SNP must make a case for justice centre

0
Have your say

Recently at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament justice committee, I asked the chief executive of the Scottish Court Service about the impact of setting up a justice centre in Galashiels.

The idea was mooted as an alternative by some in the SNP after they decided to close half of the courts in the region.

However, the Scottish Court Service said that any new justice centre could lead to the closure of even more local courts. This would leave us with just one court serving our whole region, and would only further the problems already being caused by closing Duns and Peebles courts.

It is time for those in the SNP who support the justice centre idea to explain why they think it is beneficial.

CHILD OBESITY

Figures published recently showed that 13.7 per cent of children entering Primary 1 in the Borders are overweight, with 5.3 per cent considered obese.

Both of these figures are higher than the previous year’s. The early years of a child’s life can have a huge impact on their future development and it is important that we try to give them the best start in life as possible.

This is clearly not the case for these children at the moment and we have a duty to offer advice to parents on how best to provide their children with a balanced diet and be more active.

WIND FARMS

As the SNP continues to try and have as many wind turbines sited as possible in a drive to hit its overly-ambitious energy targets, research by Scottish Natural Heritage shows that they are now visible from 35.6 per cent of Scotland.

This is nearly a 16 per cent increase and while wind energy does have a role to play in our electricity generation, it cannot be allowed to continue to spread at its current rate. The Borders is renowned for having some of the most beautiful countryside in Scotland and we must protect it from being spoilt.

REFERENDUM COVERAGE

Concerns have been raised over whether TV viewers in the Borders would receive enough information regarding the independence referendum in the lead-up to the vote.

I was therefore pleased to read that ITV has pledged to offer full and extensive coverage of the debate during the coming months.

The referendum on whether or not we should split from the rest of the United Kingdom will be one of the most important decisions that Scots have made in 300 years. It is vital that it is an informed debate and that we give voters all the facts before they make their decision – and I am confident that the argument in favour of staying in the UK is far stronger than that of separation.