Berwickshire residents have given their political representatives a very clear message - the county isn’t getting its fair share of public investment.
Over and over again residents who spoke to MP John Lamont and MSP Rachael Hamilton as they visited 84 Borders towns and village on their summer surgery tour, told them that decisions about public services are being made far away and Berwickshire feels like it has been forgotten.
Speaking at the end of the tour, Conservative MP Mr Lamont said: “We received the very clear message that residents feel they are not always getting their fair share of public investment.
“It’s understandable when you look at other projects going on elsewhere in the Borders, that people in Berwickshire are frustrated that they still don’t have their station in Reston, the A1 dualled, or decent broadband.”
Ms Hamilton added: “I thoroughly enjoyed visiting all the villages and towns around the Borders to hear what the main issues are for our local communities.
“Many raised connectivity issues across Berwickshire. Businesses need good broadband provision, especially in more remote areas. I will continue to apply pressure on the Scottish Government to ensure that the situation improves and that a station at Reston is delivered. Too many people in Berwickshire said they didn’t feel that Berwickshire was being heard and that needs to change.”
Conservative leader of Scottish Borders Council, Shona Haslam, said: “I couldn’t agree more. Certain areas of the Borders have missed out in the past. But the new Conservative led administration is working hard to secure more investment throughout the Borders.
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We have had significant success to date with the Edinburgh and City Regions Deal, the South of Scotland Enterprise Area and the Borderlands deal that is in the pipeline.
“I am very passionate about ensuring that these initiatives have benefit from West Linton to Eyemouth and from Newcastleton to Longformacus.
“As politicians it is vital that we continue to listen to communities. The area partnerships established in the last year are key to this as well as the East Berwickshire economic regeneration group that is just beginning its work.”
“Having a joint approach between council, MP and MSP has been key to ensuring that the future is very different from the past, and together we will be working to deliver key projects such as Reston station and improved broadband.”
Speaking at the end of the tour, John Lamont MP said: “It is always great to speak with constituents in their local communities and I was surprised by the number of people who turned up.
“I think it’s really important for politicians to be accessible to voters and to find time to visit each and every community they represent, which is why it was important to me to have as many stops as possible. While I’m always contactable by email or phone, nothing beats a face-to-face chat sometimes.”