Glasgow City Council unveils £100m capital investment

Glasgow City CouncilGlasgow City Council has announced plans to invest £100 million into community assets and schools over the next five years.

The investment comes despite £130m in cuts to its budget which will result in around 1,500 job losses over the next financial year.

Scotland’s biggest council revealed yesterday that the reduction jobs, which will save £25m, will take place over the next financial year. Scotland’s biggest local authority said it has committed to no compulsory redundancies, so the reduction in jobs will be achieved solely through natural wastage - and the redeployment of staff to ensure services have the workforce they need.

The council faces a spending gap of £130m over the next two years, with £83m of that figure falling in 2016/17. The authority has used reserves and other measures worth around £25m to mitigate the scale of those cuts, allowing the figure for cuts in 2016/17 to come to some £58m.

It also plans to save £10m in procurement costs by renegotiating contracts and reviewing how it buys in goods and services.

Community grants could be cut by £6.15m, with a £1.6m reduction targeted for Police Scotland.

Grass cutting and hedge trimming could be reduced in frequency to save £1.5m.

Schools, museums, libraries and office buildings may also be cleaned less often and to a lower standard in a bid to save £700,000 and £48,000 could be cut from the graffiti removal scheme.

The council is also proposing to remove support for the Theatre Royal and reduce grants for the King’s Theatre and Pollok House by 10% as part of £208,000 savings from its cultural grants.

Christmas activities and the whole festive programme will also be reviewed in the months ahead in a bid to identify possible savings.

Despite the cuts, Glasgow City Council said its budget protects frontline services and invests in education and communities.

It said it has guaranteed 90 new apprenticeships this year via the City Building merger with Wheatley Group and has maintained the Affordable Warmth dividend of £100 for the over-80s.

Councillor Frank McAveety, leader of the council, said: “The £130m cuts we face over the next two years are not just cuts from Westminster. Glasgow has had a double whammy of Holyrood cuts piled on top of those from Westminster.

“When I became Leader the city faced a cuts bill of £103m. Now its £130m. Make no mistake this is a direct result of the Scottish Government’s budget cuts.”

Cllr McAveety added: “The Scottish Government is passing on a bigger share of the cuts to local government than those being passed on to it from the UK government. While the Scottish Government budget was cut by 1.5 per cent by Westminster here in Glasgow our budget faces a 4.4 per cent cut from Holyrood. The result can be figured in tens of millions.”

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