We are a month into the SNP leadership election.

Given the party have been in power for over 15 years, and they are selecting the next First Minister, you would expect the first contested leadership ballot since 2004 to spark feverish debates about the country’s future.

The contest has been dominated by views on a second independence referendum and gay marriage, but there have been precious few fresh ideas about how we address the challenges Scotland faces, the millions struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and the economic vandalism committed by the UK Tory Government over the past decade.

That in mind, I believe there are five key areas the incoming First Minister should focus on.

Funding our councils with inflation-proofed funding increases for local government and public services left on their

knees by cuts over recent years should be top of the agenda.

The idea there is no alternative to replicating Tory cuts is a myth.

Modelling by the Scottish Trades Union Congress suggests £1 billion could be raised through progressive reforms of existing taxes.

By taxing land – something repeatedly ruled out – and addressing the grotesque inequalities that arise from distorted land ownership, hundreds of millions more could be raised for public services.

The NHS is in crisis and among those services most in dire need of support.

Millions is spent on agency workers rather than permanent contracts which are more cost effective.

Only through sustained real terms increases in pay, a catch-up plan prioritising recruitment and retention, and rolling back on use of the private sector, with millions leaking out every year, will we equip our NHS going forward.

Thirdly, the current proposal for a National Care Service – in which a new quango will be set up to tender contracts – needs to be immediately ditched.

Rather than waste money on setting up a new centralised body, eroding local council accountability, the funding should be redirected to front line care staff pay.

Housing is another big priority. Whilst I campaigned for and welcomed the rent freeze, the fact is that tens of thousands of people remain homeless or on waiting lists.

“Affordable” housing strategies have thus far yielded little. It is time to come forward with more radical solutions.

The Scottish Government should make it easier for councils to compulsorily purchase empty buildings, invest more in new social housing and introduce a permanent rent controls scheme.

Finally, we need a serious, long-term industrial strategy.

A key example would be to build ferries here in Scotland, ensuring there is a steady supply based on the needs of islanders.

Scouring the globe for second-hand boats – then failing to purchase any – has not proven a sustainable strategy.

Let us instead build vessels here in Scotland, with communities consulted on what is needed.

Whichever candidate wins, my pledge to constituents is to scrutinise on these issues every step of the way.