Every week Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland writes a column for newspapers in his Borders constituency. Here’s this week’s edition.
As the new GDP figures point in the right direction and a return to growth, I am working with local business here in the Borders to ensure they receive the support and advice they need to grow and create jobs for local people. At the moment I am conducting a Business Survey to assist me in this work and I want to encourage any business in Berwickshire which has not yet received one of these surveys to contact my office on 01896 663650 or [email protected].
I know that uncertainty surrounding Scotland’s future is a key concern for local companies and at a CBI reception in the Scotland Office last week I outlined my view that it is better for Borders and Scots businesses for Scotland to remain in the UK. This is because as part of the UK, Scotland benefits from a single market and a common currency and we benefit from influence in international organisations and the pooling of risk when economic shocks, like the banking crisis occur. It is for these reasons and many others that I will be campaigning passionately for Scotland to remain in the UK and I firmly believe that this is what Scots will vote for.
Berwickshire High School
I regularly get invited to local schools across the Borders to talk about my work as local MP and Secretary of State and answer any questions the students might have. These are always very enjoyable experiences and it’s great to see local young people engaged and asking, sometimes quite challenging, questions! My visit to Berwickshire High School last week to take part in a S2 Modern Studies class was another of these lively discussions and it was great to hear about the key issues which concern young people here in Berwickshire.
Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum
Last week I also took part in the Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum annual conference in North Berwick. During the meeting, we discussed a wide range of issues which affect rural areas like Berwickshire such as high energy costs, lack of decent broadband and concerns surrounding welfare reform. During my speech I was pleased to be able to commend the Berwickshire Housing Association for their pro-active, constructive engagement with me as local MP and their innovative approach to the challenges and opportunities they face. I meet regularly with BHA and they always provide me with invaluable insights into policy issues, beyond housing itself, and I very much value the relationship I have with them. In closing, I affirmed to the conference my commitment to continue to work in Government to promote the needs of rural communities like Berwickshire.