Today’s local news: March 8th

Daisy Smith brings us today’s local news from Edinburgh and the surrounding areas.

Today’s local news: March 1st

Daisy Smith brings us today’s local news from Edinburgh and the surrounding areas.

Edinburgh to introduce £2 a day tourist tax

Edinburgh ‘tourist tax’ has been backed by council and would apply to all accommodation, including Airbnb-style short-term lets. Council Leader, Adam McVey, explains to EN4 News what this will mean.

Small Edinburgh energy supplier ceases trading

bulb-close-up-electricity-577514

Customers are advised not to change energy provider, as they will be allocated with a new one. (Photo credit: Pexels.com)

Edinburgh-based energy supplier, Our Power has folded today.

Our Power’s 38,000 person customer base will be reallocated a new power supplier by Ofgem’s safety net.

Our Power is one of many small energy providers that have been forced to shut their doors in recent years; amongst them are Economy Energy, Spark Energy, Extra Energy, Future Energy, National Gas and Power, Iresa Energy, Gen4U, One Select and Usio Energy.

The energy regulator, Ofgem has reassured customers that they will not need to worry.

They said: “The energy supply of Our Power’s customers will continue and pre payment meters can be topped up as normal. The outstanding credit balances of domestic customers will be protected.”

Ofgem’s advice to Our Power’s customers in the meantime is:

  • Do not switch to a new energy supplier
  • Take a meter reading ready for when your new supplier contacts you.

Ofgem hope that this will make the transition for customer affected as smooth as possible.

Philippa Pickford, Ofgem’s director for future retail markets, said:

“Our message to energy customers with Our Power is there is no need to worry, as under our safety net we will make sure your energy supplies are secure and your credit balance is protected.”

“Ofgem will now choose a new supplier for you, ensuring you get the best deal possible. Whilst we’re doing this our advice is to ‘sit tight’ and don’t switch. You can rely on your energy supply as normal. We will update you when we have chosen a new supplier, who will then get in touch about your new tariff.”

“We have seen a number of supplier failures over the last year and our safety net procedures are working as they should to protect customers.”

Find out more with Money Savings Expert

Holyrood recommends free music lessons “in every local authority”

The Scottish Government’s education committee has stated that music tuition should be free across the country.

The committee has stated that they respect each individual authority’s democratic right to make decisions regarding the tuition, but have stated that “in principle, music tuition should be provided free of charge in every local authority”.

Edinburgh’s local council still provides free lessons, as does the council in Glasgow. Other local authorities still charge up to three figure sums per pupil, and these fees have been increasing in recent years.

Clackmannanshire Council, for example, charged £258.50 in 2017/18. This school year (2018/19) they charge £524, more than double the previous charge and by far the highest tuition cost in Scotland.

South Ayrshire, East Lothian, West Lothian councils also only started charges this year, going from no charge to a cost of £200, £280, and £354 respectively.

West Lothian, the council with the largest price increase, saw 70% of pupils drop extracurricular music lessons after the decision was made, something the council described as “alarming”.

 

mr. and mrs. jones

Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News

 

Charging for music tuition, despite Holyrood’s statement, is very much the rule as opposed to the exception. 25 of Scotland’s 32 councils charge for lessons, although some are fairly reasonable (£140 per pupil per year in the Scottish Borders).

The issue with charging for music lessons is that it inevitably lowers participation in these programs (as education committee convener Clare Adamson told MSPs, the fees are “increasingly unaffordable” for “far too many young people”).

Lowered participation is a problem, not only because of young people missing opportunities due to their financial situation but because of the proven benefits of music lessons for young people.

A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year suggested that music lessons help schoolchildren learn languages and improve their language processing skills.

Another study showed how extra-curricular activities (such as music lessons) can reduce delinquency in young people. If councils continue to charge for the lessons — and children, therefore, continue to drop music tuition from their schedule — young people will not gain these small but notable benefits.

COSLA, the umbrella body representing Scottish local councils, has proposed allowing children who are entitled to free school meals to also receive music tuition free of charge.

This suggests progress on the issue. However, no single local authority lowered their tuition costs in the 2018/19 semester, which implies that unless Holyrood takes greater action, universal free music tuition could be a long way off.

In someone else’s clothes… literally

With a clothes swap sale set to take place on Saturday 26th, EN4News gives an insight into why this type of event is the latest fashion trend.

When opening your wardrobe, what do you see?

Clothes, of course, are most likely to fill that space — but where did you get them? Maybe you’ve got a few designer labels hanging in the closet — Calvin Klein, Ted Baker — or some high street buys that you just couldn’t resist when payday came around — New Look, Topshop, Primark.

It might even be the case that you have the odd charity shop item, but do you have any from a clothes swap?

Events like clothes swaps and vintage sales have bloomed in Edinburgh as of late, with people flocking to get the best deals for very little if any money. It seems to be a student’s dream, in the sense of being the newest way to find unique stylish clothing items for pennies.

In fact, on Saturday 26, between the hours of 1pm and 4pm, people will be swapping clothes in Edinburgh. The Sustainable Clothes Swap will take place at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre. The event, which is being hosted by Fashion Revolution Scotland and The Leith Collective, aims to help people clear out clothes they no longer wear without just throwing them away.

• FRD_logo.jpg

Fashion Revolution wants to change the way clothes are sourced, produced and consumed. (Picture credit: Fashion Revolution)

Fashion Revolution was created to protest the unsafe working conditions cheap fashion is made in. The turning point for this was the collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in April 2013. More than 1,100 people died, making it one of the deadliest textile factory incidents. This gave the fashion organisation a clear vision:

“We believe in a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure.”

