Below is the text of a letter sent by Jo Swinson to local newspapers in East Dunbartonshire, responding to global financial events and their impact in the constituency.
The unprecedented events in the financial world recently will be of the utmost concern to many people in East Dunbartonshire. Homeowners, small business owners and many others are bracing themselves for the full impact of the credit crunch.
I have supported the Government’s rescue plan for British banks. During exceptional circumstances, I believe it is right for us to pull together and make the stability of our economy our top priority.
During this difficult economic time, residents affected by the credit crunch must not be left to face problems alone. In my role as Member of Parliament, I offer help and assistance with money problems, while other groups such as the Citizens Advice Bureau are also here to help. One of the most common pieces of advice for people facing debt problems is not to bury their head in the sand – seek help, and work out how to tackle the problem.
I will shortly be meeting with representatives from high street banks across East Dunbartonshire, to get their feedback on how the banking crisis is affecting their customers’ needs. At Westminster, I have backed Vince Cable’s call for mortgage lenders to act sympathetically towards struggling home owners, treating repossession only as an absolute last resort.
One area where I disagree with the government is over the merger of Lloyds TSB and HBoS. With a merger likely to lead to job losses, maintaining an independent HBoS is of great importance to Scotland. Neither the Labour government nor the SNP are currently sending the right signals over saving HBoS as an independent bank.
We face challenging times as the economy is shaken by the global credit crisis, but residents who are badly hit should not feel they must face their problems alone.
Jo Swinson MP