Spending cuts of £12m predicted for Glasgow’s cleansing service could plunge the city back into the “dark ages” it has been claimed.
Glasgow’s GMB convenor has warned of the impact on services including roads, parks and cleansing that the city council’s projected budget shortfall of £119.4m could have on residents and workers alike.
There are fears uncleaned streets will drive people out of the city centre which would ultimately “wreck” the economy and have a devastating impact on tourism.
But the local authority says it is seeing “clear signs of recovery” in the city centre with footfall improving as weekend and evening numbers reach pre-covid levels.
Options to tackle the £119m funding shortfall are also being developed by elected members.
Speaking about the situation, GMB convenor, Chris Mitchell, said: “We have heard that there is £12m worth of cuts coming in this department alone between roads, parks and cleansing.
“If they are planning to make these cuts, are we going to go back to the dark ages? We already fought a waste crisis two or three years ago.
“When we did manage to get employment into the city it managed to make a wee bit of a difference but not much, but the fear is where are they going to make these savings?
“It is going to have a massive impact on services like ours. If they are going to target cleansing again then unfortunately what you are seeing there is only going to get worse.
“The city centre is a riot and it is just horrible. No-one wants to go to the city centre. This must be doing damage to the shops and people who are trying to build a business.
“It is going to wreck the economy and it is going to wreck tourism. When you go abroad to another country, the first thing you notice is how clean it is.
“Then in Glasgow there are rats running about the street, it doesn’t make it very appealing for people coming to stay here. If we reduce the refuse collection it is going to lead to more problems as a whole.”
Glasgow City Council says funding from the Scottish Government is helping to boost street cleaning and stubborn grime.
A spokesman for the council said: “We are seeing clear signs of recovery in the city centre with plans put in place by the City Centre Task Force beginning to take effect.
“Footfall is improving with weekend and evening numbers above pre-covid levels and other indicators such as hotel occupancy getting closer back to rates recorded before the pandemic.
“Scottish Government funding for the city centre has helped to boost our street cleansing work alongside a dedicated, city centre deep clean team that is dealing with stubborn grime.
“This is in addition to regular litter removal and street sweeping work in the city centre.
“We are also working closely with the Chamber of Commerce to develop a new plan on how to improve the major retail streets in the city centre and we will be engaging with residents and businesses on this plan.
“The Chamber of Commerce has indicated that businesses will welcome this support from the council and the effort to ensure Glasgow city centre remains Scotland’s premier place to work, live and visit.
“The recent financial forecast indicates the council has to find £119m worth of savings and a range of options are being developed for consideration by elected members.
“Councillors will decide which options are taken when the council’s budget for 2023/24 is agreed early next year.”