SAVING community facilities and ensuring funding for CCTV are among the key budget priorities for Inverclyde’s SNP councillors.

Group leader Chris McEleny has drawn up a list of ‘must-haves’ for inclusion in the council’s spending plans for the coming year and says he hopes to gain support for his proposals from all elected members.

The local authority has to plug an £8m funding gap over the next two years by making savings and increasing charges to services.

But Mr McEleny says his group will not support any budget which includes cuts to CCTV, community wardens, music teaching, under-19 sports team, subsidies and the Youth Connections centres.

The Gourock councillor has also called for continued funding of Gourock and Port Glasgow swimming pools, Lady Octavia Sports Centre, Paton Street Community Centre, Greenock South West Library and the Port Customer Service Centre.

Councillor McEleny said: “Of course there are threats to other more complex services of the council that make a huge difference to improving Inverclyde that are also unacceptable.

“We will be pushing for theses services, such as community learning and council advice services, to be protected.

“The money available from the Scottish Government allows us to do this.

“However, I think it’s important that people don’t feel there is a vacuum of information coming from their councillors, especially when there are a lot of worried people that really benefit from our services.

“Our message is clear, we believe these services and these facilities can be protected.”

The SNP’s top priority is the extension of free school meals for primary school children.

But the group leader is also seeking support from across the council chamber for protection of other key services and facilities.

Mr McEleny said: “It will take a lot of discussions for the entire council to agree to a joint budget, that’s why it’s important that we are as transparent as possible and what we are saying to other councillors is basically ‘look, these are the areas we need protected and these are our priorities that we want to achieve for us to support a deal on the budget’.

“I’m hopeful that this will give the various groups on the council time to see if these are areas they are willing to accept so that we can come to a consensus.”