It’s been an extremely positive start to the summer and it’s looking like 2018 is going to be the hottest summer for decades.

The fantastic weather brought thousands of visitors to our towns and villages over recent weeks with local families being drawn into our parks to enjoy the good weather.

I hope the sunshine stays with us over the coming weeks so that our young people can enjoy a relaxing, safe and well-deserved summer break.

We also had a hot start to the political year in West Dunbartonshire with the SNP pushing through their austerity budget and imposing draconian cuts against public opinion.

They slipped their political propaganda into overdrive, falsely accusing Labour of cutting the care of garden scheme. 

In addition, the SNP falsely blamed Labour for cutting funding to winter bedding plants in the 2012 budget, but the public record shows that it was actually the SNP that made the cuts.

Their propaganda was so effective even SNP councillors ended up believing it and incorporated it into a motion in June. 

When they were confronted and asked to apologise for misleading the public, the silence from the SNP was deafening –and this from the same people who only last year promised to be more open, honest and transparent.

No amount of spinning can hide the facts. The SNP imposed Tory austerity on our communities with devastating effects. 

Rather than challenge austerity they simply dump it on local government, affecting local services and local jobs.

Councils have had an 8 per cent cut in their budgets in real terms since 2010/11. Since 2013-14 council budget allocations have been cut by 6.9 per cent, while the Scottish Government’s revenue budget fell by 1.6 per cent. 

There has been extra money for the government’s priorities, but there has been a £590 million cut in core funding for councils. This is the money that pays for day-to-day council services.

Austerity is a political choice, and in West Dunbartonshire it’s one that seems to sit well with both the SNP and the Tories. They have no real interest in shielding the most vulnerable from the impact of their cuts.