Update: Single Market, Digital Forum and Casework Milestone

It looks like the UK Government is prepared to share more information about their plans for Brexit with Nissan than they are with the Scottish Government. 

The Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell recently told Holyrood that there would be no special deal for Scotland – that’s a position that doesn’t square with offering concessions to individual companies like Nissan. 

The deal underline the importance of tariff-free access to the single market. It would be scandalous if the government offered favourable terms to one company, while other exporters suffer. 

Economists have estimated that, with Nissan’s exports to the Eurozone amounting to £2.9 billion, the UK Government could easily end up shelling out £290 million to protect the company from post-Brexit tariffs.

This would exceed the amount of money Nissan spends on wages in the UK. In other words, the Treasury could well end up paying out more to underwrite the company than it would get back in the form of tax revenues. 

But what of other car manufactures? Or the countless other businesses that rely on the ability to trade openly with Europe? 

It’s obviously an unsustainable way of operating. But it does reveal one crucial point: in reality the UK Government is prepared to be flexible on Brexit. 

Over the coming months the Scottish Government will publish plans to retain Scotlanda’s single market membership even if the rest of the UK leaves. 

Maintaining access to the single market is something that I believe a solid majority can unite behind, and I'm proud of the fact the SNP will be offering leadership on this.

Digital Forum success

Last night the second Borders Digital Forum heard from two really exciting community broadband initiatives. Our own Heriot Community Broadband have already matched the government’s baseline Universal Service Obligation: using a mix of technology to deliver 10 megabits per second, at an affordable price. 

The forum also played host to Broadband for Rural North (B4RN), who came up from rural Lancashire to share their experience of delivering one of the most successful community fibre schemes in Europe. With downloads speeds of 1GB B4RN and its understanding of the need to “push fibre further”, this was a welcome opportunity to see first-hand how rural connectivity can be transformed with the right ingredients. 

Casework milestone

An often overlooked, but highly significant part of an MP’s work consist of dealing with individual cases brought by constituents who need help on a wide range of issues. 
It may not grab the headlines, but casework is at the heart of the day to day operation of my office. We have a great team of caseworkers who have built up significant expertise in a number of areas. 

The other day we noted that since I was elected last year, we’ve dealt with over four and a half thousand cases. While we can’t always achieve the outcome that constituents want, it’s important to point out that our door is always open and we will exhaust every possible angle when it comes to assisting constituents.