0131 346 2711


De-stress session in the Inch
St Gregory’s Church, Walter Scott Avenue

Wednesday 2nd September from 12.30pm – 2pm
Wednesday 9th September from 12.30pm – 2pm
Wednesday 16th September from 12.30pm – 2pm

Pop along to the de-stress session where people can do arts and crafts, paint their nails, play dominos or just have a chat. This is followed by a 10 minute relaxation period. It is aimed at adults and the session costs £1.50. If you are interested, contact


Free benefit advice session at the Gilmerton Community Centre
Gilmerton Community Centre, every Thursday 12.30pm – 2pm

The Community Ability Network are running a weekly free benefit advice session at the Community Centre. You can receive advice on welfare benefits, debt and problems with work. If you would like this service, feel free to drop in to receive advice.

Reminder – New advice sessions

Following my survey to constituents earlier this year, I have made some changes to my regular advice sessions. You can now seek advice at the following times and locations:

  • Every Monday at 9.15am (by appointment only)
  • Every Friday at 9.15am (drop-in)
  • Every 3rd Saturday of the month:

    • 10am – Waitrose, Morningside Road
    • 11am – Morrisons, Gilmerton Road
    • 12 noon – Sainsbury’s, Cameron Toll
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