Tag Archives: Mike Rumbles

Mike Rumbles MSP backs ‘Remain’.

Liberal Democrat MSP for North-East Scotland Mike Rumbles has come out in favour of a remain vote in response to my recent call for MSPs to campaign to keep Britain in the EU.
Last week I received a letter from Mike Rumbles saying that “membership of the European Union has long been a strongly held commitment of the Liberal Democrats and I am proud to say that we are leading a very strong and positive campaign for our continued membership.”
He went on to outline the economic advantages that a remain vote would have for Scotland pointing out that “hundreds of thousands of jobs in Scotland depend on our trade relationship with our friends in Europe with more than £11 billion of exports from Scotland ending up in other EU countries” as well as the fact that “Scotland is set to receive around £6bn in funding from the EU between 2014 and 2020. More than half of the foreign investment which comes to Scotland is from EU member states.”
He also highlighted how Scottish farmers benefit from EU membership as they receive “vital support through EU funds and their produce is sold right across the continent” adding that he was “disappointed that the Scottish Government has failed these farmers with the delayed Common Agricultural Policy payments.

Mike Rumbles MSP backs Britain's continued membership of the EU.

Mike Rumbles MSP backs Britain’s continued membership of the EU.

Mike also agreed with me that our EU membership also keeps Scotland safe with the European Arrest Warrant “helping to bring criminals across the whole of the continent to justice.”
He finished his letter saying “I believe Scotland’s place in the EU helps ensure that every family, every business, and every person in Scotland is part of a stronger, safer and more prosperous nation.”

I wholeheartedly agree with the points that Mike makes and am proud that the Liberal Democrats have been leading the campaign to keep Britain in the EU.

Sir Robert Smith Column 18th March 2011

Friday morning’s news was one of those stories where you sense the outcome will be far more devastating than the initial headlines suggest.   The extent of the destruction caused by the tsunami in Japan is still being revealed.   It is on a scale that is difficult to come to terms with.  I certainly join with others in expressing my deepest sympathy for all the victims of this tragedy.

It is certainly time for the international community to rally round and offer all possible assistance to Japan at this time.  Only recently Japanese experts were helping with the rescue mission in New Zealand.  Japan has great expertise in preparing for earthquakes, but the scale of the task they face will be beyond their domestic resources.   As well as the human suffering it will be a real shock for their fragile economy.

Natural disasters such as this remind us of the potentially devastating power of nature and the importance of global cooperation in our response.   In a different way we were reminded of the importance of global cooperation during the recent Fair Trade fortnight.

One of the ways we can improve the lives of those in some of the poorest countries is ensuring fair trade rules apply to the products they produce.  Developing fair trade can do far more to tackle third world poverty on a long term sustainable basis than just providing development aid.

Mike Rumbles MSP and I were very pleased to be invited to share in Alford Primary’s Fair Trade Assembly last Friday.  Each class gave a presentation on what they had learnt about Fair Trade Cotton.  They had all cleverly adapted their class projects so as to show an aspect of the lessons learnt about cotton farming and trade.  There were some excellent confident performances that impressed us both.

The high price of crude oil is giving mixed blessings to the North East of Scotland. It is boosting investment in jobs dependent on oil and exploration. This is good news for the local economy but we do need to act to ensure that those jobs stay in this area. Many of those jobs are now in the export market and could be based anywhere in the world.

We all have to work hard to ensure those exporting companies remain located locally.  That is why the Scottish Government must respond positively to the Fair Share campaign when it comes to funding of our council and health services.

Currently the North East looses out in the way the Scottish Government distributes funding for vital local services.  These services are important when companies decide where to locate their investment.

When it comes to oil and gas companies if they do not invest in the north east they will not be going elsewhere in the UK, but to other oil and gas provinces abroad.  The UK Energy Department and Treasury currently have a good relationship with those investors.  It is vital that the Scottish Government recognises the important role this investment can play in both Scotland’s and the UK’s recovery and provide fair funding for North East services.

The downside of high oil prices is the relentless rise in the cost of fuel at the pumps.   I have been pressing the Chancellor to recognise the concerns of rural motorists by not implementing the last Government’s proposed increase in fuel duty this April.

For many here the car is a necessity and not a luxury given that public transport is not a sustainable alternative in many rural areas.   In the long run we need a more sophisticated way to tackle the environmental impact of car use that recognises the vital role it plays in rural areas.   For now not implementing the duty rise would be of immediate assistance.