Skaters have from now till 6 January 2013 to enjoy Glasgow on Ice, the stunning centre piece of the Glasgow Loves Christmas festival.
Around 210,000 litres of water were used to form the six inches of ice. It took 90 hours to freeze it completely to form the 736 square metres to skate on.
Last year more than 50,000 people used the outdoor rink around the Scott Monument in the centre of George Square and even more are expected this year.
For the first time students get half price on Mondays. Parents with children up to the age of seven, can use the Penguin Sessions which allows them to skate while pushing their youngsters in specially designed pods like penguins. Prices range from £4 for Young Scot card holders to £10 for adults at peak times.
The Magical Entertainment Marquee will have a free programme every night ranging from festive films and Christmas choirs to big band concerts and comedy spots as well as quizzes.
Free family fun days will be on offer each weekend. So far the entertainment line up has included – Cami followed by Jake Beveridge, Irrational Fever, Michael Cassidy and A Band Called Quinn. But there are musical treats most nights so check the website.
Said Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council: ‘The city simply buzzes with excitement thanks to all the attractions, events and family entertainment. And, of course, there is the chance to skate under the stars in George Square. I invite everyone to come and join us for some Festive Cheer.’
Clyde 1 In: Demand presenter Romeo said: ‘I love Glasgow on Ice. It’s such a good laugh and the Square looks beautiful. I feel like I’m on a movie set in New York.’ He was put through his paces by Scottish figure skating champion, Simone Golumb
For more info on Glasgow Loves Christmas consult the website: “http://www.glasgowloveschristmas.com” or www.glasgowloveschristmas.com or Facebook
Mildred Black at 76 remembers past skaing times as she glides along.
Glasgow’s Emirates Arena is up and running!
The £113 million sports venue at 1000 London Road in the city’s East End was opened on Friday 5 October 2012 by Glasgow City Council Leader, Gordon Matheson.
He stood at the door and personally welcomed some of the 400 pupils from Sacred Heart and Dalmarnock Primary Schools who were among the first official users into the building. They were trying out the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Scotland’s only indoor velodrome, which is an integral part of the venue.
During the weekend following the opening, the place attracted well over 10,000 people who were freely able to inspect the new facility.
Located next to the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village and Celtic Park, the Emirates Arena is the largest facility of its kind in Europe. During the Commonwealth Games in 2014, it will host the badminton and track cycling events and will be called the Commonwealth Arena for the duration of those Games.
The 10.5 hectare site also contains an indoor sports arena, three full-sized sports halls, 12 badminton courts, four outdoor 5-a-side football pitches, a 1km outdoor cycle circuit, one of the largest of Glasgow Club health and fitness centres and a luxury spa.
While it is home to Scotland’s only professional basketball team, The Glasgow Rocks, it is also home to citizens of Glasgow who are members of the Glasgow Club.
Said Councillor Matheson: ‘By investing in new facilities such as this, we will help to inspire a generation to become more involved in sport.’
He took a party of VIP guests on a tour of the Emirates Area. They included Shona Robison MSP, Minister for the Commonwealth Games and Sport; Gordon Arthur, Director of Communications and Marketing at Glasgow 2014; Michael Cavanagh, Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland; Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland and Denise Holmes, Emirates’ Sales Manager for Scotland and North East England.
Said Minister Shona Robison: ‘This will be an excellent venue for the 2014 Games, a world-class venue for Glasgow and a legacy for the West of Scotland.’
Emirate’s Sales Manager, Denise Holmes said: ‘This facility is unlike any I have ever seen. The thought that has gone into the design and execution makes it one of the best equipped and high-tech venues of its type, worldwide. The Emirates Arena is a flagship venue and we are honoured to be able to have such a close association with it and the people of Glasgow.’
Commented Lord Smith, Chair of Glasgow 2014: ‘This landmark venue is ready to welcome the best Commonwealth sportsmen and women, competing for glory in the badminton and track cycling events in less than two years’ time. The fact that it is now open to the local community and will host world-class events well in advance of the Games, is a tangible example tha the Games’ legacy is starting now.’
