Ministers and officials regularly meet representatives of all Scottish local authorities, including Glasgow City Council, to discuss a range of issues as part of our commitment to working in partnership with local government to improve outcomes for the people of Scotland.
The minister may be aware that, last month, Glasgow Scottish National Party councillors sought and failed to defeat a Labour motion demanding that the council leader, Susan Aitken, make direct and public representation seeking fair funding for the city. Will the minister confirm whether she has received those representations?
While trying to avoid standing up for Glasgow, the SNP is at the same time bringing forward proposals for severe cuts to services that will make Glasgow’s funding crisis real. Closing community centres and libraries and getting rid of golf courses are only part of that dereliction of duty to Glasgow’s citizens. Will the minister listen to the grave concerns of charities, unions, communities and all those who want to stand up for Glasgow, and produce a budget that understands the needs of Glasgow and the severe consequences for all too many families if the current plans go ahead?
Susan Aitken is a great champion for Glasgow, and the member knows full well that the biggest budget pressures faced by Glasgow City Council at the moment are a result of the equal pay settlement, which is an issue entirely of her party’s making. The SNP councillors in Glasgow City Council and the SNP members in this Government will continue to stand up for Glasgow, as they have demonstrated in the past few months.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s decision to increase the rate of borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board by 1 per cent will be detrimental to Scotland’s councils’ ability to carry out essential infrastructure projects. Does the minister agree that the UK Government should urgently rethink that decision and engage with the Scottish Government and local authorities on the matter?
I fully agree with Shona Robison and have written twice to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on the matter. The decision on loan funding was taken in the light of decisions about English local authorities, not Scottish local authorities, and it will have a direct impact on infrastructure spend in Scotland.