FOLLOWING the appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, the Scottish Government confirmed that £240,000 is being made available from the Humanitarian Emergency Fund to support those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia where more than 1,500 people have tragically lost their lives and countless more have been displaced and are in need of urgent assistance.

Extraordinarily, our local MP felt the need to take to social media to attack this support for one of the worst humanitarian disasters we have seen in recent times.

I truly hope that Luke Graham takes the opportunity to reflect on these comments and realises how thoughtless and insensitive they were.

Mr Graham has also complained on several occasions now to others using “personal attacks” to deflect from any criticism of Tory policies such as Universal Credit which is damaging the lives of people here in Clackmannanshire, or the complete shambles that is Brexit.

The only personal attack on Scottish Tory MPs has been the name calling by their fellow Tory MP Ross Thomson who called his Scottish colleagues a word I won’t repeat here.

Even so, while I don’t condone Tories calling each other names, I am much more offended by the damage done to my constituents by disastrous Tory policies.

Astonishingly last week we had Theresa May declaring that austerity is over – at the same time that all the evidence shows that child poverty and the use of food banks is rising, not falling.

In the very same week it was reported that the Work and Pensions Secretary had briefed the UK Cabinet that under Universal Credit that millions of families could lose £200 a month under Universal Credit – with a half of single parents and two-thirds of working age couples with children set to lose out.

It is indeed welcome that ministers are now discussing this toxic policy and I hope at last taking note of the concerns that have been consistently raised by organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Poverty Alliance and the Church of Scotland to name just a few.

I hope this is followed by action to halt this toxic policy at stop the cuts to the benefits of millions of families which might just go some way to convince people that perhaps an end to austerity in indeed in sight.

Locally, thanks to the Scottish Government, over 800 carers across Clackmannanshire have started to receive their payments of the new Carer’s Allowance Supplement which will see Eligible carers get a supplementary payment of £221, equivalent of an extra £8.50 per week, an increase of 13% on Carer’s Allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions.

This roll out of the Carer’s Allowance Supplement marks the beginning of a bright new chapter in Scottish public service. The SNP is committed to delivering a fairer system for social security: one that affords carers the dignity and respect they are due as a result of their selfless dedication.

We appreciate the contribution carers make to our society and we have always advocated that Carer’s Allowance should be the same rate as Jobseeker’s Allowance and the new powers over social security mean that the Scottish Government can make this a reality and put more money into the pockets of carers as a thank you for their tireless efforts.