65 cities submitted bids to be selected for the license. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport then selected 20 ‘pioneer’ cities after the responses to the consultation had been considered. Twenty-four other cities are due to be considered in the second wave.
The legislation, which had come under criticism from The Scottish Government for not going far enough in terms of local programming, was laid down in the House of Commons today. The next consultation will last approximately 8-12 weeks at the end of which the shortlisted areas will be awarded their license.
Speaking in the Statutory Instrument debate, Liberal Democrat MP, Mike Crockart, welcomed the success of Edinburgh, but also raised concerns over the funding and practicality of the stations.
Mike Crockart questioned DCMS Minister Ed Vaizey about the funding for the local stations. Although they will be self-sustaining and reliant upon advertising for income, there is a worry that the need to raise advertising receipts will take money away from other Scottish media rather than generating new income.
Commenting, the Edinburgh West MP said:
“I am delighted that Edinburgh has been named as a pioneer city. UK media has become over centralised and doesn’t serve local areas the way it should. Today’s announcement is a big step forward in bringing communities across the UK, relevant home-grown programming.
“An Edinburgh-based TV station will allow residents to watch news and programmes which are pertinent to their lives.
“The next job is to make sure that the very many rural communities around Edinburgh, like Ratho and Kirkliston in my constituency, are included in scheduling. There is a fear that programming will be centred on the city, neglecting the views of those in more rural areas. To allow such isolation would simply be swapping one kind of centralised programming for another.
“Of course, to ensure the stations’ sustainability their income will come, for the large part, from advertising. To attract these revenues the station must produce and broadcast quality programmes which Edinburgh’s residents want to watch. I think we can look forward to some first-class broadcasting!”
The Council wants to limit the number of off-licences in the capital, which is currently home to 412 stores – around one for every 1,000 residents.
The “radical” move is being considered as part of a drive to cut down on cheap booze in the city.
After some solid support from Seven Deadly Sins, The Litigators kicked off this charity night in earnest. Organised in aid of the Homeless World Cup, the night was spearheaded largely by lead singer Michael McNelly who brought together some of the city’s finest acts.
Starting with the melodic ‘Blue Birds’, the recently formed four-piece set about introducing the crowd to their unique and rising sound. Despite this being their drummer’s live debut, the band put in a near flawless performance, with tunes to match their effortless playing. ‘Candyman’ is a classic in waiting, showcasing some rabid guitar lines and the type of cyclical chorus that should be echoing throughout this summer’s festivals. The more tender side of McNelly’s voice is exposed on tracks like ‘Stop Being Untrue’, which shows that The Litigators have a bit of everything in their locker. Closing track ‘Optical Illusions’ is the type of song that infects your mind, with the chorus still in your head days after hearing it.
Not to be outdone The Dark Jokes took to the stage with a verve that seemed only enhanced by the support act’s phenomenal performance. And in Phil Ramsay they have what can only be described as the consummate live performer. Combining the swagger of Brown or Gallagher with the type of trumpet playing that could enliven any song, the man demanded the attention of the crowd. He was a brass God tonight.
And the rest of the band can play as well. ‘Garden Path’ sounds like what you hope a Scottish BRMC would make. The frenetic ’3 Years In A Chinese Asylum’ reverberted with a madness that was only enhanced with each repetition. Standout track ‘Yellow Menace’ showed the band at their brooding best, pairing Scottish soul with global musings.
Perhaps it was unfortunate that The 10:04’s had to follow two such blistering performances. The ever incendiary capital stalwarts never quite managed to hit the same peaks as their predecessors, but still put on an enthralling show for the Liquid Room crowd. Their floating but fragile new single ‘SOS’ showed eveything you needed to know about the band and the fact that they are destined for big things. Hopefully they will be able to open the door to some of the other superb bands that shared the stage with them tonight.
Scotland are currently Homeless World Cup Champions. And the night was a gig to do them proud.
One of the questions tabled for this Thursday’s council meeting relates to the property ‘owned’ by the council next to Waverley Station. This has been lodged by Green Party Councillor, Alison Johnstone, who represents the Meadows/Morningside ward. The councillor has a dual role, as she also represents Lothian Region as an MSP, perhaps one reason for the matter coming to her attention.
The Reporter spoke to Councillor Johnstone about the possibility of the site being transferred to its current owner, Sir David Murray’s property group, for something under £1. The position is that the lease of the common good land was bought by Murray’s company for a price tag of over £35m, although the council does not receive anything by way of rent due to the kind of lease used.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian region, said:-
“The Scottish Government has re-introduced its Long Leases Bill, which fell in the last Session of Parliament when it ran out of time. In a nutshell, the Bill will see any lease of over 175 years with at least 100 years to run automatically convert into full ownership.
