As parents across Renfrewshire start to prepare for the schools going back next week, many families will be delighted the school clothing grant has been increased.

While this year’s SNP Renfrewshire Council budget increased the grant to £70, additional funding by the Scottish Government has resulted in it increasing even further to £100 per eligible child.

This will help families who need it the most and will remove a great deal of pressure associated with struggling to afford essential school items, especially at the beginning of the school year.

It will also have a huge benefit for the children themselves.

This increased grant will help to remove the stigma that kids unfairly face due to circumstances which are completely outwith their control.

Every child in Renfrewshire should be able to attend school feeling comfortable, confident and ready to learn – and this should not be hindered by a lack of appropriate clothing.

I am pleased that, at both a national and local level, the SNP are taking steps to remove barriers for children and families.

In the last month, membership of the SNP in Renfrewshire has rocketed, increasing by more than 300, and now stands at more than 2,000.

I recently hosted a fun day for new members at Renfrew Juniors’ ground. I wanted to make sure local members, old and new, had an opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed setting. It was great to see over 120 people come along.

We were joined on the day by guest speakers including Renfrewshire parliamentarians Mhairi Black MP and Tom Arthur MSP, deputy presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament Linda Fabiani MSP, Scottish Government Brexit and Constitution Secretary Michael Russell MSP and human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar.

The majority of Renfrewshire’s SNP councillors were also there.
We had a bouncy castle and a face painter for the children, so there really was something for everyone.

Everyone who has joined the SNP has done so for similar reasons – we want to see Scotland become a fairer and more equal society – and it is days like this that can bring us all together. It doesn’t matter when you joined the party, whether it was just recently or years ago, we are all an equal part of this family and I hope this event has helped to emphasise this point and made all new members feel welcome.

If you would like to join the SNP and get involved in the fun, please visit

Finally, it has been confirmed by the Scottish Government that the free bus pass will remain available to all from the age of 60. Despite scaremongering from Labour, this is not changing. The concessionary travel scheme is being extended to include companions of eligible disabled children aged under five.

The government is also exploring options to provide free bus travel for Modern Apprentices, while keeping the scheme under review and maintaining a balanced budget.