ON FEBRUARY 23, the Scottish Budget was successfully passed, 68 to 57. This budget holds out hope for Scotland’s future, as it invests in opportunities for young people, reform of the NHS, and growth in the economy.

At this time of great uncertainty, we need to have sound foundations to guarantee our country will grow and improve, and this budget helps us establish that. An additional £900 million of expenditure has been secured that will be used to support our economy and those on low incomes, fund education to close the attainment gap, double childcare, and protect higher education. NHS will be receiving more investment than ever before as social care and free prescriptions continue to be protected. The basic rate of income tax will be frozen, helping those on lower incomes.

This budget is one that benefits all of Scotland and ensures that taxpayers around the country get more for their money.

Overcrowded trains have become a major issue in East Lothian, and in an attempt to ease this overcrowding, the current number of carriages on each train has been increased from four to six until the end of April.

It is apparent that this temporary solution to the problem of overcrowding will not permanently fix any of these problems. However, this decision is a step in the right direction, albeit a small one, and may lead to better improvements in the future.

It has been said that by December 2018 we should expect to have newer and longer trains, helping to decrease overcrowding even more. One can only hope for the best.

I had the opportunity to attend ‘Know Your Pulse’ at Parliament, supporting the creation of a national screening programme for people over 65 at risk of atrial fibrillation. AF is associated with heart failure, AF-related stroke, poor mental health, and premature death. I would encourage everyone to be aware of their pulse and to seek help if it is irregular.