Alex Salmond has always been a passionate, hard working, ’constituent’ MP. I call him that because he really has stood up and fought hard for his own constituents on every issue, from biscuit factory closures to community health measures.

Now he has his eyes on the much bigger goal - Independence for Scotland. And he’s come up with a real vote-winning idea: "Let Scotland’s high streets flourish" (see pg 4).

In this topical, vote-winning suggestion, the table-thumping MP wants to abolish business rates for 120,000 small firms and give rates relief on a sliding scale to others. I am with him so far, and much of what he says must be music to the ears of other UK high street bakers. But I have always been interested in current affairs and learned, a long time ago, to ask the same question posed by Kirk Hunter of the SAMB: "Who pays?"

There is no such thing as a free subsidy, free grant, free anything. So while I totally agree with his sentiments that we need a return to community, and we want to see high streets flourish instead of seeing too many boarded-up shops and businesses, I’d still like an answer to that question.

While on the craft sector, Doughnut Week is looming fast (pg 9). It is not only a fantastic opportunity to raise much-needed money for a nationwide charity, but a chance to publicise your business, sell more doughnuts and, importantly, increase profits alongside your profile. So please do sign up fast.

Also, please enter the Baking Industry Awards. Many have requested more time to enter, so the deadline has been extended to May 18. Just call Nicola Chesson on 01293 867629 or download a form from our website, [].

In the plant sector, we are monitoring Kingsmill’s £14 million mega re-launch which its owner, Allied Bakeries, says has resulted in a "marked increase in sales" (pg 4). Early marketing data seems to confirm the fact, and both Sainsbury’s and our city analysts concur that it’s gone well.