Said Michael Cavanagh, Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland: This truly fabulous facility will be one of the iconic venues in 2014. It all adds to the excitement for the athletes and their determination to be competing for Team Scotland at Glasgow 2014.’
Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland, said: ‘The Emirates Arena opening marks a key milestone on the road to Glasgow 2014. It is a truly phenomenal facility which will help inspire future generations to become involved in sport and physical activity. It will undoubtedly provide some fantastic sporting moments for years to come – the World Cup Track Cycling and the World Cup Gymnastics for a start. It will also be a real asset to the surrounding community who will benefit from regular access to this world-class facility.’
Between now and early February 2013, the Emirates Arena will be host to eight Scottish, European or World level sporting events.
For further information and ticket details see website: www.emiratesarena.co.uk
Glasgow Rocks fans describe the venue as ‘amazing’ despite the fact that their team lost to Newcastle Eagles in the very first game in the new arena. The Eagles won 106 – 84 after a strong push in the final quarter of the game.
What better way to celebrate 15 years of Glasgow Film Office (GFO) bringing stars of screen to the city than having the latest film which has used the place for locations, up for an award at Cannes Film Festival.
‘The Angels’ Share’ directed by Ken Loach, will know on Sunday 27 May whether it wins an accolade or not. It will have its UK premiere in Glasgow next week.
The producer, Rebecca O’Brien, said: ‘Ken Loach, Paul Laverty and I have made four films in Glasgow in the past 15 years and have had the support of the Glasgow Film Office on every one. They’ve been terrifically helpful and often made difficult things happen for us. So we salute the GFO on their 15th birthday and will raise a glass in celebration!’
Offering a free service to all types of productions from feature films to tv commercials, the GFO works closely with other council services, Strathclyde Police and the productions to make sure their activities have minimum impact on local residents and businesses while delivering maximum economic impact to the city.
Established in 1997, the GFO has attracted around £200 million worth of film business to Glasgow.
Last year was a vintage time when major productions World War Z, Cloud Atlas and Under The Skin alone, brought in £20.15 million with stars such as Brad Pitt, Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson working in town.
Other notable film which have used Glasgow for a backdrop included: Burnistoun, Gary: Tank Commander, Lip Service, My Name Is Joe, Rab C Nesbitt, Red Road, River City, Sony Bravia ‘Paint’ commercial, Still Game, Sweet Sixteen, Taggart, The House of Mirth.
Gerard Butler was named GFO’s Ambassador in 2009 to help raise the city’s profile and demonstrate its capability as a production base. Around 50 organisations have now signed up to the Glasgow Film Partnership – to promote Glasgow’s ‘film-friendly’ reputation – details at : http://www.glasgowfilm.com/filming_in_glasgow/film_partnership.asp.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: ‘Glasgow Film Office has been a tremendous success over the past 15 years, bringing more than £200 million to our economy. The list of familiar productions, shows how it has been an industry hub since 1997. We look forward to its continued success in bringing many more productions here.’
Seeing Scotland on film or television was important in the decision of 1 in 5 visitors to come here. With more than 530 locations in its database, the city can serve all types of companies.
Senior figures in the film industry – such as Jeremy Kleiner, the producer of World War Z – have praised the work of the GFO in facilitating the smooth running of their productions.
For more information on the Glasgow Film Office, see: www.glasgowfilm.com.
Thursday 9 February
The Labour administration in Glasgow City Chambers was nearly paid-off today when its budget scraped through by only two votes. Till recently, the Labour group had a comfortable majority of 15.
A stout defence of the Party’s record by the group Leader Councillor Gordon Matheson may have swayed the day. And bringing in sick Labour Councillors by taxi to increase the vote, was also effective. But opposition Councillors said the narrow win illustrated Matheson had lost the confidence of his colleagues and that he should resign.
