John Lamont is Conservative MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk


You may have read about the recent Which? report on broadband which showed the Scottish Borders has one of the slowest speeds for broadband out of any part of the United Kingdom.

My Facebook page was full of the usual excuses I hear from SNP supporters online.

"Broadband is reserved" people say – yes, telecommunications is reserved to Westminster, meaning only the UK Parliament can legislate on broadband. But it is the Scottish Government who are in charge of the delivery of superfast broadband. This is the case across the UK, where delivery of broadband has been essentially devolved to councils in England and to the Welsh Assembly. Indeed, the SNP are responsible for most of the levers needed to bring us better broadband – things like planning laws, public sector procurement and business rates.

"The SNP are stepping in to sort this out" – actually, the Scottish Government have been given more money to spend per head to improve broadband than any other part of the UK. But they have failed to spend it and are still sitting on £21 million of funding from 2014. And, despite promises of more money in future, next year the Scottish Government’s budget for digital connectivity is going down not up.

"Scotland is harder to connect" – the suggestion that countryside is somehow unique to Scotland is a bit of a stretch. The reality is that when we look at just rural parts of the UK, Scotland is well behind the rest. If Cumbria, Lancashire or Northumberland are able to deliver rural properties with decent broadband, why aren’t the SNP able to do the same?

Also on my facebook page was the worrying story from a local business owner who can’t expand because his broadband is so bad. This issue is clearly holding our economy back and it is time the Scottish Government stopped with the excuses and started delivering.

World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day is coming up on February 4 and I’m delighted that following a suggestion from Cancer Research UK’s Elaine Monro from Selkirk, the Houses of Parliament will be lit up pink to mark this day.

I’d encourage constituents to purchase your bands from Cancer Research UK shops or CLIC Sargent bands from Morrisons to lend your support.

I am also leading a debate in Westminster ahead of World Cancer Day which will give MPs the opportunity to discuss what steps we can take across the UK to help with the fight against cancer. We are lucky to have some excellent volunteers in the Borders who help raise money for cancer charities and NHS Borders are very good at treating cancer quickly and encouraging us all to get screened. I want professionals and politicians across the UK to speak more with each other about what works well and what we need to do to improve cancer survival rates in the UK.

Advice Surgeries

I will be holding surgeries in March right across the Scottish borders. Please check my website for more details.

If you want to get in touch about an issue in the meantime, please feel free to email me on or call my constituency office in Hawick on 01450 375948.