Council chief gears up for exciting times ahead

WITHIN days, Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson will reveal how George Square will look after a £15million revamp.

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  • Gordon Matheson believes change in the heart of the city is for the best
    Gordon Matheson believes change in the heart of the city is for the best
  • Gordon Matheson believes change in the heart of the city is for the best

It will mark the start of what promises to be an exciting couple of years for the city.

Since last May, Mr Matheson admits he has had very little opportunity to draw breath.

To the surprise of many who predicted an SNP landslide at the council elections, Labour returned to the City Chambers with a healthy overall majority.

They took with them a manifesto, including 100 pledges for action over the next five years.

According to the council leader, 30% have been delivered within just seven months.

These include continuing the £100 winter fuel payment for residents over 80, increasing the Glasgow Living Wage by 30p to £7.50 an hour and introducing a mortgage deposit scheme for first-time buyers.

But many more new schemes are in the pipeline with the revamp of George Square one of the most controversial.

They will meet employers in the low carbon field allowing them to make decisions about which subjects to pursue to compete for jobs in the field.

One of the highlights of 2013 for the council boss was opening the stunning Emirates Arena opposite Celtic Park and this year he will open the 12,000 seater Hydro Arena at the SECC.

He said: "These are massive projects all in one year.

"We will be transforming Sighthill, investing in our school estate, completely revamping George Square, repositioning our economy for a low-carbon future and arranging the Year of Glasgow.

"All of these reflect that the city is moving forward and is growing itself out of this global economic downturn."

Mr Matheson's only complaint about 2013 is the level of grant the city will get from the Scottish Government.

He said: "If over the next two years we were to receive simply the same percentage share of the available Scottish budget as we did in 2008/09, we would have an extra £153m to spend on this city's priorities over two years.

"Think of how much more we could achieve if we were only treated fairly.

"However the future is bright for Glasgow in 2013 which is going to be another exhaustingly busy year.

"There are so many good things to look forward to, but I just wish we could get a good budget settlement because we could do so much more for the city."

If 2013 is going to be busy for Glasgow, 2014 promises to be manic with one of the biggest sporting events in the world descending on the city – the Commonwealth Games.

One thing is certain. The city will be ready, willing and able to stage a Games the world will never forget.

vivienne.nicoll@eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

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