After last year we were all looking forward to a more normal 2021 ­– so far, though, it has been anything but.

Having said that, we have a lot to look forward to and, I hope everyone can remain positive now we have a vaccine being rolled out.

The United Kingdom is leading the way in terms of the vaccine being developed and rolled out.

The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is hugely effective and is a priority for the British public.

The EU have admitted their struggles in getting vaccines and rolling them out; Scotland would have been similar had it been independent.

This, along with the unprecedented financial support we have seen from the UK Government to Scotland, show we are always better working together for a stronger, safer future.

West Dunbartonshire has one of the highest rates of poverty in Scotland, with the SNP government constantly pointing blame at the UK Government.

However, we have just learned that the SNP government is gifting more than £26 million to foreign countries.

Whilst I am not against helping foreign countries, this shows, once again that the SNP government have spare cash which could help those most vulnerable in our country.

The SNP government is correct when they say there’s no need for food banks.

It’s just time they chose to do something about it, and stopped wasting hard working Scots’ taxes.

The old Exxon site at Bowling is progressing well which is an exciting development for the area, potentially bringing hundreds of jobs.

As you’ll have read in recent editions of the Reporter, ExxonMobil has handed over the land, and a payment of £1 million, to West Dunbartonshire Council, and planning permission for the £34m development was granted by my colleagues on the authority’s planning committee last month.

Remediation work to tackle chemical contamination at the 150-acre site continues for a project which is expected to deliver up to 980 full-time jobs, as well as a further 670 during construction.

As well as storage, distribution, industrial and business facilities and office space, the project will also restore access to that part of the River Clyde shore for the first time in many years.

It will lead to the creation of new commercial and industrial opportunities in the area, too, as well as a new relief road to take some of the strain off the A82.

I will continue to support this development – it is precisely what West Dunbartonshire needs, especially at this time as we look for ways to build our local economy back from the effects of Covid-19.