IT HAS been a while since I last wrote my column for the Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter so there has been a lot going on.

We’ve had more than our fair share of inclement weather with storms, localised flooding, lots of frosty mornings, black ice and even some snow.

Whenever we have notification of bad weather the council resilience team and front-line workers carry out preventative work and help local residents where we can.

We can’t always do everything our residents want in the timescale they would like but overall, our resilience teams do a really good job, so I want to start off by thanking this group of staff for all that they do to keep us all safe.

There are storms of another kind brewing as we are once again going through our annual budget process.

COSLA has identified that the Scottish Government has cut core funding for local government again this year.

As well as cutting funding to core services, they have not given us funding to support a fair pay rise for council workers, which they rightly deserve, and have cut the local government capital budget, which affects future investment.

All of this puts real pressure on all councils but especially here in West Dunbartonshire, where we have some of the highest levels of poverty in Scotland.

I am an optimist and I know the Scottish Parliament is still going through its budget process, so I am still hopeful that they can find some more money to help us out with next year’s budget.

I have been busy with my role as the housing convener, meeting with tenant’s reps to discuss the housing budget and rent setting.

I have also met with the housing minister to raise issues on behalf of tenants, and I continue to write to relevant ministers on housing issues on behalf of our tenants.

I believe that positive engagement with ministers helps to build up a relationship and gives me an opportunity to do the best I can for West Dunbartonshire.

A recent housing committee covered a wide breadth of housing issues including an update on our More Homes Programme, which oversees the delivery of the council’s new home-building programme; Our Strategic Housing Investment Plan; and a review of our Affordable Housing Design Standard.

However, the biggest discussion centred on homelessness and our Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan.

We have seen an increase in the number of houses in West Dunbartonshire yet homelessness is becoming much more of a challenge each year.

I will continue to work with the Scottish Government to get more resources to help build more homes for our area.

There are many positive things going on in terms of housing.

If there are any issues you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact me.