I attended the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool recently and the focus was very much on achieving a fairer society and distributing wealth across all communities and parts of the UK.

It was the most politically inspiring week I have experienced since listening to Tony Benn all those years ago.

Being a socialist is no longer a bad word. It never was. Labour’s plans for nationalising railways, energy, essential public services and regulating bus travel have been scrutinised and tested by academics and industry experts. The free market has not worked for most people and excessive privatisation has damaged our public services, destroyed communities and reduced quality employment. We require radical change to put more of the wealth of the country into public rather than private hands. There are hundreds of billions of pounds that have been siphoned off to tax havens that could be used for the benefit of our country and all of our citizens.

Labour’s ideas for a highly skilled, manufacturing economy with workers’ rights assured in all workplaces and sectors cannot be met by any other party and certainly not by the financial asset strippers of the city.

I noticed that there was a large increase in rough sleepers and begging in Liverpool with tents and duvets spread around the shopping precincts and city centre. I was told that this has happened in the last couple of years with welfare changes and the bedroom tax being the cause. West Dunbartonshire was the first place to mitigate this hated tax and I was proud to have been involved in that decision.

Liverpool has the distinction of having no Tory councillors and there are many shops which state that the Sun newspaper is not on sale. My kind of town - go Liverpool.

The rollout of universal credit has arrived and it does not bode well for Clydebank. The council will try to assist people who struggle but inevitably there will be difficulties during its implementation. Claimants should seek advice from their landlords, DWP, WDC and other advice agencies.

I recently complained about the response time for WDC to answer calls to its contact centre. We need to be on the ball for this one as there are many of our fellow citizens who will be depending on a swift reply.

Proud to be a socialist.