My colleagues in the Scottish Parliament have been making the case for extending child care provision in Scotland for some time.
So the fact that from August 2014 thousands of two-year-olds in Scotland will be entitled a free childcare place for 15 hours a week is excellent news for families across the Borders.
This means that we now catch up with the situation in England where the Liberal Democrats have helped to deliver a similar plan for two years now. The Coalition Government’s efforts have received backing from global experts. We are determined to build a stronger economy and a fairer society; the new plan for childcare places for two-year-olds in Scotland is an affordable and effective way to make that happen.
This announcement shows that a strong Scottish Parliament inside the UK can deliver big results for people if we work together. The political battle of recent weeks highlights the dangers of the Scottish government focussing primarily on independence.
Last week it was announced that more Borders communities will be getting access to fibre broadband as part of BT’s rollout of superfast broadband. Alongside this there is the Superfast Britain programme which is funded through European Structural Funds, the UK government, the Scottish government and to be put in place by BT.
Scotland has been allocated over £100m, 20 percent of the UK government’s rural broadband budget, to deliver the widest possible coverage for fast and reliable fibre broadband.
For too long, people living rural areas have missed out on investment in broadband services and this has damaged businesses and been extremely frustrating for local people.
I am glad that as a result of EU, UK, Scottish and Local Government funding and investment from BT, we will begin to see vastly improved broadband in the Borders over the next few years.
Hearing Loss and sight impairment are major public health issues. It is imperative that Governments do everything they can to break down the barriers faced by people who have hearing loss or visual impairment in accessing services, employment and education opportunities.
Last week, alongside local Liberal Democrat Borders MSP Jim Hume and other local representatives, I met with Delia Henry and her local colleagues from ‘Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’, as well as John Legge from RNIB Scotland, to be updated about the great work the two charities have done to help those affected here in the Borders.
One of the highlights for me was to meet the lip reading class from Duns - an inspiring group who are making a big difference to the lives of people here in Berwickshire.