During the month of August as I visited local groups and held surgeries right across Midlothian, I thought about what issues to raise on behalf of Midlothian in Parliament. My surgeries were busy with a range of people from across the constituency who had various issues, however common themes emerged.
People here are concerned with the roll out of Universal Credit, and rightly so. I share concerns with my constituents, and with Citizen’s Advice, over the rollout.
I raised these concerns when I met with the DWP and Job Centre. The local job centre staff are carrying out their duties to their best ability as instructed by the Government. However, I believe that the Government have it wrong, and their changes to the benefits system are leaving many people struggling and unable to make ends meet.
Residents also raised problems accessing GP appointments and registering with a GP. Readers will be aware that health is a matter devolved to the Scottish Parliament and not something which is controlled by the UK Parliament. Readers will also be aware that Scottish Government house building targets are adding to the GP crisis as we see hundreds of new houses being built in Midlothian but no extra health services.
Whilst I have no problem with house building, I do however think that the Scottish Government should be properly funding the NHS to deal with the added pressure these houses will bring, especially as housing developers are not required to pay any contribution to health care. I will be writing to the Scottish Government and NHS Lothian urging a resolution to the GP crisis.
Everyone in Midlothian has the right have proper access to social security when times are tough, to be treated with dignity, not being sent to food banks or left penniless, and to be able to access local health care. I will work to ensure that no one and no community in Midlothian is left behind – by either Government.