As we approach the mid-way point of the summer holidays, I know many parents will be finding it hard to cope with the additional financial demands this time of year can bring. Rising mortgage costs and ongoing high inflation are exacerbating the cost of living struggles many households have been experiencing.
The various summer provision and activities organised by the Pennypit Trust, Can Do and other groups go a long way to supporting families through this time, but many will still find it difficult to manage. East Lothian Council has allocated almost £250,000 to supporting this increasing level of need in the community. Shockingly, the Scottish Government’s support for those in need during the summer, which was delayed until just days before the start of the holidays, has been cut by two-thirds.
Anyone who is struggling this summer should seek help sooner rather than later. The Council’s Financial Inclusion team offers free, impartial and confidential advice and support to all local residents. Our local CABs in Haddington and Musselburgh can also help to maximise income or deal with debt or other problems. East Lothian Foodbank and other local food projects can also provide help for families struggling to buy enough food. Anyone finding it hard to obtain a referral can contact my office for help.
East Lothian has been dealt a further blow by those responsible for drawing up parliamentary boundaries with the news that the redrawn Westminster seat covering most of our area is to be named Lothian East. I was proud to represent East Lothian in the House of Commons. It was an instantly recognisable constituency name which clearly represented our great area.
I can see no justification or logic in this bizarre name which will erase East Lothian from the political map. Unfortunately, this nonsensical change is likely to go ahead unless there is a last-minute rethink by the Boundary Commission for Scotland.