UKIP leader calls for ‘Scot Free’ House of Commons

Newly elected UKIP leader, Paul Nuttall, called for English devolution in his first speech as UKIP leader after previously suggesting Scottish MPs should be removed from the House of Commons.

Nuttall has replaced Nigel Farage as permanent leader of the party winning over 60% of the vote in the second Leadership election the party has had in the last 3 months.

The last election was labelled a shambles after Diane James, elected in September, resigned only 18 days later, subsequently leaving the party.  Nigel Farage had to return to the leadership role while a new leader was selected. [Read more…]

Vote with your butt: Ballot Bins appear in Leith

In the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the US, City of Edinburgh Council have installed light-hearted ‘Ballot Bins’ along Leith Walk.

The bins allow the people of Edinburgh to vote with their cigarette butts and settle the question: ‘President Donald Trump: ‘Dream’ or ‘Nightmare’?’

These bins are part of an initiative that wants to set up more Ballot Bins in the Leith Walk area later this month. It is hoped that the campaign will ease strain on the area’s communal bins, identified as ‘hotspots’ for overflowing and fly-tipping. [Read more…]

Top 5 things to do this week

Photo credit: Andrew Hamilton

Photo credit: Andrew Hamilton

 

I’m sorry to disappoint, but we’re looking at yet another week of freezing weather… Since it always helps to have a reason to leave the house, here’s our top 5 things to do in Edinburgh this week: [Read more…]

UPDATE: Virgin Train derailment

Picture Copyright Chris Watt/ Virgin Trains Media Room

Picture Copyright Chris Watt/ Virgin Trains Media Room

Virgin Trains has responded to this morning’s incident and the continued disruption at Edinburgh Waverley station today.

A Virgin train was derailed in Edinburgh this morning, and has left subsequent services in disarray. Customers are being advised to check the Virgin Trains website for live travel information.

Listen to the statement from a Virgin Trains operator, Thomas Thornton, 37,  below:

Scottish councils facing over half a billion pounds of funding deficit, Accounts Commission warns

Scottish councils could face a combined funding gap of £553 million by 2018, according to a new report from the Accounts Commission.

The Commission has said that, based on figures from 2015-16, local authorities are currently in good financial health, but have found that there could be “significant challenges” in the future.

Forecasting for the next three years, the report’s analysis found that the deficit between the money that councils raise and what they spend could rise from £87 million in 2016-17 to £553 million in 2018-19.

The figures would mean that a large proportion of local authorities would face a gap in funding higher than the amount currently held in reserves.

The Commission acknowledged that councils face, “increasing pressure from a long-term decline in funding, rising demand for services and increasing costs such as pensions.”

More to follow later.

Scottish Council worries about the impact on front line services funding.

Scottish Council worries about the impact on front line services funding.

BREAKING NEWS: Virgin Train derailment in Edinburgh

Virgin train customers face severe disruption after a train derailment in Edinburgh this morning has left multiple services delayed.

Trains have been trapped in Waverley Station, or cancelled entirely, after the incident this morning.

Customers are being assured they will be able to travel on alternative services immediately before or after their previously selected journey.

Picture Copyright: Chris Watt info@chriswatt.com Virgin Trains Media Room

Picture Copyright: Chris Watt/Virgin Trains Media Room

More on this story will follow.

Live travel information can be found on the Virgin Trains website.

ScotRail’s Future Off The Tracks

by Stuart Mackenzie and Noemi Distefano

 

Photo credit: Rory Nicolson

Photo credit: Rory Nicolson

 

Scotland’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf will make a statement to the Scottish Parliament tomorrow to discuss how to improve the Scottish rail services.

This follows pressure from opposition politicians for him to speak after various proposals to bring ScotRail’s railways into public ownership.

ScotRail, who are currently operated by Abellio, have been experiencing various problems with their services.

Charlotte Twyning of Abellio UK, told to the BBC: “It should be recognised that half of the rail industry is already nationalised in the form of Network Rail and any operator that runs the ScotRail franchise – public or private – does so to a tightly specified Scottish government contract.” [Read more…]

New Taxi Rank Plans For Edinburgh Waverley Under Fire

by Rory Nicolson and Alena Yakushova

Network Rail have confirmed plans for the new taxi rank at the New Street car park for Edinburgh Waverley Station.

