Recognising our strengths, protecting our unrivalled natural and cultural heritage and thinking local, sustainable and long-term: that’s the way to attract the right businesses, reduce travel and create employment stability.
The Borders Party’s vision is for a prosperous and beautiful Scottish Borders. The two go hand in hand. In a globalised economy, the way to promote jobs and economic growth is to attract investment. We must build on the Borders’ strengths to persuade companies to invest here and talented people to live here.
The Borders’ unique asset is its quality of life, based on a superb natural and built environment, and a sense of community and tradition. Already, companies and people are drawn to the Borders because of these attributes. We should make the most of them.
That is why we place such a strong emphasis on getting the quality of development right.
That is also why we place such a strong emphasis on education. Good schools improve the life chances of our children, and help to a build a skilled workforce. This equips our young people for the world of work, and helps attract businesses and families who want the best for their children.
Economic growth is also encouraged by low taxes, good communications and infrastructure, and a pro-business attitude from government. The Borders Party has an ambitious programme to create jobs and prosperity. As well as specific measures to help education and preserve the environment we propose the following measures:
- We will seek to establish a new cross-party forum to promote the Borders at the Scottish and UK Parliaments, in Europe and to business and economic institutions internationally and domestically. Our area is represented by a host of politicians at different levels and from different parties who rarely co-operate. These should be working together to ensure that Borders interests are properly taken into account by national economic policy makers.
- We will work with business to build commercial opportunities that support key industries such as the textile sector in Hawick, tourism, agriculture, construction and the creative industries.
- We will ensure that the planning system develops a sensible, pro-enterprise culture in the implementation of planning decisions.
- We will improve transport links. We would lobby hard to upgrade the A7 between Galashiels and Edinburgh to trunk status, and oppose slowing the route by the building of unnecessary roundabouts. We would seek to improve East-West links in the Borders, and encourage innovative ideas to provide new and improved bus services. We support a new station at Reston in Berwickshire.
- We will work to improve broadband provision. We would enable negotiation between broadband providers and local communities to provide the critical mass necessary for investment in improved networks, particularly over the ‘extra mile’ to remote locations. We would use the council’s position as a major broadband user to share capacity, buying power and network knowledge with other users.
- The plans we have for making service provision more accountable would provide opportunities for Borders businesses to contribute their expertise. We want council services to be provided at a level of excellence that will enable service providers to win work outside the Borders, thus expanding job opportunities here.
- We do not believe that VisitScotland provides value for money in promoting tourism in the Borders. Instead we would encourage local tourist and other businesses to collaborate to better promote the area.
- We will keep Council Tax down. Low Council Tax will improve Borderers’ household finances, and put money into the local economy. We will scrap wasteful council programmes such as the magazine SB Connect and support for VisitScotland, and improve efficiency in the delivery of services.
- We will preserve Council jobs. We greatly value the contribution made by hard working Council employees in providing the Borders with vital services. We will work with them to improve the quality of management, working practices, and job satisfaction. We have ambitious plans for doing things differently in the Borders, but this will not come at the expense of jobs.
Tell us what you think
The Borders Party is fully committed to taking the views of Borderers into account, so please contact us and let us have your thoughts on how we can best serve the Borders.