Better public transport major issue for East Centre council candidates

Getting better public transport, bringing the Clyde Metro down Edinburgh Road and better cleansing are some of the issues residents in the East Centre ward face.

There are 11 councillor hopefuls fighting for power in the ward but only four political positions available in the council. Only one current councillor Annette Christie, SNP, is seeking re-election in the ward.

Who won last time?

In 2107 Labour’s Frank Docherty got the most votes. Russell Robertson was elected as an SNP councillor that year but has since become an independent councillor.

2017 Results:

  1. Frank Docherty, Labour, 1,998 votes (28%) first preference votes)
  2. Annette Christie, SNP, 1,578 votes (22%) first preference votes)
  3. Russell Robertson, SNP, 1,787 votes (13% first preference votes)
  4. Marie Garrity, Labour, 1,659, votes (8 %) first preference votes)

Who can I vote for this time?

Declan Blench, SNP

Former European Commission interpreter Declan Blench moved to Glasgow as a teenager in 2007.

After working in Belgium he returned to Glasgow in 2016 where he works as a translator and part-time in an MSP’s office “helping Glaswegians get the help they deserve.”

First Glasgow is offering more ticket options.

He said: “While living abroad, I missed the best of Glasgow – the communities, character and, clichéd as it sounds, the people – while also seeing how things can be done differently. What works for other European cities can work for Glasgow too.

“I’m excited about plans to create ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’ in East Centre; as the name suggests, these are areas where residents can safely walk, wheel or cycle to most of the facilities they need within 20 minutes. This reduces emissions, gives a boost to services and helps local employment.

“East Centre also deserves to be better connected by public transport, both to other parts of the East End and to the wider city. Introducing tap cards that work across all forms of public transport, and working to bring buses into public ownership so bus routes are shaped by what you need, instead of where companies think they can make most money, are going to be key planks of the SNP City Government’s plans if re-elected, and it’s a platform I’m proud to be standing on.”

Annette Christie, SNP

Mum Annette Christie, SNP, who was elected in 2017 says she has helped increase funding in East Centre by 87 per cent to £505,000.

Ms Christie said: “This funding has helped to support the development of the community shop, and now post office too, in the Cranhill Development Trust and to establish new Friends of Parks groups in Riddrie, Barlanark and Springboig, enabling local people to identify areas for investment.”

Ms Christie said as a “single mum to a teenage daughter, living and working in the east end,” she has “advocated for her local area to support the most vulnerable.”

She said citywide she has led Glasgow’s work on gambling harms and worked to improve the life chances and choices for all Glaswegians and to empower citizens.

If re-elected Ms Christie said supporting people through the current cost of living crisis will be a priority, with the “Glasgow SNP’s new £3 million cost of living crisis support fund.”

Explaining more about her plans, she said she will focus on investing in communities,revitalising neighbourhoods, continuing to improve education attainment and the upskilling and retraining, wherever needed, of all workers to ensure pathways into the green and digital jobs of the future as part of the SNP’s Community Wealth Building Strategy.

She also said the East Centre has been included in the liveable neighbourhood plan – which will see streets redesigned.

Matt Dobson, Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Matt Dobson who has lived in the East End for 10 years said the “main issues are the cost of living crisis.”

He said: “Scottish TUSC is campaigning for above inflation pay rises for council and all workers. There needs to be mass public investment in cleansing services and a reversal of cuts.

“The equal pay women need to be fully compensated and there needs to be a fair pay scheme. As a socialist councillor I would propose a no cuts budget and build a mass campaign for the funding the city needs.

“We need to campaign for the nationalisation of energy to cut fuel bills. I’ve lived in the east end for 10 years and helped build the local anti bedroom tax campaign.”

Faten Hameed, Conservative

Community activist and mother Faten Hameed moved to Glasgow 35 years ago following her husband’s death.

She said: “I brought up three children as a single mother while working a full time job, which shaped my politics. I know the struggles many Glaswegian families are facing as I had it too.

After working “for years” in the homelessness field for GHA and Glasgow City Council, she set up a charity called the Scottish Iraqi Association.

Winning awards for her community activism and work, Ms Hameed said: “This includes helping the most vulnerable, supporting refugees, and asylum seekers, and organising food parcels for a number of homelessness charities”

She said as a “committed campaigner” she would work “tirelessly” to remove poverty in Glasgow and violence against women and protect human rights.

She said: “If elected on May 5, I promise the people of East Centre I’ll take my passion and drive into the City Chambers to fight for our community and stand up for you in Glasgow City Council.”

Ann Jenkins, Labour

NHS worker and mum Ann Jenkins, Labour, has lived and brought up her three children in the East End

She said: “I work for the NHS and have been a key worker during the pandemic and I am proud of all my NHS colleagues in their response to the pandemic.

