Our role as the powerhouse of the Scottish economy is ignored by the SNP government

WE have so much in common with our sister cities from across the UK.

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The simple fact of the matter is that Glasgow has more in common with cities such as Liverpool and Manchester than we do with much of the rest of Scotland.

Glasgow is a proud Scottish and British city.

It is becoming increasingly clear to economists and policy makers across the world that the best way to grow the economy, create jobs and deliver real change in Scotland is to devolve more powers to cities such as Glasgow.

Last week I welcomed the leaders of the eight largest cities outside of London to Glasgow as the Core Cities Group met in Scotland for the first time.

The group brings together these cities with a shared agenda of driving economic growth. And their message to Glasgow and Scotland was clear.

Let's work together to build a stronger economy and to create jobs. Let's not get distracted by separatism and by erecting a border at Carlisle. It was a powerful intervention and a positive message.

Over the past 15 years the Core Cities Group has worked together on a cross party basis, with a fundamental aim of making each city a better place to live, work, visit and do business.

That is a vision that is shared by Glasgow.

Like Glasgow, the great British cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield have a proud history as the engine of the industrial revolution but more importantly we enjoy a shared future as the drivers of the UK economy.

Our cities need better connectivity rather than greater separation. We should be focusing our efforts on working together to deliver projects such as HS2 - a new high speed rail link that will cut journey times between major cities, making life better for people and businesses.

It is jobs and services that really matter to people. Nowhere is that more evident that in the Glasgow City region, which creates 33% of Scotland's GVA each year.

Yet our role as the powerhouse of the Scottish economy is ignored by the SNP government in Edinburgh, as we see our budget slashed year after year.

I am proud of ­Glasgow's record in recent years but I know we must go further.

But the answer is not more separation; it is to take back power and resources from both Westminster and Holyrood and give it to city regions like Glasgow.

Give us the power to grow our economy and make a bigger contribution to GDP; not erect borders, create huge uncertainty over currency and regulatory frameworks, and turn people from Newcastle into foreigners.

That is the type of radical constitutional change that the people of Glasgow and Scotland deserve.

And that is the type of constitutional change that I will be fighting for over the coming months.


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