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No surgeries on Good Friday

Iain’s advice surgeries for Haddington, North Berwick and Dunbar will not take place on Good Friday (14th April) because it is a public holiday. The next surgeries in these towns will take place on Friday 12th May.

If you have an issue to raise in the meantime please call 01875 818415 or email iain.gray.msp@parliament.scot

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Comment on closure of Bank of Scotland Gullane branch

Reacting to the announcement that Bank of Scotland is to close its Gullane branch, Iain Gray MSP said:

“I have been left frustrated and angry by the Bank of Scotland decision to close their branch in Gullane.

“This comes on top of the recent closure in Prestonpans of RBS, and the TSB branch in Tranent. As in Prestonpans this is the last bank in town, and BoS customers in Gullane are being blithely told they can bank in North Berwick, almost five miles away.

“So, we now have the full set of Banks, every one of them bailed out at enormous cost to the taxpayer, and every one letting a county community down. Given how much support these institutions received when their own greed got them into trouble, this really is not good enough.

“I have already agreed a meeting with BoS to try and convince them to change their minds and keep the branch open.”

 

EDINBURGH, UK - 9th March 2017: MSP's back WWF's Earth Hour which takes place on Saturday 25th March at 8:30pm. Now celebrating it's 10th year Earth Hour brings together people all across the world who will be switching out their lights for one hour to show their support for action on climate change and for a more sustainable future. (Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)

For more information please contact Mandy Carter at WWF Scotland on 0131 659 9026.

Making Earth Hour 2017 matter

Iain Gray MSP is making WWF’s Earth Hour matter this year by showing their support for a strong Climate Change Plan for Scotland.

This year’s switch off event takes place at 8.30pm on Saturday 25 March. Around the world homes, workplaces and iconic landmarks will be going dark for an hour in the world’s biggest demonstration of support for action on climate change.

In Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, Forth Rail Bridge, Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies are just a few of our famous landmarks marking the hour.

Urging his constituents to join in Iain Gray MSP said:

“Earth Hour has become well established as an important way of supporting global efforts to tackle climate change. Now in its tenth year, it allows the public and politicians to demonstrate their support for reducing carbon emissions and limiting the impact of climate change.

“I know that many people in East Lothian care passionately about this issue and support Earth Hour every year. I am pleased to add my voice to those who want to see Scotland take a lead with the strongest possible action in the government’s new Climate Change Plan.”

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said:

“Yet again Earth Hour is capturing the public’s imagination with thousands of people across the country gearing up to take part and show they care about our planet.   From church groups to classrooms full of children its important decision makers, politicians and business leaders are left in no doubt people care about the impacts of climate change and want action.

“With the Scottish Parliament currently considering a draft Climate Change Plan, it’s great to see so many MSPs signalling their support for strong action to cut climate emissions. The enthusiasm of the public and politicians should give the Scottish Government the confidence to push on to a low-carbon economy.”

Now in its tenth year, WWF’s Earth Hour continues to grow. Last year 178 countries and took part. You can sign up for Earth Hour at wwfscotland.org.uk/earthhour

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Successful county food and drink reception held at Holyrood

Iain Gray MSP has hailed the success of a parliamentary reception celebrating the excellence of East Lothian’s food and drink and the innovation of East Lothian Food and Drink BID (Business Improvement District).

The reception, ‘A Taste of East Lothian’, provided an opportunity for MSPs and other guests to learn more about the work of East Lothian Food and Drink BID and meet some of the local producers involved in its work.

Ten local producers attended the reception: Black & Gold; Chocolate Tree; Brodies; Fraiser Liqueur; James Dickson & Sons; S. Luca; No Cow Know How; Eyeball Brewing; Mungoswells Malt & Milling; and Hood’s Honey.

Mr Gray, who hosted the reception, said:

“One of the many wonderful things about representing East Lothian is the excellence of our local food and drink sector. The county boasts some of the very best Scotland has to offer in terms of food and drink, and I was pleased to give colleagues the opportunity to sample some of it at this reception.

“However, what made this event extra special was the opportunity to celebrate the ground-breaking work of East Lothian Food and Drink BID. It is a unique initiative, led by local food and drink businesses but with the support and collaboration of the Council and other partners. There is clearly great interest in the progress of the BID from other parts of Scotland and I’m proud that East Lothian is once again leading the way.”

