ONE of my main focuses recently has been the proposed closure of Renfrew’s Santander branch. I have called on Santander and the UK Government to set out what steps can be taken to halt the closure of 15 branches across Scotland.

Bank branches provide vital services which are useful to many in our community, especially those with additional needs and the elderly.

This ultimately means the important employment they offer can be valuable for local communities.

My SNP colleagues have already secured two debates. I have also launched a public Parliamentary petition calling on Santander to reconsider. You will be able to sign it at my office at 6 Porterfield Road, Renfrew.

Elsewhere, I’ve been visiting businesses to congratulate them on recent success and find out more about the area’s business environment.

The first of these businesses was Terumo Aortic (formerly Vascutek), which won the ROCCO award at the Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce Awards for Innovation and Technology.
During an extremely impressive visit, the company highlighted potential issues with NICE guidelines and potential effects of Brexit.

I’ve also visited FE Live, winners of an Outstanding Business award in the ROCCOs, with their founders, Andrew McMillan and Ryan McIlravey, also picking up Young Business Person of the Year.

The business is an audio hire/sales and events company with a promising future.

I then met Canmoor, owners of the Westway Industrial Park. It was great to learn how, since taking over, staff have invested into what is a successful centre of industry and are looking forward to taking forward plans and new opportunities from the Glasgow City Region Deal.

During this visit, I also met with Renewable Parts Limited, the UK’s leading independent renewables supply chain specialist. The Renfrew team play an absolutely vital role in refurbishing parts and now in offering fully refurbished whole turbine systems.

I was interested in their thoughts on the circular economy and sustainability more generally.

The following week, I visited Mirren Park School and was impressed by the dedication of staff there. My last stop was Pandemonium Soft Play, winners of the ROCCO for Renfrewshire’s Favourite Business.

Finally, I serve as chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Scottish Sport and as the SNP’s Westminster spokesperson on sport. Earlier this month, the APPG hosted Billy Garret, director of sport and events at Glasgow Life, to learn about the legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Glasgow Life played a key role in delivering the event and ensuring it has left a positive legacy for Scotland’s sporting communities.

The meeting was very well attended and Billy’s presentation on the outstanding work carried out by Glasgow Life was extremely informative. We also used the meeting as a chance to raise the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which take place in 2022. Part of this discussion was around how MPs can ensure that, as Scotland will be paying towards the Games, we receive the appropriate benefits and the correct Barnett consequentials from what will be a significant UK Government spend.