I met with RBS at Portobello High Street to raise my concerns about the impact the closure of the branch would have on the local community. The bank have made a commitment to continue to invest in the local community with charitable fundraising for local projects – if you have any ideas let me know and I will pass them on.
They are also running sessions to equip those who want to switch to digital banking with the skills they will need. But I recognise that many will still need to access a branch. If you want to switch to a bank that will continue to have a presence on the high street you can do so easily - find out more here.
The Scottish Government have launched their consultation on fracking - giving you the chance to have your say and be part of the review on unconventional oil and gas. I will be discussing the consultation with Our Forth and Friends of the Earth at a public meeting on Thursday 9th March at 7.30pm at the Wash House, Portobello. I hope to see you there but if you can’t make the meeting you can still submit your views here.
After meeting with local business owners facing eye-watering increases in rates from the Valuation board, I wrote to Finance Secretary Derek MacKay asking him to cap the increases in any one valuation period. So I was delighted that the Scottish Government decided to cap rates in the hospitality industry at 12.5%.
The cap will provide substantial support to the tourism and hospitality industries in Edinburgh East and the substantial package of support will ensure that many businesses will not see any rise in the rates that they pay.
I was delighted to hear that SAVE Bellfield's application to the Scottish Land Fund has been successful. Congratulations to all those who worked so hard to put together such a strong proposal to provide an excellent community facility.
The next step is showing that the community supports it. Ballots will be coming out soon so if you live in the local area don’t forget to vote. I’m absolutely delighted that the first urban community right to buy project is in my constituency. Let’s work together to make sure that it happens!
In other planning news, Friends of the George have a great plan to restore the beautiful Art Deco building on Bath Street as a cinema and cultural hub. You can find out more about their vision here.
I popped along the Mound last week to give my support to the One Day Without Us campaign which highlighted the contribution EU citizens make to Edinburgh, Scotland and the UK. Now is the time to show solidarity with our EU friends and neighbours who contribute so much to our city.