More powers for Scotland

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A few weeks ago, the people of Scotland voted decisively to remain in the UK and now, as local MP, I am committed to working across the political divide to deliver more powers for Scotland as promised.

Last week, I was pleased to be selected to attend cross-party talks led by Lord Smith of Kelvin as part of his Scottish Devolution Commission.

The aim of the commission will be to set out recommendations of further devolution for Scotland by the end of this November. In the talks, I will be making the case for the Liberal Democrats’ vision of Home Rule, where Scotland has greater control over taxes, welfare and spending, and still enjoys the protection and strength that come from being part of the United Kingdom.

I know that many people were concerned that the promise for more powers would fall by the wayside after a No vote. Lord Smith’s commission will assure people that this is absolutely not the case as we work together to deliver these powers.

Grocery Code Adjudicator

Last week, I organised for the Supermarket Ombudsman, Christine Tacon, to visit the Borders and meet with farmers and food suppliers so she could hear their concerns about the supply chain and supermarkets. The Ombudsman was established by the Coalition Government after farmers and suppliers across the country complained about the unscrupulous behaviour of some supermarkets who pay below-cost prices to farmers for their produce and fail to honour contracts.

Farmers can now complain directly to the ombudsman who can investigate their concerns anonymously and hold supermarkets to the Grocery Code of Conduct.

Christine and I visited Born in the Borders in Jedburgh and we met a group of farmers at Swans Auction. Both meetings were extremely useful for the local farmers and producers involved, and I look forward to continuing to work with Christine and local suppliers to ensure that Borders farmers are treated fairly by supermarkets.

Armed Police

After a sustained campaign from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, I welcomed the statement from Police Scotland last week which announced that armed police officers would no longer be deployed on routine duties, only to firearms incidents or where there is a threat to life. This is a victory for common sense and I am glad that the concerns of people in the Borders and across Scotland have finally been heeded by the Justice Secretary.

advice surgeries

Last week I held the last of my community advice surgeries across the Borders; in total I have visited more than 50 communities over the summer. As their local MP, it has been good to be able to take up their cases whether at the local council, local housing associations or at the Department for Work and Pensions. From tomorrow, I will resume my regular advice surgeries in Hawick and the week after I will be in Galashiels.

You can find out more about these surgeries on my website or call my office on 01896 663650 to make an appointment.