Welcome to my first update of 2021.

I hope you managed to get some rest and have a peaceful new year and festive break.

This update includes local news on the vaccine roll-out, business support, Spaces for People and the usual planning applications. You will also find useful information on grants and funding as well as Westminster updates on the Trade Bill and the Universal credit uplift.

As ever if you require any assistance please get in touch using the below details.

Email: ian.murray.mp@parliament.uk

Telephone: 0131 662 4520

Facebook: Ian Murray for Edinburgh South

Twitter: IanMurrayMP

Website: ianmurraymp.com


This month constituents have been contacting me on vaccine roll out, business support and housing issues.


For a full account of my voting please see the Public Whip website.

This month by far the biggest issues were the Trade Bill, Universal Credit and pesticides.

Edinburgh South

Vaccine Roll Out

I have received dozens of emails and phone calls from concerned constituents who have either not had an appointment for their vaccine yet or have had appointments cancelled. I will continue to press the Scottish Government both for individual cases and generally to speed up the rollout.  This is the most important thing we have ever done as a country, peoples lives and livelihoods depend on it.

Covid-19: Business Update

By far the biggest issue in my mailbox since the start of the pandemic has been individuals and businesses contacting about COVID-19 support packages.

We all understand the need for strong public health measures to combat the pandemic but this must be accompanied by financial support for businesses and individuals. We cannot mandate people to stop working, or take decisions which decimate their customer base without compensating them.

Kirk Brae Pedestrian Crossing News

After years of campaigning by Liberton Primary School Association, the Liberton Association and the community council we finally have a safe crossing for children to get to school. Well done to all!

Spaces for People

I continue to be contacted hundreds of times a month on the Council’s Spaces for People (SfP) schemes. A lot of the schemes are really worthwhile and are a great facilitator of active travel. However, in some instances the lack of consultation with communities has resulted in projects which are flawed, not based on evidence and are deeply unpopular. The approach taken risks undermining the Spaces for People programme and the active travel agenda more generally.

Braeside House Care Home

News that Sight Scotland plan to close Braeside House Care Home has come as a shock to residents and families.

Comiston Farm House

Comiston Farm House is back on the market after previous developers pulled out of their bid to buy and develop the site.

The Group co-housing in Southern Scotland have indicated an interest.

Read more about their proposal here.

My video

Burns Night

Cheers to Burns, to our key workers, to our NHS and to Scotland.


The Big Issue “Wellbeing Week”

The Today for Tomorrow Campaign, run by The Big Issue and supported by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Future Generations, calls for new legislation that tackles short-term thinking, and focuses on Britain’s well-being.

It was fantastic to meet with young ambassadors of the Bill and I was inspired by some of their ideas on how we can improve lives for future generations.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on all of our lives, however it has also given us an opportunity to learn the lessons of covid and to put in place mechanisms to ensure that in the future we are much better prepared for these sorts of occurrences, which are likely to become more frequent.

I have a renewed sense of hope that we will be able to turn the clock back on some of the inequalities that sadly persist across generations in Britain today.

Update from HMRC on COVID-19 support packages administered by the UK Government.

The Trade Bill

On Tuesday 20 January 2021, the House of Commons considered Lords amendments to the Trade Bill. The Trade Bill will govern how the UK Government trades with other countries and is made necessary by the UK leaving the EU.

Universal Credit Uplift

Last month the Labour Party brought an opposition day debate to the Commons on the government’s commitment to scrap the Universal Credit (UC) and Tax Credits uplift in April.

My video

Scottish Questions

During Scottish Questions I pressed the Government on what they were doing to break the impasse on the imposition of 25% tariffs on Scotch Whisky from the US. This dispute is as a result of the long running subsidy war between the US and EU in the aerospace sector – subsidies that the World Trade Organisation has deemed illegal.

I also asked about the position of non-tariff barriers that the PM promised would not be in place. Another broken promise and disingenuous comment from the PM. Exporters in Scotland are struggling and the government need to do more to help them.

