Michael Needham for Leaderdale and Melrose.

Michael Needham

Date: 31/01/2021 Press Release: Scottish Green Party Candidate for Leaderdale and Melrose

Scottish Green Party Candidate for Leaderdale and Melrose Michael Needham has been selected as Scottish Green Party candidate for the Leaderdale and Melrose by-election on March 11.  This will be a strange election campaign with a lot of the normal election activities not being possible for health and safety reasons.  Michael still hopes to engage with the local community and would welcome the Community Councils in the ward hosting an online hustings for all of the candidates. 
Michael joined the Scottish Green Party several years ago after reflecting on a future with the impact of climate change, war, nuclear and pollution as key national and global concerns.
Locally, however, the immediate priority is helping the Leaderdale and Melrose community to a Green recovery following the impacts of Covid-19 and considering how the new normal should develop.  Continuing to work from home will be good for the environment but may result in mental health impacts on people who still need interaction with colleagues. 
Travel in the Borders is still a necessity for many and the national drive towards electric and hybrid vehicles is great, but there also needs to be the growing infrastructure to support it.  Michael would push the local authority towards increasing car charging provision.  He would also aim to protect and improve local bus and train services throughout the Borders and ensure that the operators continue to work towards restoring full or improved timetables following the restrictions. 
Saving the high street has become an increasingly important issue as many businesses are coming towards the end of the current help and support measures to adapt to restrictions imposed during Covid-19.  People should be encouraged to help save the High Street by shopping locally from the many local, independent businesses who have adapted to the current challenges by offering home delivery and other innovative solutions. 
Other key local issues are: unemployment, which has always been more challenging in the Borders, together with people typically earning lower wages; the impact of new housing on local services should be considered alongside builders meeting their quotas on provision of low-cost housing.
Michael is from Galashiels, has lived most of his life in the Borders and works in the Contact Centre industry; like many others he is currently working from home.  He is an acting co-lead trade union rep and has been involved in local union and national campaigning to make firing people to re-hire the same people on lesser terms and conditions illegal.  Michael is a disability champion within the global organisation he works for and is involved in union policy change with a speech planned at congress relating to disability discrimination.  Michael is also a member of the Scottish Green TUC group and CND.
Michael can be contacted by emailing borders@scottishgreens.org.uk