With the summer sun becoming a distant memory, thoughts are already turning to the next big event...the Barrhead Hallowe’en Street Parade.

This looks set to be even bigger this year after the organisers secured more than £2,000 in National Lottery funding.

A huge congratulations go to Andy Dunlop and his team, who I am sure will meet their goal of enticing around 10,000 people along to watch the spectacular fireworks finale.

I look forward to seeing you all there.

I am always happy to help local organisations when it comes to funding applications, whether it is providing them with letters of support, donating prizes for a raffle or helping to establish what grants might be available to them for a particular project.

Following my latest surgery at the Bourock Soup Stop, I provided the ladies with a bottle of whisky signed by the Prime Minister for their Pink Lunch fundraising auction, which I hope will help raise funds for a fantastic cause.

I’m very grateful to the Barrhead News for supporting my Pub of the Year competition to find the best local watering hole to go forward to the UK Parliamentary Pub of the Year contest.

After almost 500 votes were cast, the clear winner was the Killoch Bar, in Neilston.

In the year since Karen Kerrigan has taken over the pub, it has gone from strength to strength and I know they’ll be fighting hard to defend their title in 2019.

On a different note, the full rollout of Universal Credit (UC) has arrived in East Renfrewshire.

At the heart of this major reform is the belief that work should always pay and, under the new system, the benefit will be withdrawn gradually as people work more hours or increase their earnings.

This means you will never earn less by working, as happened under the old system.

UC will see six ‘legacy benefits’ being combined. These are Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits, Income Support and Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance.

It is true that there have been issues with the implementation of UC but, as MPs, we routinely see the worst of any system, the times it has broken or made an error.

In those circumstances, we do our job to try to fix it and, whilst those cases can be upsetting, maddening and unjustifiable, we mustn’t let them airbrush from existence all those individuals across the UK who have successfully moved onto UC with positive personal results.

I know that some people will still have concerns, so I have arranged a special welfare surgery on October 26 at the Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire base to provide advice, guidance and information on UC, as well as assistance with applications. Although the focus will be on UC, I would urge any constituent with questions on the welfare system, including benefits like PIP, to come along.

I have invited representatives from Job Centre Plus, the Citizens Advice Bureau, East Renfrewshire Council, Pioneer Mutual Credit Union and Barrhead Housing Association, so constituents get the very best advice East Renfrewshire has to offer.

Please call 0141 648 8811 to let us know if you’ll be stopping by.