Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

February Newsletter - Constituency Business

February Newsletter - Constituency Business

Planning is always a hot topic of discussion. Baileyfield South is a brownfield site and, given the number of houses required to meet the need in Edinburgh, it's right that it should be used for residential development. But the application seeks to squeeze too many houses into the available space, which would be bad for both the existing neighbours and the future residents. Developers know that people want to live in a vibrant, lively community like Portobello but unchecked development pressure could harm Portobello’s character. I've put in my objections - the developer should withdraw it, rethink it and resubmit it.

If you’re not already aware, a process of revaluation of business rates has been undertaken.  I have been liaising with a range of business owners, particularly in Portobello, who are seeing rates increasing beyond all reason (nearing 500% in one case). I will be fighting their corner in the weeks ahead – there is no way these increases can be justified and we cannot see some of our most popular pubs, restaurants and cafes go under because of this.

If you are a business owner and haven’t already checked your proposed rates change – please do so at https://www.saa.gov.uk/ and do let me know if you have any issues.

Sadly bank closures seem to be coming thick and fast as more and more young people turn to internet banking and stop visiting their high street branches. There are many people who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to use internet banking. The closure of branches will have a huge impact on them and their ability to access banking services. Around six months ago RBS closed the branch at Craigentinny but reassured me that the Portobello branch was nearby. Now they are closing the Portobello branch and the one at Edinburgh University.  I have written to the boss of RBS and will have a meeting to discuss these specific closures and the long term impact of closures on our communities and high streets.

I had a very interesting visit to the Greyfriars Charteris Centre today. Dan Rous, the Development Manager and the Rev. Richard Frazer showed me round the amazing building and talked me through the outreach work they are doing 'connecting communities'. The building is now run for the community, for those of all faiths and none. So if you are looking for a space to use definitely think about one of their lovely halls or meeting rooms.

A key visit I undertook this month was to the Salvation Army hostel at the Pleasance where Service Manager Iain Wilson and Regional Manager Andrew McCall showed me round. During my visit I heard about the important work the hostel does supporting homeless people to find and sustain a home of their own.

The Boundary Commission has proposed new boundaries for the Edinburgh East constituency which would come into effect from 2020. I disagree with the Tories’ aim of reducing the number of Scottish MPs from 59 to 53 and the overall UK number from 650 to 600 but the Boundary Commission must stick to the brief they’ve been given by the UK Government.
 
I've submitted an alternative proposal to their consultation that would involve keeping to Scottish Parliament boundaries as much as possible and would keep closer to the shape of the current constituency. It would mean losing Prestonfield and the parts of Leith currently in Edinburgh East and gaining Liberton and Gilmerton (ward 16).

Westminster Hour
February Newsletter - Parliamentary Business
 

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Monday, 11 December 2017

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
11 December 2017
Tommy's Blog
It’s difficult to know where to start on last week’s Brexit developments. On Monday the Prime Minister was left scrabbling around after the DUP flexed their muscles and refused to agree the deal with the EU that would enable to them to move on to Phase 2 of negotiations.By the end of the week the deal was done and a joint statement was issued from the UK Government and negotiators from the Europea...
Tommy Sheppard
30 November 2017
My work for you in Edinburgh East
Tommy's Blog

I used my Evening News column this month to talk about fireworks following the extreme antisocial behaviour on bonfire night. I've also written to the Minister asking for the UK Government to toughen up licensing laws. And if they aren't willing to do that, devolve power over fireworks to the Scottish Parliament so they can act. Read the full article here.

 

Tommy Sheppard
30 November 2017
Tommy's Blog
My work for you in Westminster
The EU Withdrawal Bill entered its committee stage this month in the House of Commons.  As it is a constitutional bill it is considered by a committee of the whole house – in other words all MPs consider it in the main chamber. While hundreds of amendments were tabled, only a few are selected for a vote each day. There will be eight days of debate in total, three of which took place in November. O...
Tommy Sheppard
23 November 2017
Tommy's Blog
My work for you in Westminster
So the EU Withdrawal Bill was back in the Commons for Day 3 of the committee stage this week and, as promised, I’m writing to update you on what happened.Before I talk about the Bill itself, you might be interested in the events of Monday’s Ways and Means debate. Ways and Means is a traditional term for taxes or other charges levied on the public in order to fund Government spending. And while not...
Tommy Sheppard
16 November 2017
Tommy's Blog
My work for you in Westminster
I know how difficult it can be to not only keep up with what is happening as Brexit proceeds, but to understand the antiquated political systems that make up the UK parliament. So I will be sharing regular updates as the Bill makes its way through parliament. As you may be aware, the Bill entered its committee stage this week in the House of Commons. That means MPs debate specific aspects of the B...