THIS month, the Scottish Parliament passed the first stage of the Scottish Budget process.

The Budget I have agreed proposes an additional £2billion of investment in our health and care services, schools, councils and infrastructure projects.

Money allocated to health and care services has increased by over £730million, with more than £180m going directly to schools and headteachers to help raise the attainment gap.

An enhanced package for local government has also been announced, bringing overall spending power for councils next year to £620m higher than it is right now.

Full details of how these announcements will benefit Renfrewshire will be announced in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the consultation for the catchment review affecting Bishopton Primary and the new primary school to be built in Dargavel Village is now live on Renfrewshire Council’s website.

The consultation sets out plans to create a natural boundary line between the new school in Dargavel and Bishopton Primary, by the railway line adjacent to Dargavel Village.

The full consultation and online response form will run until Tuesday, March 26, and I would encourage residents who have an interest or opinion on this to take part in the consultation.

My constituency office has received many enquiries from constituents regarding the proposed school, so I know this is an extremely important issue for many local residents.

This consultation is a chance for people to provide their views on a key aspect of the development.

Elsewhere, I recently visited Terumo Aortic, in Inchinnan, to see first-hand the world-leading work they do in the development of medical products.

The company design and then hand-make a range of products used to save and improve the lives of patients with abdominal aneurysms.

Many of these products are exported from Renfrewshire to over 90 counties around the world. At present, over 800 people are employed locally, with work already started on expanding the Inchinnan site.

It was fascinating to see how these lifesaving devices are made individually and by hand, as well as hearing about the company’s expansion plans.

On the subject of local businesses, earlier this month I was delighted to be invited along to the Piccolo Mondo restaurant, in Renfrew, as the owners hosted a senior citizens lunch to celebrate 50 years in the town.

Restaurant owner Tony and his wife Giuliana, now supported by their son Lio, have served Renfrew for over half a century and, to say thank-you to the town, they hosted a free lunch for 60 local people.

I was honoured to say a few words, paying tribute to their contribution to Renfrew.

Small independent businesses are the heartbeat of any town and the Piccolo Mondo, like so many others, has played a vital role.

It has become a Renfrew institution, attracting visitors from far and wide, and I wish Tony well in his planned retirement.