Ash Denham MSP welcomes decision to back Gilmerton Gateway proposals

Ash Denham MSP’s statement following today’s (Wednesday 6th November 2019) decision at Edinburgh City Council to back in principle the proposals for the Gilmerton Gateway:

“I welcome the decision by Edinburgh City Council’s Development Management Sub-Committee this afternoon to grant the Planning Permission in Principle 19/02122/PPP at 1 And 4 Gilmerton Station Road, Edinburgh, EH17 8RZ, also known as the Gilmerton Gateway.

“As the Member of the Scottish Parliament for this area, I have noted the significant number of constituents and groups backing these proposals – including over 700 members of the public who have responded to the #GilmertonGateway online campaign as well as support from Gilmerton & Inch Community Council and Gilmerton Citizens for Change.

“This development would allow the Gilmerton and wider community to benefit from a medical hub, community hall, space for new businesses to grow, and at long last a permanent and suitable building for the Drum Field Archers, a club which has trained and supported its members to achieve success on the national and international stages and deserves a new purpose-built home as is being proposed.

“Well done to all involved and I look forward to seeing the next stages of this development.”

DENHAM SECURES COMMITMENT FROM LOTHIAN BUSES OVER NUMBER 15 SERVICE

Ash Denham MSP has secured a commitment from Lothian Buses that the company will review bus services in the Lochend area following timetable changes last summer, including the withdrawal of Service 15 which sparked complaints from constituents in the Lochend and Restalrig area who relied upon it to easily access the city centre.

The changes to the timetable have resulted in bus users in the area, many of whom are elderly or with disabilities, to walk a longer distance to access an alternative bus route to take them into the city centre.

But following a meeting at the Scottish Parliament this month between Ms. Denham and Lothian Buses chief executive, Richard Hall, and commercial director, Nigel Serafini, the company have agreed to look again at the bus network and have also committed to sending a representative from Lothian Buses to meet with the area’s community council, Craigentinny & Meadowbank CC, at the earliest opportunity to discuss the number 15 service with them as well.

Ms. Denham said:

“I thank Mr Hall and Mr Serafini for agreeing to meet with me at the Scottish Parliament to discuss the ending of the number 15 service last summer, which prompted a number of my Edinburgh Eastern constituents to contact me to convey their frustrations.

“Many constituents who use this service are elderly and may have disabilities which prevent them from walking a longer distance to reach an alternative bus route to take them into the city centre.

“The meeting with Lothian Buses was very constructive and I made a number of points on behalf of my constituents. I was pleased that they have committed to looking again at service provision in this area and that they will meet with Craigentinny & Meadowbank Community Council to open a dialogue with them on this matter as well.

“I will continue to engage with Lothian Buses on this issue to see if either the service can be reinstated or if an alternative solution can be agreed upon.”

ENDS

Notes;

For more information please contact Ross Cunningham at ross.cunningham@parliament.scot or calling 07887 534126.

Pictured (l-r): Nigel Serafini, Richard Hall and Ash Denham MSP.

EDINBURGH MSP BACKS PLANS TO “TRANSFORM” CAPITAL’S ECONOMY

LOCAL MSP BACKS PLANS TO “TRANSFORM” CAPITAL’S ECONOMY

STEP CLOSER TO SCOTTISH NATIONAL INVESTMENT BANK
Ash Denham MSP for Edinburgh Eastern, has said that SNP plans to establish a Scottish National Investment bank will help encourage economic growth across the capital.
This week in Holyrood, MSPs debated the Scottish Government’s blueprint for the investment bank that will begin investing in businesses and communities from 2020 – committing to invest at least £2 billion in its first ten years. Earlier this month, the First Minister also confirmed plans for an initial investment in the bank of £130 million this year during the Programme for Government.
The bank will have an important role in helping Scotland meet its ambitious climate change targets – forming part of the SNP’s Green New Deal to kick-start investment and build the momentum needed to reduce emissions and create high quality jobs in the process.
Commenting, SNP MSP Ash Denham said:
“The Scottish National Investment Bank has enormous potential to transform communities here in Edinburgh and ensure Scotland’s economy is fit for the future.
 