“One such lease is that of Edinburgh’s Waverley Market site – better known as the land with the Princes Mall currently on it. The land is owned by the City of Edinburgh Council and is leased for a penny a year to a multimillionaire. The lease runs for 206 years, expiring in 2188.
“No-one reading this will be around in 2188, but when times are as tough as they are now, the City Council should be protecting the city’s valuable assets for the future rather than allowing a prime site, worth tens of millions of pounds, to transfer into private hands for a few pence.
“I’ve asked the Council to agree to write to the parliamentary committee looking into this and ask for an exemption for the Waverley Market, as it belongs to the city and its’ people. My hope is that my motion will receive unanimous support.”
The question before the council is as follows:-
“That the Council:
Notes that The Scottish Government has re-introduced its Long Leases Bill which fell in the last session of Parliament when it ran out of time.
Notes that the Bill is designed to automatically convert leases of over 175 years with at least 100 years to run into full ownership.
Notes that Waverley Market is currently leased for 1p per year on a 206 year lease which expires in 2188.
Agrees to write to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee of the Scottish Parliament seeking an exemption for this site on the grounds that this multi million pound asset belongs to the people of Edinburgh and should not be lost to future residents for the price of a few pennies.”
The council convene for the first proper meeting of the year later this week on 2 February. There was a full meeting in January, but the short agenda only required councillors to discuss and decide upon the Alternative Business Model, or privatisation plans, for areas of council business. This idea has now been completely thrown out, and it is back to normal business for the elected members. For now that is.
It is less than 100 days until the council elections on 3 May 2012, and one has to think that some campaigning and electioneering will get under way soon, although not, it is hoped, to the detriment of any council plans and decisions. But all of last year the administration has been under considerable pressure, notably over the trams and privatisation, when their coalition partners, the SNP group, were not always at one with them, and forcing a vote of no confidence in the administration at one point.
There are some important matters to be discussed:-
A new way of dealing with staff absences has been brought forward from the recent Policy and Strategy Committee meeting. The Managing Attendance Procedure was discussed for an hour at the recent meeting, after which it was remitted to the full council for decision. The current procedure has been extended to the end of February to allow time for the delay in councillors deciding whether to adopt this new scheme or not. UNISON presented a deputation to the Policy committee last week putting forward various objections which you can read on our Liveblog.
The council will be asked to approve the closure of Westfield Court Nursery School in Balgreen due to Health and Safety issues. One of the points made in the report is that:-
- “The nursery is situated on the top floor of a seven storey block of flats and this presents a significant health and safety risk should staff need to evacuate the building with the children.”
The proposal is to move all of the children attending the nursery to Tynecastle or Calderglen Nursery Schools.
The agenda for this meeting also includes several questions lodged by various councillors.
We look forward to hearing all the answers to questions and the general discussion. We will be at the City Chambers and will be bringing you live updates on the proceedings.
The Agenda for the meeting is reproduced in full here:-
Last month the council convened a special meeting to discuss whether they would enter into any privatisation arrangements with the facilities management firm MITIE, as was widely anticipated. The council voted against privatisation of any kind. But, proving that ABM, or privatisation, is actually not yet quite over, Labour Group Leader, Councillor Andrew Burns, has lodged the following question for this Thursday’s meeting:-
“Can the Council Leader provide a full breakdown of the costs incurred (to include an overall total) by the Council in developing the Alternative Business Model (ABM) Programme, from inception in February 2009 through to cessation in January 2012?”
Speaking to The Reporter, Councillor Burns explained the reasoning behind the group’s question:-
“For over two years Council Officers were fully authorised by the SNP/Lib-Dem Administration, who run the Council, to pursue their privatisation programme which could have seen vital public services transferred to the private sector.
Whilst I welcomed the SNP’s last-minute change-of-heart, and their support for Labour’s consistent opposition to this outsourcing programme, it did come after nearly £4million of local tax-payers’ money had been sunk into pursuing this failed option.”
The agenda for this week’s council meeting includes several questions lodged by councillors. You can read the agenda below and we will be updating the proceedings live from the Council Chamber on Thursday morning from 10a.m.
Leith businesses are being urged to submit their application for ‘best dressed’ shop front as the closing date is today.
Applications to be Leith’s Shop Idol are being accepted until close of business this afternoon. After the closing date, businesses will then be asked to transform their window display before ‘Windows Week’ on the 13th-16th February 2012.
