Only last week I hosted a meeting with local MPs to review progress. I am pleased to report that we are driving forward the innovative, cross-border borderlands deal and hope to agree a deal next year that will see investment to transform the local economies within the borderlands area. [Interruption.]
I want to hear the question and I want the people of Dumfries and Galloway to have the chance of hearing it.
Hear, hear to that. Will my right hon. Friend commit to ensuring that local communities have the opportunity to feed their thoughts into what the final deal will look like?
I am sure that the people of Dumfries and Galloway will be absolutely delighted to hear what my hon. Friend says. I was very pleased to receive a submission from all five local authorities involved in the borderlands growth deal. I hope that we can now move forward with local communities being able to include their ideas and contributions in this process.
I think the hon. Gentleman’s constituency is quite nearby.
There is a risk that the Secretary of State is prioritising the borderland deal over the Ayrshire growth deal. In a simple written question, I asked how many meetings he has had on the borderland initiative, with who, and on what dates. His answer was that he has had numerous meetings. Will he answer the question directly, or otherwise I will report him to the Procedure Committee again?
I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman displays an unpleasant SNP trait of seeking to create division within Scotland. I want to see all areas of Scotland benefit from growth. At least the people of Ayrshire know that in their new Member, my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock (Bill Grant), they have a real champion of Ayrshire.