THE new administration on West Dunbartonshire Council will prioritise families during the cost-of-living crisis, according to the leader of the authority's Labour group leader.

The party regained majority control of the council on Friday after all 12 of its candidates across West Dunbartonshire were elected.

Councillor Martin Rooney, who is now virtually certain to be voted in as council leader when the new-look authority meets for the first time next week, said Labour's priority would be to help families in the area who are suffering as a result of the steep rises in the cost of food and fuel.

Councillor Rooney said: “Labour has already declared its vision for the next five years and will work to reduce the £14 million budget gap while helping families dealing with the cost of living crisis.

“We cannot leave it until February to address the budget gap. We need to start looking at it now and focus on the cost-of-living crisis and see what we can do to help local families.

“There have been more price increases since October and with inflation going up this is putting a burden on local families and we need to see what we can do to help them.

“We will give £1,000 a week to food banks and another £1,000 a week to help people purchase fuel. A further £1,000 a week will also be given to food banks to provide food shop vouchers and to provide the necessities four our residents.”

The SNP presence on the council fell from 10 seats to nine at last week's election, while both Conservative councillors were voted out.

The last of the 22 seats on the council went to Jim Bollan of the Community Party, who has been a councillor in the area for more than 30 years.

SNP group leader Councillor Jonathan McColl said he was "sceptical" about Labour's ability to keep its promises - and vowed he and his colleagues would hold the new administration to account to ensure they deliver.

Cllr McColl said: “We have an excellent group of enthusiastic SNP councillors who will work hard for the communities that elected them.

 “Labour made a lot of promises during the election campaign and we will be scrutinising their work over the coming five years, and holding them to account on what they deliver and what they do not.

“We will work constructively in opposition to ensure that the council provides the services our constituents need.

"For example, having had success in past years garnering additional monies from the Scottish Government after the initial settlement announcement, we are happy to help the administration with this for the benefit of council services.

 “Whilst we are understandably sceptical about Labour’s ability to live up to their promises, given the unrealistic nature of many of them in the current climate, we will be there at every meeting, representing our citizens and arguing for common sense solutions to help our communities thrive in the post pandemic world.”