Grants and Funding


Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust Invites Round 1 Applications

The Trust is committed to awarding grants to those most in need within the UK. The Trust focuses on different priorities each year. In 2021, the focus is on funding projects that support the homeless (rounds one and two) and refugees and asylums seekers (rounds three and four).

Round one is now open for applications that combat homelessness. Priority will be given to applications that help BAME communities.

UK registered charities with an income of between £100,000 and £1 million can apply for grants of up to £1,000.

The deadline for applications is 28 February 2021.

You can apply here.

People’s Postcode Trust Opens for Applications from Scotland

Local charities and other not-for-profit organisations based and working in Scotland can apply. Applicants should have an income of less than £1 million in the last year. Preference will be given to organisations with an income of less than £500,000.

Grants range from £500 to £20,000.

The following funding levels apply to specific applicants:

Applicants that are not formally registered as a charity with OSCR can apply for between £500 and £2,000 in funding.

Applicants that are registered with OSCR and can provide a charity number can apply for between £500 and £20,000 in funding.

The funding is for projects in Scotland that have a clear link with one of the Trust’s themes:

Improving mental wellbeing

Enabling community participation in the arts

Preventing or reducing the impact of poverty

Supporting marginalised groups and promoting equality

Improving biodiversity and green spaces

Enabling participation in physical activity

Responding to the climate emergency and promoting sustainability

Increasing community access to outdoor space

The funding should be spent within 12 months and can be used for project or core funding.

A funding round will open each month from February until October 2021.

Applications will be accepted from 1pm on 1 February.

Click here to apply.

Money Saving Expert (MSE) Charity Opens for Applications

Funded by Money Saving Expert, the MSE Charity gives grants to not for profit organisations that deliver activities which make a lasting impact on how people think, behave and manage their money.

The Charity holds two funding rounds each year (February and September) with a different theme for each round.

The February 2021 round is targeting and supporting the younger generation (under 25) who in the current difficult economic climate need support to develop and learn personal financial life skills.

All applications must demonstrate how the project they are seeking funding for has a lasting impact on the people taking part.

The maximum grant is £7,500. The applications most likely to be successful are those that ask for funding for a specific activity cost rather than a general contribution to running costs or a much larger project.

Small to medium-sized non-profit organisations with a constitution can apply. This includes UK registered charities, community interest companies, social enterprises and credit unions. To be eligible, applicants should have an annual income of less than £500,000 and have unrestricted reserves that are less than six months of their running costs.

Applicants are advised to apply early in the month as the round will be limited to the first 40 applications that are accepted or the deadline, whichever is soonest.

The deadline for applications is 26 February 2021.

You can apply here.

Samsung Launches Competition for Young Innovators

Solve for Tomorrow is a UK-wide initiative that forms part of Samsung’s global commitment to education. The company aims to empower future innovators to achieve their full potential and become the next generation of leaders to pioneer positive social change.

The competition invites young innovators who have tech ideas for new products, services or apps that could make a real difference to people and communities most in need, within one of the following challenge areas:

Social isolation.

Diversity and inclusion.



There is a £10,000 cash prize available to develop an idea, coupled with long term support and mentorship from Samsung, Digital Catapult and its network of start-ups. Two runners-up will be awarded £5,000 and all finalists will receive one of Samsung’s latest 5G smartphones to help them continue their journey beyond this competition.

The competition is open to individuals or teams of up to five people aged between 16 to 25 who are resident in the UK.

The deadline for applications is 21 February 2021.

Find out more here.

Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards Open for 2021

The Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards (SFWA) is an annual competition aiming to recognise and reward the woods and forests that are managed to the highest standards and act as a beacon for modern woodland heritage.

Cash prizes ranging from £250 to £1,000 and trophies are available across a range of categories open to entries from landowners, forestry businesses, community groups and schools.