The move comes two years after taxis were banned from collecting and dropping off commuters from within the station for security reasons.

Lothians MSP Miles Briggs has been gathering support to re-open the indoor taxi rank. He launched a petition in August and is bringing the debate to Parliament on the taxi rank plans this Thursday. Speaking about the New Street Car Park Taxi Rank plans, he said:

“This is welcome news in as far as it goes but this is only a limited improvement as it is only a pick up rank and not one where passengers can be dropped off.

 “This rank will also be considerably further away from the central parts of the station compared to previous ranks so there will still be real challenges for blind, disabled and infirm travelers.”

[Read more…]

Rapist sentenced to eight years in prison

judge-gavel-1461291738x4g

 

A 52-year-old man has been sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for rape, at Edinburgh High Court earlier today.

Hugh Wade was convicted of having repeatedly raped an eight-year-old girl from August 2008 till August 2011 in Glasgow.

He was given a 10-year custodial and supervision disposal including eight years of incarceration and two years of open release with supervision.

Hugh Wade appeared in court today after having been kept in custody in Glasgow, where the trial took place last month.

When the sentence was read by Judge Maciver a handful of people sitting in the gallery expressed sighs of what appeared to be both relief and sadness.

Hearts and Hamilton Share the Points in 6 Goal Thriller

by Andy Grozier

 

Photo credit: Hearts Press Office

Photo credit: Ron MacNeill

 

Hearts managed to rescue a point last night against Hamilton in a six goal thriller at New Douglas Park.

Jamie Walker had put the Edinburgh side ahead in the 8th minute with a brilliant half-volley only to see the Accies draw equal before powering ahead after half-time.

The home side’s come back started with a stunning free-kick from Ali Crawford. The 25 year old midfielder drifted the ball into the bottom corner of Jack Hamilton’s net from 20 yards. The strike was a touch of class in what was a mostly scrappy first half.

Rakish Bingham extended the Accies lead with a calm finish just moments into the second-half after a smooth passing move sent the striker through on goal. Bingham then got his brace in the 68th minute, beating the Hearts keeper with a shot fired into the bottom corner.

[Read more…]

Things to do in Edinburgh: Our Top Five Picks

Stuck in the capital this week with nothing to do?

Follow our guide to find the best events Edinburgh has to offer.

5. Cinderella – Australian Ballet

STARRING: Leanne Stojmenov, Kevin Jackson, Ako Kondo

Released: 23rd November

cinderella

Picture Credit: The Australian Ballet

The classic fairy-tale returns in beautiful ballet form. If you can’t catch it on stage, you can watch it at your local cinema.

The award-winning, critically acclaimed production, created by Alexei Ratmansky, one of the world’s most sought after choreographers, puts a twist on the story of Cinderella, her wicked step-mother and sisters and of course the glass slipper.

After sell-out seasons in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide the show makes its way to London, and various Vue cinemas, including Edinburgh. Be sure not to miss the ball.

4. Book Week Scotland

book-week

Scotland’s Book Week

Book Week Scotland, beginning yesterday (Monday 21st) and is running until Sunday 27th November, is a week-long event organised by the Scottish Book Trust that aims to celebrate reading and writing amongst the young and the old alike.

Featuring talks and events across the country, speakers like Tony Robinson and Val McDermid will be appearing to discuss their work and love of literature face to face with readers. For any lover of books, this one is not to be missed!

3. Edinburgh Christmas Market

Photo credit: Noemi Distefano

Photo credit: Noemi Distefano

Edinburgh Christmas Market began this week with Sunday’s Light Night which officially launched Christmas in Edinburgh.

From Five Guys Named Moe on the West End stage to the European Christmas Market in Princes Street Gardens.

Get yourself in the Christmas mood and visit the event website for more information.

2. Ghost The Musical starts run at Edinburgh Playhouse

Ghost the musical starts its six day run tonight at Edinburgh Playhouse.

playhouse

Ghost starts it’s run at Edinburgh Playhouse

Produced by Bill Kenwright, the musical presents a re-imagined, unchained version of the classic film.