“Operating within a core set of principles, the bank will help us reach our world-leading climate change targets by upping investment in businesses and community projects that are looking to play their part in tackling the climate crisis.
 
“We know that small businesses play a vital role in Edinburgh’s economy and this bank will become a cornerstone in Scotland’s economic architecture, supporting businesses and driving Scotland towards a low carbon economy.”
ENDS

ASH DENHAM BACKS “AMBITIOUS” STEPS TO TACKLE CLIMATE EMERGENCY

SNP DELIVERING FOR THE CAPITAL WHILE WESTMINSTER IN CHAOS

Ash Denham MSP has voted in favour of the Climate Change Bill, meaning that Scotland will now have the most ambitious statutory targets in the world and its contribution to climate change will end, definitively, within a generation.

The landmark legislation commits Scotland to becoming a net-zero society by 2045 – five years before the rest of the UK and in line with the advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change.

The Scottish Government also adopted an ambitious new target to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 – the toughest statutory target of any country in the world.

SNP MSP Ash Denham said:

“Scotland is rightly recognised as a world-leader in tackling climate change – we were one of the first countries to declare a climate emergency, and the SNP is now leading by example by committing to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

“Ending our contribution to climate change will enable us to grow Edinburgh’s economy and productivity, and improve the wellbeing of everyone who lives here.

“While Westminster is consumed by chaos and the Tories have abandoned any pretence of a domestic agenda, the Scottish Government is ready and willing to take necessary steps to improve people’s lives and take the action scientists tell us is necessary.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity, and the defining political issue for all of us.

“We have a moral duty to future generations to tackle climate change now and the forthcoming Climate Change Bill delivers on that commitment.”

ENDS

DENHAM ENCOURAGES CONSTITUENTS TO TAKE PART IN COMMUNITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS

Edinburgh Eastern MSP Ash Denham has called on constituents who would like to play a role in the decisions being made in their community to join their local community council.

There are 46 community council areas across the Capital, made up of local residents and community groups, but many are in desperate need of new members to take on committee posts in order to continue, including Craigentinny & Meadowbank and Northfield & Willowbrae community councils.

Nominations for all Edinburgh community councils opened on 9 September and will close on 30 September.

Ash Denham said:

“It’s the time of year when community councils across Edinburgh are holding elections to determine who will lead them into the next twelve months, which is why now is the perfect time for constituents looking to have a say in what goes on in their area to join their local community council.

“Community councils – which are also a good way to speak directly to local elected members local concerns – can be a powerful channel for local people to have a say and influence on issues or decisions in their area, including the sourcing of funding for local improvements, organising community activities, tackling important issues such as planning and licensing, and the holding of consultations and petitions.

“It’s really rewarding to be a member of your community council and is a chance to make a big difference.”

Find out more at http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/communitycouncils

ENDS

EDINBURGH EASTERN MSP TO TAKE PART IN ANNUAL CHARITY FUNDRAISER

EDINBURGH EASTERN MSP TO TAKE PART IN ANNUAL EDINBURGH DOG AND CAT HOME FUNDRAISER

This month, Ash Denham MSP will be taking part in Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s annual ‘In the Dog House’ event which sees local CEOs, influencers and high-profile personalities locked in kennels for a day to raise money for the 136-year-old charity.

Now in its third year, the event will see each participant locked in a kennel with only their phone and a laptop, where a competition will take place to see which individual can raise the most money during the day and be crowned ‘Top Dog’.

The initiative is supported by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, which helps recruit the city’s top business talent to take on the challenge on Friday 27th September, and Ash Denham has been invited to take part as the area’s constituency MSP.

Ms. Denham said:

“I’m delighted to be taking part in this year’s In The Dog House event to raise money for one of the capital’s longest running charities.

