EARLIER this week, as reported in the Tele, the Prime Minister announced that seven ‘overlooked’ Scottish towns will each be given £20 million from the levelling up fund, to be spent over the next decade.

One of the towns to receive this ten-year endowment-style fund is Greenock after successful lobbying led by our council leader Stephen McCabe.

The £20 million will go straight to the local authorities of each of the areas in the hope that it will be spent directly on the priorities of the local people such as regenerating local high streets.

Whilst this injection of funding from the UK Government is welcome and is certainly better than no funding at all, it is important to recognise that far more is still needed in terms of tackling Inverclyde’s economic issues.

Nevertheless, it is better than the additional economic investment being given to Inverclyde by the Scottish Government, which is absolutely none.

Recently, Inverclyde has been faced with multiple challenges that have had potentially devastating consequences for the community.

Firstly, the Amazon closure saw the loss of 300 jobs, shortly followed by Berry BPI announcing the loss of up to 65 positions and finally, came the news that Wilko was to shut down as well, the consequence of which was yet further job losses in Inverclyde.

The effects of these job losses are only exacerbated by the cost of living crisis and Inverclyde is one of the communities that is getting hit the hardest.

This creates a strong picture of evidence that the people of Inverclyde need and deserve investment in jobs and the local economy.

The former Finance Secretary Kate Forbes urged the creation of an Inverclyde Taskforce to make the case for investment in Inverclyde.

The case has been made. The need has been demonstrated. The question now is where is the money from the Scottish Government?

The people of Inverclyde deserve sustainable economic support, and a genuine commitment to their welfare and they deserve it now.