Welcome to the latest edition of my eMag. Following constructive feedback last month I have changed the format so hopefully it’s a bit more digestible.
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Welcome to February’s edition of my eMagazine (slightly late I know). The eMag should provide you with some information on what I’ve been up to in Edinburgh, Scotland, and down in Westminster. As you can see I’ve taken on board some of your feedback from last month and tried to provide a more streamlined version, along with a contents page which should let you navigate to areas of interest much more quickly. As always, if you have any advice or suggestions please get in touch.
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2. What I’ve been up to around the country
3. News from Westminster
4. Debates in Parliament
5. Appearances in the media
6. Planning update
7. Useful information
Opposition Day Debate- Public Finances in Scotland 03/02/16
I called a debate in Parliament on the transfer of powers to the Scottish Parliament
through the Scotland Bill.
Brussels Speech on the European Union
Earlier this month I visited Labour colleagues in Brussels to make the positive case for Scotland
remaining in the European Union. You can read my full speech here.
Scotland 2016 22/02/16
I appeared on Scotland 2016 from Brussels to discuss the European Union with
former MSP Brian Monteith.
Daily Politics- European Union 02/03/16
Local Development Plan- Greenbelt
The Local Development Plan proposed building on several greenbelt areas in South Edinburgh. As you may know, alongside the local community, we campaigned very hard to have these removed. However, at the 11th hour, the Scottish Government added many thousands more homes into the plan for Edinburgh and demanded that they be delivered. That threw the original plan up in the air and gave South Edinburgh much more proposed housing. At the same time, individual applications for these areas came in from developers and have had to be dealt with by the Council. I have been campaigning for some time to stop this practice from occurring. You should either be in the local plan system or put individual application in.
The updates on the greenbelt sites are:
1. Frogston Road East -; refused by the Council and refused on appeal.
2. Broomhill (Frogston Road East) – approved by Council on threat of appeal.
3. Gilmerton Station Road -; approved on appeal.
4. Moredunvale -; still in the local development plan process (unlikely to be approved)
All others are currently in the local development plan but are being approved by in large on appeal by Scottish Ministers.
As you will know the saga involving the Goods Corner cottages has been running for some time. The current application involves student flats that retain the cottages. The application is minded to grant subject to the conclusion of a legal agreement. I have been informed that the applicant is actively seeking agreement so building work may not be too far off.
Most popular lobbying emails
I receive hundreds of emails asking my opinion on certain subjects or asking me to pressure the Government on policy issues. Many of these emails come from organisations such as 38 Degree who do an excellent job in garnering public support for important issues.
The most popular issues this month have been:
If ever there is an area of Government policy which concerns you please do get in touch!
Message from Rachel Carr: FareShare and Cyrenians
I work for FareShare and Cyrenians here in Edinburgh and we are about to launch a new initiative known as “FareShare FoodCloud” this will allow charities access to their local Tesco stores surplus food on an evening for free. I’ve included an outline of the project below, however in summary organisations must be not for profit organisations working to help vulnerable service users. Some of the organisations we’ve already recruited to the scheme are youth clubs, food banks& elderly lunch clubs. I’m particularly interested in organisations around the Colinton Tesco store as I currently have no one picking up from that store. If you could either forward a list of places in the area that offer food or forward this email over to them I would be extremely grateful.
Thank you in advance for your time and help in this matter. Over the year every Tesco store in the country hopes to be linked to charities picking up food every night, so this project is going to keep growing and growing.
FareShare FoodCloud is a new scheme which helps charities and community groups to access the free, unsold, surplus food from a day’s sales at your local Tesco supermarket. Using the simple mobile technology FoodCloud, we have already helped 60 UK charity groups to access over 20 tonnes of fresh, good quality, free food. Most of the food available on the scheme at the moment is bakery items such as bread and pastries and fresh produce. However, over time we are looking to have a wider variety available. The scheme is launching across 7 stores in Edinburgh from February 15th. These stores are Leith, Broughton Road, Colinton, South Queensferry, Davidson Mains and Corstorphine. We are one of the first cities in the UK to go live with this project and I’m really excited about that!
How it works?
1. You nominate one or more evenings per week you are available to collect surplus food from your local Tesco Extra or Superstore.
2. On those evenings at 7:30pm, you will be notified via text that your donation is available for collection.
3. The fresh surplus food will be packaged and available for collection from the store from 8:30pm.
4. We are happy to say, this will always be a free of charge service to our charity partners.
Have a nice day,
FareShare FoodCloud Regional Assistant – Edinburgh
Cyrenians Good Food Programme
House of Commons Briefing Paper on nuisance calls
One of the biggest issues people raise with me in surgeries is nuisance calls. I have obtained this briefing on the subject from the House of Commons Library:
Nuisance calls (i.e. unsolicited – and unwanted – marketing messages, silent or abandoned calls) cause widespread harm and inconvenience which have been acknowledged by previous and current Governments and the relevant regulators. This note sets out the key regulations which seek to address nuisance calls and the main sources of assistance and their limitations.