Sarah Harding, the Girls Aloud singer and actress, makes her stage debut as Molly, opposite Hollyoaks star Rhys Ashworth as ‘Sam’.

The musical is based on the Academy Award winning movie and starred the late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg.

The plot sees Sam tragically murdered in front of his girlfriend, Molly. Sam finds himself trapped between this world and the next. Assisted by a psychic Sam attempts to communicate with Molly and protect her from imminent danger.

With such a popular film to live up to, fans have been promised the iconic scene in which Molly sculpts a pot to the Righteous Brother’s Unchained Melody will also feature in the musical version.

Ghost The Musical premieres tonight at the Edinburgh Playhouse at 7.30pm and runs till Saturday and then tours to Nottingham.

1. The Heavy

Good news for all Edinburgh-based fans of indie rock, as ‘The Heavy’ are playing at Liquid Room tonight.

The band from Bath will be presenting their new Album ‘Hurt & The Merciless’, which is in line with what makes The Heavy’s style so unique: powerful arrangements, rough guitar sounds and, of course, Kelvin Swaby’s haunting voice – all topped up with drums that promise to make an audience go wild.

Tickets are available online

 

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market delivers and delights

by Noemi Distefano

Photo credit: Noemi Distefano

Photo credit: Noemi Distefano

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market has opened to the public this weekend.

The market, one of the most popular Christmas celebrations in the UK, will run for six weeks until the 7th January.

Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens will be transformed into a veritable winter wonderland by a rich array fairground attractions, lights, buskers, artists and street-chefs.

The market has grown its reputation as one of Europe’s largest Christmas attractions.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festivals and Events Champion, said to Edinburgh Evening News, “Edinburgh’s Christmas promises to wow once again, and the Christmas Market alongside with the Street of Light is a spectacular and mesmerising addition to what is already a brilliant line-up.”

Around 900,000 unique visitors from all over Europe are expected to fill St. Andrews Square in the coming weeks.

Hundreds of chefs and artisans are expected to open their shutters, offering nibbles, trinkets and a more magical Christmas experience.

 

Photo credit: Noemi Distefano

Photo credit: Noemi Distefano

 

Shopkeeper Judies, owner of ChristmasWorld, sells traditional German wooden ornaments. She said, “Me and my brother have been here in Edinburgh for the Christmas markets even before they became a huge event.  This is our fifteenth year in this street, and I wouldn’t like to be anywhere else.”

Norwegian shopkeeper Kari Ittervel claims that she comes to Edinburgh just for the market. A resident of Amsterdam, she flies over for just two months a year to sell her handmade pottery.

“I’ve been here for two years now, I was in London’s Christmas Market before, but it’s not even a tenth as nice as in Edinburgh’s. One day I heard that there was a beautiful market here and I resolved: ‘let’s make Edinburgh’s ladies happy with my items!’”

“The markets are amazing. Beautiful people, beautiful city, it’s just fantastic!”

It’s not just the shopkeepers who love the atmosphere. Jasmine – a tourist from Newcastle – said, “I came a long way from Newcastle, just because I think the Christmas markets are great. They bring a bit of European culture to the cities in the UK.”

“I think it is really nice, the smell is nice in the air, the sites and there are really a lot of lights and we are looking forward to go around, it is a great thing.”

The experience is certainly rich – families peer into the Gardens from the terrace of the Scottish National Gallery as the smell of burned wood and the sound of buskers fill the air.

 

Photo credit: Noemi Distefano

Photo credit: Noemi Distefano

 

The Edinburgh Christmas Market will stay vibrant with music, sounds, sights and smells until early 2017.

Tickets are right now available at www.edinburghschristmas.com

160 youths to endure a night sleeping rough on the streets of Edinburgh

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The sleep out will be taking place on George Street. Source Rock Trust

The Sleep-out for youths, organised by Rock Trust, is due to commence on the 25th November.

12-21 year olds will spend the night sleeping on Edinburgh’s streets in a bid to fundraise for homeless Scottish youths.

The sleep out will be held on George Street, under the watchful eye of Rock Trust volunteers. Rock Trust have been organising the sleep out since its founding  25 years ago, which helps aid the young homeless to find housing.