Combined opposition parties of SNP, Scottish Lib Dems, Scottish Green Party, Independent Councillors and the solitary Conservative Party Councillor on the City Council presented their alternative budget. This included improving Council tax collection by 1.5% to bring in £1,250,000; capital expenditure of £58 million on education and roads and lighting infrastructure and a 10% reduction in parks maintenance budget saving £1,270,000
Rebel Labour councillors who defected on the eve of the vote included Southside Central Councillor Anne Marie Millar who said: ‘I’d been thinking of resigning for some time. Then at a meeting recently an item was removed from the agenda and I was told it would be discussed later among the others. I was made to feel like a second class citizen – isolated – and that I didn’t belong.’ At the end of the dramatic meeting, she freely told reporters that she had felt intimidated when another Labour Councillor was asking her to re-consider her decision in order to gain her vote for today’s vital budget meeting. ‘I asked him to give me a good reason why I should do that. He then talked about one of the programmes to get people into work and commented that my son had gone through that and was now working for City Building, where, incidently, that Councillor was on the Board. I stopped him there and asked him ‘Is my son being threatened with losing his job? I felt intimidated.’
Govan Councillor for 17 years, Stephen Dornan, formally resigned from the Labour Party a few days earlier. ‘I will always be a supporter of the labour movement,’ he said. ‘It is in my blood.’ But his reason for bowing out was that the Labour Party had not given his Govan branch their proper democratic right to select their own candidate for the May election. Despite an appeal, he was de-selected so he chose to vote against the Labour Administration’s budget. After the vote he said: ‘It is a sad day.’
Question marks were put against eight or nine Labour Councillors in advance of the budget debate. But Councillors Anne Marie Millar and Stephen Dornan were the only two who said openly what they had decided.
The SNP Business Manager, Councillor Graeme Hendry of Garscadden/Scotstounhill who helped co-ordinate the combined opposition parties’ budget said after the dramatic vote: ‘It was a great result for us. Labour got their budget through by the skin of their teeth. A week ago they had a huge majority. It shows that their Leader does not command the confidence of his own group.’ He added: ‘I’m really pleased with the outcome. The combined opposition groups worked well together. It shows what is possible.’
On exiting from the Council Chamber immediately after the historic two vote win for the Labour budget, Labour Group Leader Gordon Matheson said: ‘I’m thrilled. This is a dramatic win for Labour’s record, vision and policies. This has helped our renewal and healing.’ During his winding up speech at the end of the debate he accused the opposition parties of ‘exploiting the divisions within the Labour group in a calculated and shoddy way.’ He stridently proclaimed: ‘We stand
n our record.’
The City’s budget for the next financial year invests in jobs for young people, education, dealing with potholes and tackling dog fouling and litter.
Measures approved include an additional £2m to tackle youth unemployment and provide a new Glasgow Guarantee for all 16-24 year olds; £12m for road repairs; £200,000 for new Youth Enterprise Zones, and £0.71m for more enforcement officers to tackling littering and dog fouling.
Councillors also approved £0.5m to fund a 25% increase in Kinship Care payments, £0.8m for outdoor school play equipment and attainment initiatives, and £300,000 for new community bus routes.
The extra £2m to tackle youth unemployment will be allocated to the existing Commonwealth Jobs Fund to extend it to 16 and 17-year-olds. It will provide employers with a 50% wage subsidy and would also include targeted training support for under-18s.
Training would range from basic literacy and numeracy to more complex support and could include other transferable skills for young people, such as driving lessons.
The new £25m Glasgow Guarantee will include a guaranteed apprenticeship for all school leavers who qualify; £6m for employers who will receive a 50% wage subsidy for each unemployed 18-24 year old they recruit; £10m for employers as a 50% wage subsidy for each unemployed graduate they recruit.
Councillor Matheson added: ‘This is the fourth budget we have set in the shadow of a global economic crisis – and in a term that has seen £210m removed from our budgets. With the proportion of our revenues controlled by government rising and our funding falling harder and faster than the national average, we have had to struggle to protect front line services.
