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It's Time for Change in Glasgow

The atrocious budget approved by the SNP and the Greens in the City Chambers last week inflicts devastating cuts to the city and the services we rely on. It was simply astonishing to watch SNP and Green Councillors force through a budget that makes savings by increasing fees for school meals in a city already ravaged by food poverty, to name just one poorly thought-out decision.

What I find particularly troubling, however, is the proposal to cut 450 teaching posts across primary and secondary schools in Glasgow over the next three years. Teachers across the city are snowed under as it is - they cannot have their workload increased anymore. A cut of this size will be devastating for Glasgow schools; the attainment gap between the richest and poorest pupils will widen even further, as will the impact on teachers’ wellbeing.

The vandalism of Glasgow’s education does not stop there; the SNP and Greens have unwittingly given the go-ahead to cut funding for the MCR Pathways mentoring scheme that operates in all of Glasgow’s 30 secondary schools. The scheme supports over 2000 care-experienced or disadvantaged pupils, providing 1-1 mentorship. It has improved the life outcomes of countless young people but come August, they will be abandoned.

Labour’s proposed budget tackled the homelessness crisis and protected local services, but the truth is that all Glasgow City Councillors have been put in a tricky situation by the SNP and Green-run Scottish Government in Edinburgh. Councillors have been forced to find cuts of £107.7 million over the next three years, all because their bosses in Edinburgh are hell-bent on driving through a regressive council tax freeze that does very little to help the poorest people.

Councillors also must contend with a further £40 million cut to social care services. Social care in Glasgow is already woefully inadequate. People cannot get the care packages they need, and social care workers are poorly paid.

Reform is badly needed in the social care sector but what is being proposed by the Scottish Government is a complete mess. The National Care Service Bill that the SNP and Greens have presented to the Scottish Parliament offers no clarity as to how the Bill would improve social care in Scotland. Indeed, they have managed the extraordinary feat of alienating trade unions, care home operators, carers and patients all in one fell swoop.

Labour will oppose the Government’s attempt to force this half-baked Bill through Parliament this week. We support the introduction of a National Care Service that simplifies and standardises social care services across Scotland, but how can MSPs be expected to vote for the Bill when the facts about how the National Care Service would function are as clear as mud? It is a recipe for yet more bad legislation and another SNP disaster.

The National Care Service Bill, in its current form, will not be fully implemented until 2029. At present, there are glaring issues in the way social care in Scotland functions – they cannot wait half a decade to be addressed.

The SNP-Green run Glasgow City Council are cutting social care services across the city when there is nothing left to cut. Labour’s alternative Glasgow City Council budget demonstrated that Labour Councillors won’t settle for the managed decline that we have become used to under the Greens and the SNP.

Voters in the Hillhead Ward can vote for change on March 7 by electing Ruth Hall as their Labour and Co-operative councillor. She will be a tremendous councillor for the west end and all of Glasgow – someone who is passionate about stopping the managed decline of our city and advocating for a co-operative alternative.

You can read my column on the Glasgow Times website here:


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