John McMillan, the council’s cabinet spokesperson for economic development and tourism, said:

“East Lothian Food and Drink BID is a first not only for Scotland, but for the whole of the UK. This is the kind of innovation that is driving our Economic Development Strategy, to help East Lothian build the strongest local economy in Scotland.

“The speciality food and drink sector based here in East Lothian has actually thrived despite tough economic times. We have many wonderful businesses in this sector so it’s a great thing to be able to support and help them grow and encourage new start-ups. This reception was a great opportunity to celebrate their success and tell others about the positive work we are undertaking to support our food and drink sector.”

For more information about East Lothian Food and Drink BID, visit www.foodanddrinkeastlothian.com

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Iain shows support for Marie Curie charity’s work in East Lothian

Iain Gray MSP is supporting a call to “make every daffodil count” for Marie Curie as the terminal illness charity’s Great Daffodil Appeal gets underway.

The Great Daffodil Appeal is Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign taking place throughout March. The charity is asking people to simply give a donation and wear a Marie Curie daffodil pin. All funds raised help Marie Curie Nurses be there for people living with a terminal illness in their own homes or at the charity’s two Scottish hospices in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Marie Curie Nurses work night and day in people’s homes across the UK, and hospices provide expert care round the clock. In 2015/16 the Marie Curie nursing team carried out 175 visits in East Lothian.

17,400 people will need palliative care in the South Scotland area each year[i]. Marie Curie continues to work with the new health and social care partnerships to ensure that palliative care services reach more people and everyone gets the care they need.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“I always support Marie Curie’s Daffodil Appeal, and was pleased to see them in the Scottish Parliament promoting their campaign for better end of life care for all.

“I recently lost my Dad, so I am acutely aware of how important end of life care can be. We were fortunate in that Dad spent the last days of his life in a nursing home which provided excellent palliative care. Nothing can stop the loss, but that really did make a difference.

“Not everyone is so lucky, though, and Marie Curie’s research shows that 1 in 4 people who need palliative care lose out. In East Lothian 1000 people die each year, so that could be as many as 250 who do not get the care they need and deserve.

“The Scottish Government has a commitment that everyone should receive the end of life care they want and need by 2021, but Marie Curie are clear that they will keep campaigning to make sure the necessary steps are taken to deliver that.”

Richard Meade, Marie Curie Head of Policy and Public Affairs Scotland said:

“One in four people, around 11,000 in Scotland, miss out on the care they need and that’s not good enough. Join our biggest annual fundraising appeal and help us provide vital hands on care and emotional support to people living with a terminal illness, and their loved ones. Make every daffodil count by donating and wearing your daffodil pin.”

www.mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil or call 0800 304 7025. To donate £5, text DAFF to 70111*

*Texts cost £5 plus your standard network rate. 98% of your donation is received by Marie Curie

 

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Iain backs Registration to Resuscitation Campaign

Iain Gray MSP has shown his support for the Scottish Ambulance Service’s Registration to Resuscitation campaign by highlighting the defibrillators at Prestongrange House, Royal Musselburgh Golf Club.

The Service is appealing to communities to register potentially life-saving public access defibrillators on its dedicated website

Iain Gray MSP said:

Public access defibrillators can be found all over Scotland and are vital pieces of equipment in the crucial early minutes following a cardiac arrest before an ambulance arrives.

“There is currently no legal obligation to register defibrillators, which is why the Scottish Ambulance Service is asking people in East Lothian to ensure they know where these are, so when someone calls 999 they will know where the nearest defibrillator is if it is required.

“I am encouraging leisure facilities, schools, libraries, community centres and other public places with defibrillators in my constituency to register their devices on the Scottish Ambulance Service’s website.

“Everyone else in East Lothian can get involved too by asking whenever they see a defibrillator if it has been registered.”

Launching its Registration to Resuscitation campaign, the Service’s national resilience manager, Murray McEwan, said:

“We are grateful to have Iain Gray behind our Registration to Resuscitation campaign as we know he works closely with community groups, projects and other organisations in East Lothian.

“When someone experiences a cardiac arrest they are unconscious and not breathing, or not breathing normally, and their life is in immediate danger, which is why these defibrillators are so important.

“If we know where defibrillators are in every community, our call handlers may then be able to direct bystanders to a defibrillator in the event of somebody experiencing a cardiac arrest and talk them through action to take.

“This is a campaign which will help save more lives and everyone can really get behind. We need the custodians who look after these defibrillators to register them on our website: pad.scottishambulance.com.

