Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

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

A Stronger Economy 

Last week, I welcomed the announcement of the strongest GDP growth figures since before the financial crisis began in 2007, with the UK growing by 0.7% in the last financial quarter and 1.9% throughout the whole of 2013.  Growth is vital for our prosperity so this is a really important development.

We have also seen the inflation rate dropping to 2% from a peak of 5.2% in September 2011, decreasing unemployment and both the World Bank and the IMF indicating they expect higher global economic growth in 2014.

However, despite the good news, we still have a lot of work to do as many people across the Borders are still being stretched.  The economy is on the right track, but the challenge now is to broaden out the recovery through stimulating local business investment and encouraging more Borders companies to export.

Scottish Independence and the Currency Question 

The Scottish Government’s claim that it could continue to use the Pound Sterling in the event of independence was dealt a blow last week after Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, set out the complexities of a possible currency union in a speech in Edinburgh, where he stated that such an arrangement would require sound institutional foundations to be put in place.  The risks of not having the right structures after the Independence vote could result in problems similar to those currently experienced by the Eurozone countries.

At the very least, the Governor’s judgement on a currency union challenges the Scottish Government’s stance that this would somehow be straightforward and easy.  The need for tight budget and spending rules would clearly limit an independent Scotland’s room for manoeuvre.

Opting to be independent within a currency union would represent a very constrained form of independence, since the ability to manage our economy would be limited.  There is one clear message from last week’s thoughtful speech by Mr Carney – the failings of the Eurozone show that to have a successful monetary union you require fiscal and political union.  That is precisely what we have here as the United Kingdom.

Burns Night

I had the pleasure of spending Burns Night in Alnwick with my good friend and neighbouring Lib Dem MP Sir Alan Beith.  I hope that everyone across the Borders had a wonderful night celebrating the life and poetry of the Robert Burns, as well as all things Scottish.

* 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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2 Comments

  • David Evans 5th Feb '14 - 11:07am

    I think Caractacus’ comments are what Michael is really saying, it’s just that C puts a big emphasis on Michael’s the right track and misses his important point about there being a lot to do and the effects on the Borders. I think the underlying message from both is that “Fairer economy. Stronger society” (ultimately leading to a Stronger economy) is want we should be aiming for.

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