‘We have had to be bold, we have had to be innovative and we have only succeeded because years of effective and prudent stewardship have put Glasgow in the best possible shape to meet these challenges. This year alone, we need to bridge a funding gap of £42.9m. Despite, that, we remain committed to our key priorities, which we share with the people of this city – education, jobs and targeted support for our most vulnerable citizens. We are determined to build on the success we have had over the last five years; for the benefit of every community and every Glaswegian.’
Glasgow City Council has now approved measures to save a total of £42.9m in 2012/13. The majority of these savings – £34.9m – were approved a year ago. On Thursday councillors approved a further £8m in savings for 2012/13.
Glasgow is bidding to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG). The city declared its interest today to the British Olympic Association. That body has a deadline of 1 March to submit a bid for the UK to host those games and Glasgow is the only UK city to express interest.
Should the bid be made and should it win, around 3,600 young athletes aged between 15 and 18 would take part in 28 summer Olympic sports over 12 days of competition.
The first Youth Olympic Games was held in Singapore in 2010 and the first winter YOG Games was held in Innsbruck earlier this month.
From now until the deadline the British Olympic Association and the City’s representatives will work together to develop a submission. Ultimately, the International Olympic Committee will produce a short list of candidate cities in January next year. The winning host city will be announced in the summer of 2013.
The athletes will not only compete at the highest level of international youth sport, but will also take part in a Culture and Education Programme, which is a core element of the Youth Olympic Games.
Glasgow City Council Leader, Councillor Gordon Matheson, said: ‘Our submission for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games is a strong one; reinforcing our credentials as hosts of world-class sporting events and underlining our continuing determination to ensure Glasgow has an enduring legacy which will benefit the city for generations to come.’
The Dear Green Place will play host to some of the Olympic football events this summer when the Games are centred in London. And it hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2014 as well as the World Artistic Gymnastics the following year. All of this is alongside top international meetings and athletics and gymnastics events.
Said Councillor Matheson: ‘The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will soon show a global audience what we can do in terms of hosting one of the world’s biggest celebrations of sport. Winning the right to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games would be another outstanding achievement for the city.’
The third year of the Molendinar Awards marked a successful celebration of the life of Glasgow’s Patron Saint – Saint Mungo.
More than 30 schools entered with the final 12 schools being showcased at the awards presentation in the city’s Banqueting Hall.
Molendinar is the name of the burn that runs into the Clyde and it was alongside it, near what is now the High Street area, that St Mungo (who was also known as St Kentigern) is thought to have settled.
For Primary and Secondary schools, the Molendinar Awards enables children to become more aware of Glasgow’s rich cultural heritage and the vital links between the school and the neighbouring communities.
Entries ranged from posters, power point presentations and DVD animations to songs and poems.
Winners of the Molindinar Awards were: Primary 3 – 1st Barmulloch Primary, 2nd Keppoch Nursery, 3rd Greenview Learning Centre
Primary 4 – 1st St Paul’s Whiteinch, 2nd Drummore Primary, joint 3rd – St Mungo’s and Kelbourne Park Primary Schools.
Secondary School winners: 1st St Mungo’s Academy, 2nd Ashcraig Secondary, 3rd John Paul Academy.
Framed certificates were presented for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place Primary and Secondary. Winners also received a plaque to display in their school.
Bailie Jean McFadden, Executive Member for Education, is delighted by the enthusiasm shown by pupils. She said: ‘The Molendinar Awards are a tremendous opportunity for our schools. We have some very creative and talented young people as shown by the standard of entries this year. I know the judges had some very hard decisions to make. I hope the enthusiasm continues and that we will see more and more young people participating in the Molendinar Awards over the next few years.’ Glasgow City Council Leader, Councillor Gordon Matheson, joined Bailie McFadden in presenting the winning pupils with their framed certificates on Friday 13 January. He said: ‘The pupils have enjoyed all aspects of this competition.’
Other ways the Patron Saint was feted included a beautifully choreographed promenade performance by dancers from Visual Statement for shoppers at St Enoch Centre.
