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  • Peter Grant

A VOICE FROM WESTMINSTER


There was good news last week with the announcement that the owners of Harland and Wolff shipyard in Northern Ireland have agreed to buy the BiFab yard in Methil. I’m hoping to meet the new owners in the near future to hear more about their plans for the yard. I’m also writing again to the UK Government about failings in their licensing process for major wind farm developments which were a significant factor in BiFab’s difficulties.

We’ve seen a step change in the numbers of people getting the first dose of their Covid vaccine. NHS workers have performed heroically to deliver so many vaccines to the people most at risk from the disease. There have still been hitches. Too many people faced unacceptable delays at vaccination centres early last week. My office continued to get messages from people who were kept waiting for up to two hours even after the earlier problems were supposed to have been fixed. I’ve written to the chief exec of NHS Fife to ask what went wrong this time.

I’ve had more emails from constituents who face losing their life savings after being persuaded to invest them in schemes that turned out to be at best questionable and possibly illegal. There’s a growing number of cases coming to light where the Financial Conduct Authority either didn’t have the legal powers to intervene, or in some cases they had the chance to step in and didn’t. Investors were given what looked like cast iron guarantees that their money was safe even though the promoters of the schemes knew it was a high risk investment. One of the frustrating things about cases like this is that it can take years to disentangle the financial webs some of these firms can weave, and the victims are kept waiting years for any money they do get back. They say that if an investment or pension opportunity looks too good to be true it’s not true. Anything that offers an unusually high return is guaranteed to be extra high risk – fine if you want to invest money that you can afford to lose but never trust anyone who advises you to put your life savings or pension pot into such a scheme.

Even when we’re all having a really tough time at home we still have to look at the impact the UK Government’s actions are having elsewhere. Last week I got the chance to ask about the appalling humanitarian crisis in Yemen. There have been atrocities committed by both sides during this complex and vicious civil war. One side gets strong backing from Saudi Arabia to whom Britain has sold over £5 billion worth of weapons since the conflict began. Independent reports have claimed that the Saudis, among others, are implicated in Crimes Against Humanity in Yemen. Last week I again called for Britain to stop selling them weapons until these accusations have been fully investigated.

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