Crowning 60 years of national service

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Last week the Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne since her coronation in 1953.

She has been a dedicated servant of the nation throughout these years and I am sure everyone in the Borders will want to join me in congratulating her on reaching this milestone. It was a real pleasure to meet representatives from the Borders in Dover House who had travelled to London for the thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey.

Referendum

As the independence referendum debate gathers pace, I have taken part in a number of discussions locally and nationally in recent weeks.

First of all I had the debate with Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on STV and then I attended the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce discussion at the end of last month. With the first I was extremely disappointed that it was not aired on ITV Border, and have raised this with ITV and STV at the highest level.

It is vital that the two broadcasters work together to ensure we get the best possible coverage in the Borders, and I am glad to see that ITV is currently showing STV’s Road to Referendum series.

As part of the referendum discussion, the UK Government also recently produced the third paper in our “Scotland Analysis” series which, this time, outlines the implications of Scottish independence on financial services and banking.

The financial services sector remains one of the most important industries in Scotland and the rest of the UK, and the paper sets out that as part of the UK, firms and individuals benefit from a strong tax and regulatory environment and a large, integrated domestic market.

It is clear that the current arrangements allow Scottish firms and individuals to benefit from this shared risk and shared market, while being able to benefit from the historic strengths of the Scottish financial sector.

The paper therefore sets out that in an independent Scotland this position would be put at risk because it would split this integrated domestic market into two separate markets, subject to separate legal and regulatory regimes. This could create additional difficulties for financial services firms and increase costs for Borders households and businesses in areas like pensions, ISAs and insurance.

Surgeries

I continue to hold regular advice surgeries across the Borders which are an opportunity for my constituents to come and discuss any concerns they wish to bring to my attention.

My next surgery is in Galashiels on June 22. If you would like to attend please phone my office on 01896 663650 to make an appointment.