LAST week the Scottish Government announced that an additional £20 million support would be given to GP practices across Scotland to help with the costs of running their practices; this is in addition to the £30m already announced in December’s budget, bringing the total to £50m.

The ‘GP Premises Sustainability Loan Scheme’ aims to ease the financial burden associated with owning a General Practice – in turn helping to improve recruitment and retention. It means that GPs who own their own premises can apply for long-term interest-free loans worth up to 20 per cent of their practice’s value. A total of 172 practices across Scotland have successfully applied for loans – around 50 per cent of the total eligible.

The extra investment will make becoming a GP an attractive career choice and encourage more people to join the profession – which will in turn make it easier for practices in Scotland to retain and recruit staff. The NHS is one of our most treasured institutions, and the SNP in government is absolutely committed to ensuring it stays fit for the future.

In addition, last week the Scottish Government announced that families in East Lothian have benefitted from a share of the £2.7 million paid through the Scottish Government’s new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment scheme since it opened for applications. Since December, Social Security Scotland has made payments to more than 7,000 low-income households. The support provided to families across Scotland, as of January 31, totals £2.7 million.

It is vital that the SNP Government can provide help at a time when many families in Musselburgh and across East Lothian are seeing UK government social security support drastically reduced, and Universal Credit is causing hardship across Scotland.

Last Saturday I joined the Marie Curie daffodil collectors at Tesco in Musselburgh. Marie Curie’s annual fundraiser, the Great Daffodil Appeal takes place throughout March and they are hoping that more people than ever before will join in and wear a daffodil pin. Wearing the daffodil pin unites millions of people together who believe dying people should get the care and support they deserve. Behind every daffodil, there is a story and I hope that many of you will support Marie Curie by wearing your daffodil throughout the month of March.