INVERCLYDE is in urgent need of Scottish Government support, and John Swinney must be the one to finally offer it.

It goes without saying that this community has had more than its fair share of challenges in recent times.

At the forefront of this is the area’s worsening jobs crisis.

Major companies like Amazon abandoned the area last year, with hundreds of local workers being left out to dry.

The latest plans, by BT Group to close its EE call centre in Greenock and relocate to Glasgow, will bring the number of jobs leaving the area to around 1,200 in 18 months.

Clearly, Inverclyde needs support to stem the outward flow of jobs and get the local economy back on its feet.

And it is true that a great effort has been made by some to do this.

Inverclyde Council has been fighting tirelessly in the past year to bring Scottish Government investment to the area.

Unfortunately, however, Humza Yousaf made no funding commitments for Inverclyde when he was First Minister.

Now the fight continues to persuade his successor as First Minister, Mr Swinney, to do what Mr Yousaf would not.

In recent days, as revealed in the Tele, council leader Stephen McCabe has invited Mr Swinney to the area to discuss the jobs crisis and potential avenues for support.

A test of Mr Swinney’s commitment to the area will also be his plans for the Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow which is crucial for our local economy.

This week we are due to see the GMB trade union’s summit on the future of the yard.

Cross-party calls have been made for months on the government to commit to investing in the yard and awarding it future contracts.

At the time of writing this column, it is unclear what the Scottish Government’s plan is for the future of the yard.

But it is clear the time for indecision is over. And it is time change for John Swinney’s government to provide our economy with the support it so urgently needs.