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FERGUS EWING: Liz Truss should have followed Shakespeare's advice – 'Neither a borrower nor a lender be' as decisions by the former PM to borrow billions will cost everyone in the UK dearly

By Fergus Ewing

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MSP Fergus Ewing.
MSP Fergus Ewing.

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” All of us will recall this advice, offered by Polonius to Laertes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: advice from an old bore to a hot-headed young man!

Nonetheless, most of us are only too well aware of the risks of borrowing more than you can afford to repay.

Yet, these lessons do not appear to be much heeded in the political world. And, over the past few weeks, the decisions taken by the former Prime Minister and her former chancellor to borrow countless, and it seems uncosted billions of pounds, to fund tax cuts for the already wealthy will cost everyone in the UK dearly.

The backtracking and U-turns of these wild decisions resulted from the reaction of the city and financial markets. That reaction, in turn, required the Bank of England to shore up pension funds – whose financial stability was threatened directly by said profligate decisions taken at the highest level.

The key requirement for governments here and in London is surely to build a strong economy which provides fair pay for all – and that should be the main focus on either side of the border.

This crisis should be a time for parties working together and seeking to find shared solutions to the enormous problems of the day.

n This week in Holyrood, I shall meet Jenny Gilruth the transport minister, regards the A9. I shall continue to campaign and call in Holyrood for a revised detailed plan for the dualling of the A9 between Perth and Inverness – fulfilling our long-standing pledges.

I shall also suggest concerted action for improving safety meantime. Last week, I met the head of police locally and I’m forwarding to Highland police traffic experts suggestions received from many constituents about how to do that: calls for better lighted signage, clearer indications of speed limits, measures to tackle junctions and when dual becomes single and vice-versa – all these ideas will be put to the police.

Spare a thought, too, for the emergency services staff who attend the scene of road incidents with a fatality; and then follow-up and visit the families who have lost a loved one. The emotional strain must be immense.

I shall update Courier readers as progress is made – as made it must be. Anyone who wishes to put their thoughts on improving road safety to me – and thereby conveyed to the police and authorities – is welcome to email Fergus.ewing.msp@parliament.Scot

We treat all contacts in confidence.

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