At last week’s council meeting, the final one of the year, the debate was dominated by the ongoing Covid crisis in general – and in particular the situation in schools.

I was pleased to speak in support of the Labour motion, calling for further safety measures for our schools should our level of infection rise again and we revert to Level 4 restrictions which was in anticipation of future increased restrictions, which as we now know we’re announced on Saturday by the First Minister.

Our teachers told us their safety, and that of our pupils, was compromised during Level 4 restrictions.

The EIS teachers’ union had a ballot of their members which resulted in 91 per cent voting in favour of raising a safety dispute.

I am pleased the council agreed that now we are in further restrictions blended learning should be introduced to assist with social distancing

This will allow the schools to have less than 100 per cent capacity in school each day, making it easier to socially distance, which is one of the main measures required to reduce the spread of the virus.

Thankfully, our infection rates are currently lower than a few weeks ago. As a result of that falling infection rate, I also questioned why West Dunbartonshire appears to be at a higher level of restrictions than neighbouring areas who have greater infection levels.

We agreed we must question the Scottish Government robustly and ensure the First Minister hears our concerns, particularly in support of the hospitality industry that has been hit so hard despite introducing a very safe environment for clients, which itself was costly for them to install at a time when they had been starved of finances.

The other main issued discussed at Thursday’s meeting was a motion to support our commitment to the services at the Vale of Leven Hospital, particularly the Fruin and Katrine wards, whose future has been under threat recently.

The staff raised concerns directly with my colleague Jackie Baillie MSP, who raised the matter in the Parliament with the First Minister.

Unfortunately, rather than support our staff at the hospital, SNP leader Jonathan McColl chose to attack our MSP. He said: “This is yet another nothing story that politicians have taken and twisted for their own political gain causing distress to staff and the public.”

Thankfully, I was able to tell our council leader, who also sits on the health board, that those wards’ staff were genuinely concerned for their jobs and the valuable service they provide to their patients suffering from dementia.

They were supportive of the campaigning of Jackie Baillie on their behalf, and were appalled at the council leader’s lack of concern.