The Scottish Conservative manifesto has been published and includes a range of policies which will deliver for the Scottish Borders.
A new Borderlands Growth Deal will be introduced, similar to the UK wide City Deals, which will seek to secure prosperity for southern Scotland in partnership with all councils either side of the border.
The manifesto also includes the pledge to carry on with the current rate of farming support until the end of the next UK Parliament term, providing stability and financial security to farmers in the Scottish Borders.
A new ‘UK Shared Prosperity Fund’ will replace the EU Structural Fund to more effectively tackle inequalities within the UK and encourage sustainable economic growth.
There are a range of initiatives designed to encourage economic growth, including allowing local authorities to keep all business rates and LBTT, to incentivise them to attract business and investment.
On education, the manifesto proposes an end to the one-size-fits all approach to school provision, calls for a review into the Curriculum for Excellence and new National 4 qualifications and proposes a Teach First programme for Scotland to attract the brightest students to the profession.
The manifesto includes a commitment to raise the personal allowance to £12,500, taking even more people on low incomes out of paying income tax.
Pensioners will continue to benefit from the triple lock until 2020, after which their pensions will rise by inflation or in line with the earnings which pay for them, whichever is higher. The manifesto also confirms that, unlike in England and Wales, the winter fuel allowance will continue to be provided for all in Scotland.
In England, the Conservatives will also spend an extra £8bn on the NHS, meaning the Scottish Government will receive extra funding through the Barnett Formula.
The Prime Minister has also confirmed that she will not allow a second independence referendum before Brexit and then only if there is clear public consent for one.
Commenting on the manifesto, John Lamont said: “This is a manifesto absolutely full of ideas which will benefit the Borders. I am very pleased that my party has committed to a Borderlands deal, which has huge potential to drive our local economy.
“If elected next month, I will be arguing for this deal to prioritise looking closely at the extension of the Borders Rail, investment in our roads and the creation of enterprise zones for our towns.
“Farming businesses now have the security of knowing their support payments will continue beyond Brexit while we design a better system for UK farmers. And pensions will continue to rise in line with inflation or wages, which-ever is the highest, while the winter fuel allowance will remain universal in Scotland.
“Borderers will also welcome the commitment to say no to the SNP’s second referendum on independence so that we can all focus on getting the best Brexit deal for Scotland.
“While the SNP concentrate of their next grievance designed to push their obsession with independence, the Scottish Conservatives are getting on with the day job and delivering fresh ideas for the Borders."
The manifesto can be found here: