2018 focus is on local and national
I would like to start 2018 by wishing you all a happy new year.
I was pleased to kick off the new year by holding a street stall on the first weekend of 2018 in Crieff with Councillor Roz McCall and Liz Smith MSP.
The street stall received an excellent reception, with a great number of people stopping to speak to the team. It was also fantastic to get out and about around Crieff, delivering our latest update leaflet and catching up with residents to understand their hopes and concerns for 2018.
It will come as no surprise that Brexit was a common point of discussion for many people, but by far the most talked about issue in the area was the proposed closure, by the Royal Bank of Scotland, of its branch in Comrie.
RBS is closing three branches in our constituency, with the two other branches being in Alloa and Kinross. Consequently, it is something I have been deeply involved in, and opposed to, since the closures were announced.
Following RBS’ announcement, a number of constituents got in touch with me to raise their own concerns, particularly around the impact on local businesses and travel times to the next nearest branches.
My Scottish Conservative colleagues and I met with RBS representatives soon after the announcements were made, where I raised your concerns directly with the RBS representatives, as well as my own.
I have also written a letter to the treasury minister responsible for the publiclyowned bank to lobby for reconsideration of the decision to close the branches.
I remain unconvinced by the supposed necessity of the closures, or by the mitigations RBS have proposed as alternatives.
I will be meeting treasury ministers this week to continue to campaign on your behalf, to achieve the best result possible.
If you share my concerns about these closures, please join me in Comrie on January 27 to sign our petition.
This year will be a real mix of local and national campaigns; continuing to build our influence in Westminster, building on the successes and extra funding secured at the budget, whilst working with local community groups to prioritise investment and supporting teams to reduce youth unemployment.
Hope to see you soon.
Lobbying Luke Graham met with Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Stephen Kerr (right) in December to discuss the City Deal. The Ochil and South Perthshire MP has written to the treasury minister responsible for RBS to lobby for a reconsideration of the decision to close the branches identified by the publiclyowned bank and will be meeting ministers this week to continue to campaign on the issue