HOLYROOD’S regular parliamentary sessions resume after the party political conference season.

Party members have voted on SNP policies but affiliated groups, other organisations, institutions and businesses also attend, including individuals who represent wider opinions in civil society.

One example is the critical relationship between housing and child poverty made more acute by the cost-of-living crisis. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) attended the recent SNP conference and, together with the Child Poverty Action Group, held a packed fringe meeting.

Focused on these inter-related social issues rather than party politics, Sally Thomas, CEO of SFHA, pointed out that “poverty is lower where we have more social homes”.

First Minister Humza Yousaf announced the proposed launch of Scottish Government Bonds, subject to due diligence and market testing, attracting funders to invest in Scottish infrastructure, including affordable housing.

Another announcement impacting every household in East Lothian in 2024 is the commitment to additional local authority funding to allow the freezing of council tax.

This benefits those struggling to manage family budgets or pensioners who have no means to increase their income, ensuring that at least one significant element in monthly outgoings will not increase next year.

A third announcement was the intention to give Scotland more control over our energy resources – and assist in moving towards net zero – by bringing them under public control.

Naysayers will warn that the ‘devil is in the detail’, as if the reckless stewardship of the UK’s economy which crashed on the rocks of Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget a year ago never happened. Yet astonishing reports (October 20) indicate that Rishi Sunak, having lost two more by-elections, is once again considering cutting taxes for five million high earners.

What did Keir Starmer say in his conference speech about Scotland’s future prosperity, investment in social housing and green energy? Six-thousand words made over 70 references to ‘our country’, ‘nation’ and ‘Britain’ – but Scotland as a country got just a couple of paragraphs and Europe wasn’t mentioned. Holyrood puts Scotland first.