It’s been a busy year so far in the Scottish Parliament and I was especially pleased to have been able to secure support in the Scottish Parliament in order for the draft Scottish Budget to pass the first stage of the legislative process.

Opposition parties who were unwilling to give way proved that they were more interested in political point-scoring than standing up for their local communities and the country, as a whole.

The budget I have put forward will support the economy, protect and provide high-quality public services for all and tackle inequality.

Through this budget, Renfrewshire will directly receive an additional resource and capital funding of over £5 million and will benefit from direct funding to schools to help lower the attainment gap.

Overall, this is a budget which will deliver stability for the economy and stimulate growth both locally and nationally.


It was great to see several groups and organisations in Renfrewshire celebrating the receipt of a number of grants in the last month.

Bridge of Weir and Langbank Primary Schools both received grants of £10,000 from Awards for All Scotland.

Both schools have stated that these grants will be used to improve outdoor play areas and playground equipment, something which is well overdue.

Renfrew YMCA also received a grant of £49,977 from the Big Lottery Fund. This is a huge amount of money for this organisation and will be put straight into a new project that aims to benefit up to 1,200 young people from Renfrew and the surrounding area.


As part of my programme of surgeries and surveys with Renfrew residents, many people have raised their concerns over the proposed new bridge across the River Clyde.

Although I understand the need for a link between these areas and have always been supportive of the ferry link between Yoker and Renfrew, the proposed plans for the bridge itself are unsatisfactory.

Renfrewshire Council are rushing into this, which calls the validity of the public engagement events into question, and it is clear that this City Deal proposal has a long way to go before it has the support of the local residents.

Locals are concerned about increased traffic and increased pollution, especially at peak times in Renfrew town centre.

With the news that Renfrew was found to be one of five new pollution zones in Scotland in 2016, according to figures from Friends of the Earth, these plans will only make matters worse.

As it stands, I cannot see the benefit to Renfrew and, as constituency MSP, I cannot support this proposed bridge until there is proper engagement and consultation with local residents.

I believe it is important to hear local voices.

Renfrewshire Council and the City Deal Cabinet need to engage much more comprehensively if they want the support of Renfrew citizens on this project.