“I recently visited Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home to see what goes on behind the scenes and they really are a fantastic charity with so many hard-working employees and volunteers providing the best possible care for the lost or abandoned dogs and cats which are brought in from across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

“The Home has also very recently become a real living wage employer ensuring their staff are paid a salary that has been independently calculated to meet the costs of living, which management said ensured the staff are valued as much as their animals. It’s vital more employers follow the charity’s example by signing up for this scheme – supported by The Scottish Government – to help us tackle in-work poverty.

“I look forward to the event and would ask constituents to donate what they can to this worthy cause to help the charity meet their annual running costs which exceed £2m.”

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s Director of Fundraising and Communications Nicola Gunn said:

“Last year was a massive success, raising over £15,000 for Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, so we are thrilled to see MSP Ash Denham, and representatives from the Scottish Parliament, join members of Edinburgh’s business community by signing up to participate in this year’s ‘In the Dog House’ event. Helping us raise even more money to rescue, reunite and rehome dogs and cats across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

“Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s kennels provide a safe, warm and loving environment for hundreds of dogs that come through our doors each year. By inviting business leaders from across Edinburgh to spend a day in the kennels, we are hoping to not just raise much-needed funds for their care, but give people an insight into our work and highlight the many animals who are spending months, even years, calling these spaces home while they wait for their new owner to walk through our door.”

ENDS

Notes;

‘In The Dog House’ event information: http://www.edch.org.uk/in-the-dog-house

Ash Denham MSP’s recent visit to the Home: https://ashdenham.scot/2019/08/22/edinburgh-msp-calls-on-the-capitals-employers-to-follow-dog-and-cat-homes-lead-in-paying-real-living-wage/

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home was founded in 1883 and works in partnership with Police and local authorities to rescue, reunite and rehome lost, stray and abandoned dogs and cats across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

It has an open-door policy, accepting any dog or cat that comes through the door in need, whatever shape, breed or size, and staff work tirelessly to find a permanent loving home for every animal, however long it takes.

It costs around £2.4 million a year to run Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.

In 2018, the Home cared for 2,367 dogs and 771 cats.

TORY GOVERNMENT WARNED AGAINST “CALLOUS” THREAT TO PENSIONS IN EDINBURGH EASTERN

TORY GOVERNMENT WARNED AGAINST “CALLOUS” THREAT TO PENSIONS IN EDINBURGH EASTERN

REPORT FINDS ELDERLY IN UK SUFFER THE WORST POVERTY RATE IN WESTERN EUROPE

SNP MSP, Ash Denham, has warned the Tory government against increasing the state pension age, which would have dire and disproportionate consequences in Edinburgh Eastern and across Scotland.

The Tories’ threat comes following a report published by the Centre for Social Justice – chaired by close Boris Johnson ally, Iain Duncan Smith – which concludes that the state pension age should rise to 75 over the next 16 years.

SNP MSP Ash Denham has said that any further increases in the state pension age could have a hugely disproportionate impact on Scotland due to its unique demographic needs.

The MSP also called on the UK government to heed warnings raised in a new report that found the proportion of elderly people living in severe poverty in the UK is five times what it was in 1986 – the largest increase among western European countries.

SNP MSP Ash Denham said:

“The Tory government’s approach to the UK’s elderly population and state pension policy has been cruel and callous.

“From the burning injustices facing the WASPI women who have been denied the right to their state pension, to the stripping away of free TV licences for the over 75s, this government’s attitude towards its older people is shameful.

“Instead of taking on board policies written up by one of the architects of Tory austerity, the new Prime Minister must take action to address the dire levels of pensioner poverty in the UK.

“The Tory government must take a step back and tackle these injustices – rather than ramping up the threats.”