For the 2021 Awards, there are six award categories

Climate Change Champion Award

A new category for 2021. This Award is for Scotland’s forests and woodlands that can demonstrate they have an important role in helping to mitigate climate change and/or adapt to the changing climate and/or share knowledge/information or raise awareness about climate change. The CarbonStore Trophy and a cash prize of £1,000 will be available. Entries are sought from across Scotland with entry to the Climate Change Champion Award being an optional, extra opportunity for any Scotland’s Finest Woods Award entrant in 2021, or a 2020 entrant who is ‘refreshing’/updating their 2020 entry, to one of the established Award categories.

Community Woodlands Award

Entry is open to woodland-related community-based projects from any part of Scotland. Entrants should be able to demonstrate significant and sustained community input. A prize of £1,000 is available to small community groups and £1,000 to large community groups. In addition, the Tim Stead Trophy will also be awarded to the overall Community Woodland Award category winner judged to be the best community project overall regardless of the size of woodland group.

Farm Woodland Award

Entry is open to active farmers/crofters and/or for one competition their forester with the active farmer/crofter’s support, anywhere in Scotland. There is one award of £1,000 for an active farmer/crofter anywhere in Scotland, and one award of £1,000 for a young, active farmer/crofter and/or their forester/woodland manager with the new in 2019 Scottish Woodlands Ltd. Trophy to be awarded.

New Native Woods Award

Entry is open to new native woodland projects anywhere in Scotland that must have had at least five years’ minimum of growth and no more than 20 years’ growth. £1,000 is available to be awarded to the winning woodland.

Quality Timber Award

Entry is open to woodland anywhere in Scotland where the production of high quality timber is a major objective of management. There are three categories:

one for new commercial woods: where the James Jones Trophy and £1,000 is available to be awarded to the winner.

one for a single stand of trees or a compartment or a small wood: the Hunter Blair Trophy and £1,000 is available to be awarded to the winner.

one for whole estates or forests: the John Kennedy Trophy and £1,000 is available to be awarded to the winner.

Schools Award seeks out Scotland’s most fun-packed school woodland projects: £500 is available to be awarded to the winner with £250 for the runner-up.

Entry is open to nursery, primary, secondary and special schools anywhere in Scotland.

All entries must be submitted by the deadline of 31 March 2021.

Click here to find out more.

New Funding for Scotland’s Beleaguered Creative Sector

Creative Scotland and Crowdfunder have come together to support the arts and creative industries which have suffered substantially from the impact of the coronavirus crisis over the past year.

Crowdmatch 2021 aims to support creative individuals, groups and businesses across Scotland to run successful crowdfunding campaigns in the arts, screen or creative industries.

A total funding pot of £75,000 is available. Successful entrants could receive up to £10,000 in match funding.

Applications must be submitted by 8 February 2021.

Click here for more info.


Scottish budget: Kate Forbes needs to increase council funds, kickstart the economy and provide a fair deal for carers

We know the SNP doesn’t care much about bringing local communities together.

Universal Credit: UK government’s plan to cut benefit by £20 a week would see more people using food banks

The coronavirus crisis has hit household incomes hard. The number of people turning to Universal Credit as their income has substantially dropped or disappeared has increased by 90 per cent.

Covid: SNP government must reverse swingeing cuts to councils to help frontline workers deal with pandemic 

With so much media and political focus rightly on the intense pressure on our hospitals, it can be easy to forget the crucial role played by councils during the pandemic and the pressure on those services.

Donald Trump’s erosion of US democracy should be a warning about blind faith in the SNP

Signs of hope in politics are hard to come by.




Recycle your electricals with this new recycling station locator.
The lockdown pub quiz is back for one night only. I’m doing a lockdown quiz with my friends from the Scottish Fabians. No need to be a member to play but there is a small entry fee to help support their work.

Thursday 4 February.

The prizes will blow you away (they are likely not to even have the puff of a hairdryer to be fair).

Enter here.

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