Autumn 2015 eMagazine

Here is my packed eMagazine for Autumn 2015.  Please do not hesitate to send me feedback.

 

Ian Murray MP - Autumn 2015 eNewsletter
View this email in your browser
 
Welcome back to this bumper edition....
 
Since my last update, major legislation has gone through Parliament and there has been lots going on both here in the constituency and at the House of Commons. 

As always, please don't hesitate to get in touch if I can help in any way.

We broke a record last month for the number of pieces of correspondence we received from constituents.  I can't thank my wonderful support team enough for the way they deal with the sheer volume of queries.  They treat everything with respect, dignity and seriousness. 
 
Email
Email
Website
Website
Twitter
Twitter
Facebook
Facebook
 
 
University of Edinburgh - British Heart Foundation
It was a real pleasure to visit the Centre for Cardiovascular Science at the University of Edinburgh Medical School at the Royal Infirmary.  
 
The British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence is part of the centre and is world leading in advanced technologies to understand the causes of heart problems and the solutions.I met with Professor David Newby, Dr Nick Mills and Dr Anoop Shah who are leading this world class research on behalf of the British Heart Foundation.
Read more
 
Seeing what happens at A&E
Last month I was given a tour of the Accident and Emergency Department by Dr Dave Caesar, Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.  
He took time to show me how the department operates and explained the extreme pressures they are under every single day.
He also wanted to show the work of Medic 1, the charity that provides instant emergency medical support by taking the emergency department to trauma patients and accidents as a 'flying squad'.  Well worth reading more about this wonderful initiative.
Read more
 
Newington Cemetery - Unveiling Information Plaque
I was delighted to be asked to unveil the new Notice Board at Newington Cemetery.  Local people have put together a group of willing volunteers to maintain the cemetery and ensure that it's unique history is preserved for years to come.   There are some fascinating stories of those who are buried in the cemetery.  I have included the story of the German Captain from WW2 in the "read more" section.
The Evening News carried the unveiling here: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/neglected-newington-cemetery-restored-1-3893244
 
Read more
 
Planning Update
There is so much happening in planning locally that I have provided an update on the following:
Frogston Road West Appeal
Broomhills
Liberton Brae
Winton
MidMar Paddock
Liberton Drive/Alnwickhill Road field
East Suffolk
Goods Corner
If you want an update on any others please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Read more
 
TTIP petition
It may have been a bitterly cold morning but I met with a group of local 38 Degrees members who presented me with a petition against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).  In fact, I met with two groups that day so they could present me with the local petitions.
TTIP is a trade deal that is currently being negotiated by the EU and USA. 
I was the Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment in the latter half of the last parliament.  If you want to know more about TTIP, please get in touch.
Thanks to all those who came along.

 
Contact Ian about TTIP
 
Lest we forget...
I was humbled to be asked to lay a wreath on behalf of local people at the Remembrance Sunday service at Morningside Parish Church. It was a very moving experience.  Rev Derek Browning captured the mood perfectly with a very fitting service to commemorate all those who have sacrificed their lives in both WW1 and across all conflicts since then.  The church choir added to the service brilliantly.  
 
Thank you to the congregation for their warm welcome and for the cup of tea afterwards.
"And at the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them"
 

'Moving forward' on local school - a message from Councillor Paul Godzik on consultation 


I was delighted that the four statutoryconsultation meetings on the provision of primary school accommodation in South Edinburgh were so well attended. 

There were variety of views put across and issues raised on transport, road safety and the catchment implications. However, overall the meetings were positive and showed once again the strong desire of the local community to support plans for new primary school provision in the area.

The various contributions to the consultation are now being examined and a report will be brought before Council early next year.

Lastly, can I wish Mrs Grierson, Head Teacher of South Morningside Primary all the very best for her retirement.  She has been an outstanding Head for the school and is well liked all over the community.  Good luck.

