DESPITE these uncertain and unprecedented times my work as an MSP continues – though like everyone else I’m having to make significant personal changes.

I’m currently self-isolating at home as a family member had some viral symptoms last week and it’s made me re-evaluate a lot of things.

I’m trying to properly re-balance the needs of my family with work, while needing to rely on my neighbours a bit more. I’m also having to work harder to communicate remotely with colleagues and constituents.

There is also a realisation that this is just the beginning and that we may in turn need to do our share to help those around us in the weeks and months to come. We may also need to do this all over again if the advice changes or if we show any new symptoms in the future.

The mood in parliament at the moment is collaborative, supportive and understanding. I’ve attended a lot of meetings remotely this week using meeting apps on my smart phone, which I really recommend. In times like these it is more vital than ever that governments are held to account, but the usual combative style of frontline electoral politics has rightly been put to one side for now.

I have been moved, though unsurprised, by acts of community spirit and solidarity. Places like The Gate Foodbank are continuing their vital work in incredibly hard circumstances, initiatives are being set up to support vulnerable people in isolation and people are reaching out to support their neighbours where they can.

There is undoubtedly a pervasive spirit of generosity in our communities. Foodbanks in particular will be under huge pressure in the weeks to come, it’s important that donations keep flowing of both cash and food.

The flip side of this, however, has been the selfish panic buying in supermarkets. Last weekend the supermarkets had their highest level of profit in recorded history, but surges in panic buying every time there is a new piece of health advice is deeply unhelpful.

From briefings I’ve had with ministers and officials this week, I’m assured that the supply chain for food is stable, it needs to just work through and re-stock shelves to meet the standard daily demand. Some local shops are adapting by providing take-away and delivery services, it’s a good time to support them too.

The situation is changing rapidly and the advice from health professionals may have changed significantly by the time you read this. But it is impossible to overstate how important it is to listen to and follow that advice.

This virus is dangerous and can kill, even if you have no symptoms you could very easily pass it on to someone who will suffer greatly.

This means following guidance on social distancing, isolation and cleanliness is utterly essential if we are to have an effective response to the crisis.

Current health restrictions are undoubtedly having a serious effect on businesses and some employees are finding themselves out of work at the worst possible time. It’s vital that there is financial support put in place for all workers to receive a wage regardless of whether they are self-employed, on zero hours contracts or in full employment.

Both governments are piecing together financial support packages for individuals and businesses which are becoming more comprehensive as the days go by.

If you are in vulnerable circumstances and feel you are slipping through the safety net then I would especially like to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch via

There are difficult months ahead, but with mutual support and solidarity we may just come out of this closer together.