Scottish Parliament is now in recess and I’ve enjoyed a break with the family in our old but dry caravan, putting the phone and emails second for a change.

While on holiday we parked up next to a nice guy who was taking a break for a week. Sadly his wife wasn’t with him as she suffered from dementia having been diagnosed early at the age of 60.

As her full-time carer he had been offered a week’s respite through a charity and was clearly benefiting from a little release and some extra sleep.

It’s odd that 70 years after the creation of the National Health Service, we have come to expect that medical care will be free at the point of need funded through national taxation, yet social care is increasingly paid for by charging individuals and families affected.

Around 77,000 people aged 65 and over, who suffer from illnesses such as dementia and Parkinson’s, benefit from free personal care but many others who deserve support lose out.

The issue has been championed by Amanda Kopel, whose late husband, former Dundee United footballer Frank Kopel, suffered from dementia.

Frank was eligible for just 19 days of free personal care before his death in April 2014, despite living with the illness for nearly six years.

His family paid around £300 a week for him to be cared for at home following his diagnosis with dementia aged 59.

It’s clear that we need more funding for carers' breaks and for social care services. This year Green MSPs negotiated with the Scottish Government to put an extra £160 million into council budgets so they could invest in local services such as social care.

The Scottish Government is carrying out a feasibility study into extending free personal care, the consultation has just closed. Greens will be pushing government to go far on this.

Two current live consultations are on Green Party Members Bills. One is my proposed Bill to make 20 mph the default speed limit in residential and shopping streets.

I’ve had a good positive response, but more would welcome more ahead of the September 15th deadline –

The other Bill is sponsored by my colleague John Finnie and it’s aim is to give children the same legal protection from assault as adults.

As the law currently stands those in charge of children can exercise the defence of ‘justifiable assault’ when inflicting physical punishment on a child.

The bill would remove this defence and bring Scotland in to line with the vast majority of other European countries and many others around the world. The consultation closes this Friday, 4th August -

Finally, you can get in touch with me via my Stirling office at 67a King Street, Stirling, FK8 1BN. 01786 448203 to book a surgery appointment or share an issue.