IN the past few days my administration’s second ever budget in Glasgow was passed by Council. I’m delighted that again we have succeeded in securing a budget which

places our communities at its front and centre, protects frontline services and cherished facilities and continues to invest in our citizens’ priorities.

Of course, after a decade of austerity, the effects of inflation and the requirement to start meeting the initial costs of settling equal pay claims, we faced considerable challenges.

But the SNP City Government knew it was essential to do much more than simply make the balance sheets stack up. We needed to align our budget with the values and priorities this administration holds dear; fairness, equality, social justice, inclusive growth, fair work and protecting our most vulnerable.

It was unfortunate that in the run-up to the budget that for naked political gain scare stories were circulated about the future of some council-owned facilities, causing deep distress to communities and hard-working staff. Those responsible should take a long, hard look at themselves.

Instead, our spending plans for the coming year will not see the closure of any community facilities. We have committed to investing around £26million in neighbourhood infra-structure like pavements and roads. We need to keep our city moving but it is not enough to continue to spend money on fixing defects. We need to make those repairs last. So

we will shortly be bringing forward a policy to enable us to fix more potholes properly first time and making our investment go further.

Meanwhile, some £20m will be invested in developing new community hubs designed to bring together valued local services under one roof.

For too long, the way things have been done in Glasgow has left the city stretching itself to maintain facilities that are already out-of-date and unfit for purpose. We are determined to build 21st Century services for a 21st Century city.

Where we can run our services more efficiently, and use our resources more wisely, there will be cost savings. And there is also the opportunity to influence the behavioural change we need to become a more sustainable city.

Transforming services such as our cleansing operations will be essential to achieve our ambition. As the bin replacement programme continues to roll out, residents will benefit from improved bin provision and increased recycling opportunities. Those living in main door properties will have a simplified three-weekly rolling collection- for each of their three bins. This will encourage more appropriate use of recycling bins and reduce overall waste.

Analysis of other local authorities shows there are positive results to be had, whilst our own data tells us there is significant capacity from main door bins in the present system.

Our communities have told us that they must bring benefit to our green spaces. So we have listened and we will introduce an environmental levy, a small sum added to event ticket prices to invest in and maintain all our parks. The levy will allow us to launch an open spaces participatory budgeting pilot, to allow our communities to decide how to direct £150,000 of investment.

In our first budget for Glasgow we promised to protect the Education budget. Last week, we committed

to continuing that work, maintaining teacher numbers and developing the education estate.

I’m particularly proud to have extended to 900 the number of free hours that nursery children can receive and increasing the income threshold for those families from £30,000 to £45,000, reaching out to 90 per cent of the city’s households.

There is much more to commend; a new economic development programme bringing together support for apprenticeships, employment, in-work progression, the Living Wage and social enterprise that will secure Glasgow’s status as a Fair Work City; eradicating the last of the city’s infamous red blaes pitches, thanks to a £2.5m investment in modern Multi-use Games Areas and continuing our successful Holiday Hunger programme, which last summer saw 14,600 young people served more than 131,000 healthy meals and snacks.

This was a budget for the people of Glasgow, one which protects and prioritises and one, I trust, will deliver for our great city.