Colin Beattie objects to Police Scotland’s “ill thought out proposal”

Monday June 21st 2021

Colin Beattie MSP
Colin Beattie MSP, Midlothian North & Musselburgh, writes his monthly column for Midlothian View

I am sorry if I keep banging on about Covid and the need for caution but I am greatly concerned at the increasingly high risk of a damaging third wave of the pandemic. It is important that everyone who is eligible takes their vaccination. It is the best way to protect yourself and others in the community.

Testing is also important. If you have symptoms take a PCR as soon as you can and if you do not have symptoms you can order a Rapid Flow Testing Kit online for free; or pick one up at a participating pharmacy; or your nearest Covid-19 testing centre. We cannot allow ourselves to enter another damaging lockdown. Mental and physical health concerns and the damage to the economy are huge worries. If we are sensible and protect ourselves and others we will get through this pandemic a great deal quicker. Please stay safe.

While I am making pleas, can I also remind EU Nationals that the deadline for applying for the EUSS Scheme is fast approaching. That deadline is 30th June 2021. Please do not miss this date or your ability to remain in Scotland may be affected.

In local news, this week the first post-election meeting of ERIG (Esk River Improvement Group) will take place. I am looking forward to updates on work on reducing pollution and other issues across the Esk River. Always a really positive event.

I am concerned at the proposal by Police Scotland to close the custody cells in Dalkeith. I regard this as yet another step towards downgrading our police presence and transferring it to St Leonard’s in Edinburgh. This will significantly increase travelling times for people who have been detained and their families. It cannot be efficient in terms of use of police manpower. I will be objecting to this ill thought out proposal.

The closure of yet another post office in Woodburn, Dalkeith was very unwelcome. This constituency has seen a constant trickle of banks and post offices being closed. The powers to stop this lie with the UK Government and they absolutely refuse to take any action. It is unacceptable that our communities are left without financial facilities. This impacts on our economic growth and resilience. I will continue to make energetic representations to the parties concerned but hold out little hope of changing a commercial decision already made. I believe that removing financial facilities from local communities is part of a process which results in these communities becoming less resilient and less attractive. It is extremely frustrating.

Recently we have seen some restrictions ease and I am anxious about the impact of Brexit and Covid on local jobs and businesses. The prospect of the furlough scheme ending in September leaves a great many unknowns as these people return to employment – or not. I am asking Midlothian Council what they are doing to take the lead in driving economic development and recovery over the coming months. This vital to our future prosperity. We need to get this right.

Once again, I remind constituents that although my office is closed, myself and my staff are still working for you. While I am not holding face to face surgeries, I am happy to talk to constituents either by phone or virtually. For appointments call 0131 454 0204 or email colin.beattie.msp@parliament.scot

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