It was a pleasure to say a few words at the anti-fascist march and rally that took place last month as a demonstration against the Scottish Defence League coming to Edinburgh.  We don't want or need the division that is created by these racist, fascist and inappropriate organisations.  I invoked the wonderful speech by my close colleague Dennis Skinner MP when he said in the House of Commons that he had a "United Nations Heart".  He said his double heart bypass was "done by a Syrian cardiologist, a Malaysian surgeon, a Dutch doctor, a Nigerian registrar, and these two people here talk about sending them back from whence they came."   We must continue to stand against injustice wherever we see it.  Congratulations to all who organised the counter demonstration that truly reflected the views of decent Edinburgh citizens.
 
BBC at the Edinburgh Festival
The BBC is organised and run via a Royal Charter.  That Charter is due for renewal in 2017 and there is great debate about what the BBC should be in both the UK and Scotland.  I spent some time with the BBC at their festival venue to find out about their future plans and what they contribute to both the Scottish and UK creative industries.
What is clear is that the BBC is a much loved and cherished organisation that is well respected the world over.  It is the lynchpin for much of the creative industry across the UK and we undermine its position at our peril.
I wrote in the Guardian later that day and also attended the annual McTaggart lecture at the TV Festival delivered by Armando Iannucci.  Its well worth a read.

Guardian Piece - http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/aug/26/bbc-shadow-scottish-secretary-ian-murray
McTaggart Lecture - http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/news/mactaggart-lecture-speech-in-full/5092153.article
 

STOP PRESS - FUNDING

I have just been informed that there is a larger than normal balance left in the Community Grants Fund for this time of year (c.£15,000) which has to be out of the local Council budget by 31st March.    If you have a project in mind and had been thinking of applying then it could be considered at the meeting of the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership on 7th December.  
 
If you intend to submit an application the Council will need the paperwork, including the required quotations by next Thursday – 26th November.  You can download the guidelines and application form from the SCNP website.   
 
Please remember – Your initiative should be for the benefit of the residents of South Central and address at least one of the priorities contained within the SCNP Local Community Plan 2014-17.  You can view these on the SCNP website.   Good luck.
Edinburgh South Facts - Accidents

This analyses casualties based on where people live, rather than crash location, allowing the creation of a national index using local population figures. By comparing local figures to national averages, values are created for each constituency. Figures above 100 are higher rate than the UK average and the opposite is true for values below 100. Progress has been measured by comparing results from 2009 to 2011 with those between 2012 and 2014, then measuring the difference versus the national average. The headline figures are for casualties Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI), individual road users analyses are for all casualties, regardless of severity. 

 

Have your say on parking - a hot topic for South residents

public consultation  on the Edinburgh draft Parking Action Plan has now closed. Amongst actions suggested are the roll-out of shared-use parking for permit holders and pay and display customers, visitor permits and the introduction of parking restrictions in the evenings and on Sundays.

Locally, there has been ongoing discussions with regards to further parking restrictions in South Morningside following the local consultation meeting held in South Morningside Primary in June.  Feedback on the proposals for Greenbank were mixed (especially with regards to proposed one way systems), however there was widespread support for taking action to extend the priority parking scheme and making Braidburn Terrace one way.
If you have any views on parking locally or on any of the issues outlined in the Action Plan please don't hesitate to get in touch.
 
Local Priorities Meeting
I, along with the local Labour Party, organised a meeting last month to hear from local people on what their priorities were.  Over 60 people attended in an interesting and informative evening.
I'm very keen to hear what local people have to say in order that we can work together to make our communities better.
The top priorities were:
1. More affordable housing.
2. A more democratic and localised police service.
3. A more co-ordinated NHS and Social Care service
4. Flexibility for local government finance to respond to local needs.
Let me know your thoughts on local priorities.
 
Guest Blog

POLAR EXPEDITION
In a guest blog, Edinburgh based and Morningside resident Luke Robertson is embarking on a record-breaking trip to the South Pole. After overcoming major brain surgery last year at the age of 28, and also with an artificial pacemaker fitted, his ‘Due South 2015’ Expedition is raising money for Marie Curie.
Many thanks for contributing and good luck.
Read more
Luke training before the expedition.
 
