It’s been a busy few weeks at Parliament, speaking in debates on the contaminated blood inquiry, volumetric concrete mobile plants, and the cost-of-living crisis.

I also asked parliamentary questions on a range of issues, including the UK Government cutting aid spending in East Africa, despite the emerging famine; and why they are not supporting investment in renewable energy infrastructure, such as pump storage hydro, which is vital to manage demand in the future.

I also opened the SNP Opposition Day debate on the contribution of Brexit to the soaring cost of living in the UK; a topic both the UK Government and Labour Party studiously avoid.

Currently, food inflation in the UK sits as over 19 per cent - 50 per cent higher than among our EU neighbours - a third of which can be attributed solely to Brexit.

Indeed, the London School of Economics has shown that Brexit has added almost £7 billion to UK food bills - an average of £250 per household.

What’s more, with 28 per cent of our food coming from Europe, the Government’s proposed new post-Brexit checks, due to come in at the EU-UK borders this winter, will result in prices increasing further due to the additional costs of these checks.

Energy costs are a major contributor to households’ financial pressures, despite Scotland’s huge renewable energy resources.

Unfortunately, it is Westminster which has control over energy policy, and the Tory Government is simply not investing in infrastructure which is vital for us to reach our full potential.

As highlighted in a recent poll, a majority in Scotland want Holyrood to have control over energy policy so we have the ability to protect the most vulnerable our society.

With inflation remaining high across the board and mortgage interest rates rising, households really are being squeezed from all sides.

In addition, with a lack of labour due to the loss of freedom of movement, £60 million worth of Scottish fruit and vegetables was left to rot in the fields - and we are again approaching the summer harvest season when we will see more fruit go unpicked.

If this Tory Government and the Labour Party refuse to accept the realities of Brexit, then they surely must take action to at least reduce the problems they have caused.

For example, they could allow more seasonal visas for workers, who used to come to pick fruit or work in our hotels over the summer.

They could also look at changing the rules around Universal Credit which effectively penalise those who are out of work for taking on temporary employment once it comes to an end.

On a brighter note, I was delighted to meet constituent Sean Woods, of Irvine, the current ‘Apprentice of the Year’, at the ADS Group Apprentice Reception in Westminster.

Having completed his apprenticeship at Collins Aerospace in Prestwick, he has now secured a permanent post at the site and it was lovely to be able to congratulate him in person.

Locally, I was pleased to see the three Ayrshire councils launch a new 10-year Ayrshire Regional Economic Strategy, with the intention of working together with local partners to deliver long-term economic benefits across the county.

A first of its kind for Ayrshire, the strategy is also the first in Scotland to feature Community Wealth Building as a founding principle.

It will bring together local organisations to tackle long-standing structural inequalities to transform local economies through job creation, business growth, and community-owned assets.

The approach is people-centered and enables local communities to have a stake in and benefit from the wealth generated. I look forward to seeing further details in due course.