It was a pleasure to join my good friend Gavin Newlands MP for a visit to Harland and Wolff in Methil. We had a very interesting discussion with Matt Smith, General Manager at Methil, about their ambitious plans for the yard and about the steps the UK and Scottish Governments need to be taking to make sure the next round of offshore windfarm contracts brings the maximum benefit to places such as Methil. Afterwards Matt gave us a tour of the yard where work is well underway on several barges for use on the River Thames. When they floated the first of these barges recently it was the first one the yard had built since 1856. I see the barges at work nearly every day I’m in London and it’s incredible to think the newest ones are being built in Methil.
Another big event with a transport theme was the visit of Scottish Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop who installed the final clip on the track at the site of the new Leven station meaning the railway line is now officially in place. While this is fantastic news for Levenmouth I took the chance to remind the Minister that we still need to find a way to allow safe access over the Public Rights of Way at Doubledykes and elsewhere. I’ve asked her to agree to an urgent meeting not just with me but with Community Councils and the many community organisations campaigning to keep the access open.
I joined my fellow MPs David Linden and Amy Callaghan at a “round table” discussion hosted by Fife Gingerbread on the Child Maintenance Service. Fife Gingerbread are recognised not just nationally but across the UK for the work they are doing to highlight the very real problems the current system is causing for separated mums, dads and most importantly for the children the system is supposed to be helping. During our meeting we heard from several mums about their experiences. They pointed to some very simple changes the DWP could make that would improve the way the system communicates with parents.
Kingdom Housing Association have recently taken ownership of 23 new homes, jointly funded by Kingdom and the Scottish Government, as part of a bigger development at West Mill in Markinch. I visited the site with local MSP Jenny Gilruth, councillors and representatives of Kingdom and Persimmon Homes who built the houses. Given the length of housing waiting lists in Fife it didn’t take Kingdom long to get most of the houses allocated and by all accounts the tenants are delighted with their new homes.
Sunday morning Mass at St Agatha’s in Methil was a wee bit special this week as it’s exactly one hundred years since the church was opened. As part of their centenary celebrations the parish have produced a wee booklet on the history of the church. Regardless of your own beliefs it’s a fascinating read that I’m sure will bring back memories for anyone who either lives or used to live in or around Methil.