The beginning of October marked the second annual “Women in Sport” Week in Scotland.

The benefits of active participation in sport are well reported, however there continues to be a gender disparity in participation rates.

Recent research from sportscotland has highlighted by a clear margin, more men participate regularly in sport compared to women. The research also revealed the decline in women’s participation in sports occur at school age between the ages of 13 and 15.

However, across the last year, we have experienced numerous successes of inspirational Scottish women in sport.

At the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in Spring, women returned two gold medals, five silver medals and six bronze medals. Laura Muir became the first British woman to win the European 1,500 metre title at the European Championships in Berlin. The Scottish Women’s Football team qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time.

I hope the variety of sporting successes achieved by Scottish sportswomen throughout 2018 can act as a catalyst which inspires our country’s stars of the future.

In other matters, Universal Credit is causing misery and pushing people further into poverty across Scotland and the UK. It’s a Tory policy designed to remove the safety net welfare guarantees.

It’s reported half of lone parents and about two-thirds of working-age couples with children would lose the equivalent of £2,400 a year under the new benefit.

Merging six benefits into one payment has been problematic from the start and the Tories have been stubborn in pushing through this flawed policy.

Bringing people out of poverty is fundamental to my politics and that is why I fully support Labour’s proposal that would lift 30,000 children out of poverty.

By increasing Child Benefit by £5 a week the Scottish Government can do just that. It has the power to do so, however the political will is lacking with the SNP to listen to Scottish Labour and the many charities and anti-poverty groups who back Labour’s proposals.

Labour’s record on child poverty out performs that of any party.

Between 1997-2010 Labour halved child poverty.

We also halved pensioner poverty. Why? Because we had the political will to implement policies like the national minimum wage, sure start grants and child benefit.