Well folks, it’s that time of year again.

A time to draw our friends and families close to us, to look around at all the good things we have achieved together and to consider the opportunities and challenges we may face in the future.

We’ve all known what’s coming but in the spirit of the season we all get to pretend it’s a big surprise.

Yes, it’s the time of year when the SNP Scottish Government confirms just how much the council budget will be cut and what additional burdens they will foist upon the good people of West Dunbartonshire.

This year, in our letter to Santa we have asked for fair funding for councils.

We want our services to be protected, we want our staff to be properly rewarded and we want to give our citizens and communities the opportunities that they deserve.

Unfortunately, the SNP council is expected to bring forward savings options totalling £14.5 million over three years including another £1.2m of management cuts.

This means £14.5m less to be spent in our communities over the next three years.

As per their manifesto, the SNP council has decided to close Alexandria Social Work Office, to cut the Care of Garden Scheme and to cut customer services at our One-Stop-Shops.

They are also looking at cutting library hours and library staff for good measure.

As a festive treat, they also rejected the expansion of the council’s Winter Gritting Programme – a missed opportunity for all our communities.

The SNP have already said council tax will go up by 3 per cent each year for the next three years; the council budget will be cut by 3 per cent a year each year, even though costs are increasing and wages are expected to rise well above the 1.75 per cent, that the SNP council has set aside; and the SNP council has confirmed that they will cut at least £1.56m from Health and Social Care services each year for the next three years.

These cuts will fall on the poorest and most vulnerable residents in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven – and we all know that the biggest chunk of the council’s spending goes on schools, nurseries and services for the elderly.

The only way to stop it now is for a Christmas truce, with SNP councillors putting aside their differences to join Labour in demanding a fair deal for West Dunbartonshire from the Scottish Government.