PEOPLE in Clydebank are being left waiting up to nine weeks to receive cash to support them while they’re self-isolating, council bosses have admitted.

A report for West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) revealed that the number of self-isolation grant requests rose by 731 per cent between April and August.

According to the report, around 1,000 applications had still to be processed, with 577 of those applications made last month.

But a senior WDC official says he believes the council has now passed a “tipping point” with applications.

Malcolm Bennie, chief officer for citizen services, told councillors last week: “We know we are not assisting as we should at this point. This situation has been created by a really unprecedented surge in applications caused by the very high rates of Covid in West Dunbartonshire.

“This level of applications is far beyond what we ever envisaged when the scheme was set up.

“This week we have reached the tipping point whereby we are starting to clear the applications at a faster rate than they are coming in.

“With the recruitment of two new employees and the fact the Covid rates in West Dunbartonshire are dropping, we will make some serious progress.”

The authority’s chief executive Joyce White said the council team handling grant applications had itself been hit by staff sickness absence, with a total of 255 days’ sickness absence between May and August, as well as by resignations.

The £500 grant is available to those on low incomes who would lose out as a result of following Covid guidance.

Labour councillor Douglas McAllister claimed: “The SNP council at West Dunbartonshire have completely lost control of our Covid-19 response.

“We are the slowest council in Scotland to pay out the self isolation grants which should be a quick immediate payment to compensate those asked to self isolate. Those in our community with the lowest incomes who can’t earn and support their families who are asked to stay at home need the payment within days not months.

“I am furious that it takes a whistleblower to report this failure rather than the SNP administration.”

Council leader Jonathan McColl said: “There is not a lot staff can do about this.

“It is a specialist role that needs specialist training and clearances.

“Officers have acted as quickly as they possibly could to get new staff in place.”