I WAS pleased last week to ask Derek Mackay about how his budget proposals will support communities here in Renfrewshire South.

With the Scottish Government committed to inclusive economic growth, regenerating our towns and ensuring the wellbeing of communities across my constituency and beyond, this is a sign of a government committed to delivering for people here, in stark contrast to a collapsing Conservative government dominating Westminster politics.

The budget is absolutely great news for our NHS, with almost three-quarters of a billion pounds extra for health and care services.

To support education, a total of £180million will be provided to raise attainment in schools.

This includes £120million going direct to headteachers to spend specifically on closing the attainment gap, which has been one of the SNP’s major aims in recent years.

Having spent time visiting schools across the constituency in Johnstone and surrounding villages, I know this is an invaluable investment which allows headteachers to direct funding to where they know it will have the biggest impact on pupils in their school.

As a carers champion, I am delighted with the historic funding for Scotland’s new social security agency, which will support carers and low income families across the country.

The Scottish Government’s Carers Allowance Supplement will receive £37million funding, and 2019/20 will see around 75,000 carers benefit from an inflationary rise in the benefit.

With councils receiving a real terms increase both in revenue and capital funding with a total overall settlement of £11billion, I look forward to Johnstone making the most of plans to introduce a ring-fenced £50million Town Centre Fund through the local authority settlement.

This proposal aims to drive local economic growth by helping town centres fund projects such as re-purposing buildings for retail, business and community enterprise, while improving access and infrastructure.

This is coupled with a below-inflation increase to business rates, aimed at helping our town centres thrive, while giving our small businesses support to grow and develop.

This is a budget which I know delivers for our economy, for the NHS, supports education and improving attainment, helps to provide affordable housing, invests almost £500million to expand Early Learning and Childcare and supports our businesses and town centres.

In the midst of utter Brexit turmoil and Tory confusion down at Westminster, the Scottish Government is showing it is indeed getting on with the day job of looking after Scotland’s best interests.

At First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood last week, I asked how the Scottish Government will continue to support work to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust is preserved for future generations to come – and that they are taught those lessons which we must never forget.

We must not stand by and let hate and discrimination go unchallenged. We must do everything we can to tackle it and stand up to it.

I truly believe it is upon all of us to take action to create a better future.