As we move into 2022 we leave behind a year sadly dominated by the impact of the global pandemic.
My firm hope is that in the coming months we will start to turn a corner although my thoughts will always remain with local families and individuals who have been touched by the virus, some losing loved ones.
A lasting legacy will -- and should be -- greater recognition of our medical, care and complete range of essential services, who have achieved so much in extreme circumstances.
Away from politics, it was good to see the UK and Scottish Governments working well together in the battle to control the virus, such as in the vital mass vaccination programmes, expanding network of UK Government testing stations, shared research and statistical resources and, of course, the reassuring support from the Army.
Massive public investment in preserving businesses and jobs during this crisis was partly achieved through affordable borrowing made possible using the shared economic strength we have from being part of the United Kingdom.
With transport links vital to our region, I was delighted Sir Peter Hendy's recent Union Connectivity Review identified the importance of upgrading the A75 as a top UK strategic priority. I urge the SNP-Green Scottish Government to end their non-co-operation on this issue and join the UK Government in taking the project forward.
As the UK adjusts to greater flexibility outside the EU, and more trade deals are completed, I believe that past uncertainties should be replaced by increased stability and confidence for our industries, including agriculture, services, food processing and tourism.
With the environment, resilience and green energy increasingly on the global agenda, I see south west Scotland as well placed to embrace a new era ahead.
A Happy and Prosperous New Year to all.