SEPTEMBER sees the end of the Scottish Parliament's summer recess and a return to parliamentary business.

One of the first acts of the new parliamentary year is the Programme for Government, where the Scottish Government sets out what actions they plan to take over the next year.

While thinking about this year's Programme for Government, I can't help but reflect on previous years' and what's been achieved by the SNP government since 2007.

It's easy to forget that when the SNP first came to power, the Scottish Government was referred to as the Scottish Executive.

While this rebranding was a largely symbolic change, it was a sign of intent from a new administration that has consistently stood up for Scotland since.

If the SNP government was a person, it'd be old enough to vote in the next Scottish Parliament election.

After this amount of time, it can be easy to overlook some of the government's achievements.

Furthermore, the extent to which SNP policies increase the affordability of living in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK, can also be overlooked.

One of the most groundbreaking changes in this time has been the introduction of Social Security Scotland – exemplified by the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment.

This £25 weekly payment, exclusive to Scotland, which supports parents on low incomes has been hailed by the Child Poverty Action Group as "an absolute game-changer in the fight to end child poverty".

Accompanied by initiatives such as the fuel insecurity fund and the Scottish Government's mitigation of the infamous Bedroom Tax, the SNP's efforts to reduce the impact of Westminster policies on the most vulnerable in our society is clear.

The SNP government has also overseen dramatic changes in the accessibility of healthcare in Scotland.

Free personal care for all who need it, the scrapping of prescription charges, and the provision of free period products as well as the scrapping of parking charges at all NHS hospitals underscore the value that our society places on health and well-being.

A series of essential services have also been made more accessible to a wider range of Scots by the SNP.

Free bus travel for under 22s, 1,140 hours of funded early years childcare, scrapping university tuition fees, free school meals for P1s-P5s, Young Carers and the Best Start Grants demonstrate a deep-seated understanding of the serious financial challenges faced by families across our nation and an effort to reduce this burden.

Many of these may seem like small changes that only affect a part of the population, but cumulatively, they make a significant impact on the purse strings of all Scots.

Of course, nothing is truly 'free' – we all pay for these measures through taxation – but most Scottish taxpayers pay less income tax and council tax than they would if they lived elsewhere in the UK, thanks to progressive taxation and the council tax freeze.

Many of these policies are responses to significant problems and with the Labour Party and the Tories in agreement on taxation, the two-child cap, the rape clause, the bedroom tax, Brexit, the undemocratic House of Lords, and Scotland's right to decide its own future only independence will deliver the systemic change needed to stop these problems from arising in the first place