LAST week, I visited Tesco Musselburgh as they undertook their annual Tesco Food collection in partnership with the Trussell Trust and East Lothian Foodbank.

The work undertaken by these incredible individuals is nothing short of vital. In the face of increasing hardship, they offer a lifeline to the most vulnerable members of our society.

However, as we step into 2024, it is disheartening that foodbanks remain a necessity. We must recognise that the continued demand for such services is because of the austerity policies of the Tory Government, which have disproportionately affected the disadvantaged.

It is a stark reminder that, as a society, we have much work to do.

Our hope for the future is that, one day, foodbanks will no longer be needed.

This will be the true sign of progress. Until then, let us continue to support the incredible individuals at foodbanks in your communities in their invaluable efforts, while advocating for a fairer and more equitable society where foodbanks become a relic of the past.

If there is any further reminder needed about the lack of compassion from the Tory Government, the changes to work capability assessments announced in the Autumn Statement could mean disabled people receive less support based on a change of criteria rather than a change in their health.

It is concerning. While providing more employment support for disabled people is a good thing, there is a real danger huge numbers of disabled people will have to look for work when they are not well enough, making them more ill.

Just when the vulnerable need our support, they are targeted by the Tories. The sooner all powers for social security are transferred to Scotland the better.

The Scottish Government is taking a different approach, with its social security system being based on treating people with fairness, dignity and respect.

However, we are negatively impacted by the ever-decreasing block grant from Westminster.