It has been stated that “clothes and textiles make up around 6% of household waste in the UK”. This should not be the case as they can be recycled or reused, and now donated into clothes swaps.

As to why Saturday’s clothes swap is happening, it follows a new campaign. The Leith Collective has partnered up with Ocean Terminal to deliver the Sustainability Campaign throughout January. With a variety of workshops being offered, it is hoped that shoppers will learn more about recycling, reusing and upcycling.

Attending the clothes swap could see you walk away with a complete not-so-new new outfit, but there are a few things you should do before you turn up:

IMG_9359

Infographic by Michaella Wheatley for EN4News

 

Alex Salmond in Court: A picture timeline

The Former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond yesterday appeared at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court where he was charged with 14 offences, two of which included attempted rape.

Salmond did not make any plea but did make a short statement outside the court before returning inside to receive his bail papers.

EN4News reporter Calum Wilson has the full story here.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow Images: Ross Cowper-Fraser

Today’s Local News

Edinburgh University student jailed for sex attack on fellow student

An Edinburgh University student has been jailed for three years after a sex attack on a teenage girl. Felix Beck, 22, assaulted his victim during a sex act in which he choked her, leaving her bruised and battered.

Beck, then launched a tirade of abused against the teen, labelling her performance as “s**t” and berating her further through a series of aggressive text messages. The student cried in the dock as he was sentenced to three years, with judge Lord Uist branding the attack “callous and disgraceful”, while telling him he “only had himself to blame.”

The victim told prosecutors how the assault has caused her to change universities and how events have left her suffering from PTSD. The attack came just weeks after another woman had filed rape allegations against Beck – allegations which were dropped by Lord Uist during the hearing.

Menzies to acquire aircraft de-icing firm 

Aviation giant John Menzies has been given the go-ahead to acquire Manchester based Airline Services. The buying of the  company, which deals with aircraft de-icing and ground handling projects, was subject to a nine-month investigation due to growing concerns over ground-handling prices, completion of the market and decreasing quality of service.

After a long anticipated assessment, the Competition and Markets authority gave the green light to Menzies, due to a recent surge of contract applications in the ground handling market. The joint-venture is also expected  to extend to English airports including Newcastle, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Community works together to help ravaged charity shop 

The Edinburgh community of Davidson Mains, came together after their local charity shop was robbed by thieves. The Chest, Heart and Stroke Foundation suffered the attack on Tuesday 15th, after the intruders unscrewed the safe and escaped with money.

On hearing the news this week, residents of Davidson Mains organised local donations to the shop with adults, school children and tradesmen offering to help with repairs free of charge. Unfortunately, the shop has been subject to five separate incidents of crime in recent years, including 2013 when thieves made off with £80 and caused £500 worth of damage.

30ft wide sinkhole appears in Midlothian 

A sinkhole has appeared in Roslin, Midlothian, on the former site of a colliery. The 30ft sinkhole developed on the former site of Roslin Colliery, which had operated for over 65 years and finally closed to the public in 1969. It is thought that the network of underground tunnels that form the coal mine have led to ground become unstable and the sinkhole forming.

The area, which is now farmland, has been sealed off and is awaiting inspection from the Coal Authority. If the mine is found to be the main cause of the hole, the Coal Authority have said they will “start ground work immediately to make the area safe.”

Edinburgh mum becomes first woman to win gruelling week-long marathon

Jasmin Paris, 35, has become the first woman ever to win the 268-mile Spine Race with record-breaking time of 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds. Not only did the mum-of-one beat the previous record set by Eoin Keith in 2016, but even made time to stop and breastfeed her 14-month-old daughter, Rowan.

With a massive seven days to complete the track, the Spine Race has been dubbed one of the hardest marathons in the UK but it proved no match for Jasmin. She is well respected in the sky running (defining as hill racing above heights of 2000 metres) community and has previously won several circuit titles, as well as holding the National women’s fell running title for Great Britain.

 

UPDATE: Police examine new lead on body found on bypass

citybypass

Edinburgh City Bypass – Courtesy of Google

Police are looking into a new lead involving a Müller dairy van believed to be linked to a body found on the Edinburgh City Bypass during the morning of January 17’s rush hour.

The company confirmed one of their vans had been involved in an incident on the bypass.

The van driver believed he had hit a deer between the hours of 12AM and 2AM on Thursday, January 17, which was police believe to be around the same time the man was hit.

Police have taken the van from the Müller’s depot to investigate further.

Police closed the bypass for around eight hours, causing traffic mayhem, as police investigated the body’s discovery in the area between the Sheriffhall roundabout and the Gilmerton junction.

Detective Inspector Keith Mackay said: “This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man.”

MacKay is appealing for anyone with dash-cam footage around midnight to 2AM on Thursday, January 17.

UPDATE: The victim has been named as 37-year-old Craig Bruce from Bilston.

Families in danger as Edinburgh fire station forced to close over staffing crisis

Fire stations are struggling to stay open.

Marionville Fire Station closed on Saturday due to there not being enough staff to man one fire engine, a union warned.

The fire station, which covers the Restalrig and Craigentinny areas of the city is only one of the many fire stations which have been affected by the staffing crisis.

Fire stations across the city have had their fire engine numbers halved, and specialist roles such as water rescue and major crash response have also taken a hit.

Emergency services are vital to the safety and security of the people living in the community and are at risk due to the lack firefighters.

Ex-Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale blamed the SNP for the staffing problem:

Edinburgh residents have also expressed their disappointment:

%d bloggers like this: