Firstly, I would like to wish everyone a very happy new year in my first column in the Clydebank Post this year.

This year will undoubtedly bring some additional huge challenges, both in terms of the madness associated with Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as well as the cuts that are being proposed and discussed within the SNP administration.

The Labour Group have yet to see any of the paperwork for the West Dunbartonshire Council Budget Setting meeting, which is due to take place on Thursday, February 14.

However, group members are aware that West Dunbartonshire Council has received another reduction for this year’s budget of 3..8 per cent – the second highest, or second worst, across all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

This is completely unsustainable and we, as a community, must insist that the SNP Group, under the leadership of Councillor McColl – and ably assisted by Independent, Bailie Denis Agnew – that representation is made to Derek Mackay, SNP Finance Cabinet Secretary, for additional funds to be made available to our impoverished communities.

Given that the administration decided to postpone any community consultation, which was due to take place throughout January 2019, it remains to be seen what, if any, input will be sought for those who will be affected by any service or job cuts across our communities.

Watch this space. The Labour Group will continue to oppose these cuts.

On a brighter note, I am delighted that the diggers are now on site at Holm Park – after what may seem like an eternity after the previous WDC Labour administration set aside the capital monies of £750,000 in 2014.

This development will see a brand new all-weather surface being laid, as well as floodlights and new fencing installation which will allow both Yoker Athletic Club and Clydebank Juniors to play at a state-of-the-art, brand-new facility.

The outcome of this much-needed investment will also allow many additional, affordable, hours of football, and other sports, being accessed by our community and I am delighted to have been involved with both clubs to achieve this progress.