FRONTLINE health and social care services in Inverclyde will come under increasing pressure due to funding cuts, watchdogs have warned.

In a new report the Accounts Commission say the district is vulnerable because of its growing elderly population at a time when savings have to be found.

Council leader Stephen McCabe welcomed the decision by the auditors to highlight the issue which he says is not being addressed by the government.

Mr McCabe said: "It is heartening to see that the growing pressure on public services, particularly health and social care in areas like Inverclyde is being highlighted in this national report.

"Despite a growing 65-plus population a range of areas across Scotland, including Inverclyde, we are experiencing reductions in funding due to an overall reducing population."

The local authority leader is critical of the current council funding model.

He believes it penalises Inverclyde for having a falling population without taking in to account the growing number of elderly people who have greater needs.

The coincil has also disputed 'pessimistic' population projections used to decide on cash allocations.

Councillor McCabe said: "Councils, including Inverclyde, are facing growing demand for services with real terms reductions and restrictions in funding for those services.

"Councils are running fast to keep up with the changes while still delivering high quality services to local communities."

Mr McCabe pointed to the recent controversial decision to axe free swimming for the elderly as proof of the practical and damaging consequences of a funding crisis facing local government.

He said: "We should be under no illusion that a cut like that has a human cost to the health and wellbeing of our increasingly older population, in addition to the financial one."