“We are also working with the manufacturers as well as our partners, community leaders and community first responder groups to register as many of these defibrillators as possible.”

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Backing Scottish Apprenticeship Week

Iain Gray MSP has visited the Tarmac cement works outside Dunbar to help mark this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week (6 to 10 March).

Mr Gray attended an open day for potential new apprentices at the plant and met with others who are currently working their way through their apprenticeship.

The visit was arranged through Skills Development Scotland (SDS) as part of the annual national campaign encouraging more employers to take on apprentices and more young people to consider work based learning.

Apprenticeship Week highlights the benefits for businesses that have decided to invest in the skills of their employees. The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Apprenticeships are Changing’.

Speaking after his visit to Tarmac, Iain Gray MSP said:

“I am pleased to support this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week to encourage more employers in East Lothian to consider taking on apprentices and more young people to consider the option of work-based learning.

“It’s clear that apprenticeships benefit both individuals and employers. Employers can design apprenticeships to meet their needs and provide the talent they need to develop their workforce for the future.

“Young people have the opportunity to enhance their skills and career prospects though work-based learning. The vast majority of apprentices go on to secure jobs in their chosen sector for the long term, while businesses have well trained and motivated staff.

“Tarmac’s cement works, an important employer in East Lothian, have a long history of providing excellent apprenticeship opportunities, and it was clear that a lot of young people are interested in the two they are about to advertise.”

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Gullane pupils are latest to quiz local MSP

Gullane Primary School was the latest to welcome local MSP Iain Gray when he spoke to P5/P6 pupils ahead of an upcoming visit to the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Gray talked to the pupils about his work as the county’s constituency MSP and answered all their questions. The pupils will be visiting Holyrood towards the end of March to find out more about how decisions are made there.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“The Parliament’s education outreach service provides a really first class learning experience for schools. I think most, if not all, schools in the East Lothian constituency have used the service at some point to arrange visits and allow pupils to find out more about the Scottish Parliament.

“Gullane has certainly been a regular user of the service, and I was pleased to go in and speak to their P5/6 pupils ahead of their next visit. While I hope that hearing from me and asking questions gives them some insight into how Parliament works, it’s not the same as actually being there and finding out for themselves.”

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Grace’s Sign takes off at Edinburgh Airport

Iain Gray MSP joined local disability campaigner Grace Warnock at Edinburgh Airport this week to officially unveil her specially-designed sign at its accessible toilets.

The airport has joined other high profile organisations in adopting Grace’s Sign, which highlights the need to understand that some people have ‘hidden’ disabilities.

Unveiling the signs at the airport, 11-year-old Grace said:

“I am really thrilled to see my sign here at Edinburgh Airport, as so many people come here from all over the world. Grace’s Sign is one of the first or last things that people will see when they arrive, or before they leave Scotland, so hopefully that will help spread the word.”

Iain Gray MSP said:

“Since Grace and her family launched the Grace’s Sign campaign, it has reached a wide local and international audience and received a tremendous positive reaction. Helping to raise awareness about the use of accessible toilets by those with ‘invisible’ disabilities, the campaign has evidently struck a chord with many people. I am delighted that Edinburgh Airport has responded so positively to the campaign.”

Gordon Robertson, Edinburgh Airport’s director of communications, added:

“It was sa great honour to have Grace here at Edinburgh Airport – her work raising awareness and improving facilities for invisible illnesses really is an inspiration.”

 

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Holyrood “Top Trumps” at Longniddry Primary

Iain Gray MSP has visited Longniddry Primary School to talk to P7 pupils about his work as an MSP in advance of planning a visit to the Scottish Parliament.

As well speaking about his role as their MSP, Mr Gray was also asked to talk about one of his favourite books ahead of World Book Day on 2 March, and to play a special game of parliamentary Top Trumps, created by the class to help them learn about MSPs.

Speaking after his visit, Iain Gray MSP said:

Visiting local primary schools to talk about my work as an MSP is a regular part of my job, and certainly one of the most enjoyable activities I undertake.

“Longniddry P7s had a first for me during this latest visit, though. They have been studying the Parliament, and are hoping to visit soon. Not only did they have loads of great questions for me, but they also invited me to play “MSP Top Trumps”.

“This is a card game using cards with details of all 129 MSPs, made by the class to support their learning. They even gave me a set of cards away, so the next time debates get boring, my colleagues and I can perhaps divert ourselves with a quick round of Top Trumps.”