As many will know, earlier this month, West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) passed its budget for 2024/25.

With the cost-of-living crisis hitting people in Clydebank harder than ever, I was pleased that Labour agreed to the SNP Scottish Government’s fully funded council tax freeze, albeit stubbornly.

Council tax bills in Scotland are already hundreds of pounds a year lower than they are in England and this freeze will give people more relief whilst they try to deal with the increased pressure of the Westminster-made cost of living crisis.

However, I was shocked that the Labour leader of West Dunbartonshire, Martin Rooney, said that he doesn’t agree with helping to keep money in people’s pockets when they need it most, which is what this freeze is doing.

In fact, Councillor Rooney indicated that he would rather put his trust in the Tories in Westminster to fund local government, as he took it upon himself to pen a letter to Michael Gove, pleading with him to interfere in Scotland’s affairs.

It blows my mind that Labour in West Dunbartonshire would trust the Tories to do anything in the best interest of our authority, as this is the same Tory party that made Liz Truss Prime Minister, whose mini budget destroyed our economy, the same Tory party that has underfunded local government so much that several local authorities in England have gone bankrupt, and the same Tory party that punishes the poor and funds the wealthy.

However, I shouldn’t be surprised as Labour has not been afraid to show us their true Tory blue colours, with several of their politicians declaring their admiration of former Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher – the woman who decimated the town of Clydebank, as well as many other communities and industries across Scotland and the UK.

It’s shameful that Labour is happy to continuously throw hard-working people under the bus in an attempt to appeal to right-wing voters.

Their priorities have never been more wrong.

Going back to the budget, it is a given that local authorities across the UK are facing extremely tough financial situations and difficult decisions have to be made.

However, all elected members in West Dunbartonshire had the chance to vote for the SNP’s fully balanced budget which would close the gap without any cuts to services or jobs, which is what really matters to people when they are struggling more than ever.

However, even with this option in front of them, Labour made the choice to impose more service cuts, job losses, and further financial strain on working people in West Dunbartonshire.

With a by-election in Clydebank Central and a General Election on the horizon, I hope people look long and hard at the reality of Labour and realise that the only party truly committed to making Scotland a better place for all, by plans and action to tackle poverty and austerity, is the SNP.