 
Party Conference Season
September and October is the political party conference season.  While most of the attention is on the Leaders speeches, lots of work goes on developing policy, holding fringe events and meeting exhibitors.

The UK Labour Party conference took place in a very sunny Brighton this year and the Scottish Labour Party conference was in Perth.  These were my first as Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.

They were also the first conferences under our new leadership teams.  Congratulations to both.  They get my full support.
My speech to UK Labour Party conference in Brighton, Sept 2015.
(click to play)
My speech to Scottish Labour Party Conference in Perth, October 2015. I concentrated on inequality and the economy.
(click to play)

There is always a huge list of media to do at party conferences too.   

And there are hundreds of organisations to meet and listen to their current issues and campaigns.  This is always the best part of party conferences........

 
"Wear it Pink" - Breast Cancer Awareness
Wear it pink is the UK’s biggest pink fundraiser.  It calls on supporters across the country to ditch the day-to-day colours and pull on some pink to raise money for Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving breast cancer research.

I joined fellow parliamentarians in wearing it pink in Westminster to encourage people across the UK to get involved. Now in its 14th year, wear it pink raises over £2 million each year for world-class research into breast cancer, and this year it is back and bigger, brighter and bolder than ever before.  It's always good fun.
 
Anyone can take part, whether in school, at work or at home. All you have to do is wear something pink and donate whatever you can.
Visit Wear It Pink Website
 
Clean Coal - Christian Aid
Last month I showed my support for Christian’s Aid’s Big Shift campaign – which aims to reduce and eventually make coal burning history.
With momentum towards a low-carbon economy growing around the world, the campaign urges the UK Government to publish a concrete plan to phase out coal power without carbon capture technology from the UK power sector by 2023.  Our manifesto in May proposed decarbonising energy production by 2030.
I joined Christian Aid and their superb actors (I don't think they were actual chimney sweeps) on College Green.
Get more info on website
 
Tax Credits Victory - Government u-turn?
Last month the House of Lords defeated the Government by refusing to approve a Statutory Instrument that included swinging cuts to tax credits for working people.  The Government now has to respond in the light of the Baroness Hollis motion being passed that nobody should lose out.  It is a fascinating situation where the Government has no overall majority in the Lords and where, unlike the House of Commons where they have a majority, they can be defeated.  Read more below for all the ins and outs.
Read more on the process here
 
USDAW Campaign - Keep Sunday Special
As an USDAW supported MP I have always campaigned alongside them for better conditions for shop workers.  The latest campaign is to prevent the Government for liberalising Sunday Trading in England.  Sunday Trading in Scotland has been liberalised since 1994 but a change to the English settlement could result in Sunday no longer being classified as a "special day" and Scottish Sunday workers would lose their enhanced Sunday payments  The Government face a backbench rebellion so may not pursue this policy.  I'm here with USDAW General Secretary, John Hannet and local Tesco shop worker, Jackie Martin.
 
Trade Union Bill
This Bill passed through the House of Commons this month and now goes to the House of Lords for scrutiny.  I opposed the Bill all the way and co-submitted hundreds of amendments to try and ensure that it was watered down and stopped.  The Government used their majority to drive it through.
The Bill follows on from the legislation that gagged charities in the last Parliament. The effect of this Bill is to neuter trade unions.
I wrote a piece for the STUC on the Bill here
 
Poppy Scotland Launch
A highlight of the calendar is the annual launch of the Scottish Poppy Appeal at the Scotland Office. Representatives of Poppy Scotland attend to tell us about how they spend the donations from the public and their aims for the next year.  They do a fantastic job.  I attended with our Shadow Defence Secretary, Maria Eagle.  Well done to all those involved in this years appeal.
Scotland Rugby Heartbreak
I was delighted to be invited to the Australia v Scotland Rugby World Cup Quarter Final at Twickenham last month.  I have never been to Twickenham before and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Scotland were simply magnificent but that typical Scottish twist of fate delivered a very late and cruel loss to Australia.  With just a few minutes to go and the heart pumping wildly we were defeated.  Everyone was very proud of the Scottish team.  Here's hoping this is a springboard to a much brighter future for the national team.
 