Last year’s  Sleep Out events raised over £50,000 with the proceeds helping to fund projects around Edinburgh and Lothian shelters.

[Read more…]

Stu’s Spotify Specials

Stuart shares his Spotify picks

Music buff Stuart Mackenzie shares his top musical picks with edinburghnapiernews.com

 

  1. Bruno Mars- Chunky

With the new album’s release on Friday, the Hawaiian harmoniser is out with yet another funky single that is sure to get you grooving. Following suit from the previous jams such as, ‘24K Magic’ and ‘Versace on the Floor’, the new song indulges us into a romanticised old-skool aura with classic R&B sounds. The only thing that mattered back then was the size of your girls’ backside. Opening with a short synth-solo, we are instantly greeted by the classic Mars voice and a nostalgic, Rapper’s Delight-esque bassline. As the tune increases in party-rhythm, we are led into a chorus melody not dissimilar from past-hit Treasure. The song may not make it to party-anthem territory, but it is definitely one to tap your toes and cruise with your crew to.

  1. John Mayer- Love on the Weekend

Mayer the Player has been toying with his social media followers all week with the repeated announcement of this song dropping. This single is the first we’ve heard of the mega-guitarist since his acclaimed stab at Country in 2013 (not counting his cover of Beyonce’s ‘XO). The ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ singer is back to his usual ways with his new single, well almost. The drum-tempo and guitar-strumming sounds like classic Mayer, however his vocal melody and production have remnants of his Country-exploration. Mixing the two genres is far from a bad thing as the romance song is a tranquil piece that reminds you that after 15 years of making music, Mayer has still got it. His seventh album is definitely one to look out for.

[Read more…]

Local News March 16th

Edinburgh flat prices

The introduction of the second-home tax next month are making investors and landlords snap up flats in Edinburgh. While new figures show an overall drop in flat prices across Scotland, prices in Edinburgh have skyrocketed over the last three months.

Most congested city

A8 through Corstorphine has been named most congested road in the UK outside London. A new study suggests that drivers using a 5 mile stretch of road between Princes Street and Maybury Road waste on average 43 hours a year in gridlock. 5pm on Tuesdays has been specified as the peak of congestion. Liberal-Democrat councillor Paul Edie says plans for major housing developments in the west of the city means more traffic for the A8.

Oxgangs primary school closed again

Oxgangs primary school, where a part of the wall blew off during Storm Gertrude in January, has been closed again. Edinburgh City Council said the decision was taken following a safety inspection. The school is set to reopen after the Easter holidays on Monday 11 April.

23rd Edition of the Italian Film Festival

by Giulia Maccagli and Koldo Sandoval

edinburgh_filmhouse_home_of_the_edinburgh_international_film_festival_620_414_80_s

The 23rd edition of the Italian Film Festival comes at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh, this year.

The Festival, running from the 4th until the 17th of March, has venues in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, and Inverness.

At the Festival, there is the best of the “cinema italiano”, currently on a high with the global and awarded success of Paolo Sorrentino, “Youth”.

Alongside established directors’ names, such as Sergio Castellitto, Cristina Comencini, and Gabriele Salvatores, there are also new film directors, as Edoardo Falcone and Laura Bispuri.

The Festival will see on its screen renown Italian  actors, as Valeria Golino, Elio Germano, and Jasmine Trinca.

This year the Festival has a special focus on Luchino Visconti, an Italian theater, opera, cinema director, and screen-writer, in the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his death.

The 23rd edition of the Italian Film Festival is also welcomed by the Italian Government’s new support to the film industry with an investment of £300 million a year.

 

British Art Show 8 in Edinburgh

Edinburgh University Old College Quad quad, after refurbishment.

