Christine Grahame is SNP MSP for Tweeddale and Lauderdale

Budget time

It’s that time of the year when the Scottish Government has to put its budget proposals before Parliament and Scottish Borders Council likewise has to prioritise its spending in its own budget. As the SNP is a minority government it required to negotiate and secure the support of at least one other party. The Conservatives refused to increase any tax on higher earners a move which would have cut £500 million for our budget. That’s equal to 20,000 nursing posts. The Labour party wanted cuts to taxes but more money for schools, hospitals and so on. These were uncosted by them. The only Labour MSP engaging seriously in proposals was Alex Rowley their spokesman for Local Government. For his pains his efforts were disowned by his Front Bench, he was removed as a speaker in the budget debate and in fact kept well away from the debate. Only the Greens engaged and so the budget as proposed is a combined effort by the SNP and the Greens. Details of the local government settlements you can read on my Facebook.

Meeting with U3A

What is it? It is an organisation of locally-led educational groups for people who are retired or semi-retired which allow them to learn about a range of subjects that interest them. There are already 54 U3As running across the country with more planned, although they are already on the go in Galashiels and Peebles. The range of subjects people want to study informally is purely down to the interests of local members. As someone who is working well past retirement age we all know that keeping fit in mind is as important as trying as best we can to keep fit in body. If you are interested this is the website which is

Meeting with Chief Inspector Stuart Reid

This was very useful as Stuart has just taken over from Andy McLean who has just retired. We shared information about issues in and around the Borders: break-ins, antisocial behaviour and so on. As I have said before the most amount of time is spent by police with what you might call non-crime matters: vulnerable people, people with mental health problems and so on. These are time consuming and use considerable police resources but an essential part of the modern day job. Thieving from house break-ins is most often directed at stealing car keys so mind and keep them well hidden and your home secure. These are not usually local criminal gangs but from city areas in a targeted spree. The same security advice goes for keeping expensive items, if you must keep them in a garden hut, secure with more than a padlock. Some bikes cost thousands and thieves are on the lookout for easy pickings. If you need guidance contact your local community safety officer on what you can do to keep you and your possessions safe.

Meeting with Cabinet Secretary John Swinney

I often think that youth work is at the Cinderella end of our education system. Yet so many young people, often excluded from school or self excluding would be nowhere without that safety net of the youth worker and a place to go. It was therefore good to invite Dave Hodson of Tweeddale Youth Action to tell the Cabinet Secretary like it is as they say. I hope and indeed think both found it more than a little useful.