 
Scottish Questions to the Secretary of State.  I asked if he would make the finance discussion that run alongside the Scotland Bill less secretive.  This "Tartan TTIP" style of private negotiation is allowing the parties to cry foul when the Scottish public do not know what is in it, what is being discussed and where any potential problems may lie.
(Click to Play)
 
 
Scotland Bill - Last Commons Stages
The Scotland Bill moved to its last stage in the House of Commons at the start of November.

I was delighted that the Secretary of State accepted many of my amendments from the previous stages.  The Government submitted over 100 amendments to the Bill, including requiring making the Scottish Parliament permanent by requiring a referendum to abolish it, giving the Scottish Parliament the power to design its own social security system (excluding pensions), and ensuring the definition of carers is enhanced.  There were a vast number of other amendments.

I didn't think the original Bill met the agreed terms of the Smith Agreement but I do think it now does. Any minor changes can now be looked at in the House of Lords.  

The author of the Smith Agreement, Lord Smith of Kelvin, has also said he believes it delivers what the political parties signed up to.

We must now move on to how the powers are used.
View my brief concluding speech here
 
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Lots of local Xmas Fairs
 
Small Business Saturday
Venue:  Across the Constituency
Saturday 5th December
Always a great day each year for local smaller businesses.  This s a grassroots campaign that encourages consumers to 'shop local' in the run up to Xmas.
For more information, visit www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com 



Liberton Primary School Xmas Fair
Liberton Primary
Saturday 5th December from 11am - 1pm
Come along for a fun few hours and raise much needed funds for the Parent Council.  The children will have great fun.  Well done to the school, teachers, staff and parents for organising.


 
Open Door Christmas Week 
The Open Door 420 Morningside Road
Sat 28th November - Fri 4th December 
Order also being taken for the Open Doors' famous Xmas table decorations.
More info at http://www.theopendoor-morningside.org.uk

 
Gilmerton Christmas Fair & Light Switch on 2015
Gilmerton Communcity Centre, Gilmerton Road
Sat 21 November from 2.30pm - 4.30pm
(LIGHT SWITCH ON AFTER 4PM)
Organised by Arts South Edinburgh 
http://www.artssouthedinburgh.org.uk
Free benefit advice session also at the Gilmerton Community Centre
Gilmerton Community Centre, every Thursday 12.30pm - 2pm
The Community Ability Network are running a weekly free benefit advice session at the Community Centre. You can receive advice on welfare benefits, debt and problems with work. If you would like this service, feel free to drop in to receive advice.
AND MORE DATES.....
 
Inch Community Centre Xmas Fair
Venue:  Inch Community Centre, Inch Park
Saturday 28th November - 1pm until 4pm


Mayfield Salisbury Playgroup Chrsitmas Fair
Mayfeild Salisbury Church Hall
Saturday 5th December from 10:30am - 2pm
 
FINALLY - SOME ADVICE TO GET READY FOR WINTER

With winter on the way everyone needs to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills.
 
It is really important to be prepared for winter.  Here is what help is available.  There are a number of simple steps that everyone should take to make sure you are doing all you can to keep you energy bills down and your home warm.

There are also some very useful helpline numbers.

SURGERY REMINDER
Reminder - New advice sessions

Following my survey to constituents earlier this year, I have made some changes to my regular advice sessions. You can now seek advice at the following times and locations:
  • Every Monday at 9.15am (by appointment only)
  • Every Friday at 9.15am (drop-in)
  • Every 3rd Saturday of the month:
    • 10am - Waitrose, Morningside Road
    • 11am - Morrisons, Gilmerton Road
    • 12 noon - Sainsbury's, Cameron Toll
 
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Ian Murray MP - Autumn 2015 eNewsletter
View this email in your browser
 
Welcome back to this bumper edition....
 
