As Clydebank’s constituency MSP I have been taking up many issues on your behalf and getting out and about in our community.

When seeking your support at the election I pledged to be accessible to you and be a strong voice for those who need me. If there is something you think I will be able to assist with, please do not hesitate to contact me at

I have also been settling into my role in the Scottish Parliament, making my first speech, submitting motions important to our town, and questioning the Cabinet Secretary about child poverty.

I am pleased to have been appointed to the Parliament’s Social Justice and Social Security Committee. It has a very wide remit that includes policies relating to tacking child poverty, Scottish social security, violence against women, kinship care, the third sector, and refugees and asylum.

Over the summer recess we will be agreeing a full work plan that will bring a focus to our work and ensure that we have full scrutiny of forthcoming government legislation.

We have already agreed to seek views on the current plans to support unpaid carers in the Carer’s Allowance Supplement Bill. Unpaid carers make an immense contribution to the health and well-being of loved ones and probably never more so than during this pandemic.

The SNP government had previously introduced a Carers’ Allowance Supplement, topping up the level of the UK Government’s Carers Allowance because it is woefully inadequate, and a poor recognition of what carers do for our society.

The Bill will double the winter supplement paid in December 2021 by £231.40 to a total payment of £462.80. More than 91,000 unpaid carers will gain from this with a necessary investment of an additional £21 million.

I welcome this increase as recognition of the incredible work they do, especially at this challenging and difficult time.

In this parliament we will replace the existing Carers’ Allowance with an improved and more generous Carers Assistance payment, and this will also provide greater assistance to bereaved carers.

We must see a step change in this parliament in the way we set policy, and lead Scotland forward in a compassionate, and supportive way that ensures that everyone has a decent standard of living.

This will need many innovative policies, and also funding to provide affordable housing, decent employment laws that end exploitative zero hours contracts, a compassionate social security system that leaves no one behind and the provision of essential services that helps us thrive.