I was delighted to see the North Sea Transition Deal was agreed by the UK Government.
This is a hugely welcome announcement for the north-east economy and for local jobs here in Banff and Buchan.
The £16bn agreement between government and industry will support our oil and gas sector through the shift towards cleaner forms of energy.
It will protect existing jobs in the supply chain and create new opportunities in new and emerging technologies such as hydrogen production, carbon capture usage and storage and offshore wind.
North East Scotland has long been viewed as a global centre of excellence for the oil and gas industry – there is no reason why it cannot be the same for energy transition.
Our local ports also stand to greatly benefit from the growth of offshore wind and decommissioning work, and this will have a knock-on economic benefit to the wider community as well.
On a different note, I had my first vaccine jab in Macduff last week and I must say that the service was excellent.
I would like to thank the staff and volunteers on site at the sports centre – they were very professional and efficient.
I would still like to see more local access to vaccine centres to cut down on the need for travel.
I hear from many constituents who have trouble rearranging appointments because they are unable to make it to the local centre.
We cannot afford for anyone to be left out or left behind. It is vital that everybody that needs a jab, gets one.
But while there will always be some minor issues with an operation of this scale, on a national level, this vaccine programme has been a huge success.
The UK Government took decisive action at a very early stage to invest in, develop and acquire vaccines from a range of different producers.
Our departure from the EU allowed us to act more quickly than our European neighbours who are vaccinating their populations at a much slower rate.
That swift decision-making and action really paid off – and credit for that must go to the Prime Minister and his team, particularly Kate Bingham who led the UK Vaccine Taskforce.
And I must say the behaviour of the EU Commission, with threats to blockade of supplies, has been unedifying to watch.
Thanks to the UK Government, we are in a good position, and once we have vaccinated people at home, we will have supplies left over to send to other parts of the world.
At the time of writing, nearly 31 million people across the UK have received their first dose of the vaccine and over four million have received both doses.
It is important to remember that the first dose takes 2–3 weeks to take full effect and even after the jab we must all continue to follow the social distancing and hygiene rules as they are carefully relaxed in the coming weeks and months.
By the time we get to the end of July, most of the UK’s adult population should have received their first jab.
In the meantime, I strongly encourage everyone who receives their blue envelope in the post to go get their jab!