At last month’s council meeting I moved a motion that would support our council key workers to receive a fair 4 per cent pay rise this year.

My motion highlighted that the Scottish Government was once again failing to support Scotland’s councils to ensure workers who played a major part in the Covid response were treated the same as NHS staff in terms of pay and recognition.

It was extremely disappointing that our SNP council leader instead moved a watered down version so we don’t offend his party colleague, the SNP finance minister Kate Forbes.

His weak and meaningless motion was passed, and a few days later the SNP minister met council leaders and reiterated she would not be offering any additional funding.

Councils continually fail to get fair funding from the Scottish Government.

This time it’s our staff who will suffer.

Unfortunately, our SNP council leader’s priority is not to criticise or offend his SNP government.

It is time this council had a leader whose only priority was West Dunbartonshire.

This cosy relationship with councils who dare not step out of line must end.

Meanwhile, Covid infection rates locally are very high in line with the rates reported in Scotland and the UK.

The UK Government intends to lift restrictions on July 19, and in Scotland the intention is to lift some, if not all, restrictions in August.

While we all acknowledge the tremendous vaccination programme, and our obvious desire for life to return to normal, I am very concerned at the effect of easing restrictions on our communities.

Schools have already been affected; children had to self-isolate regularly when classmates tested positive.

Dumbarton Academy closed early for the summer due to high infection rates.

This variant seems to be far more transmissible and younger people are testing positive in greater numbers.

Schoolchildren are not vaccinated and many of the people testing positive have received both doses.

Increased infection rates will undoubtedly affect the ability of health services to recover and deal with the backlog of treatment from earlier lockdowns.

The NHS will also be tested by the mental health effects of the pandemic and those who are suffering from “long Covid”.

So I would urge caution on lifting restrictions and I would also urge everyone to keep the good habits we have learned.

I hope we can get children back to school in August without a large rise in infections and self-isolation.

Keep safe, get tested regularly, avoid crowds and continue to wear face masks on transport, shops and offices.