IT’S a fact that everybody takes stock at this time of the year, looking back on events of the past year and planning for a better 2019.

What strikes me is the enormous inequalities we are experiencing throughout the country brought on mainly by the austerity agenda of the Conservative government at Westminster.

It’s a situation where the rich appear to be getting richer and the poor are certainly getting poorer.

Unfortunately, the recent introduction of Universal Credit to Clydebank by the UK Government means things are likely to get worse and more and more of the most deprived people will be further impoverished.

What we now have is a right-wing Tory government in London so out of touch with ordinary people that they do not see any of the misery they are creating and they are so obsessed by Brexit they are paralysed when it comes to resolving any of the many social inequalities they should be tackling.

Anticipating a no deal Brexit, the Tory government are throwing money at projects to help the south-east of England cope with the problems they have created by their indecision and intransigence.

Money, which could be better spent on the NHS, new housing and improved social services.

Their latest project to spend £14 million on a ferry company with no record of operation, no ferries, no port agreements – and a chief executive who owes millions for previously failed businesses – to ship lorries from Ramsgate to Ostend to relieve pressure on Dover is eye-watering and completely unjustified.

Against this dysfunctional backdrop, it heartens me to witness in Clydebank the efforts of so many ordinary people who are determined to make things better for neighbours who have hit hard times.

To those volunteering and contributing, in particular, to food-banks and to social care I would like to take this opportunity to thank them as well to thank everyone involved in the voluntary sector.

Can I wish everybody in Clydebank a happy and prosperous 2019 with the hope that we can begin to eliminate inequality in our communities.