THE continued spotlight on the council’s budget next year has generated a lot of discussion amongst people I have been bumping into over the past week.

Whether it is the impact a cut to under 19s sports funding could have on local clubs or cuts to services that would impact on council staff jobs and the services they deliver, there have been a lot of conversations that I could only describe as ‘not being fun’.

I do not see how I could personally justify voting in favour of many of the proposals on offer.

It is even more difficult to contemplate when I know many of the people that could be impacted upon personally.

The coaching staff that help run great clubs the length and breadth of Inverclyde also dedicate some of the highest tallies of volunteer hours in Inverclyde.

So a cut in this area wouldn’t just threaten to end many youth sports clubs, it would also have a very large unknown cost in terms of the time many people dedicate to the health and well-being of young people in Inverclyde.

Cuts that would scrap the nice things in life such as Christmas lights switch on events, to the annual fireworks displays; service reductions that could result in elderly people being worse off and the opportunities for young people being taken away from them; I don’t think anyone stood for election to support any of these decisions.

It is time for change. As others have stated already in the Greenock Telegraph, if the UK Government continues its programme of austerity and cuts to public funding then these draconian cuts could become a reality.

It is for that reason I put to my fellow councillors last week that we should invite the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and the UK Secretary of state for Scotland to see first-hand the impacts their decisions will have right here in Inverclyde.

It is simply not good enough for them to continue to make decisions that hurt Inverclyde without ever having to face up to their consequences.

So Mr Chancellor, come visit Inverclyde and speak to the people that will suffer if you continue to cut public expenditure.

Speak to the volunteers that run Port Glasgow Community sports hub and tell them why they need to lose their financial support to help young people stay fit and active.

Take a trip to Port Glasgow swimming pool and speak to the amazing Port Glasgow Otters and you explain to them why their swimming pool might need to close.

Go speak to the people that run East End Boys’ Club and tell them why they might not have a facility to play at anymore if cuts to leisure facilities mean centres such as Lady Octavia may close.

Come and knock some doors with me in Gourock and explain to people how exactly three-weekly bin collections are going to work.

The main thing people tell me when they talk to me is that they are fed up of councillors arguing. I agree.

That’s why I was very happy that veteran Councillor Ciano Rebbechi and the Labour administration agreed to the call to invite the UK Government to Inverclyde to see the damage their policies are imposing on us.

I look forward to their response.