By Laurenci Dow & Paloma Ferreira

The British Art Show 8 is a touring exhibition that provides a vital overview of the most exciting contemporary art. This year it tours the work of over 40 artists to four cities across the UK, Edinburgh being one of the chosen UK cities. Three venues across Edinburgh will be housing different exhibitions with free admission to all of them. The show will be hosted in Edinburgh from the 13th of February to the 8th of May. The public is welcome to can access information regarding opening times and visitor information for each gallery from this website: http://britishartshow8.com/page/about-exhibition-1514.Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 15.02.50

Our art correspondent Laurenci Dow reports from the Talbot Rice Gallery, featuring the following artists: ÅbäkeLawrence Abu HamdanBenedict DrewRyan GanderMelanie GilliganHayley Tompkins and Eileen Simpson and Ben White.

Visit the gallery website for more information: Talbot Rice Gallery.

 

Edinburgh voted world’s fourth most beautiful city

Edinburgh_from_Calton_Hill_with_Dugald_Stewart_Monument_3

A view of Edinburgh from Calton Hill

 

By Anthie Parisi & Giulia Maccagli

Edinburgh has been voted the fourth most beautiful city in the world, coming just behind the renown European cities of Paris, Florence, and Rome.

The Scottish capital was ranked fourth in a Rough Guide poll of its readers.

The Rough Guide said of the city: “It’s famed for its excellent annual festival, but there is more to Edinburgh than great comedy and arts – and according to our readers, it’s beauty.”

 

 

 

Culture, architecture, nature (Arthur’s seat, S. Giles Cathedral and the Castle, just to name some) blend together making Edinburgh a magical city to visit or live in.

Edinburgh scientists given multi-million pound physics funding

By Abbey Fleming

A group of physicists at The University of Edinburgh has been awarded £3 million which will allow them to take the next steps in investigating the Higgs boson particle.

It is hoped that the research will help to clarify three main areas of particle physics and help to answer some of the ‘outstanding mysteries of our universe,’ say professors at the university.

Dr Victoria Martin said: ‘By supporting our team of academics, researchers, engineers and technicians, we can take the next steps in investigating the Higgs boson particle, and in answering some outstanding mysteries of our universe, such as the existence of dark matter and how to incorporate the force of gravity into theories of quantum mechanics.’

This funding will allow members of staff, research fellows and PhD students to travel to and spend time in Geneva, working with the Large Hadron Collider over the next four years.

PhD Students working on the experiments are expected to spend between a year and 18 months in Geneva as part of the research team, made possible by the new grant.

Professor Franz Muheim, of the university’s school of physics said:  ‘Over the next few years, Edinburgh physicists are looking forward to recording and analysing even larger data samples with the ATLAS and LHCb experiments.

‘Hopefully, this will allow us to shed light on three of the major unsolved questions about how nature works, namely the origin of mass, dark matter and the asymmetry between matter and antimatter.’

The funding is part of a share of £72 million that has been distributed among a further 17 groups of UK researchers, who the Edinburgh physicists will work alongside.

 

 

Unusual Christmas Markets on Sunday

By Ari Brynjolfsson.

Three ‘quirky’ Christmas markets will open this Sunday (13th December) in Edinburgh, according to events magazine Time Out.

In addition to the regular festive market, Edinburgh Printmakers will have a Christmas Market at their shop on Union Street, near Leith Walk.

The half-centennial fine art shop will offer a  variety of jewellery in addition to prints, books and textiles from local artisans.

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, Britain’s largest vintage fair, will host their Christmas Market in the Assembly Rooms on George Street.

In addition to vintage fashion, they also offer accessories, menswear, home wares and beauty products.

A spokesperson from the vintage shop said: ‘We’re going all out, bringing even more affordable vintage traders from our troupe to get you stocked-up with vintage. Traders will be showcasing some of their best new season stock.’

The Summerhall Christmas Market, to be set up near The Meadows, has promised more stalls than ever before.

In addition to gifts and treats, there will be food from guest vendors, traditional mulled wine from the venue’s bar and Zoom club activities for children. The Summerhall Singers will provide live entertainment with festive songs.

 

 

Royal High hotel plan faces city officials’ rejection

by Jasmin Seidl

Planners urged councillors to reject the plans to transform the Royal High School into a luxury hotel, fearing it would damage the city’s World Heritage status.

The A-Listed Calton Hill site would see ‘Inca-style’ terraces on either side as part of the £75 million bid, expected before the planning committee next week.

‘The development would cause permanent and irreversible damage’, according to planning officials.

