There were few surprises.

It was a play safe legislative programme, and the First Minister spent most of his time talking about independence.

In fact, we are getting used to that now. Independence is about the only thing that SNP ministers and back benchers talk about — it is in every speech, in every press release and in every question.

And whilst the SNP obsess about the referendum, they put Scotland on pause and there is little action on the pressing everyday concerns for people in communities across Scotland.

Take child poverty as an example.

There was huge progress made under Labour, but that has now stalled and is likely to start heading the wrong way.

Yet no mention in the government’s programme.

Or how about fuel poverty?

We know that fuel poverty is rising, almost 900,000 households are affected and people are increasingly having to chose between eating and heating.

It is a national scandal, and yet there is no mention in the government’s programme.

What about rough sleeping, the most extreme form of homelessness? Numbers are rising here too.

The fact that there are people sleeping rough on our streets is a disgrace, and yet nothing in the government’s programme.

And what about hard working families who are struggling to make ends meet — some having to rely on food banks or pay day lenders to get from one week to another?

Nothing for them in the government’s programme.

It is at times like these that people expect support and leadership from the government. Nowhere is that more important than with the bedroom tax. Of course we all want the Tories to scrap the Bedroom Tax, this is an appalling policy that attacks some of the poorest people in our communities. But there is something that the SNP can do now to protect tenants and help councils and housing associations. The SNP government has the power and the resources to do so.

I have launched a Member’s Bill to stop evictions as a result of the Bedroom Tax, giving protection to all tenants. Scottish Labour is also calling for £50 million to help councils and housing associations with the spike in arrears. Unfortunately it would appear that the SNP will not support either, preferring instead to make people wait for independence. That is so deeply cynical, it is depressing.

They should be using the powers of the Scottish Parliament — powers that we already have — to truly make a difference to the lives of people in Scotland.