THROUGHOUT the Halloween and Bonfire Night festivities, I have been keeping busy in Holyrood raising the issues that matter to people locally.

We cannot forget about the legions of firefighters who stood ready to keep the public safe throughout Bonfire Night.

Unfortunately, they have been dealing with waves of funding cuts, job losses and worsening working conditions for more than a decade now. I was therefore proud to take part in a fire services debate to raise their concerns in parliament.

In the Fire Brigade Union’s latest report, they pointed out that reduced government funding has forced Scotland’s Fire and Rescue service to make drastic cuts, including the removal of some fire appliances from the Greenock area.

When the fire service was centralised in 2012, the Scottish Government promised that this would save money without reducing the quality and numbers of frontline services.

Since then, the small amounts of money saved by sustained cuts have resulted in little to no upgrading of equipment, no investment into repairing crumbling facilities and needlessly exposing our firefighters to occupational hazards.

This broken promise puts both our communities and local heroes in danger. I called for the Scottish Government to commit to properly funding and supporting our firefighters, especially amidst the shocking violence we saw in Edinburgh and Dundee last week.

The Scottish Government’s Early Years Children’s Development Programme was also discussed in parliament last week. Although this programme has been framed as building upon “world-leading” work in improving the lives of Scottish children, the supposed benefits of these policies still seem like a world away for many of my constituents.

Upon submitting numerous written questions related to the Programme to the Scottish Government, I came across a very disturbing statistic. The numbers of children aged between five and fifteen who have been admitted to hospital for intentionally self-inflicted injuries has reached a decade high, increasing by nearly four times in 2022 compared to 2012.

When speaking at a debate, I quoted Scotland’s former Commissioners for Children and Young People. I echoed his concerns that the Scottish Government repeatedly overpromises and underdelivers on many major policies, which has resulted in their failure to properly tackle the deepening mental health crisis Scotland’s young people face.

I continue to urge the Scottish Government to work on these issues with all political parties in Holyrood, alongside councils and communities across my region.