ATTENTION over the last few weeks has been focused on the queen's death and everything that then followed. Understandably so.

Her reign of 70 years was the longest this country has ever seen with most of us having known no one other than her as our head of state.

These have been decades of immense change and she was a symbol of constancy throughout but there is no doubt whatsoever that her passing truly represents the end of an era.

Now that the period of national mourning is over, we are back to reality with a bump. The position the UK finds itself in is pretty stark with the Bank of England stating that the economy is now officially in recession.

The highest interest rates in 14 years, the highest inflation in decades and, of course, the highest energy costs ever. The Westminster Government is presiding over the highest debt ever at £2.32trillion – and climbing.

As we head towards winter with escalating inflation, rapidly increasing energy, food and consumer goods prices, many are facing really difficult choices and people are genuinely struggling.

So the opportunity was there, with a new prime minister and a new cabinet, for the right changes to be made but it is clear that these are the same old Tories.

The mini-budget could have been an opportunity to turn things around and to help those who are in greatest need.

Instead, we have seen changes to income tax and national insurance that benefit the rich far more than anyone else and the energy companies have been let completely off the hook.

The chancellor's announcements really were cold comfort to my constituents who face could face some very stark choices this winter.

It is estimated that the increase in the price cap to £2,500 will force 150,000 more Scottish households into extreme fuel poverty.

Instead of offering these people support, the chancellor is threatening to cut their family budgets further, with a new regime of benefit sanctions.

What a contrast to the approach of the Scottish Government. The Scottish Child Payment, unique to Scotland, is the most ambitious child poverty reduction measure in the UK.

Whilst the Tories are turning their attention to ways in which they can cut benefits, we doubled this payment to £20 per week per child in April and there will be a further increase to £25 per week in November – that is a rise of 150 per cent in less than eight months.

We have also doubled the Fuel Insecurity Fund to £20million to help households at risk of self-disconnection or self-rationing of energy and widened the Warmer Homes Fuel Poverty Programme.

The soaring inflation rates mean that the Scottish Government's budget is worth £1.7billion less than it was when it was set in December, yet the chancellor has refused to provide a single additional penny for public services or to increase public sector pay.

No wonder the British Social Attitudes survey has found the greatest support ever for Scottish Independence.