The plans to close Alexandria police station to the public and cut Dumbarton’s 24/7 police station to a basic 9 to 5 weekday service have sparked fears for the future of local policing and I have been inundated with emails and phone calls from worried constituents.

It was therefore in this context I read a particularly damning report from the public spending watchdog on Scotland’s new single police service last week. According to Audit Scotland, Police Scotland bosses have no idea how they will make the massive £1.1 billion cuts by 2026 forced upon them by the SNP Government. It looks like these desk closures are just the beginning, with Chief Constable House already warning that the police on the streets could be next.

Perhaps most shocking of all at a time when local stations are under threat was the revelation that taxpayers have paid £132,000 for the headquarters of the new Scottish Police Authority – even though the building has lain empty for a year.

I supported the idea of a single police service. The merger was supposed to boost support for our bobbies on the beat. Instead, under the SNP, our thin blue line is getting even thinner so it’s time that our community stands up to defend and protect local policing.

It’s also been a tough month for bill payers with the big six energy companies seemingly falling over themselves to put up their prices.

Residents in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven struggling with the worst cost of living crisis in a century will be horrified by hikes of up to 10%. Fuel poverty already affects a fifth of households in West Dunbartonshire but these latest increases will force even more low income families to make the choice between heating and eating this winter.

When times are tough the big energy firms should not be forcing their customers to cough up even more cash to boost profits. That’s why I was pleased that Ed Miliband made it clear he stood on the side of hard working families when he announced that Labour would freeze energy bills whilst reforming the market.

Meanwhile the SNP has shamefully failed to stand up for ordinary Scots by refusing to back the freeze. Instead Alex Salmond has proven once again that he’s on the side of big business. If he gets his way then you and I would still have to pay for the cost of green energy, through our taxes, while the big six walk away with reduced overheads and bigger profits.

The fact is that a vote for separation next year would see bills rocket as Scots would be forced to pick up the bill for renewable energy and infrastructure which is currently shared across the whole of Britain- yet another reason why we are better together in the UK.