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Job Losses (Dumfries and Galloway)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:15 pm on 16th June 1999.

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Photo of Ian Jenkins Ian Jenkins Liberal Democrat 5:15 pm, 16th June 1999

I come from the Scottish Borders and share many of Dr Murray's views. We faced similar problems recently; we are still facing them. I am sure that there will be more bad news before everything comes good.

Dr Murray can take heart: with the Government- supported Borders working party and the document "New Ways" the Borders have turned the corner. That has happened because everyone has worked together. Problems have been focused on. With a wee bit of backing, a wee bit of control, a bit of determination and by not-as Dr Murray said-talking the place down, but being positive, the tide has started to turn. I hold out that hope to Dr Murray.

I am worried about the south of Scotland not getting recognition. People think about the Highlands and Islands and the rest. The lowlands is not just the lowlands; it is the lowlands and the south of Scotland and we must ensure that that is not forgotten.

Communications, such as roads and high-tech electronics, are deeply important. Education is also important and leads me to the south of Scotland university project, which I wish well and think could make a difference. The Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels has been incorporated into Heriot-Watt University and now has an office in Hawick. That will make a difference because success breeds success and, therefore, people will stay. Investment is also important.

Small things can make a difference. I have had two letters from constituents that will strike a chord with Dr Murray. Something as simple as the authorities' failure to put back a tourist sign on the A74 serving Moffat and Broughton has cut people's throats in Moffat and Tweedsmuir.