Edinburgh Eastern MSP writes to government over play parks funding

Ash Denham MSP has written to the Scottish Government to ask for details over how the £60m play parks fund will be rolled out across Scotland.

The fund was announced as part of the SNP Holyrood manifesto to renew all play parks across the country and last month the First Minister outlined that this will be set out within the first 100 days of the new Parliament.

Ms. Denham has written to the newly appointed Minister for Children & Young People, Clare Haughey, to ensure Edinburgh Eastern – which contains areas of high deprivation – gets its fair share of funding.

Commenting, the Edinburgh Eastern MSP said:

“There are many undoubted benefits of children having a safe area to play in rather than on the street and I want us to work towards having more play parks in Edinburgh Eastern because they are an investment in future generations.

“The pledge to fund play parks with £60m of funding across Scotland demonstrates how much the SNP values play in the development of young children and the mental and physical health benefits it brings.

“I have written to the government to ensure constituencies like Edinburgh Eastern, where there are areas of high deprivation, will receive their fair share of funding.

“I’ve also asked if consideration will be given to providing additional funding to Edinburgh Eastern for more play parks to be built where needed. In the letter I highlighted and commended the efforts of two local groups – the Friends of Figgate Park and Craigentinny & Meadowbank Community Council – for their work in seeing new play parks built across the constituency.”

ENDS

EDINBURGH EASTERN MSP SUPPORTS CALLS FOR EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME TO BE EXTENDED

Ash Denham MSP is supporting calls for the UK Government to extended the 30th June deadline for EU citizens to apply for the Settlement Scheme.

As it stands, EU citizens living in the UK have just 30 days to go through the application process with many thousands yet to apply.

Ms. Denham believes the deadline should be extended to allow more EU citizens to become aware of the scheme and to avoid the life-changing consequences of not applying in time.

The Edinburgh Eastern MSP said:

“I fully support Scottish Government calls for the Prime Minister to extend the EU Settlement Scheme deadline.

“Edinburgh Eastern is home to many of the estimated 39,000 EU citizens who live in the Capital and they bring so much to our culture, our communities, and our way of life. Many are key workers in our hospitals and care homes or in the food and hospitality sectors who went above and beyond to help keep the country going through the lockdowns.

“The risks of not applying for the EU Settlement Scheme are life-changing – such as being unable to work, study, drive a car or open a bank account.

“I demand the UK Government thinks again on this and extends the deadline and I encourage all EU citizens to apply for the scheme as soon as possible.

“Scotland is your home, you are welcome here, and I want you to stay.”

ENDS

For more information please email ross.cunningham@parliament.scot

Photo: Ash Denham is pictured at an EU citizen advice surgery held in Portobello alongside the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in January 2020.

DENHAM SEEKS ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMUNITY BUS FUND

Ash Denham MSP has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport to seek the establishment of a Community Bus Fund.

The Fund was a pledge within the SNP Holyrood manifesto and the Edinburgh Eastern MSP would like to see it rolled out as soon as it is practical.

Last month Ms. Denham met with the Community Transport Association charity and the Lothian Community Transport Services to hear how such a fund could support even more people across the Capital and Scotland to access vital public service and employment opportunities.

The Edinburgh Eastern MSP said:

“People across Edinburgh rely on transport services to enable them to lead independent lives – whether that’s accessing public services, going to work or to volunteer, buying food and medicines, or meeting with friends and family.

“I was re-elected on a local campaign pledge to improve public transport services in the constituency and so I have written to the Scottish Government to ask for a Community Bus Fund to be established as soon as possible.

“This Fund – which was a pledge within the SNP manifesto – will support the provision of services across the Capital by allowing the City of Edinburgh Council to look at delivering bus services in a different way.”

Rachael Murphy, Director for Scotland of Community Transport Association, added:

“Delivered by charities and community groups, community transport supports people to live independently, participate in their communities and access local services, amenities and health services.

“At the Community Transport Association, we know that long term investment from Scottish Government, plugged into community transport operators will empower them to serve their communities and be part of a thriving, integrated transport system for Scotland.”

ENDS

For more information please email ross.cunningham@parliament.scot

ANTI-POVERTY PAYMENT COULD BENEFIT 17,500 CHILDREN IN EDINBURGH

“GAME-CHANGER” BENEFIT CENTRAL TO SNP AMBITION TO TACKLE CHILD POVERTY

An estimated 17,500 children across Edinburgh could benefit from the Scottish Government’s ground-breaking anti-poverty payment, new figures have revealed.

