by Gil Paterson MSP

Last week I, with others, attended the Blitz Memorial in Dalnottar Cemetery to remember those who perished on the moonlit evenings of March 13 and 14, 1941, when bombs rained down on our town.

The Luftwaffe onslaught was of such ferocity it was, proportionately, the most devastating bombing raid anywhere in the UK during the Second World War.

The aim of the raid was to strike terror into the hearts of the people and cause as much upheaval as possible.

There was certainly terror, grief, loss and pain but there was also extraordinary bravery and it is testament to Clydebank that, rather than break the community, the Blitz strengthened the resolve of the people to survive and to resist.

From the Blitz Memorial we will proceed to the Polish Memorial in Solidarity Plaza for a wreath-laying ceremony.

I was pleased to back this year’s Scottish Government budget which provided £42.5 billion for public services.

The Scottish Government has delivered a budget that protects the Scottish NHS. Greater Glasgow and Clyde will get £2.23bn – a £76.6 million rise on last year.

Read more: OPINION Cllr Chris Cunningham: Drama but no crisis for SNP as group gets budget through

Our health service consistently outperforms all other health services in the UK and this additional money will sustain this crucial service. Staffing levels in the Scottish NHS are at a record high as we continue to invest in training and new jobs.

The budget provides £8bn for schools and colleges, including £120m paid direct to heads through the Pupil Equity Fund to close the attainment gap.

Every school in Clydebank receives money from the Pupil Equity Fund. Figures show the gap between school leavers from more challenging backgrounds and those from more privileged backgrounds has halved since 2009/10. Additionally, the proportion of our students leaving school with five passes at Higher level last year was the highest ever.

The income tax measures introduced in the budget make Scotland the lowest taxed country in the UK for a majority of income tax-payers and council tax is still significantly lower here than in England.

Our economy is continuing to grow, with the latest figures showing our international exports growing at the highest rate since 2011.

However, while the Scottish Government is providing economic stability, the UK Tory government in Westminster is all over the place.

As the uncertainty of Brexit looms, jobs are being lost – particularly in England in the car industry and financial services.

The government’s chief economic adviser confirms Brexit will result in less household income and threaten jobs – while a no-deal Brexit will plunge us into recession.

There can be a better future for Scotland. It’s time to choose our own path.