Scotland’s largest local authority has announced a council tax rise of 5% in a dramatic budget meeting to plug a £49m funding gap.
Labour representatives walked out of the vote on Glasgow City Council’s 2023/24 spending plans, instead holding a rally against what the group described as a “process that will wreak havoc on the city”.
Inside, the SNP administration passed increases to parking and bus lanes fines, the introduction of garden waste permits and a reduction in opening hours for public buildings including the Tramway and Mitchell Library.
On-street parking fines are set to brought “in line with Edinburgh levels” while charges for leisure facilities will also rise.
However, city treasurer, councillor Ricky Bell, said there would be no compulsory redundancies, teacher numbers would be protected and a £2m Children’s Holiday Food Programme has also been saved despite cuts elsewhere.
Cllr Bell described the budget as “deeply imperfect” but necessary for “turbulent economic times”.
He also attacked Labour over the protest, branding the party’s walkout a “dereliction of duty”.
Council tax charges will increase by 5% for the 2023/24, meaning a rise for Band D households to £1,499. It is hoped that measure can raise an additional £12m for city coffers.
Leaser Susan Aitken blasted Labour for using the budget for “childish political games,” however, outside the city chambers, group leader, Cllr George Redmond accused the SNP of “treating Glasgow with contempt”.
He added: “For too long this SNP government has treated Glasgow with contempt – that they are now planning £400m of cuts is unacceptable.
“Glasgow Labour will simply have no part in a budget process which will wreak havoc on our city and damage those most in need.
“Not a single SNP or Green MSP was willing to listen to Labour and fight against the cuts – including the outgoing First Minister.
“The silence from SNP and Green MSPs is deafening. Our communities rely on these services, and they are willing to turn the other cheek.
“Glasgow deserves better.”
Cllr Bell said the SNP “did not have the luxury of throwing up [its] hands and walking away”.
He added: “Just nine months ago, each and every one of us stood on a platform, promising the electorate that we would accept the responsibility to maintain services and respond to the ever growing needs of households, communities and businesses.
“Our eyes were open. We had a pretty clear idea of the financial context that this budget would find itself in.”