THIS week the Chancellor announced the latest UK budget.

Annually our country spends around £800billion – a staggering sum of money that is almost impossible to visualise.

This funds our devolved administrations, our welfare state, the NHS, our armed forces, international development and transport.

When you look at the breakdown of our expenditure, you can still see the impact of our national debt, with interest payments still totalling £44bn each year (17-18 figure), a number we must continue to reduce so we can use that £44bn to fund schools, hospitals and community services, not the debt accumulated by previous governments.

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservatives' success in securing VAT exemptions for Police and Fire Scotland, will continue to yield another £35m for support our police and fire teams here in Clackmannanshire and across Scotland over the next year.

All of the domestic expenditure announced this week will also be matched by our government’s commitment to the 0.7 per cent overseas aid expenditure, committing approximately £13bn (2016-17) to humanitarian aid across the world, as well as commitments to women’s education, security and healthcare.

International aid is an incredible British success story that everyone in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland contributes to and of which we can be proud.

The UK Government has the International Aid budget so that the devolved budgets are free to help the most vulnerable people in Scotland.

Holyrood needs to look after the most vulnerable at home and I was disappointed to be criticised for pointing that out.

I have had a great number of the most vulnerable in our constituency come to my surgeries to ask for their local services to be maintained, so given the front line cuts in Clackmannanshire imposed by the SNP in both Edinburgh and Kilncraigs, I don’t feel the SNP can justify spending Scotland’s budget on issues that aren’t devolved when they are failing communities here at home.

Every time the SNP administration in Edinburgh spends the Scottish budget on issues that aren’t devolved, no matter how seemingly generous a gesture, it is the people in our constituency who end up suffering.

On the issue of local funding, I was delighted to meet with the Sauchie Community Group (Sauchie Community Garden) last week to celebrate them securing £19k of Post Code Lottery funding.

I have been supporting the group to secure this funding and was really pleased to see the group's hard work pay off.

The £19k will help develop a community garden for Sauchie that will provide a space for the all the community, including the elderly and those with disabilities to meet and interact

The garden will help combat loneliness as well as providing a "sensory experience" for those with a range of disabilities and conditions to help improve their quality of life. I see helping local groups try to secure such funding as a key part of the role of a local MP.

If you or your community group need support, please don't hesitate to contact me and I will do my best to champion your cause.