Silent and unwanted marketing calls
Nuisance calls (i.e. unsolicited and unwanted marketing messages, silent or abandoned calls) and spam texts cause widespread harm and inconvenience as acknowledged by previous and current Governments and the relevant regulators -; Ofcom (the communications regulator) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Ofcom deals with silent calls while the ICO deals with marketing calls. As well as Ofcom and the ICO, the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Silent CallGuard offer advice and assistance. If a person is concerned about unwanted marketing calls, he/she can register their phone number with the TPS. There are also other options, including call-blocking technology, available.
Ofcom takes enforcement action against companies for persistent misuse of a communications network, including silent and abandoned calls. Formal enforcement activity Ofcom has taken includes a £750,000 fine on TalkTalk in April 2013, a £60,000 fine on npower in December 2012, and a £750,000 fine on HomeServe in April 2012.
The ICO is able to issue fines up to £500,000 to companies responsible for nuisance calls and texts. In 2015 the ICO issued over £1 million in fines to 11 companies relating to nuisance marketing. This included £400,000 for nuisance texts and £375,000 for nuisance calls.
Recent Government actions
The Coalition Government took a number of actions to tackle the problem of nuisance calls as part of their Action Plan announced in March 2014. This followed on from a campaign by Which? and reports from the All Party Group on nuisance calls and the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in 2013.
In July 2014 section 393 of the Communications Act 2003 was amended to permit Ofcom to share information about companies involved in nuisance calls with the ICO.
The Claims Management Regulator (CMR), which is part of the Ministry of Justice and is responsible for regulating claims management companies, was given new powers in December 2014 which allowed it to fine claims management companies up to 20% of turnover for offences including making nuisance calls and texts.
In April 2015 the legal threshold before the ICO can issue fines was lowered removing the need to demonstrate ‘substantial damage or substantial distress’.
In January 2016 the Conservative Government announced plans to force marketing companies to use Calling Line Identification (CLI). A CLI service displays a caller’s telephone number on the recipient’s handset/caller display system (where available) before the recipient accepts the call, allowing them to reject it if they choose.
Trends in nuisance calls and texts
In 2015 the ICO received a total of 168,159 concerns about nuisance calls and texts, down 4% from 2014. This small fall from a record high in 2014 might be attributable to enforcement action by the ICO, Ofcom and the Claims Management Regulator and the widespread media coverage of nuisance calls in 2015. However, the BBC reported that Which? research shows just 2% of people who receive unwanted calls report them.
South Central Decides – Voice Your Choice!
METHODIST CHURCH HALL
SATURDAY, 30th APRIL 2016
11.00 AM to 3.00 PM
The South Central Neighbourhood Partnership has over £200,000 worth of funding available for distribution in 2016/17 and YOU, as a resident of South Central, are asked to Voice your Choice and decide which projects get what. Anyone over the age of 12 is eligible to vote so long as they live in South Central.
The money is split into three different “pots” -; Community Grant Funding and two different sections of the Neighbourhood Improvement Programme. We are currently preparing leaflets and posters but in the meantime please can you distribute this email throughout your networks.
Check out the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership website where you can get information on all three funds and lots more about what’s happening.
We are currently seeking Community Grant applications from local groups -; the closing date is Friday, 25th March so if your group is interested, please get a move on. We are keen to reach the wee groups that are working away quietly in a local hall and who could really do with some money to buy some new equipment etc. Groups will be given a stall at the event and local people can come and chat about the applications before they score them.
We want loads of local people to turn out on the day when you will able to wander round the three Zones we will create and then score the projects. It’s all very easy and good fun.
It will be up to you -; who gets what.
VOICE YOUR CHOICE!
Partnership Development Officer
Margaret Campbell | Partnership Development Officer | City of Edinburgh Council | Communities & Families | South Team | 40 Captains Road, Edinburgh, EH17 8QF | ?0131 529 7182| ?
Briefing from The Children’s Society on the impact changes to tax and welfare will have on Edinburgh South families
Dear Mr Murray,
Tomorrow, The Children’s Society will be launching our new report, The Future of Family Incomes, which looks ahead to how key tax and welfare changes will affect families in 2020. The headline research shows that almost eight million children live in families facing a four-year freeze to their benefits.