ENDS

EDINBURGH MSP CALLS ON THE CAPITAL’S EMPLOYERS TO FOLLOW DOG AND CAT HOME’S ‘LEAD’ IN PAYING REAL LIVING WAGE

EDINBURGH MSP CALLS ON THE CAPITAL’S EMPLOYERS TO FOLLOW DOG AND CAT HOME’S ‘LEAD’ IN PAYING REAL LIVING WAGE

Ash Denham MSP has called on businesses and charities in Edinburgh to follow Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s ‘lead’ by signing up to become an accredited Living Wage employer, which ensures staff and third-party contractors are paid a wage independently calculated each year on what employees and their families need to live on.

The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home became Living Wage employers in June ensuring everyone working at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, regardless of whether they are direct employees or third-party contracted staff, receive a minimum wage of £9 per hour. This rate is significantly higher than the UK Government’s minimum of £7.70 for under-25s and £8.21 per hour for over-25s.

Hundreds of employers in Edinburgh have signed up for the Living Wage Scotland scheme since it was established in 2014 by the Poverty Alliance and the Living Wage Foundation – an initiative funded in Scotland by the Scottish Government.

Ms. Denham, who is also a Living Wage employer, said:

“I was delighted to visit Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home recently to congratulate the charity on becoming a real Living Wage employer, which now sees their staff and third-party contractors paid a minimum of £9 per hour.

“The Home is one of the oldest animal welfare charities in Scotland and is used by thousands of people every year when looking for a lost pet or to re-home one of the residents they care for, so it’s great to see such an iconic Edinburgh charity adopting this important initiative.

“It’s fantastic they have decided to become Living Wage employers, which will see someone who was previously earning an annual wage of £15,015 now receive £17,500. It allows employees to perhaps spend more time with their children, to give up a part-time job, or not to worry about affording the basics to get by.

“It also significantly helps in the fight to tackle the rising tide of in-work poverty, as 67% of children living in poverty have at least one parent in work. Paying the real living wage is a welcome boost to family incomes and can make a real difference to people’s lives and their wellbeing.

“I hope other employers in my Edinburgh Eastern constituency and across the capital follow Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s lead by becoming accredited Living Wage employers too.”

Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, Director of Operations/Deputy to the CEO at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said:

“We at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home feel enormously proud that our organisation has taken the lead on Living Wage in the Scottish animal welfare sector. The real Living Wage represents the empowerment and betterment of staff in a world where inequalities continue to grow. It’s the right time to acknowledge that valuing staff should not only be set in organisational statements but also in organisational action.

“We’re aware that animal welfare and animal care roles as a sector and profession are often not well paid, they can often be described as careers of passion rather than financial reward. We have changed that notion by embracing the real Living Wage and by doing this moving the sector to recognising the skill, professionalism and expertise that is required to work with animals – particularly rescue animals.

“Ultimately by valuing our people and what they do, we are valuing our animals, the quality of their care and the second chance at life that we hope to give them with a new family. Happy people means happy animals.”

Jack Evans, Living Wage Scotland Manager added:

“We are delighted to have welcomed Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home to the Living Wage movement.

“We are a movement of over 1,500 Scottish employers who together want to go further than the government minimum to make sure that all their staff earn enough to live on. We have lots of smaller employers as well as larger and iconic Scottish employers like SSE, Standard Life, Barrs, Mackies, Johnstons of Elgin, D.C. Thomson and many more.

“These businesses recognise that the Living Wage accreditation is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like Edinbugh Dog and Cat Home, join us because they too believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

NOTES TO EDITORS;

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home was founded in 1883 and works in partnership with Police and local authorities to rescue, reunite and rehome lost, stray and abandoned dogs and cats across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

It has an open-door policy, accepting any dog or cat that comes through the door in need, whatever shape, breed or size, and staff work tirelessly to find a permanent loving home for every animal, however long it takes.

It costs around £2.4 million a year to run Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.

In 2018, the Home cared for 2,367 dogs and 771 cats.

