To govern is to choose and the SNP Scottish Government has made its choice through delivering a balanced Scottish Budget for 2023-24 which has the key aims of eradicating child poverty; transforming the economy to deliver net zero and creating sustainable public services.

I am acutely aware that families, businesses and our public finances are under sustained economic pressure and firmly believe that the Scottish Government has acted decisively to provide what support it can within its limited resources .

It is utterly shameful that the opposition parties voted against the Scottish Budget, which has delivered key funding for struggling households during this Tory-made cost of living crisis.

Yet again we see the opposition demand higher public spending without identifying any cuts to balance Scotland’s fixed budget, and both Labour and the Tories shamefully voted down a budget that delivers nearly £14 billion for NHS boards, £5.2 billion for devolved social security payments and £80 million capital funding to support the expansion of free school meals.

From support for those struggling to pay their bills to uprating benefits by inflation, this budget delivers for the people of Scotland and it is now on opposition MSPs to explain to their constituents why they voted down this vital support to struggling households – some who a few short days later pitched up at a food bank for a photo op. Priceless.

At the same time the SNP Scottish Government are currently looking to drive up benefit take-up, and it is important that constituents know what supports are available to them and that they access supports and apply for the benefits they are entitled to.

If constituents need urgent help with money, food or fuel they can check what supports they may be eligible for by visiting the Scottish Government’s cost of living website at, which is a ‘one stop shop’ providing a range of advice on the financial supports available to people in Scotland.

Constituents can also contact my office for advice at or on 01290 319126.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the Scottish Government would like to go even further, and the current Tory UK Government cost of living crisis has laid bare the fiscal constraints of devolution.

Scotland cannot be forced to pay the price for continued Westminster economic failure, and it is only through independence that Scotland can escape this chaos and build a stronger, fairer society as an independent country.