Since my last update, major legislation has gone through Parliament and there has been lots going on both here in the constituency and at the House of Commons. 

As always, please don't hesitate to get in touch if I can help in any way.

We broke a record last month for the number of pieces of correspondence we received from constituents.  I can't thank my wonderful support team enough for the way they deal with the sheer volume of queries.  They treat everything with respect, dignity and seriousness. 
 
Email
Email
Website
Website
Twitter
Twitter
Facebook
Facebook
 
 
University of Edinburgh - British Heart Foundation
It was a real pleasure to visit the Centre for Cardiovascular Science at the University of Edinburgh Medical School at the Royal Infirmary.  
 
The British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence is part of the centre and is world leading in advanced technologies to understand the causes of heart problems and the solutions.I met with Professor David Newby, Dr Nick Mills and Dr Anoop Shah who are leading this world class research on behalf of the British Heart Foundation.
Read more
 
Seeing what happens at A&E
Last month I was given a tour of the Accident and Emergency Department by Dr Dave Caesar, Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.  
He took time to show me how the department operates and explained the extreme pressures they are under every single day.
He also wanted to show the work of Medic 1, the charity that provides instant emergency medical support by taking the emergency department to trauma patients and accidents as a 'flying squad'.  Well worth reading more about this wonderful initiative.
Read more
 
Newington Cemetery - Unveiling Information Plaque
I was delighted to be asked to unveil the new Notice Board at Newington Cemetery.  Local people have put together a group of willing volunteers to maintain the cemetery and ensure that it's unique history is preserved for years to come.   There are some fascinating stories of those who are buried in the cemetery.  I have included the story of the German Captain from WW2 in the "read more" section.
The Evening News carried the unveiling here: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/neglected-newington-cemetery-restored-1-3893244
 
Read more
 
Planning Update
There is so much happening in planning locally that I have provided an update on the following:
Frogston Road West Appeal
Broomhills
Liberton Brae
Winton
MidMar Paddock
Liberton Drive/Alnwickhill Road field
East Suffolk
Goods Corner
If you want an update on any others please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Read more
 
TTIP petition
It may have been a bitterly cold morning but I met with a group of local 38 Degrees members who presented me with a petition against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).  In fact, I met with two groups that day so they could present me with the local petitions.
TTIP is a trade deal that is currently being negotiated by the EU and USA. 
I was the Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment in the latter half of the last parliament.  If you want to know more about TTIP, please get in touch.
Thanks to all those who came along.

 
Contact Ian about TTIP
 
Lest we forget...
I was humbled to be asked to lay a wreath on behalf of local people at the Remembrance Sunday service at Morningside Parish Church. It was a very moving experience.  Rev Derek Browning captured the mood perfectly with a very fitting service to commemorate all those who have sacrificed their lives in both WW1 and across all conflicts since then.  The church choir added to the service brilliantly.  
 
Thank you to the congregation for their warm welcome and for the cup of tea afterwards.
"And at the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them"
 

'Moving forward' on local school - a message from Councillor Paul Godzik on consultation 


I was delighted that the four statutoryconsultation meetings on the provision of primary school accommodation in South Edinburgh were so well attended. 

There were variety of views put across and issues raised on transport, road safety and the catchment implications. However, overall the meetings were positive and showed once again the strong desire of the local community to support plans for new primary school provision in the area.

The various contributions to the consultation are now being examined and a report will be brought before Council early next year.

Lastly, can I wish Mrs Grierson, Head Teacher of South Morningside Primary all the very best for her retirement.  She has been an outstanding Head for the school and is well liked all over the community.  Good luck.