Edinburgh Evening News column 9/7/19

Later this month, 120,000 Tory members will choose the next leader of their party, the replacement for Theresa May, and as a consequence, the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Looking ahead at who is running to fill the vacancy in Number 10, the options make for depressing reading. Unfortunately, this Tory leadership contest has been a horror show from beginning to end.

The next Prime Minister could be Boris Johnson – who once argued that “a pound spent in Croydon will generate more for the economy than a pound spent in Strathclyde,” and said that Muslim women looked like “letterboxes”, among a long list of outrageous comments.

The other option is Jeremy Hunt, who as Health Secretary ran the National Health Service into the ground – forcing junior doctors to strike for the first time in 40 years, called for the abortion limit to be halved from 24 weeks to 12 weeks, and previously said he wanted the NHS to be dismantled and replaced by a run-for-profit system.

Each of these would-be PMs is mired in controversy, and their extreme views will rightly spark concern with voters across the UK.

On the 23 July, one of these men will be foisted upon Scotland – ready to deny the people of Scotland a chance to decide their own future, but also ready to lurch even further to the right in an attempt to pander to Nigel Farage and his right-wing Brexit Party.

Edinburgh voted three to one to remain in the EU – so did Scotland – but the next Prime Minister is intent on delivering a Brexit that Scotland didn’t vote for, and which will wreak enormous damage on our businesses and our economy.

Beyond the hollow rhetoric about protecting the Union, both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson are two peas in a pod, who are both willing to drive Scotland and the UK off an economic cliff-edge with a no-deal Brexit – no matter the cost.

Neither of the candidates are fit to lead the country out of the dire situation in which we find ourselves. The prospect of Johnson or Hunt becoming the next Prime Minister illustrates the divergent paths that Scotland and the rest of the UK are on.

The people of Scotland deserve the choice of a better future than the shambles offered by a Westminster government which has let Scotland down at every turn – ignoring our people and locking our government out of crucial discussions that would shape our nation’s future.

It is clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is by taking our place as an equal, independent European nation.

ASH DENHAM WRITES TO LOTHIAN BUSES OVER NEW TIMETABLE

Edinburgh Eastern MSP, Ash Denham, has written to Lothian Buses asking the company to reconsider changes to the number 15 bus service which are set to take effect from Monday 14th July.

The Service 15/X15 route from the City Centre to Lochend is due to be withdrawn due to “low customer usage” and the Saturday service will also be withdrawn.

However, several of Ms. Denham’s constituents have contacted her office complaining the changes to the number 15 service, which travels between Lochend and Penicuik, would force elderly bus users to walk a longer distance to access an alternative bus route to take them into the city centre.

She said:

“A number of constituents in my Edinburgh Eastern constituency have contacted me to express their anger that the number 15 service bus they rely on to travel into the city centre is due to be withdrawn.

“Many constituents who use this service are elderly and may have disabilities which prevent them from walking a longer distance to reach the next bus stop to take them into town. Walking a longer distance will also be particularly difficult in bad weather or in the winter months.

“I have now personally written to the Managing Director of Lothian Buses, Richard Hall, asking for the company to look again at this route and for the service from Lochend to the city centre to be reinstated when this new timetable takes effect from July 14th.”

Constituent, Fraser Renton (pictured on the right in the attached photo), 78, said:

“This service is essential for older people like myself in what is a heavily populated area to get up into the town and access the train station.

“It saves people walking all the way along to Restalrig Road or down to Sleigh Drive, which can be a considerable walk for a lot of elderly people in the area – and would be even more challenging in the winter.

“I believe the number 15 service is a popular one and if they’re taking it away it’s in the interests of profit and not of the local people from this area who rely on it.

“I and others made this point to Ash, our local MSP, and we’re really pleased she has taken this up and contacted Lothian Buses. At the very least we’re looking for some form of compromise where perhaps the bus could be changed to a single-decker or as a last resort could be made an hourly service.”

ENDS

Bus timetable changes: https://www.lothianbuses.com/news/2019/06/lothian-service-change-14-july-2019/