EVER since the First Minister’s announcement over giving the people of Scotland a choice in our future, several critics have come out and said that the Scottish Government should “get on with the day job”. Well, here are a few things we have done.

Health Secretary Shona Robison announced that less affluent students will be given greater access to pre-entry courses in an attempt to increase their access to medical school and recruit a sustainable workforce for the future of the NHS. The Scottish Welfare Fund has been extended to provide a safety net to young people. The Deputy First Minister announced that EU students coming to Scotland will be given free tuition in 2018-19 and set out an agenda for Scottish education. The First Minister signed a joint economic declaration with Bavaria and announced a £2 million nursery fund for additional support needs.

Critics have also stated that not enough bills were passed within our first year. We cannot rush these things through, as they need to be looked over carefully and in a democratic fashion. Following the Programme for Government 2016-17, we are expected to vote on the following bills by the end of May: Air Departure Tax Bill, Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill, Railway Policing Bill and Seat Belts on School Transport Bill. These bills will soon be followed by several others.

The Programme for Government focuses on the key legislative and practical steps that the Government will take – a full programme of new Bills and a host of other actions – to continue the process of making Scotland a better place. It is a Programme for Government that will deliver on the promises we have made.

In other news, I’m sure you all have seen that 2,000 people have signed a petition against the Wallyford greyhound stadium. There are obviously concerns over animal welfare, noise and other anti-social behaviour. I hope that the council takes the local considerations into account when making a final decision.