Michael Moore: Borders firms should export

Borders MP Michael Moore

Borders MP Michael Moore

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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.

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.

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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.