ONCE again, West Dunbartonshire’s Covid-19 infection rates are among the highest in Scotland.

However, rates have increased massively across the whole of Scotland – a surge that was as predictable as it was avoidable.

All of us knew that with schools returning after the summer holidays we would be at greater risk. Why, therefore, did the SNP and the Scottish Government not have us properly prepared as a country for it to get worse?

Our NHS remains at breaking point, as does the vital work to catch up on treatments delayed from the last pandemic surge.

Scottish Labour called for the need to cut the time between vaccination doses to ensure the widest possible protection across our community. This is being done in other countries such as Northern Ireland. The Scottish Government needs to get a grip on this now before winter pressures pile on our health service. The SNP’s loss of control is unacceptable.

The SNP are however more obsessed about formalising their coalition of cuts with the Scottish Greens. We had thought the Scottish Greens were too scared to face the electorate in May by standing in our constituencies including Clydebank and Milngavie. However now we realise this was a cosy deal to ensure that the separatist parties did not split their vote, and the Scottish Greens have now been rewarded with ministerial salaries and cars as a thank you.

This comes as no surprise because for a number of years as the SNP hammer our public services including West Dunbartonshire Council the Greens meekly nod along – the only other party to have had full confidence in John Swinney as our education secretary during the exam fiasco last year. But now it’s official, the Greens are now a branch office of the SNP.

Scottish Labour is now the only alternative. Scottish Labour will focus on our national recovery, on the crisis facing the NHS, on our schools and tackling the climate emergency, and we start by demanding a Covid-19 booster vaccine for all of our school staff.

The attainment impact of school closures and pupils self-isolating has been immense. There is no recognition from this SNP/Green government of the scale of the challenge, far less a plan to deal with it. Scottish Labour offers a better alternative.