The Scottish Child Payment will be worth £10 per child for low-income families by the end of 2022, with introduction for under-6s starting by early 2021.

Latest figures from the Scottish Fiscal Commission estimate that 194,000 children aged under six in Scotland will be eligible for the new Scottish Child Payment – with 17,500 children and families estimated to benefit in Edinburgh.

The brand new benefit was described as a “game changer” and a “lifeline” by anti-poverty campaigners and is central to the SNP’s ambitions to tackle child poverty.

Commenting, SNP MSP Ash Denham said:

“The Scottish Child Payment is an ambitious and ground-breaking new benefit which will directly tackle child poverty across the country.

“This support is needed more than ever, and when this additional £10 per week per child becomes available in February, it will be a lifeline for many such families in Edinburgh.

“It will help reduce financial pressures and demonstrates the potential of social security to make a positive difference and reflect our society’s shared values of compassion and fairness.

“Tory cuts are driving too many families in the Capital into poverty – but the SNP is determined to use every power at our disposal to help families make ends meet.”

ENDS

ASH DENHAM PRAISES GOODTREES AS ‘LOCKDOWN LOCAL HEROES’

Ash Denham MSP has hailed the Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre as one of the Capital’s ‘lockdown local heroes’ after the tremendous efforts of young people, led by project manager John Beatson, ensured vulnerable families in the Moredun and surrounding areas were supported during the lockdown period.

The Edinburgh Eastern MSP recently visited Goodtrees to meet with some of the young people involved in the food delivery programme to praise their selflessness and to thank them for helping the community in its time of great need. During the lockdown, Goodtrees volunteers were delivering 500 food parcels per day to families and individuals of all ages.

At the beginning of the lockdown, Ms Denham had written to the Scottish Government which resulted in the Centre being able to secure in the region of £24,500 to fund their programme.

Speaking at the visit, the MSP said:

“I have so much admiration for Goodtrees and the young people who volunteered their time during the lockdown to support families in the local community who were in need of help. While the lockdown was an extremely hard time for many people across the capital and the country, it was heartening to see the response from people in our communities, not least from Goodtrees.

“It was a pleasure to meet some of the young people involved and to praise them for their selfless efforts in helping so many. It was also great to talk to John Beatson, the Centre’s project manager, to hear about all the different additional ways they have been supporting people in the local community through zoom chats and online cooking classes.

“I was only too happy to write to the Scottish Government on the Centre’s behalf highlighting the importance of the programme they had put together and was pleased to see significant funding allocated to support the work of Goodtrees. I will continue to engage with John to do anything I can to support Goodtrees into the future.”

John Beatson, Project Manager at Goodtrees, said:

“We are incredibly grateful to the ongoing support from Ash and her office. The funding enabled us to widen our support to so many families across the locality as well as our partnerships with Social Bite, Cyrenians and the local Morrisons meant that we were able to provide 40,000 packed lunches, over 15,000 bags of food & 10,000 hot meals.

“Of course, it goes without saying, with such a small team this wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and commitment of our young people, who worked long hours to make sure could maximise our reach. The real thanks goes to them, because without them this would not have been possible.”

ENDS

EDINBURGH EASTERN MSP TO TAKE ON SCOTTISH MOUNTAIN THIS WEEKEND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE CHARITY

Ash Denham MSP and her constituency office staff will be ascending one of Scotland’s highest mountains this coming weekend to raise money for a much-loved Edinburgh-based animal welfare charity.

The Edinburgh Eastern MSP and her team are aiming to hike up Ben Vorlich in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to raise money for the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, which was founded in 1883 and welcomes lost, stray and abandoned pets from all corners of Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Ben Vorlich is one of the most southerly of the Munros (Scotland’s 282 mountains over 3,000 feet in altitude) and stands tall at 3,232 feet – over two times the height of the Empire State Building and four times the altitude of Arthur’s Seat. The fundraising page has already raised over £550 for the cause.

Ash Denham MSP said:

“My office team and I are looking forward to pulling on our walking boots and hiking to the summit of our first Munro to raise money for a much-loved charity in my constituency.

“I’ve visited the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, one of Scotland’s oldest animal welfare organisations, a number of times to learn more about their work to rescue, reunite and rehome hundreds of dog and cats each year from across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

“The Home has had to adapt to face the challenges brought on by the pandemic, which makes it more important than ever for fundraising events such as this to take place so the charity can continue to care for lost, stray and abandoned animals well into the future.

