Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Meantime, there's a meeting tonight with the traders in Leith Walk who are worried about the effects of the tram works on their business, an issue I've raised with Tie before. I can't make the meeting as I'm in the House of Commons this week - but I hope that all the political parties can now work together on this issue, and not make it a political football. Whatever our views were about the idea of the trams, they're going to happen - let's all of us do what we can to make sure that Leith Walk traders (and others) get help to cope with the undoubted difficulties they are having, and let's also work together to make sure that the tram does serve North Edinburgh, which is where the whole idea of the tram came from in the first place!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
What happened at these meetings has been reported in the media pretty comprehensively, so I won't add much to what had already been said. Sufficient to say that at last we seem to have a package which will, eventually, go a long way to repair a lot of the undoubted damage caused by this episode. But it should never have happened in the first case - as the days have gone by, it is clear that large numbers of MPs, like myself, had been writing to and lobbying the government over this issue for some time, and the issue should have been dealt with a long time ago. And we need to get a solution which helps all the groups affected, as soon as possible. Alistair Darling's statement (here) makes it clear that there will be a comprehensive look at the issue - and I'll certainly be feeding ideas into this process myself.
The tragedy of course is that it has given the Tories a real chance to make political hay at our expense - even though it was their policy (until now) to be against the 10p tax rate. And it has also allowed attention to shift from what we have done over 11 years for people on low incomes and pensioners- tax credits, winter fuel allowance, minimum wage, pensioners' free travel and central heating schemes - and much else besides.
Monday, April 21, 2008
That street is blocked at present, of course, which is why the route of the Edinburgh & Leith Sikh community procession to celebrate Vaisakhi had to be diverted. However, it didn't dampen the spirit of those who took part in the march, which I joined along with my colleagues Councillor Gordon Munro and MSP Malcolm Chisholm.
And tonight, back in the House of Commons after our two week (late) Easter recess, the PM addressed Labour MPs on the 10p tax issue - on which I hope to 'blog' about tomorrow!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Interesting to see the question of cutbacks in council services being the subject of a few questions - it's certainly a live issue locally. I mentioned in an earlier post the campaign against Edinburgh's closure of the creche at Leith Victoria pool and fitness centre. Earlier this week, I went along to the meeting organised by the parents who are campaigning against the plans - they certainly don't intend to give up the fight!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
And, not surprisingly, the same point about transport (or lack of it) that came up at the meeting with the Telford students and staff that I mentioned a few days ago.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
The campaign has a big event at the Scottish Parliament this week - hopefully that will help to highlight the issues!
A few meetings this week in the constituency about some local projects I’ve been involved with in
Another local project has been the idea of a community energy project – aiming at making renewable and sustainable energy, owned by the community, a reality here in North Edinburgh and
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Another issue raised with me on my visit by both staff and students was the threat to the future of the North Edinburgh News caused by the decision of the LibDem/SNP coalition running Edinburgh Council to cut off funding to community newspapers. This would affect Telford's ability to get news about their programmes and courses to the local area.
Monday, April 07, 2008
In the office there's been a lot of emails today about the withdrawal of the 10p tax band. I'm afraid I'm not surprised, because the fact is that although the increases in tax credits and reduction of the 22p rate will benefit more people than lose out from the changes, there are people on low income who will lose out, which is why I've raised the issue with Ministers on more than occasion over the last year. I still hope that the government will respond to the concerns that have been raised.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Earlier, we had seen Harriet Harman, as Leader of the House of Commons, standing in to take Prime Ministers' Questions in place of Gordon Brown who was away at the NATO summit. As is Parliamentary etiquette (lot of that here!), if the Prime Minister doesn't do Questions, the other parties also don't put up their leaders, so William Hague and Vince Cable took the lead for the opposition parties. I thought Harriet did well.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
That's worthwhile remembering when we see the chaos at the new Terminal 5 this week. For a whole host of reasons, encouraging a shift from air to rail for domestic journeys in the UK makes so much sense. That's an issue I've been involved with in Westminster over the years; and I think it's high time to give it another push, and I'm going to try and do that.