In my last article I introduced some of the issues facing the Highlands and Islands region and touched on some issues which I think are pertinent to the Moray area. This week I would like to look at three key areas in more detail.
It has been good to see the significant investment in the Inverness to Aberdeen train service and this is to be applauded as is the work towards the dualling of the A96 as these are 2 key transport routes connecting the Moray area to the cities of Inverness and Aberdeen.
But what about the A95? This is one of the main routes in Moray for the transportation of whisky and other goods away from the area to the central belt and wider markets and it is a key route for the many visitors who come to Moray to enjoy the variety of sights and experiences the area has to offer.
It is a vital part of the area’s infrastructure contributing significantly to the economic wellbeing of Moray and demands the highest priority for capital investment.
Farming now and in the future
Farming is a key industry within Moray, but I am sure those involved in this industry feel neglected and remote from the decision makers. Agricultural communities need to be supported to produce the commodities we need now and in the future.
The failure to process and generate payments from the new CAP scheme, especially the Basic Payment Scheme, has hit almost all farms, some very severely indeed. How many businesses can easily withstand a very large proportion of their annual income being delayed by more than 3 months beyond the budgeted payment date?
The Scottish Government may claim that they are still well within the legally defined “payment window” and that they have, at last, made provision to provide part payment in the form of an interest free loan to those who are still waiting for payment, but they would need to consider more carefully what they could do to alleviate the financial distress caused by the shambolic introduction of the new computerised payment system.
I am meeting with councillors from Moray today to discuss the above issues with them and also explore other priorities or opportunities they may have, which, if elected to Holyrood, I could champion on their and your behalf.
Voting for me does not mean you cannot vote for your favoured constituency candidate as well. A vote for me is a vote to add another strong local voice to speak up for you in Parliament and support or challenge the new government as and when its policies directly impact on Moray.
Get involved with the campaign!
The campaign is really gaining momentum and I am still keen to meet with anyone who would like to help with the campaign or who would just like to know more. Please get in touch by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or through my Facebook page: James Stockan For MSP.
All Moray candidates in the 2016 Parliamentary Election plus list candidates for the Green Party and an Independent were invited to submit their views on one day each week until Friday, April 29 – they will then be invited to sum-up their cases on Sunday, May 1 in a final address on insideMoray before the election.
Candidates for the Banffshire and Buchan constituency that includes part of Moray around Buckie have also been invited to submit their views – two accepted, two did not reply – and none have actually submitted any article.