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City Building (Glasgow)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 12th November 2015.

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Photo of Bill Kidd Bill Kidd Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the impact on employment in Glasgow of the city council’s plans for its City Building subsidiary. (S4O-04781)

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government would encourage Glasgow City Council and City Building to communicate clearly with interested parties about their workforce plans, and to engage with unions during any process of change.

Photo of Bill Kidd Bill Kidd Scottish National Party

Given that City Building is the largest apprentice employer in Scotland and Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries is the largest supported workshop in Europe, that it works with returning war heroes and people with disabilities and that it contributes £5 million a year to Glasgow’s finances, does the minister see any mileage at all in the dismantling of that successful organisation?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government applauds all employers that support apprentices, including City Building, which has more than 300 apprentices. The Scottish Government is also firmly committed to equality for disabled people, including the right to work on an equal basis with others, and is striving to create a Scotland that is fair and inclusive to all. However, councils are separate entities, independent of the Scottish Government. It is for Glasgow City Council and City Building to make the business case for any change to current arrangements.

Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour

As City Building is based in my constituency, obviously I have a particular interest in its operation. It was set up at the time of stock transfer, to ensure the future of maintenance jobs attached to city council housing. Of course, Mr Kidd is absolutely right to focus on RSBI

Photo of Tricia Marwick Tricia Marwick None

Can I get a question, please?

Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour

You certainly can, Presiding Officer. Mr Kidd is absolutely right to focus on RSBI, particularly since the closure of the Remploy factory that was almost next door. Does the minister agree that, if Glasgow’s funding settlement was as it should be, Glasgow City Council would be able to do even more with City Building and make sure that that organisation employed even more apprentices in future?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

Patricia Ferguson must be aware that the outcome of the spending review 2011 and budget review 2013 confirmed that local government revenue funding and capital share would be maintained on a like-with-like basis, with extra money for new duties. That has meant that the total settlement has increased to more than £10.85 billion in 2015-16. The decisions that Glasgow City Council makes are for it to make itself.

Photo of Bob Doris Bob Doris Scottish National Party

Does the cabinet secretary agree that any potential restructuring of City Building should involve positive and constructive engagement with trade unions at the outset, rather than have engagement as an afterthought, and that it should not be presented as a fait accompli?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government puts great value on the importance of effective engagement with trade unions and always expects and encourages employers to engage with trade unions in a respectful manner.