You could be forgiven for thinking that over the past few weeks we have slipped into some sort of alternative reality.
Welcome to my e-newsletter.
Inside you'll find information about my work during January 2022.
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Tommy Sheppard MP Newsletter
You could be forgiven for thinking that over the past few weeks we have slipped into some sort of alternative reality. The people who make the UK laws are currently under police investigation for breaking the laws they created. And yet, despite his own enquiry finding a ‘failure in leadership’, Johnson does not see any reason to resign. We are being gaslit by our own prime minister. The contrast between Tory PM and Scotland’s FM could not be starker.
The Tories have become the party of lawlessness and disorder. They're totally out of control. And while all this is dragging on, back in the real world, people are beginning to feel the very real effects of the cost-of-living crisis.
Early in January, I spoke in favour of cutting VAT on energy bills, but the Tories seem intent on blocking even the most modest of proposals to help people with their gas and electricity bills. With independence we could do so much better than this.
The last two years have been miserable for millions of people, but not everyone has had a bad pandemic...
The cost of living is about to be turbo-charged for those on fixed incomes. On January 18^th, The Poverty Alliance launched a new campaign to draw attention to the Benefit Cap - the arbitrary ceiling placed on the total amount of welfare for households meeting certain criteria. The benefit cap is particularly vindictive and cruel as it locks people into poverty and prevents them accessing the support they need to live a decent life. Called "Scrap the Cap", the campaign aims to highlight the unfairness of the policy, particularly the disproportionate impact on single mothers and the BAME community.
Latest on the secret union polling legal battle: the UK Government and I will be appearing in person in front of the Upper Tribunal in London on May 24th. They're applying for permission to appeal against all the prior rulings that went in my favour. The fight goes on.
I met with HES ([link removed]) and Scottish Government officials to be updated on the ongoing review of how Holyrood Park is managed. How many cities can claim to have a place of such wilderness and tranquillity so close to the bustling centre? It’s so important that the public bodies involved in looking after the Park make sure it’s the best it can be for the people of Edinburgh.
It was great to have an online meet with Royal Association for Deaf people ([link removed]) , and seven other deaf organisations, to show my support for the BSL Act Now Campaign. I am delighted to say that since then, thanks to all their hard work, it is looking very likely that the British Sign Language Bill will be passed and British Sign Language will finally be recognised as an official language.
The UK government's plans to increase National Insurance payments avoids higher charges for the wealthiest, while severely affecting low-income households. Households who are already experiencing a very real cost-of-living crisis, with increases in energy bills, high inflation, real-term wage cuts and Universal Credit cuts. That's why I have signed this EDM ([link removed]) calling for a wealth tax as an alternative.
17^th January saw me back in the chamber to vote against the Tory elections (voter suppression) bill. This will make it harder for millions to vote and will compromise the independence of the Electoral Commission ([link removed]) . These are shockingly anti-democratic moves, reinforcing the case for Scotland to leave this failed UK state.
On the 24^th January, the SNP’s motion recognised the cost-of-living crisis. The Tories argued against us, but couldn't be bothered to vote against us. It passed. They will ignore the result. The UK has become a sham of a democracy.
If ever there was a case for independence…
Sadly, while the Covid restrictions were still in place, I was not able to get out and about within the constituency as much as I would have liked. Meeting constituents face-to-face is an extremely important part of this job, and one that I really enjoy. The news that we are now relaxing those restrictions, means that I can start getting back out there and we can get the office back up and running.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all!
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Tommy Sheppard MP . 94 Portobello High Street . Edinburgh, EH15 1AN . United Kingdom
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