It was a pleasure to say a few words at the anti-fascist march and rally that took place last month as a demonstration against the Scottish Defence League coming to Edinburgh.  We don't want or need the division that is created by these racist, fascist and inappropriate organisations.  I invoked the wonderful speech by my close colleague Dennis Skinner MP when he said in the House of Commons that he had a "United Nations Heart".  He said his double heart bypass was "done by a Syrian cardiologist, a Malaysian surgeon, a Dutch doctor, a Nigerian registrar, and these two people here talk about sending them back from whence they came."   We must continue to stand against injustice wherever we see it.  Congratulations to all who organised the counter demonstration that truly reflected the views of decent Edinburgh citizens.
 
BBC at the Edinburgh Festival
The BBC is organised and run via a Royal Charter.  That Charter is due for renewal in 2017 and there is great debate about what the BBC should be in both the UK and Scotland.  I spent some time with the BBC at their festival venue to find out about their future plans and what they contribute to both the Scottish and UK creative industries.
What is clear is that the BBC is a much loved and cherished organisation that is well respected the world over.  It is the lynchpin for much of the creative industry across the UK and we undermine its position at our peril.
I wrote in the Guardian later that day and also attended the annual McTaggart lecture at the TV Festival delivered by Armando Iannucci.  Its well worth a read.

Guardian Piece - http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/aug/26/bbc-shadow-scottish-secretary-ian-murray
McTaggart Lecture - http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/news/mactaggart-lecture-speech-in-full/5092153.article
 

STOP PRESS - FUNDING

I have just been informed that there is a larger than normal balance left in the Community Grants Fund for this time of year (c.£15,000) which has to be out of the local Council budget by 31st March.    If you have a project in mind and had been thinking of applying then it could be considered at the meeting of the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership on 7th December.  
 
If you intend to submit an application the Council will need the paperwork, including the required quotations by next Thursday – 26th November.  You can download the guidelines and application form from the SCNP website.   
 
Please remember – Your initiative should be for the benefit of the residents of South Central and address at least one of the priorities contained within the SCNP Local Community Plan 2014-17.  You can view these on the SCNP website.   Good luck.
Edinburgh South Facts - Accidents

This analyses casualties based on where people live, rather than crash location, allowing the creation of a national index using local population figures. By comparing local figures to national averages, values are created for each constituency. Figures above 100 are higher rate than the UK average and the opposite is true for values below 100. Progress has been measured by comparing results from 2009 to 2011 with those between 2012 and 2014, then measuring the difference versus the national average. The headline figures are for casualties Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI), individual road users analyses are for all casualties, regardless of severity. 

 

Have your say on parking - a hot topic for South residents

public consultation  on the Edinburgh draft Parking Action Plan has now closed. Amongst actions suggested are the roll-out of shared-use parking for permit holders and pay and display customers, visitor permits and the introduction of parking restrictions in the evenings and on Sundays.

Locally, there has been ongoing discussions with regards to further parking restrictions in South Morningside following the local consultation meeting held in South Morningside Primary in June.  Feedback on the proposals for Greenbank were mixed (especially with regards to proposed one way systems), however there was widespread support for taking action to extend the priority parking scheme and making Braidburn Terrace one way.
If you have any views on parking locally or on any of the issues outlined in the Action Plan please don't hesitate to get in touch.
 
Local Priorities Meeting
I, along with the local Labour Party, organised a meeting last month to hear from local people on what their priorities were.  Over 60 people attended in an interesting and informative evening.
I'm very keen to hear what local people have to say in order that we can work together to make our communities better.
The top priorities were:
1. More affordable housing.
2. A more democratic and localised police service.
3. A more co-ordinated NHS and Social Care service
4. Flexibility for local government finance to respond to local needs.
Let me know your thoughts on local priorities.
 
Guest Blog

POLAR EXPEDITION
In a guest blog, Edinburgh based and Morningside resident Luke Robertson is embarking on a record-breaking trip to the South Pole. After overcoming major brain surgery last year at the age of 28, and also with an artificial pacemaker fitted, his ‘Due South 2015’ Expedition is raising money for Marie Curie.
Many thanks for contributing and good luck.
Read more
Luke training before the expedition.
 
