New Year message from East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson

MP Jo Swinson
MP Jo Swinson

2014 has been a momentous year for Scotland.Inevitably,the independence referendum dominated events.

Whether you were a “Yes” or a “No”, I’m sure you’ll agree the level of engagement from all ages was fantastic to see.

It was particularly wonderful that the local turnout of 91 per cent was the highest across the whole country.

A new generation of young people are now interested about the future of Scotland, which can only be a good thing – and I’m delighted at the recent news that the political parties are committed to making votes at 16 happen in time for the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections.

The Commonwealth Games in the summer showed the world what we have always known about our great city of Glasgow: friendly, ambitious and vibrant.

One of the highlights of my year was standing with hundreds of local residents to cheer the Queen’s Baton through the streets of East Dunbartonshire. Celebrating our local athletes Imogen Bankier and Michael Jamieson winning medals in badminton and swimming was also very special.

2014 was also a year of further economic recovery. Whilst there’s still much to do, we have seen more and more jobs created locally, unemployment is down to low levels here and our businesses are growing in confidence with 900 taking advantage of a scheme to assist with hiring staff.

Thanks to the Liberal Democrats, more than 40,000 local workers have seen big tax cuts this year and 20,500 pensioners in our area will see a rise in their pensions from April due to our ‘triple lock’ guarantee.

As we look forward to 2015, I will continue to press the SNP Government to provide more funds for our degrading roads and support more parents with childcare costs like the Lib Dems are doing for families in England.

I also want to see serious action to tackle mental health stigma – one in four people experience mental health problems at some point in their life and we need to improve the support available.

On a more personal note, 2014 has brought great joy nurturing my son and watching him develop - from a babe in arms to a little boy trying to pull the baubles off the Christmas tree!

Children do make the festive season extra-special with their amazing capacity for wonder. Whatever your holiday plans, I hope you’ve been able to relax with your loved ones and take a chance to reflect on a busy year.

Happy New Year!