Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Snow near St Abbs - Some rights reserved by Effervescing ElephantEvery week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

State pension

In my column last week I touched upon the Government’s plans, announced by Lib Dem Pensions Minister Steve Webb, to introduce a single tier State Pension of £144 in 2017. The new pension will mean that the self-employed and those with caring responsibilities no longer miss out on support in retirement and those who have saved will no longer be penalised by means-testing. Here in the Borders, there are many people who work for themselves or spend a significant part of their working life caring for children or elderly or disabled relatives. The contribution they make to society is just as valuable as those who are in employment, so it is great news that they will receive proper recognition and support when they retire.

Weather

The weather has been very challenging in the Borders over the past week with snow causing disruption for local transport, public services and businesses. I know that the Council and other agencies are working hard to keep roads open and safe for users and I want to thank them for all they are doing. This is an especially tough time for farmers as they look after their livestock and the elderly as they often feel trapped by the snow and ice and it is good to see neighbour helping neighbour in these tough conditions.

A legal referendum

Last week both the House of Commons and the House of Lords passed the legislation to enable the Scottish Parliament to hold a legal referendum on Scottish independence. There was a lively debate in both Houses.

Now that the legislation has passed I look forward to all of us getting on with the ‘great debate’ over the future of Scotland – whether it is better to go it alone, or remain in the UK. There are some who wish to fast forward past this debate and head straight into negotiations but I believe this is putting the cart before the horse. We need to hear the arguments from both sides, let people in Scotland decide and only then, if Scotland voted for independence – which I don’t think we will – negotiations would begin.

This is why I am urging those who support independence to bring forward a detailed proposal of what they would hope to achieve through negotiations. The people of Scotland need to know what independence would mean for jobs, nation security, welfare and for families and communities across the country. From the pro-UK side, the UK Government will be publishing the first of its evidence-based papers in February outlining how Scotland benefits from being part of the UK.

Duns Court

Ever since I heard of the Scottish Courts Service (SCS) plans back in 2011 to close the court in Duns, I have been extremely concerned about the effect this would have on local access to justice. The consultation on its proposals closed in December and the SCS is currently considering the responses and is due to report this spring. The Scottish Parliament will then make the final decision on any closures.

A number of my constituents in Berwickshire have contacted me recently expressing their opposition to these plans and I have written to the Justice Secretary to pass on their concerns and my own. Here in the Borders, as a rural area, we depend on our local services and the loss of this court would be a huge blow for the area. This is why I am urging the Justice Secretary to ensure this closure does not go ahead.

* Michael Moore was the Liberal Democrat MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk from 1997-2015 and Secretary of State for Scotland from 2010-2013.

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds, Parliament and Scotland.
Advert

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDJ 26th Jun - 7:53pm
    "Losing our remaining MP in Ceredigion" - didn't he have to distance himself from his campaign days before the vote? Lib Dems don't often get...
  • User AvatarMike 26th Jun - 7:49pm
    'The Tory welfare cuts, which Corbyn and his allies are proposing to implement', and to hammer on that theme as if it isn't even contested...
  • User AvatarDJ 26th Jun - 7:41pm
    When the SNP threatened the rule of Westminster Scotland was granted further powers and it was granted the attention it deserved by the B(ritish)BC. Now...
  • User AvatarNick Baird 26th Jun - 7:30pm
    While I see plenty of scope for Brexit being a harmful disaster for the UK, all of this post assumes that the Government of the...
  • User AvatarGeorge Kendall 26th Jun - 7:26pm
    @Mike Thanks for the comment. I'm afraid there's been so many contradictory statements about Labour's welfare policy that I don't think we can look to...
  • User AvatarJohn King 26th Jun - 7:25pm
    Yes I think point 2 is an especially good one, Christian. Brexit is a fad, an eccentric idea based on pure fantasy. It was previously...
Sat 1st Jul 2017