GLASGOW has £109 million less to invest in local services because of the Scottish Government, says GORDON MATHESON.
GLASGOW is facing another year of budget pain.
The most recent financial analysis reveals that Glasgow is now worse off by more than £100 million every year, thanks to decisions made by Scottish Government ministers in Edinburgh.
If Glasgow received the same percentage share of the available Scottish local government budget in 2015/16 as we did in 2007/08 under the previous Labour-led Scottish Government, then we would have an additional £109m to invest in public services this year alone.
That is money which funds schools and nurseries, care for the elderly, libraries, cleansing and roads. We are prepared to take our share of the pain but these latest figures show that we are being treated very unfairly compared to other parts of the country.
This rip-off is a result of decisions made by the Edinburgh government. Our £109m is in their budget this year. It’s just that they’ve decided to splash the cash in parts of the country that they care more about.
When in previous years there was more money going around, Glasgow always got the lowest budget increases of any Scottish council. Now that times are tougher we get deeper than average cuts. Year-on-year we get a smaller slice of the Scottish cake.
And only last week it was revealed that the Scottish Government recorded a staggering £444m underspend. Financial management is one thing but stashing away so much to pay for ministers’ pet projects while starving local authorities such as Glasgow of vital funding is plain wrong.
In partnership with the wider public in Glasgow, my administration will be leading a campaign to end the rip-off and instead get a fair funding deal for Glasgow. I expect all of Glasgow’s politicians, of whichever party to join the campaign.
Let’s not have any mealy-mouthed excuses. We don’t want to hear MSPs slavishly repeating their party lines. We demand that all our politicians stand up for Glasgow.
I WAS delighted to hear Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy outline plans to pay for 1,000 new NHS nurses north of the border through a new mansion tax, if Labour wins May’s General Election.
The nurses would be paid for by a tax on properties worth more than £2m across Britain. It’s not surprising that the biggest critic of the plans has been Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson. Most of the fatcats are in the south-east. Labour plans to tax them more and so better fund the NHS.
And Jim Murphy’s plans for 1,000 additional nurses couldn’t be more welcome after it was revealed that 12,000 NHS patients in Scotland have had to wait longer than the Scottish Government’s waiting time targets.
That is 12,000 people who should by now have had procedures such as cataract operations, and knee and hip replacements.
It has also been revealed that five of Scotland’s health boards are three times over the target waiting time in A&E. In one reported case in Glasgow, a patient waited 25 hours in A&E.
This is happening under the Scottish Government’s watch, although they appear to be in denial. It is simply not good enough.
The staff in our NHS do a wonderful job. They need to be properly resourced. That’s why Jim Murphy’s plans to tax Britain’s millionaires to pay for more nurses in Scotland is such a good idea.