SINCE my last column, Scotland has a new First Minister and I’m delighted that person is John Swinney.

I’ve known John for many years and he is hard-working, experienced and dependable, someone who is absolutely committed to delivering for all of Scotland.

I’ve no doubt he’s the right man at the right time and like many across the SNP and beyond, I was glad to see him step up when our parliament needed new leadership.

There are, of course, many ­issues facing Glasgow and its people that I will discuss with the First Minister and I’m keen that happens as soon as possible.

Top of that list must be child poverty. I was happy to hear John reiterate, perhaps even more strongly than his predecessors, his personal commitment to eradicating this societal scourge. Addressing child and family poverty is one of the city council’s key missions and is the single shared priority which our community planning partners are united around.

The pressures of a decade-and-a-half of Tory austerity on already struggling and vulnerable households, on top of the most severe cost-of-living crisis in generations, ensure it’s a national priority across all of Scotland.

The substantive powers to lift children and families out of poverty, of course, lie with the UK Government.

Abolishing the two-child cap and radically reforming the welfare system, for example, would transform the lives of millions for the better in an instant. But SNP policies like the Scottish Child Payment have been game changers in our communities.

Putting money directly into the pockets of families has helped tens of thousands address the impacts of poverty where it’s most acute.

I want to discuss with the First Minister how best to build on that and collectively drive forward our ambitions to empower people to change their lives.

The council and partners working on the frontline in communities are helping transform lives through directly addressing the needs and challenges of individual Glaswegians.

In the longer term, this work is as important as direct financial assistance and I’ll be asking the First Minister to expand the work of the Poverty Pathfinders and continue to resource and support Glasgow’s efforts.

It’s crucial that we also discuss local government funding. I’ve argued many times that the particular challenges and additional costs of serving a city like Glasgow need to be acknowledged and compensated for in the same way that remote and rural areas have long been funded.

Again, our services and citizens continue to feel the strain of UK Government policies and mismanagement.

To cite just one example, rampant inflation and asylum policy are huge contributing factors to Glasgow’s housing emergency. But as we face the immediate challenge of a £100 million-plus budget gap over the next three years and are forced to make cuts to education services to balance our books, we can’t rely on any UK Prime Minister to change tack.

Absolutely nothing suggests that’s going to happen.

As well as securing additional finances from Holyrood, its essential that local authorities can invest resources in the ways that best suit our local circumstances and I want to raise that point with the First Minister.

And I want to address the Climate Emergency, making the offer to the First Minister that Glasgow is part of the solution to the challenges that are holding back delivering on national targets.

Directing national funding for climate interventions towards areas like Glasgow will not only deliver the biggest bang for our buck but will also leverage the additional investment cities across the world are seeking to attract.

We have a lot of hard work ahead of us. No-one with the political responsibility for delivering for our citizens is under any illusion as to the extent of our challenges. But in these uncertain times, there is no better pair of hands to steer our country than John Swinney’s.