They told the tale of the city’s coat of arms – the Bird, the Bell, the Fish and the Tree. The medieval monk’s miracles involved, at different times, a bird, a tree and a fish. The inspirational performance by Nicola Gilmour, Brian McIntyre, Pauline McGlinchey and Cheree Thompson as the respective symbols, along with a dozen other dancers aged from 10, was a modern symphonic piece by Danny Dobbie assisted by Brian McIntyre and Wendie Reid. A movable sculpture commissioned by Visual Statement and designed by Andy Scott added an extra dimension as the dancers moved in and out and on to it.
Around 350 young people saw a performance of the tales by five Glasgow schools with a senior pupil from Lourdes Secondary being the compere, in the City Chambers.
The story of Glasgow is stopping shoppers in their tracks at St Enoch’s Centre. And Saturday 14 January between 12 noon and 4pm is the final chance to catch the beautifully choreographed promenade performance by dancers from Visual Statement. They are re-telling the tale of the city’s coat of arms – the Bird, the Bell, the Fish and the Tree. The inspirational performance by Nicola Gilmour, Brian McIntyre, Pauline McGlinchey and Cheree Thompson as the respective symbols, along with a dozen other dancers aged from 10, is a modern symphonic piece by Danny Dobbie assisted by Brian McIntyre and Wendie Reid. A movable sculpture commissioned by Visual Statement and designed by Andy Scott will add an extra dimension as the dancers move in and out and on to it. The music is the tranquil ‘A Little Scottish Fantasy’ by Vanessa Mae and ‘For Unto Us A Child Is Born’ by Handel. This is one of the many events during a week long celebration of St Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint. Also known as St Kentigern, the medieval monk’s miracles involved, at different times, a bird, a tree and a fish. On Friday 13 January, around 350 young people will see a performance of the tales by five Glasgow schools with a senior pupil from Lourdes Secondary being the compere in the City Chambers. That afternoon the third Molendinar Awards will be presented to celebrate Glasgow’s local history and archaeology as seen by school children through their own local links. More than 30 schools have entered with the final 12 schools being showcased at the awards presentation in the city’s Banqueting Hall. Molendinar is the name of the burn that runs into the Clyde and it was alongside it, near what is now the High Street area, that St Mungo (St Kentigern) is thought to have settled. Framed certificates will be presented for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each of the three categories – Pre 5: Primary 3; Primary 4: Primary 7 and Secondary. Winners will also receive a plaque to display in their school. The Molendinar Awards project brings to the community an awareness of Glasgow’s rich cultural heritage and is designed to support schools in the work they do linked to the local and wider community. Topics schools work on include local history, local family, local developments, school history, the community, tourist Glasgow, modern life and festivals in the city. Entries range from posters, power point presentations and DVD animations to songs and poems. Bailie Jean McFadden, Executive Member for Education, is delighted by the enthusiasm shown by pupils and hopes to see more schools participating next year. She said: ‘The Molendinar Awards are a tremendous opportunity for our schools. We have some very creative and talented young people as shown by the standard of entries this year. I know the judges had some very hard decisions to make. I hope the enthusiasm continues and that we will see more and more young people participating in the Molendinar Awards over the next few years.’ Glasgow City Council Leader, Councillor Gordon Matheson, will join Bailie McFadden in presenting the winning pupils with their framed certificates on Friday. He said: ‘The pupils have enjoyed all aspects of this competition and I’m sure that they will be very excited to find out who the winners are.’
Both Glasgow’s Riverside Museum and the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street, Edinburgh, have clocked in their 1 millionth visitor.
Less than four months after re-opening, following a three-year, £47 million transformation,
the National Museum of Scotland welcomed its millionth visitor. That person was among the party from Stockbridge Primary School
The landmark figure has been achieved eight months ahead of predictions, and outstrips the previous record figure for a full year. The Museum’s highest attendance then was 833,324 visits in 2007/08, the year before it partially closed for redevelopment.
Visitors from across the world have poured through the Museum’s impressive new street-level entrance and into the spectacular Grand Gallery, from where they have been able to enjoy 16 new galleries. The beautifully-restored Victorian building only last week won the Andrew Doolan Award for the Best Building in Scotland for 2011.
