Recent research carried out by the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that, in the next five years, a record 5.2 million UK children will be forced into poverty due to Tory welfare cuts.

I would say that this news and these figures shocked me. However, I find it more difficult to be surprised by Tory welfare cuts the more they carry on with their failing austerity agenda, cutting money from the wrong places.

These figures on child poverty are the highest ever since records began in 1961.

This sharp rise is due to failing welfare policies such as unfair sanctions, the shambles that is the rollout of Universal Credit and the family cap, particularly impacting those families who will be affected by the two-child limit on means tested benefits.

Current Tory welfare policy is designed to keep the most vulnerable in society in poverty, yet the UK Government paint a picture that these cuts are happening to strengthen our economy.

Children are going to bed without dinner but we can afford to renovate palaces. Foodbanks are running out of supplies but it is okay that we have multi-billion pound nuclear missiles.

The hypocrisy that comes with Tory austerity does shock me and this is highlighted in the IFS research into child poverty.

The good work that people, organisations and even politicians have done to reduce child poverty is at risk of being for nothing if Tory welfare cuts continue under the mask of the austerity agenda.

Remembrance Sunday

This weekend sees both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday take place.

Many remembrance services will be held across Renfrewshire to give people the opportunity to show our respect to all of those who have given their lives in the conflict of war.

It is a moment for reflection and to remember our servicemen and women and the sacrifices they have made to protect the freedoms that we cherish so highly.

It is a chance to thank our veterans for their service and to remember all victims of war.

Last year, I attended the service in Paisley, which was a touching tribute, and I will be in attendance at the Lochwinnoch, Kilbarchan and Johnstone services this year to show my respects.

If you can, try to make it along to one of these events.

raising awareness

I read in The Gazette about a poem at Johnstone train station which aims to highlight the stigma surrounding mental health and reduce the risk of suicide.

Sadly, around 250 people in Scotland take their lives at railway stations every year.

Those of you in the Johnstone area will be all too familiar with this issue as we have seen a number of fatalities at Milliken Park station in recent years.

Well done to Margaret Cook, who penned the poem, for raising awareness of this issue. If you are in Johnstone train station, have a look for yourself as the poem will be on display until May 2019.