IN recent weeks I’ve asked questions in Parliament on different topics – including transport, and secured support for a James Watt Festival, as well as hosting my own member’s debate on eye health.

This week I chaired the Cross Party Group (CPG) on Recreational Boating and Marine Tourism and met with Jamie Hepburn MSP, the Employability and Training Minister and with representatives from Dyslexia Scotland, as well as other regular meetings and events. 

On Tuesday the Delegated Powers & Law Reform Committee met and we began taking evidence on the implications of Brexit on the legislative process and how this will be effected.

My focus however is still on my constituency. Reports this week have highlighted the beginning of the budget process at Inverclyde Council.

I don’t think many fair-minded people would argue against the attempts the Scottish Government have undertaken to deliver fair settlements to local authorities. 

In addition to this, the Scottish Government have spent over £300m in mitigating the ‘bedroom tax’ and other welfare issues as well as increasing the child allowance for council tax reduction which has benefited over 525,000 across the country.

The Scottish Government also introduced the Welfare Fund which Inverclyde Council had a budget of £737,000 in 2016/17 but the budget was underspent by £40,000, as reported in the Tele on 17th August.

In addition to the Scottish Government funding, over and above, the grant given to councils, it’s budget has been slashed by the UK Government, who would rather spend £1bn to secure the support of the DUP to hold onto power.

Westminster’s ongoing austerity agenda, which the SNP oppose, has seen the less well-off areas hit hardest and the appalling rise in foodbank use which Tory MP, Jacob Rees Mogg thinks is ‘rather uplifting’.

The Scottish Government is dedicated to supporting local authorities.

However, we cannot ignore some of the articles in the Tele recently including the two failed court cases about Clune Park costing the Inverclyde taxpayer £1m with an additional £30,000 to fund an architect to potentially refurbish the site instead, the extra £300,000 for the statue in Port Glasgow and the refurbishment of the former district court room into a wedding venue costing £500,000 – with a further £200,000 now needing to be spent – and with £25,000 now to be spent in Port Glasgow to create a temporary home until Greenock is completed. 

Before the council attempts to blame everyone else for their budget, they should look at themselves and how they plan and spend their resources.