Over 8,000 treasures are on show, 80% of them for the first time. The Natural World Galleries with their life-sized T.rex, and the Museum’s re-positioned Millennium Clock, are among the objects proving the biggest hit with visitors. Another firm favourite is the Window on the World, the UK’s biggest single museum installation, which features an array of nearly 900 objects representing the diversity of the Museum’s collections.
A spectacular opening ceremony on Chambers Street in July saw nearly 6,000 people pass through the doors in the first hour. Now the entire first year target has been reached in under four months.
National Museums Scotland is building on this success with a programme of blockbuster exhibitions in its new, larger, purpose-built space for special exhibitions. The first major new shows will feature Ancient Egypt and a Russian Empress when ‘Fascinating Mummies’ and ‘Catherine the Great’ open in 2012.
Gordon Rintoul, Director, National Museums Scotland said: ‘To reach this monumental visitor figure so far ahead of our predictions is an incredible achievement. Years of planning, fund raising and hard work have gone into realising our vision of creating a world-class museum that sits firmly at the heart of Scotland’s cultural landscape. To receive such a positive response from the public is truly amazing. People really are voting with their feet and giving a massive endorsement to all of the dedication, knowledge and creativity of our staff and supporters. We are delighted.’
Equal enthusiasm was shown at Glasgow’s £74 million Riverside museum which is now become the city’s most popular attraction since it opened on June 21. On June 25 more than 15,000 people streamed through its doors.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, the Leader of Glasgow City Council was on hand this week to welcome the 1millionth visitor – 7 -year-old Sam Irving and his family from Dumfries. Said Councillor Matheson:’ The public response to the Riverside Museum has been phenomenal and the museum has coped brilliantly. The place has comprehensively beaten the visitor number projections and is now a ‘must see’ attraction in Glasgow and Scotland. I’m delighted for Sam that he is our 1millionth visitor and we look forward to many millions more in years to come.’
The Riverside Museum houses more than 3000 exhibits in over 150 interactive displays demonstrating the quality of ’Clyde Built’. From massive steam locomotives to recreation city streets of the 1900s, the cathedral-like structure provides a stunning backdrop to showcase the innovation and ambition of Glasgow which was ‘Second City of the Empire.’
Sam said it was ‘cool’ to be the VIP 1 millionth visitor. The family were on their second visit and Sam’s favourite display was the bikes: ‘Because I like to go out on my bike at home.’ His mum Susan, added: ‘It’s a fantastic place and great for kids with all the interactive displays. It’s also good for Sam’s dad who was a mechanic and acts just like a big kid himself when he’s here. It’s a great day out for all the family.’
The Museum has played host to big events such as a seafood festival and a spellbinding performance by Scottish cyclist Danny MacAskill whose bike is one of the exhibits. Highlights at the Riverside include the Wall of Cars, the hanging Bicycle Velodrome, the South African Locomotive, No 9 Tank Engine, Motorbike Deck. For more information see: www.glasgowmuseums.com/riverside
The £53 million White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme was recognised at the prestigious Saltire Society Award for Civil Engineering, it was announced last night on 20 October.
Scotland’s largest flood prevent scheme now protects 1750 homes and business from the risk of flooding on the southside of Glasgow.
The Scheme was entered for two Saltire Award categories – Environmental and Project.
It won a commendation in the Projects category for ‘proactive collaboration in the successful delivery of a holistic solution to flooding’.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: ‘The commendation for the White Cart scheme is a brilliant achievement. I would like to commend the hard work and commitment of everyone who was involved in this engineering project. This scheme will make a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of people and businesses in Glasgow and remove the fear of their properties being damaged by flooding.’
The Saltire Society Civil Engineering Award, established in 1981, is made jointly with the Scottish Association of the Institution of Civil Engineers. It is intended to encourage the highest standards in the design, conservation, environmentally sustainable construction and construction of civil engineering projects in Scotland.
The 2011 awards were supported by Transport Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Scotland), the Building and Civil Engineering Benefit Schemes, the Association of Consulting Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.
