Having said a quiet and relaxing goodbye to 2015, which was a remarkable year both politically and personally for me, 2016 began with a bang. My first week back at Westminster was jam packed. Health questions on Tuesday involved highlighting the performance of staff at Scotland’s A+E departments who managed to treat over 96% of patients in less than 4 hours over Christmas week, which was the best performance in the UK. On Wednesday, I spoke in a debate on the treatment of Palestinian Child Detainees in the West Bank while on Thursday the key debate was on the detrimental effect of the accelerated equalisation of the State Pension Age on Women born in the early 50s and I was pleased I was able to speak in support of the many thousands of women who have been unfairly affected by the changes brought in by the UK Government. January as a whole is shaping up to be another busy month in the House.
Back in the constituency, one of the big tasks ahead is the development of the local economy. We have some great, well-known assets in Ayrshire, such as Prestwick Airport and its surrounding aerospace cluster, both of which offer huge potential for further development and increasing the economic performance of Ayrshire, and I am already involved in discussions with the relevant organisations. However, just up the road there is also a promising life science sector developing in Irvine around Glaxo Smith Kline and other medical enterprises. There is potential for attracting further investment as an innovation centre for scaling up bio-science research from some of our leading universities to commercial levels; taking research and development to the next stage. Together with the development of the Harbourside, these present major opportunities for rejuvenating the Irvine area and further stimulating the local economy, and I am keen to work with all those involved to see them progress.