Greenock Telegraph 24th March

It was great to hear this week that unemployment figures in Inverclyde have fallen and although we are still above the U.K. average, we are moving in the right direction. Over the years, I have proactively sought to encourage job opportunities in the area. It’s as tough a task as any other and incredibly hard to get a positive outcome from. I have said it before, and I will say it again we owe a great debt of gratitude as a community to the companies based in Inverclyde that combined employ so many people. We miss them when they go so, we should acknowledge them and encourage them while they are here.

One of my long-term ambitions was to generate local jobs along with the regeneration of peatland within Inverclyde and it’s great to see that progress is being made by Nature Scotland in respect of the peatland project in Clyde Muirshiel Park which includes the area within Inverclyde. This will benefit the area and the environment.

Following on from that, I have been lobbying the U.K. government to relax the regulations around growing industrial hemp. If given the right support the industry can employ an estimated 105,000 people and generate over a billion pounds in tax. It’s also incredibly environmentally friendly to grow and the products from biodegradable plastic to insulation panels, that don’t contain petrochemicals, are the future if we are to save this little blue planet of ours for future generations to safeguard and enjoy. I am planning on sitting down with the U.K. government minister responsible for licensing along with industry experts soon. Hopefully, we can discuss a better licensing process that is designed to encourage this industry to expand.