NEWS - Midlothian Labour Group

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The latest information from Midlothian Council officials shows how the SNP have failed the 4500 people on Midlothian''s Council house waiting lists.

Locally, Labour has always put housing as one of our top priorities and here in Midlothian we broke the mould in 2006 when we started building Council houses, way before the rest of Scotland’s councils.

In the last 5 years that Labour were in control of Midlothian Council we started 926 new council houses, completing 842 before we left office, and for most of these we received no support from Scottish Government. For the few that were supported, the Scottish Government contributed only £5k to £10k per house, a pittance when these houses cost well over £100k each to build.

Contrast that with the current SNP administration running Midlothian Council. 

They claim that they have built 400 houses, but the facts show that they have started only 202, completing only 188 of these, over the last 5 years.

While the SNP were fighting among themselves over who should be council leader, the housing programme stalled and, amazingly, only 14 houses were started in the first 26 months they were in power. That is despite Labour having sourced and agreed the funding for the second phase of up to 500 new homes when we were in office.

February 6th 2017 

Another Midlothian GP practice is restricting access to new patients, as it struggles to provide services to an ever-growing population.

Gorebridge based Newbyres Medical Centre has introduced restrictions on new patients registering with the practice, in line with steps already taken by Dalkeith, Newbattle, Pathhead and all 3 Bonnyrigg based surgeries.

Labour Councillors were quick to condemn the inaction of both the Scottish Government and the Local SNP administration on Midlothian Council for their “breath-taking complacency on this issue.”

On hearing the news at the weekend, local Gorebridge Councillor Jim Muirhead said:

“It will come as no surprise to the people of Gorebridge that the local surgery has had to close its doors to some new patients, as it is clearly having difficulty in coping with the more than 9,000 patients already on its books.

“This means that every group practice in the East side of Midlothian is now operating restrictions on their patient numbers.

“The SNP councillors in Midlothian should hang their heads in shame for doing nothing to prepare for what we could all see coming, indeed they obstructed attempts to mitigate this. When the Labour Group raised this issue back in May 2015, making constructive suggestions on how the Scottish Government could take steps to reduce the pressures on GP’s, the SNP Group blocked any progress, accusing Labour of trying to make political gain.

“At the time, Councillor Lisa Beattie said “to describe this as a crisis is exaggeration in the extreme”. The truth is that the SNP Councillors in Midlothian are more interested in protecting their Party at Holyrood from, even perceived criticism, while doing nothing to protect the interests of the people they were elected to represent.

“Meanwhile the Scottish Government continues to insist that Midlothian allocates more and more land for housing but fails to provide the resources required to support the increase in population.”

Move to reinstate Police CAT teams blocked again by provosts casting vote.

Labour Councillors' budget proposals which would have resulted in the reinstatement of funding for the 14 front line police officers cut by the SNP, were thwarted at the last moment when Green Councillor, Ian Baxter refused to back Labour's plans.  Provost Wallace (SNP) then used his casting vote to block the proposals.

Labour Councillors wanted to make savings by reducing the number of Council officers earning more than £50k per year by around 10.  There are currently more than 170 officers emplyed by the Council earning between £50k and £120k.  Labour proposed to cut this by 10, saving £500,000 per year which would then be used to reinstate the funding for the 14 police officers.

Councillor Baxter's record on this issue is extremely confusing as he has voted a number of different ways on the issue over the past few months.

The fact is though; if he had supported Labour Councillors on this occassion, the cuts to police would not have been implemented.
Is this any way for a Provost to behave?

SNP Provost Joe Wallace, who caused some controversy a few months ago with the manner in which he commented on Armed forces veterans, has let himself and Midlothian Council down again.

His handling of the December meeting of Midlothian Council was appalling.  His role is to conduct the meeting in a fair and inclusive manner, not to comment on every controversial issue in an angry, agressive and confrontational manner.

More often than not, his interpratation of the rules of debate were successfuly disputed, by Councillors, the Council's legal officer's and even on one occasion by the Council's Chief Executive.  Each time he tried to get his own way, he was ruled out of order by others.

Dont just take our word for it.  Watch the video.
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