Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore MP writes a weekly column for newspapers in his constituency. Here’s the latest edition.

The Economy

 The economy remains the most important concern for people in my constituency and last week’s employment figures were a reminder of the challenging economic climate and that getting people into work is the UK Government’s first priority for Scotland.

We are doing all we can to get people working by laying the foundations for more sustainable growth and creating the conditions for businesses to invest in good quality jobs. By reducing corporation tax and making tough decisions on public spending to keep interests low, we are helping businesses thrive and protecting families.

Our primary goal as a Government is to get young people into employment and last week I chaired the first National Convention on Youth Employment in Dundee. This followed on from the Youth Unemployment Seminar I held in the Borders last summer. At the Convention, we brought together Ministers from both the UK and Scottish Governments with public and private sector organisations to discuss how we can work together to help young Scots break into the job market.

In order to help young people into work, the UK Government is also introducing a Youth Contract, worth almost £1bn, to provide work experience and work placements to young people across the UK. Providing our young people with these opportunities is absolutely vital, so I am encouraging our local businesses to take part in the Youth Contract and enable local young people to gain the skills and experience they need to get a job.

The Budget

 At the time of writing, the UK Government’s budget has not yet been announced so I can’t directly comment on the Chancellor’s plans. What I do know, however, is that the Coalition Government’s priority in the budget is to create a fairer tax system. We will achieve this by providing tax cuts to the majority of working people and ensuring the richest pay their fair share.

We have already made significant headway on this in Government, lifting more than 800,000 working people out of income tax last year with this figure rising to 1 million next month. We have also given 23 million working people a £200 tax cut, with thousands of Borderers receiving an additional £130 this April. Furthermore, we are tackling tax avoiders, taxing the banks by an extra £2.5bn every year and raising capital gains tax so a banker no longer pays less tax than their cleaner.

In order to reduce the public spending deficit left to us by the previous Government and put the country back on a stable economic, we have certainly had to make some tough decisions. However through our tax reforms we are ensuring that the lower paid receive the tax breaks, not the bankers and millionaires.

* 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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