'Name and shame slum owners'

SLUM landlords in Govanhill should be named, shamed and prosecuted according to the deputy leader of Scottish Labour.

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A call has been made for slum landlords to be named and shamed
A call has been made for slum landlords to be named and shamed

Glasgow Central MP Anas Sarwar is backing a call by the city council for a £32million housing boost for the area.

It is to ask the Scottish Government to provide money to allow the council to buy up to 350 rundown flats and pass them to a local housing association to manage.

Mr Sarwar believes the move will help the problem of overcrowding caused by greedy landlords.

Politicians say they regularly hear claims of up to 15 people living in one- bedroom properties in Govanhill.

Mr Sarwar said: "The over-reaching issue in Govanhill is bad housing being caused by slum landlords.

"There have been suggestions there may also be the involvement of gang bosses, who are exploiting people.

"We need to identify who the slum landlords and the gang masters are, name, shame and prosecute them."

Mr Sarwar supports the council's move to compulsory purchase of rundown properties which owners refuse to upgrade.

He said: "We need much wider use of compulsory purchase orders so we can improve the condition of the housing.

"There also needs to be a response from the cleansing department in terms of better street cleaning, daily rubbish uplifts, fines and enforcement.

"People used to aspire to move to Govanhill, but in recent years the area has been tarnished.

"Govanhill has always had immigrants. Catholics came and settled, Jews, Pakistanis, Indians and now Eastern Europeans.

"There is a transient population, but there is a core of people who have lived there all their lives and have brought up children and grandchildren.

"I know the agencies have been doing their best, and working really hard, but unless you have the community with you, people will not feel the benefit of that investment and hard work.

"I am keen the local community is involved in the decision making and delivery process and get a say on any changes so they can feel better about their community.

"The people of Govanhill need to be shown that respect."

Mr Sarwar praised the city council's bid to sort out the problems in the area, describing the plan as "bold and ambitious."

He added: "I have heard the Scottish Government say it recognises the huge challenges in Govanhill, and it is very fortunate to have a partnership with a council like Glasgow which is used to being bold and ambitious and which has shown it can deliver."

Labour councillor Soryia Siddique is one of four councillors to represent Govanhill, which is part of the Southside Central ward.

She also highlighted slum landlords and overcrowding as the main problems blighting the area.

Ms Siddique said: "I have had constituents mention 10 to 15 people in a one bedroom flat, which results in noise and problem for cleansing.

"If landlords are not responsible then there has to be a compulsory purchase order, with the housing association taking over as a socially responsible landlord.

"Govanhill people are proud people. They have seen better days and most want to feel proud of their area, but a minority don't, which is a shame."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

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