A ROW has broken out over the “disappointing” amount of extra Scottish Government money allocated to West Dunbartonshire to help the social care sector fight the devastating effects of the coronavirus panedemic.

The £898,000 for the area, one of the hardest hit by the virus, is less than that being given to some other areas, leading MSP Jackie Baillie to question the government’s reasoning behind how the money – totalling £50 million – was divided across the country.

She said: “It is very disappointing that West Dunbartonshire seems to be receiving less additional funding than other areas despite being one of the local authorities hardest hit by Covid-19.”

Recent figures showed that West Dunbartonshire had 7.85 Covid-19 deaths per 10,000 of population, compared with 4.87 deaths per 10,000 in Argyll and Bute. However, Argyll and Bute has received an allocation of around £903,000.

In fact, only seven of Scotland’s 32 local authorities received less than West Dunbartonshire.

Ms Baillie, who is also deputy leader of Scottish Labour, said: “West Dunbartonshire is continuing to experience significantly higher levels of death than in the rest of the country – both in our care homes and hospitals.

“Extra funding is vital if our health and social care workers are able to fight the virus properly and keep themselves and others safe.

Read more: Care home residents and staff in West Dunbartonshire 'badly let down', says MSP

“West Dunbartonshire is struggling to cope and an increase in financial help is needed in order to save lives and protect those most in need.”

She called on the Scottish Government to provide a clear explanation as to the decisions that were made regarding local authority funding, especially for those local authorities representing some of the poorest areas of the country, with the highest incidence of Covid-19.

Clydebank's MSP, Gil Paterson, said: “The social care sector is at the frontline of the current pandemic and will inevitably face additional costs.

“This massive £50 million funding boost demonstrates the SNP government’s commitment to social care.

"The funding has been distributed accordingly across local authorities to make sure any increasing need for social care as a result of the pandemic is met.

“There is a whole range of factors that are considered and the formula that is used is the same formula that was in place when Labour were in power and agreed by the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities.

“We owe those working locally in social care, and all our key workers, a huge debt of gratitude who carrying out such vital work in the most difficult circumstances.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the £50m had been allocated using a well-established process agreed across all of Scotland’s local authorities and NHS boards.

They added: “It takes account of a range of factors, not least population, rurality, poverty, age/sex profile and additional needs based on morbidity and life circumstance – including deprivation."