Over the last few weeks, I’ve been contacted by a number of constituents expressing concern over the proposed introduction of car parking charges in Johnstone.

My constituency office is in Johnstone town centre, at 49 High Street, so I am well aware of the existing provision of parking spaces.

Personally, I have always been able to find a parking space with relative ease and a shortage of spaces is not an issue that has been consistently raised with me by constituents.

At a time when we want to be increasing footfall in our town centres, I am sceptical of any move that could negatively impact on many of the fantastic local businesses that we have in Johnstone.

With a consultation process under way, it’s important that Renfrewshire Council listens to the voices of those who know the town best – the people who live and work here.

As an MSP, I have and always will put the interests of my constituents first. Any substantial changes to parking arrangements in Johnstone should only go ahead if there is sufficient local support from both residents and businesses.

I will continue to speak with Renfrewshire Council to make sure the views of people in Johnstone are heard and that no action is taken that would have a detrimental impact upon our town.

Meanwhile, last week saw the UK Government set out its penultimate budget before Brexit.

It should have been an opportunity to end austerity, raise the public sector pay cap and invest in our public services. Instead, we got Tory smoke and mirrors and substantial cuts to Scotland’s budget.

By 2020, the UK Government will have cut £500million in real terms from the Scottish Government’s resource budget.

The resource budget is used for running services like the NHS, the police and local councils.

However, if you listened to the Tories, you would never know this was the case. They claim to be giving Scotland an additional £2billion but, as ever with the Tories, the devil is in the detail.

Over £1bn of this money is in what is called financial transactions. This is money that comes with strings attached, can only be spent on certain things and has to be paid back to London.

It’s like being given a store card as you get a pay cut and being told to be grateful for it.

Next week, Derek Mackay, the cabinet secretary for finance, will set out the Scottish Government’s budget for the coming year.

Unlike the Tory UK Government, the Scottish Government is committed to lifting the public sector pay cap and protecting our vital public services.

As a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee, I look forward to studying the plans in detail ahead of the final budget vote in February.