Stay in EK
As your MP, I am absolutely 100 per cent behind our Stay in EK Campaign. It is crucial that we save our local HMRC. Very many of you, like me, have had or still do have family members and friends who work there. Growing up in East Kilbride with my Grandmother working at HMRC in Plaza Tower, this feels to be a very personal attack affecting our families’ lives, our economy, jobs and livelihoods.
HMRC is pivotal to this town, it contributes 8.5 per cent of the employment across the South Lanarkshire economy. Wider than this is the economic footprint of the HMRC workforce, spending money locally in our shops and businesses; living amongst us as a crucial part of the fabric of our town.
Centre 1 was named ‘Centre One’ as East Kilbride was to house the primary tax office in Scotland. These plans by the UK Government affect the standing of East Kilbride. It hit us badly when Motorola and Rolls Royce left and we cannot allow HMRC to follow suit. I urge you to give your full support to the Stay in EK campaign. I will be leading the campaign at Westminster pursuing the minister, Secretary of State and UK Government to reverse this dreadful decision. Our constituency is far too important to both you and I to allow this to happen.
On the doorstep you clearly said you wanted accessibility to your MP in rural areas. In addition to the East Kilbride office and surgery dates, I have opened an MP office in Strathaven and I am now piloting a weekly surgery held on Wednesdays to ensure I represent and meet your needs. Link to our opening times for all surgeries and office opening times can be found here.
“Here for Business”
You told me that you wanted a focus on job creation and business regeneration in East Kilbride and rural areas as it is a grave concern that in the past ten years iconic local businesses have closed. I have requested a place on the EK Taskforce to do just that, I am regularly linking with local businesses to learn how to support them and their staff and I am involved in local rural regeneration initiatives. Look out for my “Annual Small Business Awards” supporting local development and success.
Infrastructure and Connectivity
You told me there are local areas where broadband is slow and insufficient to meet your family and business needs. I am liaising with BT Open Reach to support this development. You additionally said we need improved transport links to ensure access to jobs, livelihoods and training. I have visited and been keeping up to date with the progress of the Raith Interchange Improvement Project now underway, which will consolidate our links to major routes and reduce the severe congestion we have suffered for many years. I am also currently campaigning for extended bus routes in Chapelton.
Training our Young People
You said local access to training, education and skills development were crucial in utilising all of our young people’s abilities. I am liaising closely with South Lanarkshire College and am pleased to inform that our student attainment rates are significantly higher than the average including students going on to full time further education, full time higher education and those from deprived areas. When the decision was being made on the location of the West of Scotland University Campus I made sure that my views were expressed that the site nearest to our constituency is the best location.
Protect our Most Vulnerable
You told me you wanted a focus on protection of the most vulnerable affected by austerity. We have opened in excess of 4500 constituency cases in the first year. I have dedicated office time to assist Third Sector Charities and Projects to access vital funding grants and my “Disability Confident Event” links employers to available advice in employing people with special needs. As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability, I continue to hold the Government to account so please look out for my pending APPG Inquiry Report Recommendations on halving the Disability-Employment Gap.