IN HIS last Political Stand, the SNP’s Keith Brown used his column to personally attack me.

He charged me with diverting attention, despite then launching into an over-exaggerated tirade about the SNP’s own record.

While I’m happy to give credit where it’s due, such as the regeneration of Alloa town centre, the SNP cannot take sole credit for the re-opening the railway, Clacks Bridge, or the three new primary schools, the majority of which was agreed and funded when Labour was in power in Edinburgh.

However, since the SNP is so keen take credit then, and as the local MSP he was also Cabinet Secretary for the Economy for two years, the SNP must take some responsibility for our local economy, where unemployment is higher (3.5 per cent) than the UK average (2.9 per cent); or the centralisation of our police forces into Police Scotland that has led to local officers without support and residents calling remote call centres for local help; or for education, where SNP reforms have driven Scottish schools down the international league tables.

Since 2006, reading scores have dropped from 499 to 493, mathematics from 506 to 491, whilst the science score has taken the worst fall of all from 515 to 497. The SNP have taken our education system from first to third within the United Kingdom.

I rarely criticise other politicians, I focus on a party’s performance, and the SNP has a lot to answer for. Criticising the SNP does not make me (or anyone else for that matter) wrong – criticism and praise is part of our democracy.

However, I am conscious that most people want more from their politicians than just mud-slinging, so my team and I will continue to try and make improvements and people can make their own judgements on our performance, at the next election.

In the county, I have been working with Tullibody Healthy Living to find additional support to help them to continue their operations, whilst engaging with Councillor Darren Lee in Tullibody to discuss issues with the civic centre and trying to find a long-term plan and funding for its continued use. I have pushed the council to provide additional time for the Tullibody Community Development Trust so they can make an informed decision about the future of the centre which, at the time of writing, is still under discussion.

Last week I attended the Alloa Community Council to discuss the impact of the city deal on Alloa and the types of funding that are still open to local communities and businesses to bid into.

I also met with Hillfoots RFC to discuss plans for their new club house and designs for new sports facilities that could serve all the county. Whether the club is a direct beneficiary of city deal money or not, there are some really exciting projects emerging in the county and I want to support as many as possible and champion Clackmannanshire across the UK.

Nationally, I have been championing budget requests with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, including maintaining a freeze on fuel and whisky duty – two major issues for our local economy. The petrol we buy, and the amount of whisky sold hits pockets and employment levels locally, so I hope my colleagues and I are successful and freezing these taxes.

As always, if you have any issues/concerns please contact me at my office on 38 Primrose Street, Alloa, by phone on 01259 764407, or by email –