'People will be shocked by budget cash rip-off'

THE impact of the Scottish Government decision to reduce Glasgow's council budget has been revealed for the first time.

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Gordon Matheson has bemoaned the cutting of the council budget
Gordon Matheson has bemoaned the cutting of the council budget

Senior Labour councillors are unhappy that the grant they receive from Holyrood to fund services has been cut in recent years.

And today council leader Gordon Matheson will explain the effect of the cuts at a meeting of the full council.

If the city had received the same percentage share of the local government budget as it did when the SNP came to power it would have had an extra £153million to spend in the years 2013 to 2015.

Mr Matheson will tell councillors: "We were the first council in Scotland to introduce the Living Wage and we have increased it every year since.

"We alone pay £100 to help pensioners with winter fuel bills and we are funding the most ambitious school building and refurbishment programme in the country.

"We have the most generous apprenticeship and wage subsidy programme in the UK.

"But what more could we do if the Scottish Government hadn't given away our £153m?"

Mr Matheson will say the money could have wiped out the current backlog of road repairs and funded the replacement of all Glasgow's street lights with energy efficient white lights.

It could have provided two new care homes for the elderly, 100 social workers to work with vulnerable young people and allowed for 600 hours of childcare for all vulnerable two-year-olds.

The extra money could also have funded 300 additional teachers and reduced youth unemployment by 1500 by extending the Glasgow Guarantee, which assures young people either a job, an apprenticeship or training.

It could also have allowed the council to build 640 new homes for affordable rent and extend the winter fuel allowance to 70-year-olds.

Mr Matheson will say: "This is the first time we have analysed the figures and been able to identify what else we would have been able to do if we had been treated fairly.

"Let's be clear, this money was in Mr Swinney's local government budget this year.

"The £153m is Glasgow's money but it has been spent elsewhere, in areas the Scottish Government cares more about which is outrageous and indefensible.

"It is unforgiveable and I believe the people of Glasgow will be shocked at this rip-off."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

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