LAST week I raised a motion in the Scottish Parliament about the current closure of Alloa’s Post Office which was temporarily closed on February 6, and remains closed as I write this column.

The inconvenience and disruption to local people and businesses being caused by the ongoing closure of the Post Office is unacceptable.

As well as normal post office services, many of my constituents who used to bank at local branches of RBS and Clydesdale Banks now find themselves inconvenienced even further.

These banks justified closures on the basis that services could still be accessed at Alloa Post Office, and since 6 February, this has not been the case.

I have written to the chief executive of the Post Office seeking an explanation for the closure and the disruption it is causing, and information on when services will be restored to the individuals and businesses which rely on them here in Alloa.

I have also written to the RBS and Clydesdale Banks as well as Santander to highlight this issue which demonstrates why the Post Office is not a substitute for a local bank presence.

In a recent meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee, I suggested that the Committee should write to the leader of all parties asking if they would commit to continuing to mitigate Tory welfare policies such as the Bedroom Tax.

Astoundingly, the Tory social security spokesperson, Michelle Ballantyne MSP, demonstrated that she was completely out of touch with the impact of Tory welfare policies when she replied that there was “no such thing as a bedroom tax.”

Anyone who is interested can view the exchange at

This is a shocking dismissal of the Tory policy which affected 80,000 Scots, and drove thousands into poverty but it is not the first time the MSP has denied reality – she also rejected the overwhelming evidence that her party’s welfare cuts have caused a surge in foodbank demand which has since been admitted by DWP boss Amber Rudd.

But unfortunately, she is not alone. Her fellow Tory MSP Brian Whittle also recently made the claim that the rape clause does not exist.

These comments were outrageous, and her disregard for the real-life consequences of the hated bedroom tax cannot be ignored.

The Scottish Government has been mitigating the bedroom tax since it was introduced to protect people from this shocking policy that puts people at risk of rent arrears and homelessness.

Here, in Clackmannanshire, £576,000 was spent in the last financial year to protect local people from this apparently non-existent tax.

Instead of dismissing the two-child cap, or suggesting that the poor shouldn’t have children, perhaps the Tories should be congratulating the SNP for mitigating these harmful policies, and supporting those families affected by them.

A new report by the Scottish Government’s Chief Economist, ‘No Deal’ Brexit – Economic Implications for Scotland’, confirming that all forms of Brexit will harm Scotland’s economy and result in lower household incomes.

The report warns that our local area will face a significant economic shock and possible job losses, with between 14-19% of the workforce exposed to economic damage from a no deal Brexit in Clackmannanshire.

A No Deal Brexit will have a severe impact on the economy, people and businesses across Scotland. It could push the Scottish economy into a deep recession, similar in scale to the financial crash of 2008.

This is why the SNP will continue to call on the UK government to immediately rule out the possibility of a No Deal Brexit and extend the Article 50 process.