'Too many treat our beautiful country as a landfill site...'

IF David Cameron could copy Labour-run Glasgow City Council's answer to the UK housing crisis he'd be smiling like a Fifa official on the take.

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Britain is building fewer houses than at any time since the 1920s.

First time buyers can't even see the housing ladder, far less get a foot on the bottom rung, as average house prices soar to more than five times Joe Public's annual wage.

Almost 200,000 households are on local authority waiting lists across Scotland, and Westminster cuts threaten the Scottish Government's pledge to build 30,000 affordable homes by 2016.

Little wonder, then, that Cameron would happily ditch his hated bedroom tax in favour of a Glasgow initiative that could end his housing shortage at a stroke.

Simply jam up to 15 people into every one-bedroom flat that becomes available. Problem solved.

You may suspect such disgusting overcrowding could happen only in the Third World.

Well, Third World is exactly how some residents describe their Dear Green Place, because it's happening in Glasgow today.

Years of criminal neglect have allowed parts of Govanhill in the South Side to degenerate into a ghetto, a melting pot of transient Eastern Europeans among resident Asian and Glasgow families.

Up to 15 people in a one-bedroom flat is not unheard of in what locals call Ground Zero, as rogue, absentee landlords make a killing from mass immigration and housing benefit cheques.

It's what can happen when people from exceptionally poor countries, with hugely different cultural standards, are given free access to the UK.

And I wonder if all 15 residents claim housing benefit for the same address?

So much for our existing multi-occupancy regulations and environmental laws.

Such a high turnover of tenants generates an equally high turnover of waste, and mounds of discarded furniture and rubbish fill the pavements, gardens and the backcourts in Govanhill with a rotting, rat-attracting stench. It really is a scene from Slumdog Millionaire.

The Evening Times revealed last week that cleansing workers removed 120 tons of waste from Govanhill in just one month. Look at the place today and you would never know. It's as bad as ever.

The council delivered 3000 leaflets — did they put 15 through each letterbox? — and sent out 760 warning letters, which assumes the recipients give a damn.

Anyway, what's with the warning? If they know who to warn, they must also know who to prosecute.

Glasgow's annual litter and fly-tipping clean-up costs £17million-a-year, while Scotland spends a shocking £75m. Hell knows, we have far better use for that cash.

For that loot we should be able to dine off the pavements, but the fag ends and the fast food wrappers and the chewing gum - just a small part of the 250million items of litter dropped in Scotland every year - prove that too many people treat our beautiful country as a landfill site.

And they don't all live in Govanhill, either. From Langside Road to Loch Lomond and Lossiemouth, people with no respect either for themselves or their surroundings are using Scotland as a midden.

A welcome sight awaits the millions of visitors arriving this year for The Homecoming and the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.

Litter is not just an eyesore, it is a damning reflection on a whole nation, with huge health, social, financial and wildlife welfare consequences.

It's a fact that residents feel safer in cleaner communities, while higher levels of depression and illness haunt housing schemes where hygiene standards would make a down-and-out blush.

Littering was once as anti-social as smoking has become today, folk took their rubbish home if there were no bins, but countless years of poster and TV campaigns have failed to dissuade the 'litterati'.

We can have a levy on plastic bags, deposits on cans and plastic bottles, a ban on over-packaged goods, and all packaging made biodegradable, recyclable, compostable, and every other "able".

But it's people who create litter, and we need legislation with teeth to make them stop.

It's time we treated the selfish and the thoughtless as the anti-social pigs that they are.

Let's have zero tolerance, with swingeing fines, naming and shaming, community service picking up rubbish, points on licences for littering from vehicles, and the confiscation of any vehicles used for fly-tipping.

The council should have the names and addresses of these absentee landlords.

Have their cleansing boys dump all the old furniture and the crap in their leafy driveways, along with a bill, and let's see how they and their neighbours like living in a coup.

I've done the same with dog dirt round our way.

It's only fair that such items are returned to their rightful owners.

Finance

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