AS WE ENTER 2024, it is deeply disappointing to see that Humza Yousaf is continuing to commit his Government to divisive policies which are clearly against the best interests of the people of East Lothian.

Mr Yousaf used his first speech of 2024 to advocate for the break-up of the UK, ahead of focusing on people’s real priorities – like the cost of living, boosting the economy and improving our local public services. The SNP Government has the devolved powers to improve the lives of Scottish workers now, but it has chosen to make Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK, damaging our competitiveness.

Instead, Mr Yousaf somehow bizarrely claims that, in an independent Scotland, every household would be £10,000 a year better off. This is fantasy economics and it is frankly delusional.

While the global economic conditions are challenging, it is heartening to see that, thanks to the block grant support from Westminster, Scotland receives £2,000 per person more for public services than in the rest of the UK. At the flick of a switch, this money would go if the SNP ever achieved their obsession of independence.

While the Scottish Conservatives continue to focus on the country’s real priorities, Scottish Labour started the new year with the same old stories.

While Labour claims it will challenge the SNP, we all know Anas Sarwar’s party is an opposition in name only. Despite his warm words and carefully crafted soundbites, his party supported the SNP’s gender recognition reforms and disastrous financial policies, slavishly voting with Humza Yousaf’s Government on issues ranging from rent reforms to the deeply worrying hate crimes legislation.

It might be a new year, but we can still expect the same tired old excuses from the SNP and their apparent allies in Scottish Labour.