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 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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Friday, 20 October 2017

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
11 October 2017
Tommy's Blog
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.