I was very pleased to hear in the news that, at long last, wage inflation is finally creeping ahead of general inflation.

This is an extremely welcome signal that the years of austerity are at last coming to an end and that ordinary people’s standard of living will cease to be diminished by year-on-year wage stagnation.

Of course I realise that not everybody will be in the happy position of receiving a pay award that exceeds the Retail Price Index or Consumer Price Index.

However, the direction of travel, at least, can be seen as more positive for the bulk of employees.

It is relevant to East Renfrewshire Council in that we always honour national pay awards and, although finances continue to be very challenging for us, we always welcome more generous pay awards for our hard-working employees.

One of the great successes of East Renfrewshire Council during the years of austerity has been our ability to protect essential frontline services from the worst of the cuts.

We have slimmed our council down as much as we can, maximised efficiencies within our organisation and done our best to ensure that residents have not noticed any negative impact on the essential frontline services that they depend on.

The excellent results and positive markings in our annual independently-run Citizen’s Panel Survey validates the success of our strategy.

It has been particularly pleasing that, during the years of austerity, we have continued to build many new facilities for our residents.

We have always maximised our capital programme and residents are already enjoying the upgraded leisure facilities in the Barrhead Foundry and in Cowan Park, as well as the new Barrhead High School and the Sir Harry Burns Centre, in Auchenback.

I was also delighted to see the consultation starting on a possible new joint campus in Neilston, which would deliver a new Neilston Primary School, a new St Thomas’ Primary School and enhanced leisure facilities for the area.

The project is very close to the heart of my colleague Councillor Paul O’Kane, who is the Education and Equalities Convener and is also the one of the local councillors for the area.

The passion, innovation and determination of us all to improve our facilities in East Renfrewshire over the years has been a hallmark of the success of our council.

Unfortunately, in this newly-elected council, we have a small number of councillors who refuse to sit on committees or who rarely bother to turn up at the meetings they are scheduled to attend.

They are negative about absolutely everything to do with East Renfrewshire Council and most of their energies are spent attacking other elected councillors and the staff who work extremely hard for the council.

Residents can be assured, however, that the bulk of East Renfrewshire’s councillors are very positive thinking individuals, who give of their time willingly to sit on committees.

They also attend the variety of internal planning meetings that are required, to ensure that the many new facilities we will continue to deliver for East Renfrewshire in the future are of a very high specification, are delivered as quickly as possible and are delivered in a cost-efficient fashion.