AS THE summer recess continues, I've been getting out and about across the constituency.

Over the last few weeks, I've held street surgeries in Fishcross, Menstrie, Bridge of Allan and Kinbuck – meeting with constituents on their own doorsteps to hear about the things that are important to them.

The role of an MSP isn't just about listening to constituents' concerns. It's about acting on these concerns and making sure they are relayed to the relevant people.

In Fishcross, speeding continues to be an issue. I’ve written to Clackmannanshire council and the Police regarding this, calling for them to reduce the speed limit in the town to 20 miles per hour, and implement other traffic calming measures.

In Menstrie, I met with the ‘Menstrie Against Telegraph Poles’ campaign group, which is seeking to replace telegraph poles with more discrete broadband infrastructure in the village.

As the MSP for the area, I'll be making representations on their behalf to the broadband provider concerned.

The closure of Bridge of Allan’s post office at the start of this year continues to pose problems for the local community.

That’s why myself and Alyn Smith MP are meeting with The Post Office to discuss how we can work together to resolve some of these issues.

While in Kinbuck, I met with a wide range of constituents with concerns ranging from farming to broadband.

Another pressing concern for my constituents is the cost-of-living crisis. It comes as no surprise that the Westminster parties have failed to take action to address this issue.

What is truly troubling though is the extent to which both the Tories and Labour have actively made this problem worse.

The latest example of this is Keir Starmer's Labour party coming out in support of the Tories two-child cap. We’ve known for a considerable amount of time the impact that the two-child cap is having on families.

New research shows that 54% of households in Clackmannanshire receiving Universal Credit and/or child tax credits are affected by the cruel two-child cap. As a result, these families are receiving less financial support than they would if this cap did not exist.

To add insult to injury, one of the exemptions to the two-child cap – the so called “rape clause” – necessitates that women must prove to the state that their third (or subsequent) child was conceived through sexual assault in order to gain exemption to the two-child limit.

Such a requirement is deeply troubling and unfair to those who have already endured immense trauma.

Given the current economic climate, it is wrong that the financial support available to families is limited due to the number of children they have – a factor which obviously increases the financial cost of having a family.

As we look towards next year's likely UK general election, many Scots will be asking themselves what the point of a Labour party that supports Tory policies contributing to the cost-of-living crisis – like the two-child cap – is.

The people of this area deserve better, and deserve real systemic change with independence.