The battle for the West Dunbartonshire seat at the December 12 General Election is heating up as polling day nears.

Each week on the run up to voting day, the Post will feature a discussion topic and each of the six candidates will have their say.

This week, we asked them for their views on what matters in the local constituency.

The candidates discussed Flamingo Land, local transport, youth services, Universal Credit, austerity, abortion, and the future of the HMNB Clyde, in Helensburgh.

Peter Connolly, Scottish Green:

WEST Dunbartonshire links the edge of Glasgow with a world famous national park, and it’s so often on the front line of questions of who owns Scotland and how we protect and enhance its beauty.

I stand shoulder to shoulder with residents who are fighting to protect greenspaces, including Stauss Avenue at Linnvale and Duntiglennan Field at Duntocher.

But the threat to greenspace doesn’t come much bigger than Flamingo Land and Scottish Enterprise’s attempt at a tourist development in Balloch. We’ve already seen one set of plans withdrawn after a local campaign with the support of my Green colleague Ross Greer MSP which saw a Scottish record 57,000 objections.

The plans would have damaged Drumkinnon Woods, much of which is designated protected woodland, beyond recognition. The proposals would have transformed public space into a private holiday village crammed with exclusive holiday lodges. The number and quality of jobs promised were dwindling fast and the developer’s own environmental impact assessment was damning.

Whether plans are resubmitted or not, an MP has a leadership role to play in helping the people determine the future for Balloch and to fight for a future of the site that is owned by the community, that keeps all profits for the local economy and that is appropriate for a climate emergency. I’m very keen on the idea of Balloch becoming a hub for Loch Lomond to be an eco-tourist resort – this could be achieved alongside serious policies to improve public transport and reduce the need to drive a car.

Alix Mathieson, Conservative:

I HAVE a number of local priorities for West Dunbartonshire if elected.

First, I want to ensure that the centre of excellence for mental health at the Vale of Leven Hospital, proposed by the Conservatives, is seen to completion.

Second, I want to be a strong voice for our armed forces and veterans. I want to protect the 12,000 jobs that are both directly and indirectly reliant on HMNB Clyde and promote the apprenticeships the base provides for our young people.

Thirdly, I want to build on the fantastic work of our local councillors to ensure that even more social housing is built on brownfield sites, with appropriate infrastructure to match, protecting our greenspaces while helping those families who are most in need.

Martin Docherty-Hughes, SNP:

SCOTLAND’S future in Scotland’s hands was the theme of the SNP’s national manifesto launched a few days ago.

But it’s also important to show how this works at a local level: I never tire after decades as an SNP activist and elected member, of showing how the powers of independence will be transformative for us not only as a nation but in communities, like the ones I grew up in in Clydebank.

Central to this is showing how the creation of a Scottish social security system with decency and fairness at its heart contrasts with the austerity policies pursued by past Labour and Tory governments – an approach directly linked to an increase in the use of foodbanks, and the estimated 5,000 children in West Dunbartonshire in poverty.

The roll-out of Universal Credit has hit the most vulnerable in our community the hardest, and the SNP has consistently called for the system to be reformed before it hurts any more of our people: and the notorious “fitness to work” assessments have caused undue stress for our most vulnerable, especially those with long standing health conditions or disabilities. Sadly, we all know someone who has been wrongly assessed as fit to work and the detrimental impact that this has had on their health and finances.

Finally, we’ll also all know a WASPI woman – an estimated 6,300 of them in West Dunbartonshire – facing being £48,000 out of pocket due to the change in pension age. They deserve justice and the SNP stands shoulder to shoulder with these women.

This compounds the insult of the UK Government setting the retirement age at 67 – meaning the average person in Clydebank would only be able to enjoy a couple of happy years of retirement, yet again showing why it is only an independent Scotland that can make policy tailored to people who read the Post.

Andrew Muir, Independent:

I AM very concerned about the human rights policies of the SNP in West Dunbartonshire.

When I tried to stop abortions in the local area by submitting an open forum question last year, the council were unanimously against this, with two SNP members gleefully standing up and cheering.

My wife Claire asked former MP Martin Docherty-Hughes to attend a parliamentary meeting to discuss the Mental Health Act in July, but he did not meet with us. This act, which allows those deemed to be mentally ill to be administered medication against their wishes, is a practice prohibited by the United Nations, but unfortunately allowable in the UK.

We have a terrible culture in this area where politicians are at the mercy of the NHS as to provision of services.

It doesn’t help that SNP councillors have not attended health board meetings. Mistakes are never investigated.

The Tories wish a centre of excellence for mental health at the Vale of Leven.

However, my wife Claire has described the fire-ravaged Christie Ward as Auschwitz. There were scrawls on the walls “help me please”.

Jean Anne Mitchell, Labour:

AUSTERITY is affecting so many people, whether it be driven by the Tories or the SNP.

Take the SNP council cuts, which Nicola Sturgeon described as unnecessary. Why then do we see grass not being cut, telecare alarm charges doubling, cuts to one-stop-shop services and libraries?

That’s why Labour want to rebuild our community savaged by these cuts. We will properly fund local services like libraries and community services to tackle social isolation.

I am very keen to see our young people not being left behind. That’s why Labour will properly fund youth services and guarantee every young person has access to local, high quality youth work.

Building more social housing is key for our communities as waiting lists are too long. It was Labour that spearheaded 1,000 new homes for the Queens Quay site and former school sites across the authority. The average energy bill will reduce by £417 each year by improving existing homes too.

For the record, I am 100 per cent against housing at Strauss Avenue. The SNP should be ashamed of themselves ignoring Linnvale and avoiding residents.

Putting money into people’s pockets is important for stimulating the local economy and keeping people away from foodbanks, which is disgusting in 2019.

Restoring public sector pay starting with an initial five per cent increase which will on average give £1,340 extra to workers. Labour will also scrap the vile Universal Credit system and restore dignity for those most needing help.

The next Labour government will be transformational. A vote for me is a vote for real change.

Jenni Lang, Liberal Democrat:

WEST Dunbartonshire has an outstanding heritage, be it: building the world’s finest ocean going liners; excellent whiskies; pioneers in fine textiles; aircraft manufacture; one of the world’s earliest automobile factories; Singer sewing machines; and advanced instant cameras.

It is a great privilege to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for such a remarkable constituency. Sadly, due to the neglect and under investment by the Labour and SNP administrations, West Dunbartonshire has not been able to retain its premium position.

However, the Liberal Democrats have plans to build a brighter future for local people. Glaswegian Jo Swinson, leader of the Lib Dems, plans to stop Brexit and invest the £50billion remain bonus in public services and tackling inequality.

We shall tackle the climate emergency by insulating all low income homes by 2025. And we’ll invest in industries so 80 per cent of UK electricity will be generated from renewables.

In a changing world it is critical that people have the opportunity to keep abreast of new job opportunities. Every individual will be provided with a £10,000 skills wallet which will enable them to learn new appropriate skills throughout their life.

We are all fed up with the constant traffic jams on the A82. Lib Dems will invest in new roads, insist on better train services, and ensure there are enough charging points so we can switch to electric vehicles.

We plan to deliver the best start in life for children with free high-quality childcare from nine months for all working parents, properly funded. We will also stop Brexit and stop independence.