Last week I started my community advice surgeries where my constituents can come and discuss with me any concerns or problems they may have.
These are a great opportunity to catch up with constituents and we discussed issues from broadband to the Common Agricultural Policy. These surgeries will continue into late September so feel free to call my office on 01896 663650 for more information.
It was a great privilege to attend the Flodden ceremonies at Coldstream a few weeks ago and the calvacade and service on Branxton Hill were, as ever, moving and powerful. It felt all the more poignant in light of the World War One commemorations, to remember the thousands of Scots who died at Flodden and the communities which were devastated by the battle.
I was pleased to hear last week that unemployment has fallen again in the Borders, with a drop of 377 people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) compared to July last year. This means that the JSA claimant rate in the Borders stands at 2.9% with 1338 people in the Borders receiving the support.
Despite the tough economic climate in recent years it’s encouraging to see that businesses in the Borders are growing in confidence and creating jobs. There is still a lot more to be done though with over a thousand Borderers still out of work. I will continue to work with the local council and businesses to ensure local people can gain the skills to break into the job market.
To this end, I attended the Scottish Borders Business Forum where we discussed the key issues which are preventing local businesses from growing and how we can work together to tackle these issues. Concerns around broadband provision and finance for small businesses were raised and as local MP I remain committed to working with the forum and others to bring the best services to Borders and ensure businesses receive the support they need.
It’s less than a month until we cast the most important vote of our lives and with the various debates that have been aired on television I hope that everyone feels better equipped with the facts they need to decide how they should vote.
Treasury figures published recently, again confirm how important the single, integrated UK market is to jobs in Scotland. The figures show that 10% of Scots jobs, nearly a quarter of a million, depend on the single market and this includes 10,000 in agriculture forestry and fishing. Independence would end this single market and create barriers between Scotland and the rest of the UK.