I WOULD like to respond to council leader's Ronnie McColl's column in the Reporter (2/11/11) regarding the Elderly Welfare Payments.

Ronnie has a cheek to accuse Labour councillors of scaremongering older peoples groups over the last few months.

Labour rightly predicted the SNP process would be beurocratic, time consuming and lead to lower payments to older peoples groups whilst causing uncertainty and confusion. We rightly predicted that the popular Dumbarton Senior Citizens Committee, which organise the much anticipated annual Scots Nights and summer bus outings, open to all Dumbarton Senior Citizens, would have their grant cut.

Councillor McColl moved that this group receive only �500 funding this year. It was only after my intervention that they conceded that this grant increase.

Our predictions were correct.

In fact it was only due to older peoples groups contacting Labour councillors with their concerns that the SNP group backed down and the process was simplified. This was to ensure that elderly volunteers did not have to get signed mandates from each group members during the months of July and August, when most groups were taking a summer break.

Even now the groups have still not received their payments as the SNP council struggles to administer its scheme. It is simply ludicrous to suggest that Labour councillors support this SNP shambles.

In fact we had to meet the new chief executive and head of Finance for over an hour prior to the committee for anyone to even understand the SNP proposals which were seriously flawed.

What Labour councillors did not do was move for any further delays, there has been enough delay and uncertainty. Ronnie McColl suggests I should make an apology to the older peoples groups, I can assure you as a committee member of the Dumbarton Senior Citizens Committee and I have had their full support and carried out their wishes all along.

I would like challenge Councillor McColl to attend a meeting of Dumbarton Senior Citizens Committee or Age Concerns Dumbarton and we can ask these organisations who should apologise for their actions on older peoples welfare payments?

However, all the elderly groups who have been involved in this SNP debacle are well aware of where the blame lies.

Councillor David McBride Ward 3 Dumbarton LOCAL government elections are scheduled to take place in all councils across Scotland on 3 May 2012.

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Yours faithfully Andy O'Neill Head of Electoral Commission in Scotland