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Inside you'll find information about my work during February 2022.
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Tommy Sheppard MP Newsletter
Over recent days, the world has watched in horror as Putin has moved his troops into Ukraine in an attempt to illegally occupy a sovereign state. It is therefore imperative that we show solidarity with the people of Ukraine and, while it is still an option, do everything we can to stop Putin in his tracks with the use of sanctions. As it stands, the UK Government is doing nowhere near enough. In contrast, the EU has moved swiftly and with ambition, their efforts dwarfing those of the UK.
Understandably, while our attention has been drawn to events in Eastern Europe, the issue of tory rule-breaking has dropped from the headlines. However, rest assured, both this scandal and the equally scandalous cost-of-living crisis, have most definitely not been forgotten, and will return to the agenda soon.
At the beginning of the month, I was very happy to go along and support the PCS Union ([link removed]) who are in dispute with the UK Government after they went back on their word about pensions. It was also a pleasure to meet and talk with the union’s president, Fran Heathcote.
Another extremely damaging report looking at the suffering of Palestinians under Israel’s rule was published by Amnesty International ([link removed]) . Their conclusion – Israel’s treatment of Palestinians throughout Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories amounts to apartheid. This report comes on the back of similar reports from Human Rights Watch ([link removed]) and B’Tselem ([link removed]) .
You can read the report here ([link removed]) .
This can no longer be ignored.
On the 8^th of Feb I was a guest on the It’s Bloody Complicated podcast from Compass ([link removed]) , giving my perspective on Scottish and Union politics. You can hear all their past episodes here ([link removed]) .
The UK Government finally published their so-called "levelling-up" strategy. It was totally empty. No substance, no action, no money. Just more control for Whitehall - the opposite of the independence we need. It's a con trick that no one should fall for.
VOCAL, Voice of Carers Across Lothian, is a local charity who have asked for my help in reaching out to unpaid carers within my constituency. They have access to substantial funds from the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council to help support carers – people who support a partner, child, relative or friend who is frail, has a disability or additional support needs, a long-term condition or needs regular support.
VOCAL can allocate financial support of up to £500 to individual carers in (greatest) need. If you know someone who you think may qualify, please direct them to Carer Recovery Fund - VOCAL ([link removed]) .
This month, in my column in the Evening News, I wrote about Queen Elizabeth’s upcoming platinum jubilee, and asked: As monarchists celebrate, why have republicans gone quiet? You can read what I had to say on the subject here ([link removed]) .
Got a sneak preview of these fabulous new council houses at Bingham, just some of the hundreds being built across the city. Thanks to Jen and Sherina for showing me round with Cllr Kate Campbell and my trusty aide Simon Shedden.
It was great to meet with Michael Russell and colleagues to flesh out the strategy for the forthcoming independence referendum.
A very cold, but very inspiring morning was spent on Portobello beach witnessing the launch of the Castlebrae CHS ([link removed]) pupil-built skiff. This really has been a labour of love for the pupils. Constructed over 3 years and built with plywood and Scottish larch, this has been a unique project and a stunning piece of design and manufacturing. It has helped all the pupils involved develop new skills and has impacted on their general learning. I think you'll agree, the end result is pretty incredible.
John Swinney MSP ([link removed]) was there to do the honours, making an offering to Neptune and putting sparkling wine to a more appropriate use than we have seen from some politicians lately...
Huge congratulations to all the pupils involved and to Headteacher, Norma Prentice. And a special thanks to Amanda from The Espy for providing all the much-needed hot food and drinks.
On February 12^th I was invited to speak at the People's Assembly's Cost of Living Rally in Glasgow. As people all across the country are really struggling to make ends meet, the UK government plough on with scrapping the Benefits Cap, increasing National Insurance, cutting Universal Credit, and simultaneously gaslighting us by insisting we are so much better off since Brexit.
Big AirBnB changes were agreed in February. Sweeping controls mean they will all need to get planning permission. If the council can enforce that on all the existing ones, we will see thousands of properties turned back into homes. That would be a gamechanger for city centre housing. This is great news. You can read more about it here ([link removed]) .
Some lovely Valentine's cards were sent to me from STAR - University of Edinburgh ([link removed]) group. Can confirm I will be backing anything that makes the Tory borders bill less inhumane. We need a more compassionate approach to people who are fleeing war and persecution.
Dozens of strikers have been out picketing Old College. The campaigns UCU - University and College Union ([link removed]) and UCU Edinburgh ([link removed]) are fighting on pay, equality, workload and casualisation are crucial for staff - and for making sure we maintain the quality of higher education on offer in this city.
I am pleased to announce that my constituency office has now reopened with safety measures in place, including hybrid working. We are open to the public from 2pm to 4pm each day and other times by appointment.
Phone 0131 661 8023 or email [email protected].
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Tommy Sheppard MP . 94 Portobello High Street . Edinburgh, EH15 1AN . United Kingdom
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