A BLAZING row broke out among councillors last week over West Dunbartonshire Council’s Care of Gardens scheme.

It followed on from the demise of Greenlight Environmental, went into administration earlier this year.

Greenlight Environmental provided a range of services to councils in West Dunbartonshire, Argyll and Bute, and Inverclyde.

The total annual spend by WDC on the service level agreements and formal contracts that were in place with Greenlight Environmental as the service provider was in the region of £1.4 million against an overall income of £2.8 million for Greenlight.

The company was put into full administration on August 30 and a day later all staff were made redundant.

A range of frontline services provided by Greenlight were temporarily disrupted. The services included the Care of Gardens scheme.

WDC recruited 30 of the former Greenlight employees on fixed term contracts to carry out the Care of Gardens scheme, glass collection, civic amenity sites and high rise flats collections.

Councillors at the full council meeting of WDC were told last week that the Care of Gardens scheme had restarted after a one week suspension of the service, and that by the end of the season all service users would have a received a full service for the year.

Council officers, quizzed by Labour councillor Douglas McAllister, revealed that the number of residents who took part in the Care of Gardens scheme in 2017 had dropped this year by 900 to 1600.

Cllr McAllister asked: “Is it the case that 900 don’t want to pay for the service, which was a free scheme under the previous Labour administration?”

Labour councillor Lawrence O’Neill added: “Under Labour everyone who applied was accepted. There was no waiting list.”

SNP council leader Jonathan McColl blasted back: “It is absolute nonsense what is suggested. Everyone who needed the service got the service.”

Cllr O’Neill replied: “The leader is making a rod for his own back. Why can’t he admit he is wrong?”

Council officer Ian Bain, when asked by Councillor David McBride how many residents got use of the Care of Gardens scheme when Labour were in charge of the administration, was unable to answer.

The council agreed to take on the Care of Gardens scheme as an in house service.

Following the failure of Greenlight the council will employ approximately 40 staff, 21 of which will be on a seasonal basis.