April 2024 Newsletter - Text Only Version

Published date : 23 April, 2024

Richard Thomson MP 

Gordon Parliamentary Newsletter - April 2024 

A message from Richard Thomson MP 

Hello and welcome to my April Parliamentary report. Here you’ll find details on my activities over the last month as your MP.

Westminster has been dominated by the Spring budget and its aftermath. Meanwhile, a damning ombudsman report finding fault with the way the UK Government communicated changes changes to the State Pension Age has renewed calls for swift payment of compensation to affected WASPI women.

I also remained busy in the constituency, dealing with casework and making visits to local businesses and community groups.

Please get in touch if my team or I can assist you, by emailing [email protected] or calling 020 3545 2236.  

Yours sincerely, 

Richard Thomson 

In Westminster 

Spring Budget: SNP Response
On 6th March, the UK Government announced its Spring Budget - perhaps their last opportunity before an election to address the economic and social challenges we face such as the crises over energy security, the cost of living and the climate. It was, however, an opportunity missed, as the Budget barely changed course on any of those key priorities.

My SNP colleagues and I took the opportunity to force an immediate vote on the tax measures in the budget in order to record our dissent. Afterwards, I spoke afterwards to BBC Politics Live to express my disappointment with what had been announced.

Budget: Cuts to Benefits
I spoke to Times Radio’s Ayesha Hazarika about the Prime Minister’s plans for a ‘welfare squeeze’ in order to fund further NI cuts.

In order to promote stainable economic development and improve people’s lives, Government should be investing in people to help them to achieve the most that they can in life.

The UK Government is fond of repeating the view that you can’t tax your way to prosperity, but that’s just plain wrong. History shows good government and long-term investment in people, progress and potential is the only thing that ever has delivered widespread prosperity.

Budget: Progressive Taxation
Immediately ahead of the Spring Budget, I was delighted to appear on NIcky Campbell’s BBC Radio 5 show as part of their regular MP panel. As ever, it was a lively discussion, covering expectations (or the lack of) for the Budget later that morning, as well as other topical issues.

We also had a good discusion about why tax is important and what it helps to pay for in terms of delivering measures for a fairer and more equal society such as the Scottish Child Payment, which is lifting 100,000 Scottish children out of poverty.

Exports: Small and Medium-sized Businesses
The Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) has hit small and medium-sized exporters the hardest, as most do not individually have the capacity to deal with the additional bureaucracy and paperwork cthat has since resulted.

I asked the Minister if she recognised that the TCA has disproportionately damaged the competitiveness of SMEs. and what support the Government can offer to recapture the market share they have lost in Europe since then.

Exports: Small and Medium-sized Businesses
I also pointed out that while the UK Government struggles to support small and medium-sized enterprises exporting to Europe, they are providing a £600 million export guarantee to industrial giant INEOS so that it can build the largest chemical plant in Europe for 30 years - in Belgium.

I asked why the UK Government was able to pledge £600 million to back that investment, but not do anything similar to match the £500 million that the Scottish Government is investing in domestic energy transition at home.

Across the Constituency 

Ellon Bank of Scotland Branch Closure
This month saw Bank of Scotland announce the decision to close their local branch in Ellon, which will close on 10 September. Due to recent closures by other banks, this means that Ellon will no longer have any physical banks.

People living in Ellon and the surrounding area will be negatively impacted by this decision. Access to physical cash as well as the ability of customers to access the knowledge of banking employees will be reduced. Indeed, Bank of Scotland have announced that they even plan to remove their ATM in the town.

I have put my support behind a push for a shared Banking Hub in the area. A Banking Hub, like the one operated in Forres, Moray, allows for employees of different banks to share a location to provide banking services on different days to local residents. Banking Hubs bring benefits to communities that no longer have no physical banks, and I will be working for something similar to be developed in Ellon.

ITC Ltd Visit
In March, I had the pleasure of visiting ITC Hydraulics Services Ltd, a company with its headquarters based locally in Oldmeldrum. Managing Director Tracy Clark and Assistant

Managing Director Emma Hodge gave me a tour of the company’s headquarters, introduced me to the team and the fantastic products they produce.

It was great to visit a thriving local Aberdeenshire company which undertakes such innovative work, with a strong team of local talent. I wish the team at ITC every future success.

No UK Govt Update on Insch Station
The UK Government, which remains responsible for accessibility at railway stations, has still not made a decision on allocating funding to Insch Station to give all rail users level access to both of the platforms at the station.

I submitted a letter in 2022 voicing my strong support for the funding of this project via the Access for All fund. There are now fears that the UK Government’s lack of update means that any improvement will now be delayed even further.

This delay is unacceptable. I will continue to urge to UK Government to commit to funding this vital project, which will increase the accessibility of Insch station and the wider rail network for all passengers.

Bucksburn Academy Pupil Q&A
This month I was invited to Bucksburn Academy for a Q&A session with pupils from the Higher Modern Studies class.

Students were given free reign to ask anything they wished and had a variety of questions, from Brexit and Scottish Independence to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The pupils were excellent ambassadors for their school and I wish them every success in their upcoming exams.

Campaign to restore local footbridge

In March I met members of Ythanbank Community Council who want to re-open the ‘Little Briggie’ as a link in the proposed Fyvie to Forvie local footpath.

The currently closed footbridge has in the past been a popular path for locals and tourists, while connecting different parts of the community.

I am happy to be able to support Ythanbank Community Council’s funding application for this important project.

In the news…

WASPI : Gordon MP says UK Govt need to move quickly on compensation

Politics: A lacklustre last budget from the Government

Concerns raised over lack of investment in green energy for North-East

Gordon MP backs Aberdeenshire bridge restoration project

MP’s frustration continues as still no UK Govt decision on improving access at Insch station

Gordon MP highlights funding support scheme for local sports facilities


Richard Thomson MP 

Back to All News