A day to connect with our armed forces

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It was Armed Forces Day last Saturday – an opportunity to remember those who have died in the service of our country and thank those men and women who continue to serve in extremely challenging conditions across the world.

I was pleased to be able to hold a reception in the Scotland Office in Edinburgh on Friday with members of our Scottish Armed Forces to commemorate the day.

In the Borders we have a strong connection to our armed forces and I know that over the weekend many will have taken part in services of thanksgiving.

Boosting the economy

Last week the Chancellor held his spending review and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury gave a statement on infrastructure spending.

In both statements I welcomed moves to boost the UK economy which will benefit businesses in the Borders.

It was encouraging to see the progress the Government is making on the economy despite the terrible economic situation left for us by the previous Labour administration.

The action we have taken has reduced the public spending shortfall by a third, the number of people in work is up by 914,000 since 2010 and interest rates have been kept at near record lows, which is good for Borders businesses and families.

I regularly meet businesses in this region to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face, and poor transport links and lack of decent broadband are often cited as key obstacles to growth. As local MP I have been campaigning on these issues for many years, so it was great to hear last week that the UK Government will be investing in the A1 north of Newcastle and in high-speed broadband.

Although improvements to the A1 will be south of the border, this is still an important route for Borders businesses trading into England and I know it will provide a much-needed boost to our transport links.

Now I want to see the Scottish Government match this investment and dual the A1 in Scotland to bring these benefits closer to home.

The UK Government also announced plans to invest an additional £250million in high-speed broadband across the UK. This funding is on top of £100.8million which has already been announced to deliver better broadband for Scotland. This money will directly benefit rural areas like the Borders as the Government works to reach 99 per cent high-speed broadband coverage across the UK by 2018.

Surgeries

My next advice surgery is in Hawick on July 12.

If you would like to attend, phone my office on 01896 663650.