“I believe we now have another real struggle ahead of us with the cost of living crisis. I will fight to get the community centres that have been closed back open, because when our old and vulnerable are having to choose between food and heat theses centres will be an essential necessity and I know the East End community will pull together.”

Ms Jenkins added: “I am also committed to the Labour promise to clean up Glasgow, and reinvesting in the city centre and making Glasgow a place to be proud of again.

“If I am elected I will serve the east end to my very best ability.”

Ruth Lindsay, Scottish Liberal Democrats

The Scottish Liberal Democrats said it would reverse council cuts to essential services, increase the rate of bin collection in tenements areas and from public waste bins, remove the bulk uplift charge, and reopen the libraries and sports grounds.

It also said it would “introduce a a rapid response unit to address public concerns on potholes, street parking, street lighting and litter.” It also pledges to improve housing provision and reverse cuts to public transport.

William Mclachlan, Independent

Independent candidate William McLachlan has lived in the area all his life. He said: “I believe that we should elect people that actually live in the area and stop voting for parties that parachute candidates into our area and when elected they disappear.

“The concerns brought to my attention by residents are pot holes, lack of litter bins, bins not being emptied, bulk uplift charges, lack of social housing, buses, dog fouling, an the change of use of the former care home on Edinburgh Road.”

He vows to help with the issues if elected. The Gartcraig community council vice chair said his work has included helping collect donations for the Riddrie/Carntyne foodbank, the Lodging House Mission and the Veterans residence in Cranhill.

He is also chair of the East Centre Crime Prevention Panel and chair of Friends of Alexandra Park as well as holding other community activism positions.

Mr McLachlan said he will help “any local groups get established” and will “work hard for the people in my community.”

Tony Osy, Alba

Alba manifesto pledges include the doubling of the winter fuel payment for pensioners, cutting household energy costs by a third and offering free access to council sporting facilities for children and young people.

The party said its three key themes are: taking real action on Independence as an urgent necessity, tackling the cost of living crisis and standing up for women and girls.

Other policies include an annual £500 payment for every low earnings household in Scotland, which receives council tax reduction and increasing the Scottish Child Payment to £40 a week.

Kilian Riley, SNP

Kilian Riley, SNP has lived and worked in the East End of Glasgow since coming to the city seven years ago

He said: “I was immediately drawn in by the community spirit and character of the area and I haven’t looked back since.”

Mr Riley who works for a local MP said: “I have been able to help constituents with issues ranging from housing repairs to concerns about speeding and anti-social behaviour. As a councillor I would intend to take a casework first approach to the role, tackling the issues that constituents feel strongly about head on.”

His experience of being on the campaign trail has revealed issues affecting people include development of public green space, fly tipping, access to public transport and the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: “The SNP Manifesto for Glasgow that I and my fellow SNP Candidates are standing on addresses all of these issues; with the continued delivery of our £3 million Parks and Open Spaces fund that local groups have already benefited from, our new rolling programme of neighbourhood deep cleans, our ambitious plans for a Clyde Metro and steps to bring our buses into public ownership, and a new Cost-of-Living Crisis Support fund to help mitigate the effects of the crisis on those hit hardest.

“This is a manifesto that I am proud to stand on, and I would be honoured to represent the people of East Centre and make those commitments a reality in the next five years.”

Hannah Smith, Scottish Greens

The Scottish Green manifesto says a “greener Glasgow is a fairer Glasgow.” The party pledges to work with communities and staff to solve the city’s “waste crisis.”

It also promises a “transport revolution” with cleaner, greener, publicly-run services and to tackle the housing crisis, with rent controls, more social housing and improved enforcement powers.

Other plans include a conversation on bringing Glasgow Life, the arms-length body running the city’s leisure and culture venues, back in-house and to reduce car journeys to school by more than half.

Kieran Turner, Labour

Dad and husband Kieran Turner, 38, Labour lives in the East End bringing up three young girls.

He said: “All my adult life I have been involved in supporting local communities firstly as a youth and community support worker across the North East of the city including a spell in St Andrew’s secondary in Carntyne.” He has also helped church groups during the pandemic.

He said: “Public transport is a huge issue in East Centre and we need to bring buses under public control so we can vastly improve their frequency and affordability.

“Long term any Clyde Metro also needs to go down Edinburgh Road.”

He added: “We also need to support local businesses and community groups to have more shops and amenities in the ward. We’ve seen that challenge recently with planned Riddrie bank closure. We also need to make sure the Barlinnie site is developed with the community in mind after the prison closes.”

Mr Turner also called for core council services like cleansing to be improved