This comes at a timely interval with the Welfare Reform and Work Bill to be debated tomorrow at Ping Pong. The Bill puts in place a four year benefit freeze which will hit just over four million low-income families across the UK. It risks pushing many more children into poverty over the next four years as living costs rise.
The changes are expected to impact various family types in the following ways for people making new claims in 2020:
A 23-year-old primary school teacher and single mum of two children renting their home could be worse off by £239 per month (£2,868 per year).
A nurse and her partner with three children, renting in London, could be worse off by £425 per month (£5,100 per year).
An army corporal and his partner with three children, including one who is disabled, who own their home, could be worse off by £771 per month (£9,252 per year).
Below, I have provided some constituency stats for your information to illustrate how many children and families this will affect in Edinburgh South constituency.
Almost two thirds of those affected -; 4.9 million children living in 2.6 million families -; live in working households who receive benefits to top-up low pay. While some changes, such as the introduction of a higher minimum wage, might increase household incomes by 2020, others will cancel out any gains by significantly cutting key support for these families.
If you have any questions or want to know more about the work then please do get in touch.
Public Affairs Officer
The Children’s Society
South Community Safety Team
Monthly Report -; January 2016
Number of Enquiries received – 8
Number of Request for Service (request from police/other agencies) – 7
Number of Complaints closed in January 2016 (target 75% in 30 days) -;
15 cases closed (4 within 30 days – 27%)
Remaining 11 cases -;average length 48 days 2 cases with multiple agency involvement and 1 involving the Translation Service.
Actions taken by Community Safety Team in January 2016
Joint Visits/Patrols with Police -; 71
Total Warnings Issued -; 0
First and/or Second Warnings issued
Total Final Warnings issued -; 1
Other Community Safety Work
Attended Pre Referral Screening meeting. Chaired by JLO to discuss young people charged with criminal offences.
Attended 2 Case Management meetings -; Vulnerable Adult and Vulnerable family (Ward 16).
1 Community Safety Officer involved with Gracemount High school Positive Behaviours group work with 7 S2 pupils. 2 morning sessions in January.
Attended meeting at Boroughmuir High School to discuss anti social behaviour in and around the Morningside area.
1 walkabout between Community Safety and Police in Prestonfield area
1 Community Safety Officer attended Morningside Community Council meeting
1 Community Safety Officer attended Inch Community Council meeting.
1 Community Safety Officer carried out joint patrols with Environmental Wardens.
2 Community Safety Officers carried out Environmental Wardens duties and issued 2 fixed penalty notices for Trade Waste (Ward 16).
Community Safety Officers carried out patrols in Ward 15 and 16 during severe winter weather (winds)
2 daytime patrols carried out in Morningside area by 2 Community Safety Officers to provide public reassurance following reports of youth disturbances. All shopkeepers visited and information provided.
2 daytime patrols carried out by 1 Community Safety Officer and 3 Police officers in Morningside area. (see attached sheet at end of report).
2 evening patrols carried out in Morningside area by 2 Community Safety Officers to provide public reassurance following reports of youth disturbance.
2 Community Safety Officers involved in one Mediation case.
Environmental Visual Audits carried out in the Morningside/Tollcross area -; 78 streets which led to 27 referrals to various agencies (Task Force and Roads teams).
1 Community Safety Officer assigned to Special project investigating citywide beggars.
75 Checks for Police Enquiries.
ONECITY TRUST OPEN FOR GRANT APPLICATIONS -;
GRANTS OF BETWEEN £5,000 AND £10,000 AVAILABLE
The OneCity Trust is pleased to announce that its main grant programme is now open for applications. Registered charities and constituted groups based in Edinburgh and focussing their work in the city with an annual income of less than £200,000 are invited to apply for funding for social inclusion projects meeting one or more of the priorities of
New this year is a partnership with Travis Perkins Managed Services and the City of Edinburgh Council. A Community Benefit fund offered to the Council by Travis Perkins as part of a major contract will be allocated through the OneCity Trust. Applications for this funding will be considered from organisations that involve City of Edinburgh Council tenants, or from other organisations aiming to benefit geographical areas with a high proportion of Council homes. The themes will be the same: community connectedness, cultural bridging and civic inclusion.
Overall, the Trust intends to make up to 8 grants, each at the level of £5,000 to £10,000.
For further information and to request an application form, please see the website.
If you’d prefer to speak to someone, please telephone Susan Shippey on 0131 469 3874 or e-mail . Please note that the Trust is supported by the council on a part-time basis.
The deadline for applications is 29 April 2016, and projects should commence on 1 July 2016 and run for up to one year.
Asda Carrier Bag Community Grant Scheme
Ian Murray MP