Concern over city budget plans

LAST week was extremely busy for Glaswegians as we all get into the swing of 2013.

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On Monday a massive recruitment drive was launched to find up to 15,000 volunteers for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

On Wednesday evening the Yes Glasgow campaign was officially launched, and more than 600 activists came together to begin what will be the biggest community- based campaign our city has seen.

Alongside these positive stories were decisions that are not as positive for the people of Glasgow.

The debate over the renovation of George Square reached a shambolic peak, as Glaswegians learnt on Thursday that the judges failed to agree on a winning design, and so have postponed their decision.

From the beginning the renovation process has not been conducted properly, and there has been a total lack of consultation with residents of Glasgow.

We were originally told by the council that the process needed to be hurried, due to deadlines and a tight timescale, yet this cannot be the case if they were able to cancel the ceremony to reveal the winner.

There must be proper consultation and due process over changes to such an iconic place in Glasgow.

This week also saw the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator label the actions of the board of Glasgow East Regeneration Agency, which included three Labour councillors, 'wholly unacceptable' and amounting to 'misconduct.'

I was shocked to hear that the former chief of the council-funded charity was awarded a £500,000 pay-out by the board, which is a huge amount of money.

This money should have been used for the charity's work to alleviate poverty.

The Labour councillors involved in this decision, two of whom are still members of Glasgow City Council, should think hard about whether their actions were in the best interests of the people of Glasgow, especially in the East End.

The Labour group at council have detailed their plans for the council budget, which must make £70million worth of savings.

I appreciate that there are difficult choices that we all have to make, however it is imperative that hard working families and our youngsters do not pay the price.

I am concerned that in a city with some of the most challenging health records in Europe, Labour plan to increase prices at Glasgow Life gyms, swimming pools and fitness classes by 3% this year and another 2% next year.

It is essential that people have access to these facilities, in order to be active and lead a healthy life. They should not be prevented by price increases.

The SNP Group on the council will be carefully examining the proposals.

Of course, the people of Glasgow are being protected by the SNP Government's pledge to continue the freeze in Council Tax.

Local government

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