Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

Constituency Business - August 2017

Welcome to my August Newsletter.  Parliament has been in recess for the past month so this newsletter will focus on my work in Edinburgh East. Though of course, politics continues even when the Westminster parliament isn't sitting. And the mess that is Brexit continues unabated. Next week I head back to Westminster where we'll have the first vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill. Let's see if Corbyn and his parliamentary party are ready to work with us on this. 

August is a great month for me - I'm able to be based at home (the joy of sleeping in your own bed every night cannot be underestimated!) and I get to catch up on all the goings on in the constituency. Though it does feature the toughest decision of my year - judging the Portobello Sandcastle Competition (winner above). It was a great sunny day with lots of people taking part in the Beach Busk along the prom. I'm already looking forward to next year. 

This month I was honoured to be asked to give the annual Thomas Muir memorial lecture. Thomas Muir was a tireless campaigner for political reform in the late 18th Century and his actions radically changed the political landscape in our country and across the UK. In the lecture I focused on the parallels between our movement today and Muir's work and the lessons we need to learn from the General Election. You can watch my lecture here

While parliament is in recess, I have I continued to challenge the UK Government on their treatment of constituents. As an example, I have written to Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke about the UK Government's continued treatment of people with chronic, degenerative and lifelong conditions. Last year his predecessor, Damian Green, promised that people with chronic, degenerative and lifelong conditions would no longer need to face repeated, unnecessary work capability assessments (WCAs) in future. Yet ten months on nothing has changed.

It’s disgraceful that constituents of mine who are living with chronic, lifelong conditions are being asked to go through the repeated stress of WCAs to claim the benefits they are entitled to. These conditions are not going to improve and in some cases are only going to get worse. And the medical evidence has been provided to prove this. It’s time the UK Government showed some compassion and humanity by introducing these much-needed reforms.

I had a great visit to Shaw Trust, Forth Sector and St Jude’s Laundry earlier in the month. It was lovely to meet Alistair Kerr, Gemma Hope and Annie Dell from Shaw Trust who told me all about their focus on employment and wellbeing - running projects which help people with disabilities get into work. You can read more about my visit here. Since visiting the laundry I have written to the DWP to express my concern about plans to cut their vital funding. 

This month I took a look around Dunedin Canmore’s new development in Craigmillar’s town centre. It will provide 58 houses for social rent and 53 for midmarket rent - totaling 111 much needed affordable homes in Edinburgh East - the first houses will be ready to move into in January 2018. It’s great to see the cleared site finally being filled with quality affordable housing and Craigmillar’s regeneration coming to fruition. 

I’m also in discussion with community organisations and council officials about how we protect and develop community facilities in the new town centre. And in particular to make sure the new Craigmillar High School is built.

I had a lovely morning catching up with Kelly and the day service users at Caring in Craigmillar. Already looking forward to visiting again and seeing the new garden - the plans look great.

I met with Bob Hope, Chair of Trustees at FOTA (Friends of the Award). They do fantastic work supporting delivery of the Duke of Edinburgh Award across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The charity specialises in supporting young people with additional challenges in their lives whether that be a learning or physical disability, being a young carer, living in residential care or any other difficulty. Bob shared some of the impressive results they've had and I'm delighted that FOTA have received lottery funding to expand their service supporting young people with mental health difficulties. They also have what must be the biggest store of hire equipment for expeditions in the city!

I had a productive meeting with Sarah and Harry from OneKind to discuss animal welfare in Scotland, a cause close to my heart at Westminster.

The charity is currently working with Animal Aid and SNP members on a campaign to introduce mandatory CCTV in Scotland’s 35 operational abattoirs that will cover all key areas and is accessibly by independent experts. The Scottish Government currently recommends the installation of CCTV as best practise. However, it is on a voluntary basis and is not required by legislation.

OneKind believes in a compassionate, progressive Scotland that takes action for animals and I am happy to lend my support to their campaign. Find out more and sign their petition here

I was incredibly impressed by my visit to the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Edinburgh's Bioquarter. Hundreds of scientists from across the globe developing truly world leading research in stem cells and regeneration. Clinical treatment is at the forefront - developing treatments to some of Scotland's most challenging diseases including liver disease, MS and MND.

And they have an excellent outreach and community engagement programme, particularly with Castlebrae CHS. Nathana and Jayanti came along from the school to tell me about the mentors who visit Castlebrae and support pupils with their science coursework and the summer internship programme in the centre.

Thanks to all the team for taking time out to show me round - I'm already looking forward to a future visit as the new facility to house a Centre for Tissue Regeneration and Repair takes shape.

Finally, I had a very inspiring morning at the Jack Kane Centre where we were taken on a journey through the experiences of the young people who have been on the Erasmus+ plus programme with YouthLink Scotland. The MSPs who attended will be doing all they can to protect this funding which is at risk because of Brexit - find out more about it here

Royal High Primary - Who Represents Us?
MPs reporting their own constituents - a statement
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Friday, 20 October 2017

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
11 October 2017
Tommy's Blog
Articles
Media
I have never been prouder of our SNP Scottish Government than I was last Tuesday when the Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, made a statement to parliament on fracking. He was responding to a huge public consultation on the issue and he made it crystal clear that fracking would not be part of the energy mix in Scotland.Not only was this the right decision but the manner in which the government ...
Tommy Sheppard
03 October 2017
My work for you in Edinburgh East
Tommy's Blog

Long before I stood for election I opposed fracking and I’ve been very pleased to be able to coordinate opposition over the past couple of years.

So you’ll not be surprised to hear that I am delighted by the announcement that has just been made by Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation & Energy, in the Scottish Parliament.

Tommy Sheppard
02 October 2017
Tommy's Blog
Yesterday I got back from a holiday – the only time of the year where I switch off from the world.  I turned on my phone to see with horror what was happening in #Catalonia.The actions of the Spanish authorities were shocking. Images beamed around the world of police violence against young and old alike who simply wanted to cast a democratic vote.  I’m in awe of the voters who remained peaceful an...
Tommy Sheppard
22 September 2017
Tommy's Blog
I was delighted to attend the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Westminster launch of a new report on the illegal ivory trade across Europe, (Ivory seizures in Europe, 2006-2015), which found that the European Union is still a destination for illegal ivory, a major transit route between countries and a key exporter of antique ivory to South East Asian markets.I fully support the campaig...
Tommy Sheppard
10 September 2017
Tommy's Blog
Workings of Westminster

There was a big turnout from SNP MPs to support Royal College of Nursing #scrapthecap demo at Westminster.

And great to see Geoff who had made the journey from Edinburgh East alongside other RCN members from across the UK.