THE idea that governments should invest in communities which have fallen behind, and which are in vital need of an economic boost, is nothing new.

For years, governments of all levels and all colours have spoken about how this type of investment can breathe life back into communities that previously felt they were being neglected.

But with their Levelling Up Fund, the UK Government is turning this talk into reality. Across every corner of the UK, communities are receiving significant cash injections to restore facilities, create jobs, rejuvenate local economies – and more.

As an MSP who represents West Scotland, it is easy to look across my region and see why this is such a good idea. It is clear that some communities feel they have been left behind in recent years, and need more investment than others.

This is why I strongly welcomed the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement that Clydebank is to receive £20 million in Levelling Up Funding – along with six other Scottish towns.

This funding, which will be delivered over the next ten years, will be used to revive Clydebank’s town centre, as well as restore local transport links and create job opportunities.

But Levelling Up doesn’t end in Clydebank, and there will be many more communities across Scotland seeing this investment in future rounds of the Levelling Up fund.

Of course, while this funding has been welcomed by West Dunbartonshire’s Labour council, the SNP Scottish Government has continued to criticise the Levelling Up Fund.

Among other things, they have claimed that it ‘undermines devolution’ because it passes straight from the UK Government to local authorities – without having to go through the Scottish Government first.

But the reality is that the Scottish public are far more interested in how much investment their communities receive, rather than where this money comes from.

There are many communities across Scotland whose councils have struggled to invest in their local areas because of a decade-long trend of underfunding. This is a direct consequence of the current SNP Scottish Government, who have chosen to cut council budgets in real terms while their own budget has increased.

Instead of attacking the UK Government for making direct investment into areas that feel left behind, the Scottish Government should start treating local government as the priority it should be. As an MSP who now sits on the Local Government Committee in the Scottish Parliament, this is something I will be repeatedly making the case for.

But regardless, of whether the SNP approves of this funding or not, this won’t stop it making a huge difference to the communities who need it the most. This funding represents Levelling Up in action, and I look forward to seeing the results in the years to come.