Voicing separation and wind farm fears

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Every year since I was first elected I have carried out a summer surgery tour, where I visit 70 towns and villages across the Borders to listen to people’s concerns.

This year I had more than 300 people attend. There are always a myriad of different topics that are brought up, but this year the main issues seemed to concern the spread of wind farms over our countryside and the SNP’s plans for separation.

If you were unable to catch me on my tour this year then I will be restarting my usual schedule of surgeries soon and in the meantime you can visit my constituency office in Hawick High Street.

ELDERLY RESIDENTS

This summer has so far seen some incredibly-hot weather, with temperatures frequently reaching the high 20s.

Weather snaps can frequently catch more elderly residents off guard, with many of them unable to take proper precautions. Some can become over-exposed to the sun, and may fail to take on the required increased level of food and drink.

That is why I would urge all Borders residents to check in on their elderly friends, relatives and neighbours over the coming weeks.

OIL PROJECTIONS

The Scottish Government’s plans for separation were dealt a huge blow recently as the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) released the North Sea oil revenue projections for the coming years.

They not only showed that oil revenues fell last year, but also predicted that North Sea oil and gas receipts were on a long-term downward trend. This was in stark contrast to the claims of a “second oil boom” for Scotland. One of the separatists’ main economic arguments for breaking away from the rest of the UK is based on increasing oil and gas revenues.

However, these statistics prove that this will not be the case, and it leaves a huge hole in the SNP’s plans. Even based on their most optimistic estimates, it would leave a separate Scotland with a deficit of £8billion.

I believe this provides more evidence as to why we are better staying as part of the UK. Due to the UK economy being larger, we are more able to deal with the volatility of oil and gas revenues.

NHS LOCUM STAFF

I have recently voiced concern over the increasing amount of money being spent by NHS Borders on locum staff.

Statistics showed that spending on staff to temporarily work in a local hospital or practice had doubled in the last two years to more than £1.2million.

This rise is due to short-staffing caused by massive cuts to the number of nurses and it is time for the Scottish health secretary to take action to see this bill reduced.