Welcome to my e-newsletter. Inside you'll find information about my work during October 2020
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Tommy Sheppard MP Newsletter
I hope this finds you safe and well. I know things aren't easy just now and the arrival of the dark nights are making it that bit more difficult for some. Today the new Scottish regional restrictions take effect. As you are probably aware, Edinburgh has been placed at level 3 and you can find out more about the restrictions in place at level 3 here ([link removed]) . I would urge everyone to do their bit and follow these, as difficult as it may be.
As a reminder, the best place to get the most up to date advice remains the government and council websites:
Scottish Government: www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/ ([link removed])
UK Government: www.gov.uk/coronavirus ([link removed])
Edinburgh Council: [link removed]
You can also find a list of further helplines including those for parents, older people and those concerned about their mental health on my website ([link removed]) . And while my office remains closed to the public, you can still contact me and the team on 0131 661 8023 or by emailing [email protected]
Work in parliament has continued with Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg continuing to act as if all is normal and refusing to reinstate remote voting or remote participation in debates. I've raised this during businesses questions many times now - see ** here ([link removed])
for example. There is no reason that MPs cannot work fully from home - I would hope there might be some movement on that this week as England is due to enter a national lockdown and will continue to push for it.
** ([link removed])
This month has, once again, highlighted that the fiscal framework under devolution is not fit for purpose. When the Scottish and Welsh governments called for an extension of furlough to support restrictions needed in those nations, the UK government ignored them - only relenting over the weekend to extend furlough to support an England wide lockdown. And while the UK government put in place support for regional restrictions in England, the Barnett formula only seems to allow for Scotland to get a proportion of England wide support. I raised this with the Leader of the House and you can watch above.
The Immigration Bill returned to the House of Commons this month. My SNP colleagues and I voted for amendments to it to provide a legal route to safety for child refugees, to give physical proof of their right to remain to EU citizens and to end indefinite detention. This heartless Tory government rejected them all. I can assure you we'll continue to fight them on this - we want Scotland to be a welcoming inclusive country with an immigration system that has dignity at its heart. The exact opposite of the Tory hostile environment agenda.
Opinion poll after opinion poll shows that a majority of people in Scotland now support independence. It's something the UK government can't simply keep ignoring. I asked the Leader of the House about this ** here ([link removed])
. And I used my monthly Edinburgh Evening News column to debunk the 'once in a generation' statement that's so often thrown about. You can read it ** here ([link removed])
A number of constituents have been in touch this month about Mark Rashford's campaign for free school meals in England to continue during half-term and Christmas. I'm pleased to live in Scotland where the government had already announced that free school meals would continue during holiday periods until Easter 2021. There was a Labour motion on free school meals during Christmas and half-term breaks in England and as any additional funds released by the UK government would have Barnett consequentials my SNP colleagues and I voted for it. However, the UK government shamefully voted it down.
October also marked Breast Cancer Now's ** #wearitpink ([link removed])
day. Getting the photo for this is a highlight of every year but for obvious reasons there’s no 2020 photo so I’m sharing some from the past. The cause is as important as ever though – find out more ** here ([link removed])
As I said last month, my team and I continue to see a very high volume of work so please be patient as we prioritise - we will get back to you though it may take a little longer than we'd like. I am also running virtual surgeries so if you need my help, I'm doing all I can to be available.
I'm still meeting constituency organisations either remotely or in a socially distanced manner as appropriate and there's some information about a few of those I met during October below.
It was really good to meet Marina from the local ** ONE ([link removed])
campaign - we had a useful discussion about the need to at least reschedule, if not cancel, debt from the poorest countries. Loan debt is a stranglehold on developing countries at the best of times but in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic it's a death sentence as it prevents expenditure on health services.
Huge thanks to Nick for showing me round Covid secure ** Edinburgh Castle ([link removed])
earlier this month. I was really impressed by the lengths they have gone to to keep their 1400 daily visitors safe.
Good to catch up with Mark at ** Thistle ([link removed])
at the start of the month and hear how they've been coping during the pandemic. They've done a fantastic job maintaining nearly all services and now getting ready to hopefully reopen their doors and welcome folk back next month.
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94 Portobello High Street, Edinburgh, EH15 1AN
0131 661 8023
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Tommy Sheppard MP . 94 Portobello High Street . Edinburgh, EH15 1AN . United Kingdom
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