MSP report

Lothian Green MSPs report Autumn 2018

An update on some of the work that Alison and Andy have been doing recently

Alison Johnstone MSP

Alison joined a packed meeting in Morningside Parish Church, with local residents determined to oppose development on the much loved Midmar Paddock site.

Alison successfully amended the Planning Bill, as Holyrood’s Local Government Committee backed her proposals by 4 votes to 3 at Stage 2 of the Bill process. If Alison’s proposals become law at Stage 3, all planning authorities will have to make a statement in local plans about how to improve provision of public toilets and water fountains. More info here.

Alison visited the site of a former open cast coal mine in West Lothian on Saturday, where she had the honour of officially opening the new Drumduff Wind Farm, near Blackridge.

Alison joined friends from the League Against Cruel Sports as they protested on Princes Street, raising awareness of the scale of the depravity of those who choose to engage in fox hunting. The focus of this particular protest was Cub Hunting.

Alison met with constituents to discuss their concerns about climate change, as part of the Stop Climate Chaos Mass Climate Rally at Holyrood.

Alison’s Chamber contributions over the past few weeks included: Ministerial Statements on Transvaginal Mesh Implants, the NHS Tayside Board, and Paediatric Services at St Johns; debates on the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan: Every Life Matters; the Mental Health Strategy: 2018 Annual Report; and Dignity & respect in the Scottish Social Security System, where ScotGov announced they would implement more of Alison’s proposals for the Social Security system in Scotland. For videos of Alison’s debates, see her facebook page.

Alison’s wrote in The National about the need to cut congestion, and design our transport network to better serve the needs of our communities.

With new research showing that almost one-in-ten Scots are worried about running out of food due to a lack of money, Alison has called on Scottish Government Ministers to rethink their refusal to top-up Child Benefit, and to fully mitigate the Benefit Cap. The story was covered in The Herald and The National.

The Daily Record featured Alison’s comments following our FOI request to the DWP, showing that face-to-face assessments have soared since the introduction of the personal independence payment (PIP). More information about Alison’s work on the issue here.

Events Alison hosted this month included Paths for All, Apple Day, and the annual reception for SCVO.

Alison’s Social Security Committee this month has been discussing in-work poverty. Alison is also a member of the Presiding Officer Advisory Group, and has helped to established an all-party working group to look at counselling in Schools and trauma-informed teaching.

Andy Wightman MSP

Andy, along with Councillor Susan Rae, has attended two public meetings to preserve the heritage of Leith Walk. Developers are planning to flatten buildings at Stead’s Place to put up a 5 storey building. There have been nearly two thousand objections so far.

The Court of Session ruled in September to refer the question of the unilateral revocability of Article 50 to the Court of Justice of the EU.

The consultation phase for Andy’s proposed Members Bill on the incorporation of the European Charter of Local Self Government into Scots Law ended on Friday. Andy and the team are now considering these responses and are hoping to have a final proposal complete by the start of the New Year.

Through the Homes First campaign, Andy is continuing to work to address the impacts short term lets are having on communities across the country, in association with our Green Councillors.

Andy’s Local Government Committee are considering Stage 2 of the Planning Bill. In addition to Alison’s wins on public water fountains and public toilets, Greens have had success in protecting disused railway lines. After October recess, Andy’s amendments will come before the Committee. These include issues such as short-term lets and existing use value.

The Economy Jobs and a Fair Work committee have been undertaking work on bank branch closures and their impact on communities. The report will be available on the committee’s website, here.

Issues constituents have been contacting Alison and Andy about, and have given us positive feedback for our position on, include Live Exports, Pavement Parking, Kelp Dredging, and the Climate Change Bill.