A CALL has been made for public organisations to 'buy local' and help create jobs in Inverclyde.

Councillor Chris McEleny has launched a campaign backing businesses such as Greenock windows and doors manufacturer Blairs, saying that contracts should go to local firms in order to boost employment.

The council SNP group leader argues that awarding more public contracts to local firms will also cut down drastically on harmful greenhouse gases.

He is concerned about the volume of work being given to organisations from outwith the area and says there are businesses and tradespeople closer to home who can do the same job.

The council already has a policy to work with local suppliers where possible, but the Gourock councillor says more needs to be done.

Mr McEleny said: "Every time we award work to other parts of the UK and Scotland it means means we increase the climate change emissions associated with the transport, and creating significant extra emissions by shipping of the work.

"Crucially, it also means losing the opportunity to create decent work in Inverclyde, that could help kick start badly the need to benefit from Scotland's move towards renewables, ensuring we aren't at the back of the queue again because of another slow start.

"We urgently need to build the clean energy economy in Scotland to do our fair share of tackling the climate emergency. "But the new clean economy must be created in a way that ensures the benefits are shared fairly, both across Scotland and here in Inverclyde."

The councillor met Blairs boss Alex Gray to discuss his campaign.

Mr Grays says his company has been overlooked in the past in favour of window suppliers in East Anglia, Ireland and as far afield as Poland and Lithuania.

He said: "When you have a huge manufacturing facility like this in the centre of Greenock, why would you be going out your way to places like these?

"People and businesses in Inverclyde are ready and waiting to take on work that could create and support jobs for hundreds of people, unlocking much needed investment and growth for our future."

The calls have been echoed by ex-local authority environmental services boss, Ian Moffat, who is now in charge of Greenock-based van rental firm Arc Fleet Services.

Mr Moffat said: "If the bulk of contracts that the council awards are granted to people that live locally and to companies that operate locally, it would mean less shipping, cars and HGVs driving fewer miles and significantly less carbon emissions over the lifespan of the work. "The more we can grow companies locally, and the more people that we can help have more money in their pockets, then the more we will see our local high streets supported, the more businesses we will see thrive instead of being up for let, and ultimately this will create even more jobs."

Council comment to come...