A VOICE FROM WESTMINSTER
The UK Parliament was officially re-established with the recent “Queen’s Speech”. The “Queen’s” speech is actually written by the Prime Minister’s office and lists all the bills the Government wants to bring forward during the coming session. The SNP tabled an amendment opposing some of the Government’s proposals, for example on immigration and undermining the devolution settlement, and we called for additional legislation on things like workers’ rights and a fair pay deal for NHS staff.
I got the chance to speak in the last day’s debate when we looked at health and social care. Although most of their legislation in this area wouldn’t apply to Scotland it still has an impact as it helps to decide how much funding the Scottish Parliament will get in future years.
I concluded my speech by reminding Parliament of the SNP’s overwhelming victory in the Holyrood elections less than two weeks earlier and of the mandate this gives to Nicola Sturgeon and her newly appointed Government.
We had good news for Methil with the announcement that Harland & Wolff had landed their first major contract since taking over the former BiFab yard. The new contract is due to start this summer and is likely to provide around 290 direct and indirect jobs with Methil getting a big chunk of them.
Perhaps equally important was the comment from the boss of Harland & Wolff’s parent company that there are several other contracts in the advanced stage of negotiations. We’re still a long way from the peak numbers employed not so long ago but this is excellent news.
There’s still a flaw in the UK Government’s method of awarding licences for offshore wind developments. Much more could be done to ensure that local businesses get the benefits of sub contract or “supply chain” work and I’ll be continuing to press the Government on this.
I had a pleasant surprise recently when I logged in to a virtual meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Scotch Whisky and found that their guest speaker was Ian Palmer from Inchdairnie Distillery in Kinglassie. He spoke about the ground breaking work they’re undertaking to make the distillery a Net Zero carbon emissions site. One of many examples of local businesses here in Fife whose achievements might not be too well known locally but who are recognised as industry leaders and pioneers.
There have been some significant developments in the UK Government’s response to the Horizon scandal that saw hundreds of innocent sub postmasters and mistresses persecuted and in some cases jailed after they were wrongly accused of embezzlement. A full Statutory Inquiry is being established and they are keen to hear from any victims who have not yet come forward. Knowing how many people were affected it’s very likely that there are still some in this constituency who haven’t come forward yet. If you were affected please get in touch.