Community spirit up and running at Stichill

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I attended (and competed) at the Stichill 10k at the end of June. Alongside the run, there was a family sports day, barbecue and hog roast.

Events like these show why the Borders is such a great place to live and work in. Relatively small communities – like the one at Stichill – are able to put on great local events which show the strength of community spirit in this region.

I want to thank all those involved in organising the day and hope to see it continue in the years to come.

After a tiring general election campaign I was also pleased to be able to come a respectable sixth in the race!

River Tweed

I have been less than impressed by the Scottish Government’s one-size-fits-all approach to wild fishing and current proposals for reform.

The SNP is consulting on wide-ranging changes, including the creation of a network of organisations to manage wild fishing, funded by a national levy.

At the moment the Tweed is managed by a commission, in exactly the type of way the government wants other wild fisheries to be managed. It is self-financing and sustainable, and, above all, democratic and accountable, with representatives from the council and others on the board.

Unfortunately the government is refusing to be flexible by exempting the Tweed from its proposed national system. This appears to be yet another example of the Central Belt-focused SNP applying a one-size-fits-all approach to rural areas.

These proposals will risk the future of the Tweed, which contributes millions to the local economy and supports the equivalent of 480 full-time jobs.

Budget

Many of the measures announced in the Budget will be good for Borderers – in particular, the new National Living Wage, which will rise to £9 per hour by 2020.

This will mean a pay rise for thousands of Borderers on low incomes.

Despite predictable protests from the nationalists, this Living Wage goes even further than what they were calling for, because it is higher and also compulsory. And people on low incomes will also be able to keep more of what they earn, because the personal threshold will continue to increase. In fact, within the next few years, someone on minimum wage, working 30 hours a week, won’t pay any income tax at all.

Summer Surgery Tour

My summer surgery tour runs until August 3, taking in 70 communities across the Borders.

The dates are on my website, so if there is an issue I might be able to help with, please come along to any of them. No appointment is necessary.