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I spoke against the Government’s proposal to increase National Insurance contributions everywhere in the UK to try and sort out the crisis in health and social care in England. I fully support an increase in funding for these vital services but increasing the National Insurance tax is the wrong way to do it. National Insurance is in fact another form of income tax, but one that hits people who have to earn their living without touching those lucky enough to make their money from things like owning property or shares. It’s also fundamentally wrong for the British parliament to be telling the national Parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland what they should spend their money on.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and I was pleased to mark it with a visit to the Love Oliver shop in Glenrothes. Oliver Gill was just 24 weeks old when he lost his life to cancer on Christmas Day 2010. The following year his parents Jennifer and Andy set up Love Oliver in his memory and recently they passed the incredible milestone of raising £1 million for research into childhood cancers and to provide support for families. The shop is staffed entirely by volunteers and when I got a wee tour “backstage” I realised that what you see in the public part of the shop is only a fraction of the amount of work they do.

I’ve been inundated with emails from constituents calling on the UK government not to scrap the £20 per week increase in Universal Credit next month. Independent analysis has suggested that over 2 million more people will be plunged into poverty if the cut goes ahead. The government have become quite good at using parliamentary procedure to make sure they don’t need to face a vote on something their own backbenchers are unhappy about, so it’s quite possible MPs won’t even get the chance to reverse the cut.

The combination of Brexit and Covid has had a serious impact throughout the economy. Our retail sector is one that has been badly hit so it was great to be able to help one of our best known family owned businesses to celebrate some special news. Jessops Jewellers are celebrating fifty years of business in the Kingdom Centre in Glenrothes, making them one of the centre’s longest serving tenants. I was pleased to be able to present Sophie Jessop with a copy of an “Early Day Motion” I had lodged in Parliament to mark the occasion. I also told her it was Jessops who provided both our rings for our Silver Wedding. I’ve a horrible feeling Fiona will be expecting me to remember that the fortieth anniversary, which for us is only a few years away, is supposed to be about rubies.

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