Last week I was pleased to see Aberdeenshire Council re-invest in funding local bus services between Ballater and Braemar, and also flood defences for Kemnay.
The two-year boost will see costs covered for what would be loss-making journeys for private companies.
In 2019 I was among those who argued against cutting the 901 Bluebird service and am glad this lifeline has been retained.
No one living in Kemnay will forget the devastating floods that hit the area following Storm Frank. The impact on local residents, businesses and property was enormous.
When potentially vulnerable area status was looked at by SEPA in 2011, properties were not deemed to be at risk. That situation changed quite dramatically in 2016.
It took a long time for that to change and I’m glad the council have put more than half a million pounds extra into the minor works scheme.
This extra money, post budget setting, was made possible by the record UK block grant for Scotland - £14.5 billion since the start of the pandemic - making its way to local authorities. In future, it’s essential that this cash is passed on to Aberdeenshire in a fair way. Remember that per head, local services got £43 million less from Holyrood this year.
In the Commons I spoke in support of our Highland Games and agricultural events calendar, looking with optimism at the events research programme taking place in England. The report into events at Liverpool, Berkshire and elsewhere concluded that with mitigating factors they can be conducted more safely at increased capacities while maintaining a low risk of transmission.
Unfortunately, and understandably, a number of local summer events have been cancelled. But there is now greater understanding of how outdoor events can be held safely. I look to the Scottish Government to take part in UK-wide research, so that we can look forward to shows and games this year.