As many of you will know, there have been changes in the council recently, with the Strategic Partnership, of which I am a member, securing control of the authority after a tied vote and a cut of the cards.

This was brought about as a result of the 10 per cent council tax rise that the previous administration decided to implement at the annual budget meeting in February, despite the Scottish Government providing funding which negated the need for any council tax rise.

But the administration decided to go ahead with it anyway, causing a great deal of stress for individuals and families who are already having to deal with the financial crisis that has been inflicted on them by ill-conceived Tory policies which have caused significant rises in mortgages, rent and food costs.

My inbox was full of emails from people wanting to know why the 10 per cent increase was voted through. I was at a loss to explain it myself, particularly in light of funding from the Scottish Government that had led to 30 of Scotland's 32 councils agreeing to a freeze in their 2024-25 budgets.

It caused a lot of consternation and anxiety for people all over Argyll and Bute, on whom the increase would have had a huge impact.

You'll understand, then, why I'm glad that the decision to raise council tax was reversed at a special council meeting on Monday.

I am proud of my colleagues who are in the Strategic Partnership group for their support of this action. It reflects their empathy for the constituents they serve, and I am looking forward to working with them, and council officers, in a new administration.

We are determined to work in a new way, listening and engaging directly with our communities.

My commiserations go to the outgoing council leader, Robin Currie, and Provost, Maurice Corry, who have worked hard for their communities and I'm sure will continue to do so. I found both to be friendly and helpful and in my dealings with them over the years, and I wish them well.

I would like congratulate our new leader of the council, my SNP colleague Jim Lynch, and our new Provost, Dougie Philand, on being elected to their new positions in the council.

I know they will work tirelessly for the people they serve, having worked with both closely over the years, witnessing their commitment and integrity in all they do for their communities.

If you are struggling with debt, money problems or with your mental health, Argyll and Bute Council's advice services can help. Call 01546 604176 to make an appointment.

The council's welfare rights service can be contacted on 01546 605517.

If you're struggling to cope or are worried about someone close to you, you can call the Samaritans on 116123, text SHOUT to 85258, email or call 0800 471 4768.