 
Party Conference Season
September and October is the political party conference season.  While most of the attention is on the Leaders speeches, lots of work goes on developing policy, holding fringe events and meeting exhibitors.

The UK Labour Party conference took place in a very sunny Brighton this year and the Scottish Labour Party conference was in Perth.  These were my first as Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.

They were also the first conferences under our new leadership teams.  Congratulations to both.  They get my full support.
My speech to UK Labour Party conference in Brighton, Sept 2015.
(click to play)
My speech to Scottish Labour Party Conference in Perth, October 2015. I concentrated on inequality and the economy.
(click to play)

There is always a huge list of media to do at party conferences too.   

And there are hundreds of organisations to meet and listen to their current issues and campaigns.  This is always the best part of party conferences........

 
"Wear it Pink" - Breast Cancer Awareness
Wear it pink is the UK’s biggest pink fundraiser.  It calls on supporters across the country to ditch the day-to-day colours and pull on some pink to raise money for Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving breast cancer research.

I joined fellow parliamentarians in wearing it pink in Westminster to encourage people across the UK to get involved. Now in its 14th year, wear it pink raises over £2 million each year for world-class research into breast cancer, and this year it is back and bigger, brighter and bolder than ever before.  It's always good fun.
 
Anyone can take part, whether in school, at work or at home. All you have to do is wear something pink and donate whatever you can.
Visit Wear It Pink Website
 
Clean Coal - Christian Aid
Last month I showed my support for Christian’s Aid’s Big Shift campaign – which aims to reduce and eventually make coal burning history.
With momentum towards a low-carbon economy growing around the world, the campaign urges the UK Government to publish a concrete plan to phase out coal power without carbon capture technology from the UK power sector by 2023.  Our manifesto in May proposed decarbonising energy production by 2030.
I joined Christian Aid and their superb actors (I don't think they were actual chimney sweeps) on College Green.
Get more info on website
 
Tax Credits Victory - Government u-turn?
Last month the House of Lords defeated the Government by refusing to approve a Statutory Instrument that included swinging cuts to tax credits for working people.  The Government now has to respond in the light of the Baroness Hollis motion being passed that nobody should lose out.  It is a fascinating situation where the Government has no overall majority in the Lords and where, unlike the House of Commons where they have a majority, they can be defeated.  Read more below for all the ins and outs.
Read more on the process here
 
USDAW Campaign - Keep Sunday Special
As an USDAW supported MP I have always campaigned alongside them for better conditions for shop workers.  The latest campaign is to prevent the Government for liberalising Sunday Trading in England.  Sunday Trading in Scotland has been liberalised since 1994 but a change to the English settlement could result in Sunday no longer being classified as a "special day" and Scottish Sunday workers would lose their enhanced Sunday payments  The Government face a backbench rebellion so may not pursue this policy.  I'm here with USDAW General Secretary, John Hannet and local Tesco shop worker, Jackie Martin.
 
Trade Union Bill
This Bill passed through the House of Commons this month and now goes to the House of Lords for scrutiny.  I opposed the Bill all the way and co-submitted hundreds of amendments to try and ensure that it was watered down and stopped.  The Government used their majority to drive it through.
The Bill follows on from the legislation that gagged charities in the last Parliament. The effect of this Bill is to neuter trade unions.
I wrote a piece for the STUC on the Bill here
 
Poppy Scotland Launch
A highlight of the calendar is the annual launch of the Scottish Poppy Appeal at the Scotland Office. Representatives of Poppy Scotland attend to tell us about how they spend the donations from the public and their aims for the next year.  They do a fantastic job.  I attended with our Shadow Defence Secretary, Maria Eagle.  Well done to all those involved in this years appeal.
Scotland Rugby Heartbreak
I was delighted to be invited to the Australia v Scotland Rugby World Cup Quarter Final at Twickenham last month.  I have never been to Twickenham before and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Scotland were simply magnificent but that typical Scottish twist of fate delivered a very late and cruel loss to Australia.  With just a few minutes to go and the heart pumping wildly we were defeated.  Everyone was very proud of the Scottish team.  Here's hoping this is a springboard to a much brighter future for the national team.
 
