IT is the school October holiday week and before you know it the shelves will be cleared of the Halloween costumes and replaced by the Christmas items.

In Inverclyde we are apparently one of the only places in Scotland that refers to Halloween as Galoshans, which reminds me of one of my favourite regular insults when I was a goalkeeper, when people would refer to me as a ‘big Galoshan’.

I could never work out how that was meant as praise. 
On a serious note though, as key events of the year bring Christmas closer, I was really upset to learn in the Greenock Telegraph foodbank use in Inverclyde was up 70 per cent.

Inverclyde Foodbank, pictured, has been a real Godsend to many people in Inverclyde since Rev Fraser Donaldson started it a few years back. It’s in a unique position in that its success highlights the failure of UK austerity but at the same time highlights how good a community Inverclyde is. 

Ultimately, poverty is the key reason people need to use foodbanks to survive. It is for that reason that reducing poverty in Inverclyde should be the key issue that the people that live here judge our council and our governments. 

It is for that reason that my SNP colleagues and I have been highlighting various services and facilities across Inverclyde that are under threat if we continue down the nefarious path of UK austerity.

As you know, we have invited the UK chancellor to Inverclyde to see first hand the implications of his policies. No response as yet on that one... 

It is right to highlight the ultimate root cause of austerity, and where we have the ability to make different choices we should do so. 

Inverclyde’s adult learning disability services are close to many of our hearts. Delivering these services - like many services - is becoming increasingly expensive.

Inverclyde has the highest rate of adults with learning disabilities across Scotland. Furthermore, nearly 20 per cent of adults with a learning disability in Inverclyde develop dementia. For many of our community, it is their family that look after them and a high percentage now of carers are themselves getting older.

With the potential budget cuts on the horizon, this is absolutely an area that we must protect. Unfortunately various pressures are making this a more expensive service each year. I think it is only right that we offer as good a service in the world to those in Inverclyde with learning difficulties, and, if we can make supporting them easily for their families, if only just a little, this is something we should endeavour to do. 

It is for that reason that I have written to Scotland’s Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay MSP, to highlight the unique level of adults in Inverclyde who have a learning difficulty.

I have highlighted the great work that goes on in Inverclyde and asked him to take that into consideration when he sets the Scottish budget on the back of the UK chancellor’s budget. I am sure that across Scotland many other areas are highlighting their own special situations, but I think this is one that absolutely merits some extra support, if possible.

The UK chancellor may ignore correspondence from Inverclyde, but I’m absolutely positive Mr Mackay will give this issue his upmost attention.