In his latest column for the Advertiser, Helensburgh Central Councillor Ian MacQuire writes about the Covid Inquiry and disability cost-of-living payments.

Covid Inquiry WhatsApp messages

On the back of the request from the inquiry, the Scottish Government has ensured that it has released 14,000 messages to it.

When it comes to the First Minister’s witness statement, it includes reams of WhatsApp messages, which are unredacted.

That is, of course, in very stark contrast to the actions of a Conservative Prime Minister who not only dragged the inquiry through court but has refused to hand over his own WhatsApp messages.

For any shortcomings on the Scottish Government’s behalf that have caused any distress to the families, the First Minster has apologised unreservedly.

Palestine and Israel

There must be an immediate ceasefire to protect the lives of innocent civilians and to ensure vital supplies of food, fuel, medicine, and water can reach the civilian population.

We must all unequivocally condemn the horrific killings by Hamas, demand the release of all hostages, and call for an end to the siege on Gaza and the collective punishment of civilians.

Scotland is willing to be the first country in the UK to offer safety and sanctuary to the people of Gaza and treat the injured men, women and children, where we can.

The Scottish Government has provided £750,000 to assist relief efforts in Gaza via the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s Flash Appeal.

Cost of living

While the SNP is helping families with a council tax freeze and progressive policies like the Scottish Child Payment, the Tories are offering no help at all with the cost of living and no new powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Millions of households in Scotland are suffering from a Westminster-made cost-of-living crisis.

With Sunak and Starmer wedded to Brexit, Tory cuts and economic decline, as winter fast approaches, many households will be feeling the pinch, with the days getting dark earlier and nights getting colder, energy bills, amongst others are rising for everyone.

The Scottish Government are helping families and individuals by providing the the winter fuel payment - this ranges between £250 and £600.

Child Winter Heating Payment: The payment for winter 2023-2024 is £235.70.

Other cost of living payments available include:

  • Low income benefits and tax credits Cost of Living Payment
  • Disability Cost of Living Payment

More information can be found at

In a recent council meeting Argyll and Bute Council declared a housing emergency, noting that there has been a consistent reduction in available housing throughout the UK over the last few years, as well as a steady increase in demand, rising property prices, and increasing levels of un-affordability.

Recently I have reported faults with blocked street drains. These have now been cleared.

Faulty street lights, and lights in Colquhoun Square and Colquhoun Street where the timings are out of sync. Repairs have now been scheduled.

As this will be my last report this year, I hope you all enjoy the upcoming winter events and festivities.