Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Better Together

Last week the UK Government published its second Scotland Analysis paper, this time analysing the currency options for an independent Scotland. It set out four main currency choices: firstly, negotiating a formal sterling currency union with the continuing UK; secondly, adopting the pound without the formal consent of the continuing UK; thirdly, joining the euro area; or fourthly introducing an independent Scottish currency.

The paper sets out that all of these options would not be as good for Scotland or the rest of the UK as our current arrangements because of the way they would alter the financial and economic position of both countries. These options would also not be in the best interests of Scots businesses and families who greatly benefit from the UK’s closely integrated economy for their incomes, mortgages, loans and trade.

The crisis in the eurozone, has also shown that the first option, a formal sterling-zone, as proposed by the SNP, would be difficult to sustain without close fiscal integration. Such an arrangement seems to defeat the whole purpose of independence as it would deny Scotland the control over its currency and important financial levers which the pro-independence parties demand. As a Scot, I want the best possible deal for Scotland and I am absolutely convinced, as the paper concludes, that remaining in the UK provides this. As part of the UK, we benefit from the shared risk and opportunities from a 60 million strong economy while being able to take the decisions on health, education and policing which suit our needs. This is why I will be campaigning passionately for us to remain in the UK in the lead up to the 2014 referendum.

Community Fuel Buying Groups

I know that many people who are off the main gas grid have struggled with rising fuel prices in recent years. To help them get a better deal on their fuel bills, especially as prices rise, it seems that setting up fuel buying groups is an excellent way of doing this. There are groups already set up in the Ettrick and Yarrow valley and Chirnside and last week I held a meeting with community councillors, Scottish Borders Council and other local stakeholders to discuss how we could see more such groups set up across the region. The meeting was very productive and it was good to see enthusiasm among the attendees for launching more community buying groups.

Consultation on ITV Borders

This week the consultation on the future of ITV Border closed. I am confident many responses will have outlined a preference for Borders-focussed news and current affairs programming. Speaking to local people over the years I know that the vast majority of Borderers enjoy the ITV service but want to see a return to the pre-2009 provision which was Borders relevant. I hope that following the consultation, Ofcom take the decision which is best for the Borders to ensure we have an improved, local service.

 

 

 

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

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This entry was posted in Op-eds, Parliament and Scotland.
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