The Scottish budget this week focussed on supporting people who have been hardest hit by the pandemic, including targeting extra support at children living in poverty.

Tackling inequality is something that drives me as a politician. I sit on the Scottish Parliament’s social justice and social security committee, and I work with my colleagues in Holyrood to realise our vision of a Scotland where no child grows up facing the injustices of poverty.

That vision took a step forward this week as finance secretary Kate Forbes revealed the funding that will double the game-changing Scottish Child Payment to £20 per child per week from April next year. That will reach 2,635 children across West Dunbartonshire in just four months’ time.

The additional funding will provide certainty and stability for families whilst working to reduce inequalities. In total, £4 billion has been set aside in the budget to target child poverty and inequality. That money is driving efforts to lift children out of poverty in Scotland.

But while the Scottish Government increases funding to support hard-pressed families, in Clydebank and across the country, the UK Government has callously removed the £20 uplift to Universal Credit which has impacted many of those same families.

The testimony I have heard from many individuals, child poverty campaigners and charities who have spoken to our committee has emphasised how badly this cut will hurt so many people. In effect, the Scottish Government is being forced to step in where the UK Government has turned its back.

It really is a story of two governments. And it shows how the status quo is unsustainable.

As we work to create a social security system based on dignity, fairness, and respect, we are charting a very different path from the hostile welfare system administered from London, one that often feels like it is designed to keep people out.

The bold, ambitious, and progressive funding package contained in the Scottish Government’s budget will not only make Scotland a fairer place, but it will also strengthen our response to the pandemic.

That’s exactly what a record-level £18 billion of funding is designed to do for health and social care.

That money will help to ease the pressures on the NHS created by the pandemic, and it will support the next steps in the single greatest public health reform since the establishment of the NHS in 1948 – the creation of a new National Care Service for Scotland.

So, as we continue to carefully manage the pandemic and act to help our children thrive, we can do this in confidence with the support provided in our Scottish budget.