This week, Glasgow City Council passed a budget for the next financial year which invests in jobs, education, dealing with potholes and improving services for vulnerable children and the homeless. But the occasion in the City Chambers was the excuse for all parties to launch party political broadsides as people line up for the May elections.
By 42 votes – Labour has a majority of 47 in the chambers which has 79 elected members – the Labour budget was passed. The SNP amendment – calling for the budget process to be ‘open and transparent’ but not offering any details of ways they’d choose to do that, received 18 votes. There are 19 SNP members including Councillor Alison Thewliss whose baby was with her in the chambers for the debate.
A Lib-Dem amendment – with pages of detailed ways to apportion the funds – received 6 votes which was the full party complement.
The Green Party with 5 members, got 5 votes for their proposals which included letting grass grow longer to save money on the number of times it has to be cut.
Sole Conservative David Meikle did not have a seconder till Independent Colin Deans seconded the Tory proposals which included a 10% reduction in the Chief Executive’s salary.
While he’d seconded the Tory amendement, Deans disagreed with most of it. He also forecast that ‘the worst is still to come. People losing jobs, spending power down.’
Budget measures approved include trebling the planned roads maintenance budget from £4m to £12m to deal with the potholes caused by the winter weather damage.
For the second year running, the Council will now provide an increase in the classroom supply budget for every school in this city. It is also redirecting £5 million of funding to Social Work Services to protect the city’s most vulnerable children and homeless people. One of Labour Group Leader Bailie Gordon Matheson’s special projects of nurture groups for pre-school children, will have further investment.
Said Matheson,: “We have been leading Scotland with the use of nurture groups to meet the needs of the most vulnerable children in our primary schools. Despite the huge financial challenges facing the council, I want that work to expand. In other areas, we have had to make extra cuts because the Scottish Government has given us less money than they promised.”
The Council will now spend £4m on creating 1000 jobs for the long-term unemployed through the Commonwealth Jobs Fund and the Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative for school leavers.
Commented Council Leader Matheson: “This year John Swinney offered Scottish local government a 2.6 per cent funding cut – but threatened to withhold an extra £50m from our city unless we agreed to a list of demands designed to win his party votes in May. He held his gun to Glasgow’s head and showed he was quite prepared to pull the trigger.
“Even though we signed up to his tawdry deal, without drawing breath, Mr Swinney broke his promise to Glasgow and cut our budget by 3.6 per cent anyway – forcing us to find millions in additional savings this year.
“The money we have been given to freeze Council Tax has had little impact on the choices we have had to make. But had we said no to this funding, we would have been punished with retaliatory cuts of an unimaginable scale.”
The council, which has now approved measures to save a total of £58.5m in 2011/12, has already taken steps to reduce spending and deliver services more efficiently.
These steps include:
Setting up a series of Arm’s-Length External Organisations (ALEOs) to run a range of council services including sport and leisure, community safety and IT and property services. This has delivered one-off income of £160 million and recurring annual savings of £23 million
Agreeing to allow more than 2600 staff to leave the council through voluntary redundancy and early retirement over the next three years
Freezing pay for all staff for the next two years
Reducing the number of city centre offices occupied by the Council from 19 to six over the next three years
Since 2008, the Council has saved £11 million from improving attendance at work – £6m in the last nine months alone. Meanwhile, pay for council staff, and councillors, has been frozen for the next two years.
Councillors approved setting a zero rise in the Council Tax rate. The level for B and D properties in 2011/12 will remain at £1,213 (excluding water and sewage charges), which is now unchanged since 2005.
The vast majority of Council Tax payers in Glasgow live in Band A and B properties – next year, their Council Tax payments (excluding water and sewage charges) will be £808.67 and £943.44 respectively.
More information on the budget is available at: www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/YourCouncil/Finance/Budgetproposals/
For more information on the Commonwealth Jobs Fund: www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/LearningEmployment_Training/CommonwealthJobsFund/
Details of the Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative are at: www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/LearningEmployment_Training/CommonwealthApprenticeshipsInitiative