THE new parliamentary session got underway this month, with the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government (PfG) the first big issue to be considered by MSPs.

The response to the PfG was mixed, to say the least. Numerous third-sector housing, anti-poverty and environmental groups were critical, describing it variously as “inadequate”, “disappointing” and “a missed opportunity”.

The leaders of 10 Scottish councils, including East Lothian, wrote to the First Minister slating the lack of support for struggling councils in the PfG, which fails to deliver much needed progress on the promised fiscal framework for local government.

Scottish Labour has called for the introduction of a Barnett-style formula to ensure council funding keeps pace with Scottish Government funding – but the SNP has refused. The council leaders also criticised the SNP’s plans to “tinker with the unfair, broken council tax”.

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All in all, the PfG is a damp squib that fails to adequately address the various serious problems facing Scotland’s economy and public services.

The next major parliamentary focus for me was the decision to reconsider the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill. This important bill is intended to fully protect children’s rights in Scotland by enshrining the UNCRC in Scottish legislation.

It was passed unanimously by parliament two and half years ago but, following a challenge by the UK Government, has been in limbo ever since. With the revised legislation now having been introduced, we have an opportunity to make progress with the bill, amending it where necessary to finally make it part of Scots Law.

On a related issue, I was pleased to raise the fact that, for several years, there has not been a debate in government time on the issue of dyslexia. The education secretary responded positively to my question, and I hope we will soon be able to debate this hugely important topic at Holyrood.