THERE has been a lot of misinformation, much of it deliberate, circulating about the future of the People’s Palace in recent days. I can give assurances today that the council is urgently developing solutions which will minimise any impact from the closure of the Winter Gardens on the adjoining museum.

As many readers will already know, the issue for the People’s Palace is that the Winter Gardens are used as a fire escape route for visitors to the museum. There are no structural or safety issues per se with the Palace. Attempts to politicise this matter and suggest otherwise are as tawdry as they are ill-informed and disingenuous.

By mid-November I expect that councillors will be asked to approve a paper, which will provide options for the People’s Palace and request that we commit the funds to construct a new fire exit and access to sanitary facilities. This will allow the venue to continue operating. The estimated cost would be several hundred thousand pounds and require the closure of the People’s Palace for a short period of time, expected to be around two to three months, for the work to be completed.

Like so many others in this city, I have been saddened by news of the need to close the Winter Gardens on safety grounds. Glasgow’s built heritage is one of the city’s defining characteristics, for its citizens and visitors alike.

In the meantime, the council is working on a wider, culturally-led Heritage Strategy which will provide us with a better understanding of the condition and potential of our city assets, and a plan on how to manage the maintenance of our assets in a better, more sustainable way. Keeping the Winter Gardens open will be part of that.


AT the time of writing the Equal Pay strike remains scheduled to go ahead. The Council believed we had an agreement with the unions on providing life and limb cover for our most vulnerable citizens – indeed, the unions told the public that cover would be in place.

We are disappointed that the unions have not honoured that agreement.

I and the SNP City Government remain committed to settling the discrimination put in place by previous Labour administrations and which these women have faced in their working life and support the right of claimants to withdraw their labour.

I am disappointed that union leaders have not been able to assure their members that a resolution, after more than decade, is within sight and that massive strides have been made in recent months to ending this ingrained discrimination, including Cordia coming back in to the Council and the pay and grading scheme being scrapped.

Whilst settlement negotiations have paused until the threat of strike action is withdrawn, constructive discussions are taking place between unions and council officers regarding how we can collectively move forwards we get back around the table.

I’m hopeful the Council can provide enough surety to the claimant representatives on the areas of disagreement we have and the progress they want to see. As and when strike action is withdrawn, the Council is ready to enter into much more frequent and extensive meetings. If we can reach that point, an offer based on agreed principles should be just weeks away.


AN issue of city importance raised recently by the Evening Times is safety along the River Clyde. There have been far too many tragedies along our riverside over the years. The matter has been brought to the fore again by Duncan and Margaret Speirs, who have worked tirelessly to draw attention to safety improvements after their son Christopher drowned in the river in 2016.

During last week’s meeting of the Glasgow Water Safety Group, a new action plan to improve river safety and reduce self-harm was presented by the council. A sub-group has now been formed in order to deliver the key recommendations.

The plan includes a number of measures, including some proposed by Mr and Mrs Speirs, including ensuring that ropes are attached to all lifebuoys and improving signing along the riverbank.

I hope the measures can prevent future tragedies and bring the Speirs family some degree of comfort that their campaigning will spare others the pain they have endured.