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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Thursday, 19 July 2018

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
11 July 2018
Tommy's Blog
Media

We need to talk about democracy. The UK government recently hosted its first ever “National Democracy Week” – with no sense of irony.

We absolutely should be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the equalisation of voting ages for men and women. Nobody would argue with that.

Tommy Sheppard
21 June 2018
Tommy's Blog
Media
Brexit rumbles on. Last week the SNP walked out of parliament in protest at not being allowed to discuss House of Lords amendments that will seriously affect how we are governed. If we can’t have our say inside the chamber we’ll make our arguments outside.Meanwhile the UK government say we’re scaremongering. What power grab say the Tories? They claim that the Scottish government will get more powe...
Tommy Sheppard
15 June 2018
Tommy's Blog
Buckle up folks – here comes a bumper blog as this week saw the return of the EU Withdrawal Bill after its time in the Lords. Or, more accurately, we were back voting on the EU Withdrawal Bill given there was precious little time for any actual debate. Over two days we were supposed to debate and vote on 20 different changes to the Bill that the Lords had put forward.You’ll likely have seen and he...
Tommy Sheppard
19 May 2018
Tommy's Blog
Okay I know that it’s probably not the best time to try to start a discussion about the monarchy. With a popular prince wedding his celebrity sweetheart in a lavish event resplendent in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, it might be best for dissidents like myself to keep our republican heads below the parapet.Then again, with the nation’s attention focused on the royals because of the wedding, t...
Tommy Sheppard
02 May 2018
Tommy's Blog
Media
This is a piece about the SNP’s constitutional review. Exciting, huh? Well, maybe not, but important all the same.I know – at least I hope – no-one joins a political party to debate its internal structure. And set against debates on Indy, Brexit and the World War III this is unlikely to get anyone’s political juices flowing. People are motivated by ideas and feelings, powerful emotions that propel...