Climate Change Commitments put into law

This country has become the first in the world to put our climate change commitments into law. The Climate Change Act, which Parliament approved at the end of last year, sets legally binding targets for cuts in our greenhouse gas emissions.

Along with others in the House of Commons, I made the case for tougher legislation. As a result, the law now requires emissions to be reduced by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050, and emissions from international aviation and shipping are included.

There is near universal consensus among scientific experts that climate change is real and that it is caused by human activity. The good news is that we know that we can move to a low carbon economy without damaging our standard of living.

The world’s leaders will meet at a major conference in Copenhagen in December to forge a new global agreement on climate change. Decisive action is need to the world on track for a low carbon future.

This article is from Gavin Strang’s Spring 2009 Constituency Update.

Fuel Poverty still a pressing issue

Despite progress towards Government targets to eradicate fuel poverty, too many households still live in fuel poverty, spending more than a tenth of their income on fuel bills.

Winter Fuel Payments were introduced to help pensioners out of fuel poverty, and this year they rose to £250 for households with someone aged 60-79, and £400 for households with someone aged over 80 or more.
If you did not get a Winter Fuel Payment and think that you might be entitled to one, call the Winter Fuel Payment Helpline on 08459 15 15 15 (charges are the same as for local calls).

This article is from Gavin Strang’s Spring 2009 Constituency Update.

Ten years of the National Minimum Wage

The statutory national minimum wage has now been in place for ten years. When it was introduced on 1 April 1999 it was set at £3.60. At the time of its introduction many argued that it would result in a loss of jobs but that did not happen. As from last October the adult rate for the minimum wage has been set at £5.73.

A minimum wage and a living wage are not the same thing. Few want to work for the legal minimum. The point is that the existence of a legal minimum wage put an end to the poverty wages which were paid to over a million people prior to its introduction in 1999.

This article is from Gavin Strang’s Spring 2009 Constituency Update.

The ‘Save Meadowbank’ Campaign continues

The campaign to save Meadowbank has not yet been completely successful but progress has been made.

The Council’s plan to sell it to a developer and to use the money to build a new facility at Sighthill is dead and buried.

I and many others formally objected to this proposal as set out in the new local plan for the City of Edinburgh. At the planning inquiry I argued that the whole Meadowbank site needed to be retained for sport for the benefit of future generations.

This article is from Gavin Strang’s Spring 2009 Constituency Update.

Gavin Strang opposes cuts to local bus services

Bus service cuts last October have caused great difficulty for many people in East Edinburgh. Cuts in the number 12, 13 and 42 routes have been particularly disruptive.

The Council has now put some services out to tender, including the number 13 and part of the 42 route. The Council also asked Lothian Buses to advise on the cost of reinstating the full number 12 route, at a reduced service.

This does not necessarily mean that cuts will be reversed. The Council will consider options at the Transport Infrastructure and Environment Committee meting in May.

I am completely opposed to the cuts, and strongly support the campaign to reinstate the services.

This article is from Gavin Strang’s Spring 2009 Constituency Update.