Referendum roadshow moves up a gear

I have been working to ensure that we debate Scottish independence in the Borders before making one of the most important decisions of our lifetimes.

I know many people feel ill-informed as to what is at stake, so a few months ago I launched a series called the Road to Referendum. These local meetings held across the Borders are an opportunity for people to discuss and debate the question of Scottish independence. I have added a few extra dates to this series. Please feel free to contact my office for more information.

In recent weeks I have also taken part in a hustings in Duns and debates in schools in Hawick and Jedburgh. It has been particularly encouraging to see young people enthusiastic about debating this issue – and the discussions have been lively and always good natured!

The UK Government published the conclusions of its Scotland Analysis programme last week which has looked at Scotland’s place in the UK. The series concludes that, as part of the UK, Scotland has the best of both worlds. With a strong Scottish Parliament, Scotland can make its own decisions in devolved areas, while sharing risks and resources with the other parts of the UK.

Motorsport Review

Last week I welcomed news that a new expert group is to be established to review motorsport event safety following the tragic events at this year’s Jim Clark Rally.

It’s vital that the safety of the rally is looked at carefully. Everyone wants to ensure that this year’s tragedy is not repeated.

The work of this group will be pivotal to this and I am glad to hear that Sir Jackie Stewart will be contributing to the review and bring his vast experience of motorsport safety to the table.

Royal Highland Show

I was pleased to be able to attend the Royal Highland Show last week and see local firms well-represented there.

It was clear that farm businesses are thriving across Scotland – and the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of our farmers is exciting to see. This is a critical time for implementation of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy, so it was useful to hear concerns of local producers on this issue.

Likewise, land reform is back on the political agenda and there were many I spoke to who are fearful about the Scottish Government’s direction of travel on this matter.

Unemployment figures

Figures released recently show that unemployment has fallen again in the Borders with 188 more people in work this month compared to March.

This is good news for each individual involved and shows that local business have the confidence to create jobs and recruit new staff.

There is, however, still a long way to go with more than 1000 people in the region still on Jobseeker’s Allowance.