I HOPE you are all enjoying the summer period.

While I have taken the opportunity to recharge during the parliamentary recess, the business doesn’t stop.

The danger during this period is that announcements made by the SNP-Green government often go unnoticed as there isn’t the opportunity for MSPs like me to scrutinise them fully in the Scottish Parliament.

Two such announcements this month by ministers may have escaped your attention, which is why I want to use my latest column to share my views on them.

Firstly, the SNP’s new drugs policy minister Elena Whitham made a dramatic intervention in how we tackle the scourge of drugs in our communities.

The SNP’s latest idea is to have the possession of drugs decriminalised entirely.

I was utterly stunned by her suggestion.

On the SNP’s watch drug deaths are Scotland’s national shame. Nicola Sturgeon admitted that she had taken her eye off the ball and deaths soared as a result.

Scotland’s drug deaths rate is the highest in Europe and three and a half times the rate of England’s. More than 1300 people lost their lives to drugs in Scotland in 2021 and my thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one as a result.

Our city has been particularly hit with a further 68 suspected drug deaths in the first quarter of this year alone, the highest in Scotland.

And what is the SNP’s big idea to solve this crisis? Flood our streets and communities with more dangerous Class A drugs such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.

It is utter madness. It will have the complete opposite effect of trying to support those suffering from drug addiction.

It would cause more misery in our communities and ultimately more deaths.

Our most vulnerable people would pay the price.

Most shamefully, it looks as though the SNP made this call simply to pick yet another constitutional fight with the UK Government, as drug possession laws are reserved to the UK Government.

That is what ministers are more interested in. They don’t want to look at proper solutions to Scotland’s drug deaths scandal, they’d rather deflect attention towards Westminster to avoid talking about their own failings.

If the SNP were truly serious about supporting those suffering from drug addiction, then they would finally give their backing to the Scottish Conservatives’ Right to Recovery Bill.

It has been backed by frontline experts who we wrote it in conjunction with like Annemarie Ward of Favor.

It also enjoys cross-party support in Parliament. That is where the SNP’s focus should be, but instead this out-of-touch government is more focused on constitutional fights as always.

MOVING onto the second topic is about what the SNP are proposing in relation to council tax bills.

A consultation launched a couple of weeks ago proposes that those living in Band E to H properties have their council tax raised by between 7.5% and 22.5%.

At any time, these proposed increases would be eye-watering, but during a cost-of-living crisis, when Glaswegians are struggling to pay other bills, they will absolutely terrify my constituents.

There is simply no justification for residents paying the price for the SNP failing to give our councils the resources they have needed for years.

Indeed, SNP-Green ministers have imposed savage cuts on Glasgow City Council year after year, which has had a devastating impact on day-to-day services that people rely on.

Now they expect people to pick up the tab, despite their finances already being overstretched.

Research by my party has shown the brutal reality of what these outrageous hikes would mean for Glaswegians.

Those living in Band E properties would pay an extra £148 a year, with more than 32,000 households in Glasgow being affected.

Band F dwellers who would face 12.5% rises would have to fork out an extra £304 a year, with bills rising to £2740. Almost 15,000 households would be affected.

Glaswegians in Band G properties would face eye-watering rises of 17.5%. This would affect more than 6700 households in the city and put their bills up to £3449 a year.

Finally for those 682 households in Band H properties, the SNP plan to hit them with 22.5% rises. That would clobber them with a further £826 in paying council tax annually.

Under the SNP, Glaswegians are set to pay more, but get less.

The SNP have already made Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK and now they want to punish hard-working families even more.

I’d encourage everyone to make their feelings known in the consultation to tell the SNP that these plans must be scrapped now.