AS SUMMER recess kicks off, I am looking forward to the opportunity of getting out and about around the constituency a bit more, attending local events – like the Famous Alva Games which is this Saturday.

I would like to thank everyone who gives up their time to organise the many local community events held across Clackmannanshire and without whom they just simply would not be possible.

I'll also be carrying out street surgeries across the Clackmannanshire, Bridge of Allan, Dunblane which gives constituents the chance to meet me on their own doorstep, and talk to me about issues of concern to them.

This is such an important part of the job of an MSP – and one that I really enjoy.

Earlier in June, I was delighted to speak in a debate about the Scottish Government's innovation strategy – with its vision for Scotland to become one of the most innovative small nations in the world over the next decade as a key part of delivering a greener, fairer, wellbeing economy

We all know Scotland's wonderful heritage regarding innovation. Just about every town in Scotland can point to at least one major invention or innovation which either happened there or is attributable to someone from there.

Clackmannanshire is no exception, whether it is Sir James Dewar, educated at Dollar Academy and inventor of the vacuum flask; or George Meikle of Alloa who invented a water-raising wheel, which was used in draining the moss of Kincardine in 1787.

Our search for innovation must continue and in our local area, there is significant investment in innovation and infrastructure that will help drive inclusive economic growth in the area and includes some of the key areas of the economy where Scotland will become a world leader.

Funded by the UK and Scottish governments, Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council and the University of Stirling, the City Region Deal will invest more than £214million over 10 years and deliver innovation hubs specialising in the environment and intergeneration living here in Clackmannanshire, and Aquaculture is Stirling – each of which will play a crucial role in addressing the challenges of the future.

In these centres of excellence, world leading technology solutions will be developed, transforming the local economy, tacking low job density through the creation of high quality, skilled local jobs and strong regional supply chains, at the same time supporting community wealth building and a well-being economy.

However, if we are determined to become a world leader in entrepreneurship and innovation, then we have to reverse the isolationist approach that has been thrust upon us as part of Brexit Britain.

Scotland must use all the powers we have to create an economy which supports businesses to thrive.

We will do this by harnessing the skills and ingenuity of our people and seizing the economic and social opportunities provided.

We will do it best with all the normal powers of an independent nation.