MSP concerned about gas prices and Salter’s Park warehouse plan

Tuesday September 21st 2021

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

I was disappointed to hear last week that People’s Energy Company announced it is to cease trading. The energy firm is based in my constituency in Shawfair and employs around 450 employees, mostly local to Midlothian, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders. With around 360,000 customers across Scotland also. It is not unique in its position, as I’m writing this energy company Bulb are also stating they are struggling to stay afloat. Over the past year we have seen our energy companies struggle to survive and the threat of rising costs becoming more real for customers.

I have written as a matter of urgency to ask the Scottish Government what support it will provide the employees of People’s Energy and what support it will provide its customers.

However, it is not likely this problem will get better anytime soon. Low gas storage stocks result in wholesale prices for gas rocketing which many smaller companies find hard to keep up with and customers facing the burden of higher bills.

We need tackle these issues urgently to protect the most vulnerable against the rising costs this winter. The Scottish Government announced that it will provide £50 million over the next 12 months to the Warmer Homes Scotland programme targeted at those in fuel poverty alongside a package of measures as part of a £1.8 billion investment over the next five years to transform the heat and energy efficiency of buildings.

However, I appreciate more needs to be done. As Scotland moves towards net zero, no one must be left behind, and no one must be left at risk of fuel poverty. I hope that the Scottish Government’s Fuel Poverty Strategy that will published by the end of the year will help further address these issues.

For any employees affected by this, please get in touch with PACE on 0800 917 8000. For customers, Ofgem will arrange for your account to be transferred to a new supplier.

In other local news, I am concerned to read about the proposed new warehouse at Salter’s Park. I appreciate that this may bring new jobs to the area but I do have concerns regarding the increase in local traffic, especially with 720 truck bays allocated. It seems this may put an unacceptable strain on the road system which is already under pressure. I do hope no plans are commenced without carefully considering our current road infrastructure and any concerns of the local residents.

I would also like to take the opportunity to remind people of the Esk River Improvement Group. I chaired the recent meeting on Monday 13th September where relevant stakeholders and local community councils attended to share any updates on improvements being made to the Esk, any issues flagged since the previous meeting and ask questions on behalf of local residents. I know residents who live by the Esk may be interested in any updates from these meetings and I would encourage you to sign up to the mailing list. You can do this by emailing my office at Colin.Beattie.MSP@parliament.scot

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