The festive period saw some of the worst storms and flooding experienced in recent years. People across the Borders were shocked to see the impact on Eyemouth, Jedburgh and the surrounding areas, of the storms over the last few weeks.
The gale-force winds that battered the whole country caused serious disruption to travel and services in Berwickshire and elsewhere. And for the 5,000 or so Borders properties that lost power it was a difficult time.
Like other parliamentarians, I spoke to senior officials at the council regarding the clear up efforts and the role of the emergency services, volunteers and council officers. I joined with others in thanking everyone for their responses. I was also heartened by the general public response to the crisis and the way people looked out for their neighbours.
Let’s hope that the rest of the winter sees substantial improvement in the weather.
The Mesotholemia Bill
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. It is a “long-tail” disease - symptoms may not appear until decades after exposure - but when symptoms do appear, it is often rapidly terminal.
Earier this week MPs debated the remaining stages of the Mesothelioma Bill in the House of Commons, with the report stage and third reading of the Bill both taking place on Tuesday, having been through the committee debates in both the House of Lords and House of Commons.
This was the last stage in the House of Commons before the Bill moves to Royal Assent and passes into law and the last chance to table any amendments.
This Bill will ensure that newly diagnosed victims of mesothelioma - the aggressive and fatal cancer caused by asbestos - will receive help for the first time through a new support scheme.
The aggressive and terminal nature of this disease, coupled with the fact that we’re approaching a peak in cases in the coming years, makes it imperative that we get this legislation in place as soon as possible.
The funding package will award over £350 million over ten years to around 3,000 mesothelioma victims across the UK who have been prevented from claiming compensation because they cannot trace a liable employer or an employers’ liability insurer.
Claimants have to prove that their diagnosis post dates July 25, 2012.
This Bill shows that we live in a compassionate and caring society.
I hope that the Government continues to do everything it can to ensure that nobody is exposed to asbestos today or in the future.