The diverse ward, which takes in Govanhill and the Gorbals, has some of the most deprived areas on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and the cost of living crisis will also be on the minds of voters when they head to the polls.
Candidates say the Govanhill acquisition programme, which has brought properties back into the social rented sector and allowed them to be repaired, has been a success but believe continued investment in the area is needed.
Southside Central also includes Hutchesontown, Queen’s Park, Crosshill and Oatlands.
The last two elections in Southside Central have returned two SNP and two Labour councillors. In 2017, Mhairi Hunter and Alexander Belic were elected for the SNP while Soryia Siddique and James Scanlon, both also elected in 2012, won seats for Labour. There was a 40% turnout, with 7,255 valid votes.
Hunter, Belic, Siddique and Scanlon are all hoping to regain their seats on Thursday while the Greens, who won a seat in the ward in 2007, have put forward Elaine Gallagher to contest the seat. She is bidding to become the city’s first trans councillor.
Belic, SNP, said: “The key issues in Southside Central include responding to the cost of living crisis and the impact on communities already facing poverty. The continuing regeneration of the area is also important. The Oatlands development is nearly complete and Laurieston is also the site of a lot of new building.
“Constituents are anxious to see continuing investment and support in Govanhill in particular, building on the great success of the acquisition and repair programme. Southside Central has been successful in securing funding for a number of big projects such as the South City Way, Govanhill Baths, the Citizens Theatre and Laurieston Arches. These are helping to transform the area.
“Anti-social parking is a big issue in both the Gorbals and Govanhill with demands for greater enforcement and a reduction in road traffic.”
While Hunter, SNP, added: “Fly-tipping and general environmental crime is also an issue with strong local support for greater enforcement. There is support in Govanhill to create a business association along the same lines as Shawlands to help deliver further improvements to the area.
“Rising private sector rents are also an issue for some. A more integrated public transport system is also something constituents want to see. To sum up, Southside Central is home to dynamic, diverse and vibrant communities with a strong community spirit and constituents expect the council to support their aspirations for their communities.”
Siddique, Labour, said the lack of social housing, overflowing bins, litter on the streets, unreliable recycling, missed bin collections, potholes, infestation, overcrowding and poverty were the key issues in Southside Central.
She said Labour’s campaign priorities were investing in cleansing, creating jobs for a clean and green area, education and enforcement. Siddique also wants to see investment in the area’s roads to fix the “pothole crisis”.
“I will also support the continuation of the Govanhill Acquisition Programme and investment in social housing,” she added. “I will put Southside Central and Glasgow first and stand up for our city for a fairer deal for all its citizens and communities. Southside Central needs significant investment and new ideas.”
Elaine Gallagher, the Greens candidate, said she wants to be a councillor for everyone in Southside Central and will prioritise the issues that are important to them.
“Cleansing and fly-tipping are a serious problem,” she said. “As a councillor, I will draw on my environmental management background to improve bin collections and recycling options. I will fight for better, affordable housing for all and make sure the pavements, roads and parks are well-maintained and safe for everyone to use.
“People really value the diversity and vibrancy of the area and I will protect community spaces where that can be celebrated.”
Tariq Parvez is the Conservative candidate for the ward and the Glasgow group is promising to scrap the bulk uplift charge, invest £10m in frontline services, reverse bin collection cuts, create an environment enforcement team and would not charge for garden waste collections. He has apologised after the Daily Record reported he repeatedly called for politicians in Pakistan to be hanged in historic social media posts.
Sam Glasgow-Jackson is representing the Liberal Democrats and Kamran Butt is the Alba candidate. He has said Alba “stands for communities” and affordable housing and has promised to clean up Govanhill. Paul Donnelly is running for the Scottish Socialist Party and Jamie Dyer is standing as an independent.
Full list of candidates:
Alexander Belic (SNP)
Kamran Butt (Alba)
Paul Donnelly (Scottish Socialist Party)
Elaine Gallagher (Greens)
Sam Jackson-Glasgow (Liberal Democrats)
Mhairi Hunter (SNP)
Tariq Parvez (Conservative)
James Scanlon (Labour)
Soryia Siddique (Labour)