IN the Greenock Telegraph article regarding the £70Million wish list the Inverclyde task force jointly chaired by council leader Stephen McCabe and Stuart McMillan MSP have sent to the Scottish Government, it is reported that £66 million of the £70 million requested is for capital projects in Port Glasgow.

It would be more accurate to call this a Port Glasgow regeneration plan. It does look like the task force has been significantly swayed by what officials would like to see happening instead of proper resource allocation to address deprivation.

Only £1 million of the £70 million requested has been earmarked for projects aimed at engaging with the near 10,500 economically inactive people in Inverclyde and attempting to bring them towards the labour market, plus half-a-million-pounds to train and upskill 100 workers in the area - which surely should be the main thrust of any intervention that aims to tackle the multiple strands of deprivation.

This is a hypothetical resource as it is a wish list to the Scottish Government, but there must be some sort of hope that there is a realistic chance of getting the funding otherwise the task force wouldn’t have went to such lengths to publicise their proposals.

But surely it would be much better to target a much greater element of the £70 million directly to people to help put money in their pockets to tackle Inverclyde’s scandalous levels of deprivation.

I am unsure why an Inverclyde Taskforce would also target more than 94 per cent of the proposed resource in Port Glasgow alone. One of the most expensive projects is £24 million on the Clune Park estate to demolish it and build new housing. If it is demolished, then by definition nobody then lives there so this would then be a good opportunity to, instead of building more housing there, to join the area up to the existing Kelburn Business Park to create an Inverclyde Business Gateway.

At only 20 minutes from Glasgow Airport this would be a prime site to build a series of multi-sized industrial and manufacturing units and to solicit inward investment from foreign companies by funding rate relief in exchange for the jobs and the high value they can bring to Inverclyde.

It’s good to see joint working to try to bring investment to Inverclyde but it does not appear that this investment would lead to better outcomes and a better quality of life for people in Inverclyde.

Christopher McEleny
General Secretary
Alba Party