The business judged to have the ‘Most Improved’ shop front will then win themselves £3,000 towards their business.
Forms can be downloaded at www.leithshopidol.co.uk or for more information call Sarah Woodford on 0131 529 3527
Urbane Furniture Director, Garry Scott, said:- “What a great initiative to encourage shopkeepers in Leith to think a little harder about the appearance of their shop fronts. By giving shop window displays a bit of thought not only will they attract more customers and give the area a more interesting look, but also the business could win £3,000. You’d have to be crazy not to enter!”
So far 24 businesses have submitted an application to Leith Shop Idol. Those who have entered are:
Annie Mo’s, Great Junction Street
Altogether Edinburgh, Leith Walk
Braid Vets, Leith Walk
Bra Bogah, Easter Road
The Bed Shop, Leith Walk
Flux, Bernard Street
Pilrig Motors, Leith Walk
Aslam Jewellers, Leith Walk
Royal Artizana, Leith Walk
St Columba’s House, Leith Walk
Ecos Café, Leith Walk
Griffen Fitness, Balfour Street
Concept Clothing, Great Junction Street
Urbane Furniture, Haddington Place
Bethany Charity Store, Easter Road
The White Petal Company, Easter Road
Afreen Fashion, Constitution Street
Emma Hall, Haddington Place
Coffee H@ME Internet Café, Leith Walk
The Manna House, Easter Road
Natural Collection, Montrose Street
Laiba Boutique, Leith Walk
Kaawa Bistro Café Bar, Leith Walk
Harburn Hobbies, Leith Walk
This initiative is part of the Council’s commitment to Building Stronger Town Centres across Edinburgh and three town centre coordinators are involved in a variety of projects to promote their area.
Scottish Poetry Library
Sighthill Broomhouse & Parkhead Community Council
Drumbrae Library Hub
Chez Jules in Hanover Street are offering Free Food tonight. No we don’t know why, and we don’t know why dessert is not included in the free food definition, but still it seems like a good deal to us!
Good news that the Scottish Poetry Library is going to display the anonymous book sculptures in April according to The Edinburgh Evening News. And the SPL have a brand new website - how lovely it looks!
Sighthill, Broomhouse & Parkhead Community Council meet tonight in Murrayburn Primary School at 6.45pm.
The new Drumbrae Hub Library opens its doors at 10am today. Are you going? Will you tell us about it? The City Libraries department is very excited about it:-”The Hub brings together lots of services under one roof: a new library for the area, access to Council services and the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team, a cafe area, community meetings rooms and a day care centre. We have been working with the community to make sure the building really reflects the hopes and aspirations of local people.”
Occupy Edinburgh have moved to The Meadows and Councillor Cameron Rose has been out to chat to them to see what he can do to help. He has a full account of his meeting on his blog.
Mark Lazarowicz MP for Edinburgh North and Leith is demanding justice for Woolworths staff who worked in the Stockbridge store, and who have been denied redundancy compensation awarded to colleagues in larger stores by an Employment Tribunal.
It is understood that whilst staff in the Leith branch will receive compensation because it had more than 20 staff, those in the Stockbridge store will not. Mark has been approached by former Woolworths employees who live locally and is pursuing the issue on their behalf in Parliament.
“This is a matter of simple justice. Staff at Stockbridge won’t qualify just because the store had less than 20 staff even though they may have worked for Woolworths longer than someone at the larger store in Leith or even worked at both stores while employed by the company.
“It’s a double slap in the face for staff who learnt that they had lost their job on the news rather than through their company as it should be. Now they are being denied compensation as well.
“All the staff worked for the same company and worked just as hard but are being treated differently.
“I have signed a Motion in Parliament and will be pressing the Business Secretary to take action to close the loophole and make sure the Stockbridge staff are treated fairly.”
The Tribunal awarded staff in larger stores compensation on the grounds that the company failed to consult their union, USDAW, on redundancies when Woolworths went bust in November 2008.
But, it ruled that staff in stores like Stockbridge with less than 20 people didn’t qualify because the legislation – dating from 1992 under the then Conservative Government – didn’t require consultation in their case.
The Court’s ruling was based on the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 passed by the then Conservative Government of John Major.
About 30,000 people lost their jobs when Woolworths went into administration. Staff eligible will receive 60 days pay, up to a limit of £330 a week.
The shop workers’ trade union, Usdaw, which brought the original case, is now intending to appeal against the exclusion of staff in smaller stores from compensation.