Holyrood cuts mean a £153m shortfall in city budget over next two years

IN just over two weeks Glasgow City Council will agree its budget for the next two years.

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At the heart of the spending plans is a massive £80million capital investment in the city's primary schools, as part of our commitment to rebuild or refurbish every primary and additional support needs school in the city.

This shows our ambition for Glasgow's children.

Such a major building programme will also provide a significant boost for the local economy.

We will provide an £11m boost for child care, including increased support for Kinship Carers, and two new care homes.

To improve and repair Glasgow's roads we will invest an extra £16m over the next two years.

Funding will also be available for parks, lighting and bridges; the creation of mandatory 20mph zones, and new running trails.

In relative terms we will protect the Education and Social Work budgets. During these difficult times we will look after our young people and vulnerable citizens.

Let's be clear, the city's budget is under real pressure and we have to focus on our priorities and invest in our people.

That means investing in education, in communities and in infrastructure.

There are difficult choices to be made. We have seen a very small increase in the overall funding available to Scottish councils.

Glasgow has to make savings of £70.3m, solely because the SNP Government has slashed the city's share of the national pot.

So I am once again disappointed, but not surprised, to read the comments of some politicians who choose to put their political allegiances before the interests of Glasgow and its citizens.

By ignoring the fact that the Scottish Government has chosen, year after year, to cut the city's budget, they are letting down their own constituents and Glasgow.

Since the SNP's first budget in 2008, every single year, the Scottish Government has reduced Glasgow's share of the local government budget.

Glasgow's share has been cut from 13.91% in 2008/09 to 13.19% next year. And we're likely to get more of the same in 2014/15.

All politicians should be standing firm against cuts to Glasgow's budget.

If we had received the same share of the local government budget in 2013/14 as we did in the SNP's first budget, we would have an additional £75m next year and an additional £78m in 2014/15.

That's a massive £153m over the next two years.

Taking £153m out of Glasgow's economy will have as big an impact on the city as the UK Government's draconian welfare "reforms".

As the budget discussions continue, my administration won't stand by and let the cuts from Westminster or Holyrood be at the expense of the opportunities that we can offer to Glasgow's citizens.

Local government

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