A CLYDEBANK councillor was “disappointed” after a motion he put forward on community alarm charges was narrowly defeated.

In March 2019 the SNP administration moved a budget which included increases in community alarm charges - from £2.62 to £5 per week – leading to vulnerable people giving up the potentially life-saving devices.

At a West Dunbartonshire Council meeting at the end of last month, Councillor John Mooney brought forward a motion asking for a report highlighting the benefits of increasing charges and comparing it to the potential consequential costs of falls which are not dealt with quickly and require attendance at accident and emergency.

The motion that was stemmed from the concern expressed by Clydebank Seniors’ Forum was defeated by ten votes to nine.

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Councillor Mooney told the Post: “It is ironic that, although the SNP express such concern, quite rightly, about the withdrawal of free TV licences for over-75s, they think it is justifiable to impose a huge increase on an emergency communication device for the elderly and disabled.

“I am informed that 149 people have cancelled their alarm since the increase was imposed two months ago. I am assured that the ‘vast majority’ had not used their alarm in the preceding year.

“However, even leaving aside the issue of whether use of the alarm in the last year is a predictor of need for the alarm, if the ‘vast majority’ equates to 80 per cent, then 30 vulnerable individuals no longer have the alarm system because of elderly and disabled poverty.”

“However, even after such a reasonable approach by the seniors’ forum, the leader of the council accuses them of exaggeration.

“Nevertheless, I will continue to ask for information on how the community alarm system is progressing after the increase in charges and falls by the elderly and disabled during the winter because of inadequate gritting of pavements and footpaths.”

Council leader Jonathan McColl was approached for comment.