Irvine Times, Tuesday 21 August 2018
The Scottish Parliament is in recess at the moment and at this time of year the nature of an MSP’s job changes.
Instead of the Parliamentary debate and committee work which is the focus of life at Holyrood, and which will restart in September, I have much more time in my constituency – visiting local groups and organisations and helping constituents throughout Irvine, Kilwinning and Stevenston.
I usually hold eight surgeries a month across the constituency where people can just drop in and see me on issues such as housing, health, local government, transport and social services. I’ll always do what I can to help.
Summer recess gives me the chance to do surgeries differently.
Last week I had the first of two street surgeries where I got together with Councillor Davina McTiernan in Stevenston, picked a few streets, and went door to door to introduce ourselves and talk to constituents about issues that are important to them.
Another of these street surgeries will happen next week when Councillor Scott Davidson and I will be out chapping doors in Kilwinning.
Outwith my surgeries my office is open five days a week and staff there are on hand to provide information and guidance either in person, over the phone or by email. We still get letters too but but that’s not so common nowadays.
Encouraging Growth Figures
I was really heartened to see new figures published last week which show that the Scottish economy grew by 0.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, meaning that over the years since 2017, quarter 1, the Scottish economy has grown by 1.3 per cent.
The Scottish Government has said that it will continue to focus on growing Scotland’s economy.
We are investing a record £2.4 billion in enterprise and skills, £4 billion in infrastructure and delivering the most competitive package of rates relief in the UK, including the Small Business Bonus, which to date has saved Scottish firms almost £1.5 billion.
We will continue to urge the UK Government to commit to remaining in the EU single market and customs union to protect jobs and investment and remove unnecessary uncertainty which could harm Scotland’s economic prosperity.
Looking forward to Marymass
Marymass is underway and there are lots of special events and activities going on over the 12 days of this unique festival.
On Marymass Saturday I’m looking forward to watching the parade and attending the crowning ceremony before joining the parade as it sets off to the Moor for an afternoon of entertainment.
Then I’ll get the chance to visit some of the stalls before doing a shift on the always busy SNP tombola stall.
Then hopefully I’ll be allowed to get away to see some of the races and of course the Greasy Pole.
See you there!