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.
Over the past weekend, Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, visited the Borders to speak at our local Lib Dem annual dinner and meet with businessmen and women from across the area.
On Saturday, we spent the morning at John Seed’s farm near Duns looking at the work he is doing, with his family, to diversify the farm and transform the way it generates and uses energy. It is hugely impressive to see the scale of what they have achieved through biomass and other initiatives. (Photo shows John Seed, Vince, his wife Rachel Smith, Mike Moore and Steve Jones)
Next, Vince and I met with a small group of Borders businessmen and women to discuss the challenges and opportunities that diversified farm businesses are currently facing. From issues such as bank lending to red tape, each member of the group raised their particular concerns and it was certainly a productive discussion. It was good to have the chance to show off some of our finest farms businesses and I will continue to work with Vince beyond this visit to get the best deal for Borders businesses.
Later in the day, Vince spoke at our Borders Liberal Democrats’ annual dinner. It was a great evening and it was good to hear Vince’s thoughts on the economy, the Coalition and the future of the UK. Vince is a hugely respected economist and politician and in his speech he emphasised his commitment to strengthening the economy and promoting fairness in his work as Business Secretary.
Another speech took place last week, of course. Down in London it was the Queen’s Speech at the opening of Parliament. This time, her Speech outlined the Government’s commitment to boosting the economy and promoting fairness. As part of our plans to boost the economy, the Speech announced the National Insurance Contributions Bill, which will see every business and charity from April 2014 be entitled to a £2,000 Employment Allowance. This will support small businesses in hiring their first employee or expanding their workforce and will benefit around 1,800 businesses in the Borders.
Introducing fairer pensions is one of the Lib Dem’s top priorities in Government and we have already restored the earnings link to ensure we never again see the paltry 75p rises we had under Labour. In another step towards fairer pensions, the Government outlined its plans in the Speech to introduce a Bill for a simple, flat rate, decent pension. This will mean that Borderers will know what they will receive when they retire and ensure that those who have taken time out of work to care for children no longer lose out.
* Michael Moore was the Liberal Democrat MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk from 1997-2015 and Secretary of State for Scotland from 2010-2013.