Labour launch Glasgow manifesto - better road repairs, publicly-controlled buses proposed

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Glasgow Labour leader Malcolm Cunning promised “real change” for the city as he launched a manifesto which pledges 250 new cleansing workers and publicly-controlled buses.

The party’s plan for Glasgow also includes “faster and better” repairs to roads, re-opening all community venues and supporting the building of at least 6,500 affordable homes.

Cllr Cunning was joined at Mount Vernon Community Hall by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who said voting out council leader Susan Aitken is the “best thing that can happen for the city”.

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The pair ruled out coalitions with the SNP or the Tories as the Glasgow group leader said: “There is only one deal that this party is interested in and that is a fair deal for Glasgow.”

Better road repairs is one of the plans for Glasgow. Better road repairs is one of the plans for Glasgow.
Better road repairs is one of the plans for Glasgow.

Labour will field 43 candidates across the city’s 23 wards and Cllr Cunning said the choice for voters is a “simple one”. “They can choose five more wasted years under the SNP or real change and real recovery under Glasgow Labour.

“The choice in every single ward will be between Labour candidates who will be true champions for their area or SNP candidates who will continue to find excuses for their party’s failings and the Scottish Government’s disdain and neglect for our dear city.”

Glasgow Labour is promising to “build a broad campaign” to secure a fair funding deal for Glasgow from the Scottish Government.

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Cllr Cunning said: “Our streets and our communities are filthy, our backcourts are infested with rats and overflowing bins. Community centres, sporting facilities, museums and other cultural assets are closed in every single community across the city.

“‘To Let’ signs creep up Sauchiehall Street like gangrene up a wounded limb. Under the SNP, sadly our city’s name has become synonymous with failure and decline.”

He promised a “fresh start”. “We know what the people of Glasgow are saying to us, we know what the citizens of Glasgow are demanding of us. And we, in this manifesto, will deliver that to the people of Glasgow.”

The manifesto promises to reintroduce the affordable warmth payment for over 80s, which was scrapped in this year’s budget, and to improve parks and open spaces through a 10-year investment plan. It also pledges to be a “listening council” which will consult with the people of Glasgow on all major decisions.

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On publicly-controlled buses, Mr Sarwar said: “We have Lothian Buses demonstrating how we can do it successfully. A bus service that is affordable, that is integrated and actually tries to encourage people on to public transport and away from vehicles.”

While Cllr Cunning said the plan for 250 additional jobs in cleansing services would “probably have to get through the first Labour budget”. He wants workers “back into place to actually be lifting the bins, to be actually cleaning the streets”.

“That’s the only way to make an improvement,” he said, adding the move will “cost several million pounds but we can certainly move that around in the next February budget”.

He said the pandemic had brought waste issues to a head but was “not the underlying cause”. “The underlying cause is ten years, in fact more, of consistent cuts to Glasgow’s budget and local authority budgets across Scotland.

“This crisis would have arisen with no pandemic, it might have taken another year, but the only thing the pandemic has done is highlight it.”

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