‘The adverse impacts on the character and setting of listed buildings, the New Town Conservation Area, the designed landscape of Calton Hill and the OUV of the World Heritage site would not be mitigated by the sophisticated design of the proposed extensions.

‘Put simply, too much building is being proposed for this highly sensitive site,’ planning officials added in a report addressed to the councillors.

Conservation bodies say the reconstruction would harm the character of the historic structure.

Alternatively the High School building might be the new home for St Mary’s Music School. The Music School project is also expected to be submitted to the council this week.

Edinburgh Napier News tried to get in contact with the city planners to have further comments, but no reply was given.

 

People’s comments:

Gordon Blackwood, 54, financial adviser, said: ‘Well, just because some experts said it would damage the landscape doesn’t mean they have to make something completely different. The hotel has been here in Edinburgh for a long time.’

Kate Davis, 29, hairdresser, said: ‘I would prefer a music school, because I don’t think we need a luxury hotel here. I think we should not destroy the landscape, because our children have to live in the world we are destroying right now.’

Andy Stewart, 32, IT-specialist, said: ‘I’d say the hotel should stay a hotel, it is a historical building and it would be sad to damage that.’

 

The neoclassical Royal High School was designed by Thomas Hamilton in 1826 and is one of the most valuable buildings of its style.

After the former boys’ school moved to Barnton, the edifice has been neglected for almost 50 years.

 

Edinburgh’s Santa Fun Run and Walk to take place this Sunday

By Abbey Fleming

Edinburgh’s annual Santa Fun Run and Walk will take place this Sunday 13th December to raise money for the charity When You Wish Upon A Star.

Fundraisers will don Santa costumes as they run, walk or stroll through a 2.5km circuit across West Princes Street Gardens.

Organisers say that being a runner is not a requirement to take part in the event and that anyone can get involved regardless of their athletic ability. The track is also suitable for wheelchairs, children in push chairs and dogs on leads.

Owning a Santa costume isn’t necessary as participants will be given a Santa suit on the day when registering.

The Santa Fun Run and Walk will raise money for the charity When You Wish Upon A Star, which takes hundreds of severely ill children to Lapland to meet Santa which the charity says allows the children to ‘swap hospital beds for sleigh rides’.

To take part, runners can either sign up in advance through the website or register on the day.

 

 

 

West Lothian welcome Small Business Saturday

West Lothian Council are encouraging residents to spend their money locally tomorrow as part of a campaign to support independent retailers.

Small Business Saturday is a UK non-commercial campaign which aims to promote local businesses and encourage shoppers to spend their money on the first Saturday in December.

The Council hope that the focus on independent firms will benefit business owners in the town centres of Armadale, Bathgate, Broxburn and Uphall, as well as Linlithgow and Whitburn.

Stuart McKinnon, Senior Public Affairs Advisor for the Federation of Small Business in Scotland said: “We know that independent businesses are part of the recipe for success in Scottish towns and communities.

“Especially in rural and remote Scotland, small firms create jobs and opportunities.

“Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for local people to support local business with the pounds in their pockets.”

Harry Ferguson, owner of Broxburn Bargain Centre welcomes the imitative, but said that his business is consistently supported by the community. He said: “Truthfully I don’t know much about Small Business Saturday, we’ve got an MP coming to fill us in about it but anything to support small independent business is a great idea.

“We need all the help we can get in this day and age. We have been here for 65 years so we have a lot of repeat customers.

“They look in the big retailers and they come back to us.”

Small Business Saturday will coincide with other events taking place across West Lothian that highlight independent, local businesses and their place in the community.

Whitburn’s Christmas Cracker event will be held at the Community Education Centre on Manse Road. It will include events for children and a festive market for gifts, food and drink. There will be a Santa Parade making its way to Whitburn Cross and the Civic Space for the Christmas lights finale.

Broxburn and Uphall’s Advent Fayre will take place this Saturday. There will be a Santa’s Grotto and market followed by the switching on of the Christmas lights at Broxburn Library.

Executive councillor for development and transport, Cathy Muldoon, said: “West Lothian is home to a number of truly unique and traditional towns and villages, many of which host a wide variety of small, high quality, specialist retailers, business services and stores.