 
Scottish Questions to the Secretary of State.  I asked if he would make the finance discussion that run alongside the Scotland Bill less secretive.  This "Tartan TTIP" style of private negotiation is allowing the parties to cry foul when the Scottish public do not know what is in it, what is being discussed and where any potential problems may lie.
(Click to Play)
 
 
Scotland Bill - Last Commons Stages
The Scotland Bill moved to its last stage in the House of Commons at the start of November.

I was delighted that the Secretary of State accepted many of my amendments from the previous stages.  The Government submitted over 100 amendments to the Bill, including requiring making the Scottish Parliament permanent by requiring a referendum to abolish it, giving the Scottish Parliament the power to design its own social security system (excluding pensions), and ensuring the definition of carers is enhanced.  There were a vast number of other amendments.

I didn't think the original Bill met the agreed terms of the Smith Agreement but I do think it now does. Any minor changes can now be looked at in the House of Lords.  

The author of the Smith Agreement, Lord Smith of Kelvin, has also said he believes it delivers what the political parties signed up to.

We must now move on to how the powers are used.
View my brief concluding speech here
 
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Lots of local Xmas Fairs
 
Small Business Saturday
Venue:  Across the Constituency
Saturday 5th December
Always a great day each year for local smaller businesses.  This s a grassroots campaign that encourages consumers to 'shop local' in the run up to Xmas.
For more information, visit www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com 



Liberton Primary School Xmas Fair
Liberton Primary
Saturday 5th December from 11am - 1pm
Come along for a fun few hours and raise much needed funds for the Parent Council.  The children will have great fun.  Well done to the school, teachers, staff and parents for organising.


 
Open Door Christmas Week 
The Open Door 420 Morningside Road
Sat 28th November - Fri 4th December 
Order also being taken for the Open Doors' famous Xmas table decorations.
More info at http://www.theopendoor-morningside.org.uk

 
Gilmerton Christmas Fair & Light Switch on 2015
Gilmerton Communcity Centre, Gilmerton Road
Sat 21 November from 2.30pm - 4.30pm
(LIGHT SWITCH ON AFTER 4PM)
Organised by Arts South Edinburgh 
http://www.artssouthedinburgh.org.uk
Free benefit advice session also at the Gilmerton Community Centre
Gilmerton Community Centre, every Thursday 12.30pm - 2pm
The Community Ability Network are running a weekly free benefit advice session at the Community Centre. You can receive advice on welfare benefits, debt and problems with work. If you would like this service, feel free to drop in to receive advice.
AND MORE DATES.....
 
Inch Community Centre Xmas Fair
Venue:  Inch Community Centre, Inch Park
Saturday 28th November - 1pm until 4pm


Mayfield Salisbury Playgroup Chrsitmas Fair
Mayfeild Salisbury Church Hall
Saturday 5th December from 10:30am - 2pm
 
FINALLY - SOME ADVICE TO GET READY FOR WINTER

With winter on the way everyone needs to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills.
 
It is really important to be prepared for winter.  Here is what help is available.  There are a number of simple steps that everyone should take to make sure you are doing all you can to keep you energy bills down and your home warm.

There are also some very useful helpline numbers.

SURGERY REMINDER
Reminder - New advice sessions

Following my survey to constituents earlier this year, I have made some changes to my regular advice sessions. You can now seek advice at the following times and locations:
  • Every Monday at 9.15am (by appointment only)
  • Every Friday at 9.15am (drop-in)
  • Every 3rd Saturday of the month:
    • 10am - Waitrose, Morningside Road
    • 11am - Morrisons, Gilmerton Road
    • 12 noon - Sainsbury's, Cameron Toll
 
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Ian Murray for Edinburgh South