NEXT week is Scotland loves local week.

It’s an opportunity to put localism at the heart of a stronger, greener, fairer Scotland.

The marketing pitch is spot on: 'When we love local, we can create better places to live, work and visit. By loving local, we are choosing to back local businesses, and build stronger communities that can respond to the cost-of-living crisis and the climate emergency'.

I talk a lot about how Inverclyde should be more self-reliant.

I don’t think we maximise our potential when we are lumped together as part of greater Glasgow or a west coast region.

We have our own identity, and we have plenty to develop and help prosper.

The redevelopment of Greenock town centre will be crucial to the future of this area.

Gourock has improved greatly in recent years and that is largely due to the tenacious and entrepreneurial businesses that have located there.

Small local business owners have always been crucial to Inverclyde as we seek to regenerate the area, and we should do everything possible at council and government level to encourage and support local businesses and industries.

This has not always been the case but as we move forward it remains a priority of mine.

People empowered to invest and work hard are people engaged in their community.

Economic and environmental sustainability lies in our local community.

Scotland loves local and Inverclyde loves local are just slogans unless we truly embrace the idea that Inverclyde is a great place to live and work and seek to maximise the benefit that brings to us all.