“I will also be promoting Mountaineering Scotland’s #TakItHame anti-litter campaign while ascending the mountain by taking a bag with me to collect any rubbish found along the way. We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world so it’s important we keep it that way by taking all rubbish home when accessing the outdoors whether it’s up a mountain or somewhere closer to home.”

For anyone who would like to donate, the fundraising page can be accessed here: https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/ash-denham-msp-munro-hike-for-edinburgh-dog-and-cat-home/

ENDS

SNP GOVERNMENT’S ‘JOB START PAYMENT’ NOW OPEN TO APPLICATIONS

NEW SUPPORT TO HELP YOUNG PEOPLE IN CAPITAL INTO WORK

Local MSP for Edinburgh Eastern, Ash Denham, has welcomed a new Scottish benefit introduced today that will help 16 to 24-year olds into work if they have been unemployed for over six months.

The SNP Scottish Government’s Job Start Payment is a one-off grant of £250 to help with the costs of starting a new job.

The upper age limit rises to 25 for care leavers and the payment rises to £400 if the person has a child.

It is estimated around 5,000 young people across Scotland will benefit from this new financial support in its first year.

Commenting, SNP MSP Ash Denham said:

“The job prospects of young people in my constituency and across Edinburgh have been hit hard by this pandemic.

“So, this announcement of extra support to help our young people into work really couldn’t come at a better time.

“This payment will help local people with the extra expenses that are often attached to a starting a new job, such as travel costs, new work clothes or even childcare.

“In Government, the SNP is working hard to create new opportunities for work as we rebuild our economy. I’d encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible to apply online.”

ENDS

7,659 EDINBURGH BUSINESSES GET £96.4M CASH SUPPORT THROUGH CRISIS

New figures show that 7,659 businesses in the Capital have received support from the Scottish Government to support them through the coronavirus crisis.

A total of £96.4m has been awarded to businesses in Edinburgh through a Scottish Government scheme designed to support small businesses and the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.

Across Scotland, over 83,000 grants valuing £942 million have been awarded through the Small Business Grant Scheme and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant Scheme.

Commenting, SNP MSP Ash Denham said:

“This pandemic has put real pressure on businesses in my Edinburgh Eastern constituency and across Scotland.

“The SNP Government has provided swift and substantial financial help to support firms and ensure that our economy is on the best possible footing when we get through this unprecedented crisis.

“This package of support for businesses is welcome, and will help alleviate the hardship some individuals and businesses in Edinburgh may be facing.

“I’d continue to encourage any eligible businesses facing economic instability to apply for the support offered by the Scottish Government.”

ENDS

DENHAM DEMANDS TORY U-TURN ON TV LICENCES FOR ELDERLY

Edinburgh Eastern MSP, Ash Denham, has again called on the UK government to ensure that her constituents over the age of 75 will not be forced to pay for a TV licence.

Despite the Conservatives making the retainment of free TV licences a key pledge of their election manifestos in 2015 and 2017, over-75s not in receipt of pension credit will be demanded to pay an extra £154.50 per year.

Restrictions were due to come into force from 1 June this year but this date was delayed by two months due to the coronavirus pandemic but have not been extended any further past 1 August.

Denham has supported calls in Scotland for the licence to remain free and last year visited Age Scotland to support their petition to the UK government to see the disgraceful decision over-turned.

Commenting, the Edinburgh Eastern MSP said:

“When a political party makes a promise, people expect those promises to be kept – particularly to our elderly, who have worked hard all of their lives and deserve dignity and our immense respect.

“If these restrictions are brought forward, free licences will only be available to households with one person aged over 75 who receives pension credit, totally contradicting Tory manifesto promises in 2015 and 2017 and ending almost 20 years of free licences for this age group.

“After years of Tory austerity and after the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the last thing our older people need is money being taken out of their pockets. The extra burden of £154.50 to their household bills could have a serious impact on already hard-stretched finances.

“In the UK, over half of over-75s live alone and many – two fifths of older people according to an Age UK survey – say the television is their main company. A television is something which has the ability to make someone who lives alone feel less lonely as it helps connect them with what is going on in the country and the rest of the world. For the Tories to remove this free service to the elderly is cruel.

“It’s vital that we keep TV licences free for over-75s as the cost of buying a TV licence could be a real barrier to many people.”

ENDS