Today, Glasgow City Council has set the most difficult budget in recent times. The Tories are cutting Scotland’s budget by 1.5%, but the SNP are continuing that conveyor belt of Tory austerity and cutting into the heart of our communities.
Over two years, our City is having £130million worth of cuts laid at our door. That wasn’t inevitable. Things didn't have to be this way.
The SNP could have made a different choice – and now our communities will suffer as a result of their inaction.
While the Scottish Government's budget is being cut by 1.5%, here, in Glasgow, over budget is cut by 4.5%. The SNP Government has made the deliberate choice to pass on austerity to Glasgow. In effect, Tory austerity has been almost trebled by the SNP's John Swinney.
1p on income tax, backed up by a rebate for those earning under £20,000 a year, would have asked the First Minister to pay £1450 more a year, whilst someone on the minimum wage would be £81 better off.
That’s what a fair system of tax looks like, and it would have saved our communities from yet more Tory austerity.
The election in May is all about choices. Labour chooses to use the powers of our parliament. Labour would have chosen a fairer path for Scotland.
And Glasgow’s budget today reflects that. In spite of Tory austerity being heaped upon us by John Swinney, we are protecting and investing in Glasgow and its people.
The Glasgow Guarantee, a hugely successful scheme which has already provided 6,500 opportunities across this city, will be protected.
We remain committed to investing in our primary school estate, and investing in our children’s future.
We will protect the affordable warmth dividend, to ensure that our elderly do not have to make the choice between heating and eating.
And the deal between City Building and Wheatley Group, which secures 2,000 jobs and £2.7bn worth of investment over 30 years.
In spite of record cuts being forced on our city by the SNP Government, Glasgow Labour has produced a budget whose aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to provide opportunities to those who need support, and to invest in equipping our city for the challenges of the future.
A Scottish Labour government would make fundamentally different choices, and today Glasgow proved that.