“Small Business Saturday on 5 December is the perfect opportunity for local residents to show their support for such firms, which play a vital role in their communities and ensure our town and village centres remain vibrant places to visit, shop, work, live and be entertained in.

“The small boutiques and shops in West Lothian can lend a helping hand when it comes to picking that perfect unique gift for someone special, whilst local butchers and delicatessens can help create a great tasting, traditional Christmas lunch or dinner, as well as providing tasty nibbles and treats throughout those long, cold and wintry months.”

Last year’s Small Business Saturday saw 16.5 million people shop locally, spending a total of £504 million.

 

Tram line to be extended to Newhaven

Marianthi Parisi

Edinburgh’s tram line will extend down Leith Walk to Newhaven, councillors agreed yesterday.

The new three-mile line is estimated to cost £144.7m.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) and Labour backed the plan by 44 to 11 Conservative opposition votes.

While they agreed yesterday to extend the line, they will delay any further move until 10 December when the next council meeting will be held.

Lothian Buses will finance the project with approximately £20m. There are fears that investments will be reduced, and that there will be job cuts and fare rises.

The original project was the subject of many disputes mainly because it raised its price tag by £1m.

Labour council leader Andrew Burns told yesterday’s meeting he was “acutely aware” of the damage done to the city’s reputation by the previous problems with the tram project.

He said: “I am pleased we have been able to find a way forward for the project, which would deliver a range of key benefits in terms of economic growth, greater accessibility and the environment for Leith and the city as a whole.”

A team of four Labour and four SNP councillors has been appointed to handle the issue over the next three weeks.

They will meet at least twice a week between now and the council meeting in December.

An insider said: “They will make all the different inquiries and get all the information required so an informed decision can be made. Councillors with any misgivings can feed into that.”

Green and Liberal Democrat councillors voted with the coalition, but only on the understanding a decision on starting work on the extension would be made on 10 December.

However, the Conservatives argued the three-week delay would make no difference to the fundamentals of the issue.

Councillor Iain Whyte said: “The people of Edinburgh are angry – they feel they were ripped off during the last phase and they want to see us look after things for the city.

“We are being failed. The administration are not pressing officers hard enough to get value for money.”

The trams began running 18 months ago and currently terminate at York Place in the city centre.

 

Edinburgh Christmas Market Opens Today

Laurenci Dow

The annual Edinburgh Christmas Market launches today at 5pm and visitors can expect brand new attractions including a celebrity visit to switch on the festive lights.

Britain’s Got Talent finalist Susan Boyle will be in Edinburgh this Saturday night to flick the switch tomorrow on Light Night.

The Christmas Market has been a staple in the Edinburgh calendar for the past 20 years. However, this is only the second year that the festival will span from the Mound, through Prince’s Street and around the Scots Monument.

Event coordinator Underbelly said in a press release that due to last year’s enormous success the market will see an expansion to other parts of the city centre and more free events for the public.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam of Underbelly said: “This Christmas is all about lighting up Edinburgh, we’re very excited to be bringing the Street to Light and extending the success of Edinburgh’s Christmas Market into the Old Town.

“It’s a free event for up to 5,000 people a show, 250,000 in all.

“We hope it will show one of Scotland’s most famous streets in a whole new light and bring the whole community together to celebrate Christmas.

“A newly anticipated event this year is the Virgin Money Street of Light that will launch on the 29th of this month to coincide with St Andrew’s Day.”

The Virgin Money Street of Light is an architectural installation of over 60,000 lights stretching from the Royal Mile, to City Chambers ending at Tron Kirk.

Andrew Nicholson, Head of Sponsorship Marketing at Virgin Money, said: “The Virgin Money Street of Light is set to wow both residents and visitors to the city of Edinburgh.

“It will be free of charge following on in the tradition of the Fringe Street Events and we expect over a quarter of a million people to enjoy the show, which opens on St Andrew’s Day and runs until Christmas Eve.”

This free public event will include 1,300 local performers and is expecting a crowd of over 20,000 people.

The show will run for 25 days with two shows per day, one at 6.30pm and 8.15 pm, which each show running about 20 minutes.

 

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