The council budget for Glasgow will respond to the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and to the cost of living crisis, the city’s treasurer has pledged.
SNP councillor Richard Bell will set out spending plans for the city after a deal was agreed between his party and the Greens.
The agreement was reached following discussions which lasted into Wednesday evening.
It is understood a council tax rise is expected, while a multi-million pound package to improve roads and footways, along with investment in parks and green spaces, will be set out.
Bell indicated that the budget will also help to address the “decades of neglect” of the city’s built heritage and cherished buildings.
“This is a budget which responds to Covid recovery, to the cost-of-living crisis and to the priorities identified by our citizens,” he said.
“Emerging from the two-year tragedy and devastation of the pandemic, Glaswegians now find themselves facing soaring energy costs, hikes in food prices, and rising inflation and National Insurance Contributions.
“We can’t wait for the UK Government to step up to the plate. That’s why the two groups on this council representing the progressive wing of politics have come together to address the challenges Glaswegians face.
“Our joint budget addresses fuel poverty, provides assistance to those most affected by the cost of living crisis and those still impacted by the pandemic.”
Bell explained the spending plans will response to the “immediate and future needs” of Glaswegians.
“It also responds to what our residents have told us are their priorities, accelerating recovery in every neighbourhood with new and permanent environmental teams, investments in parks and greenspaces and a multi-million pound package of measures to improve roads, footways and the look and feel of local areas.
“And it’s a budget which looks both to Glasgow’s past and our future. It will help address the decades of neglect of our built heritage and cherished buildings, whilst preparing us for the challenges and opportunities of the emerging Green economy, capitalising on Glasgow’s global profile from COP26.
“It will come as no surprise to anyone who recognises the need to take bold, urgent and progressive action that our two groups have come together to deliver a budget responding the immediate and future needs of Glaswegians.”
Councillor Jon Molyneux, the Green group co-convener, pointed to progress being made on a free public transport pilot, a city-wide 20mph zone and investment in local, renewable energy, in setting out a budget that accelerates action on tackling climate change.
“Greens are pleased to have reached agreement on a Budget that delivers against all of our priorities – helping people through the cost of living crisis, reopening and renewing community venues, and accelerating climate action,” he said.
“In a council where no one group has a majority, parties need to be serious about working together where they have shared priorities.
“We have shown throughout this council term that the Greens are prepared to put in the hard work, where others are happy just to wave their wish-lists on Budget day with no actual hope of finding agreement.
“Because we have put in that effort, we can show the difference Greens are making.”
Molyneux pledged that all museums in Glasgow, alongside dozens of local venues, will be able to once again reopen.
He continued: “That difference will be felt by Glasgow’s valued foster and kinship carers, whose allowances were frozen ten years ago under Labour. We’ve set a clear expectation that they deserve an increase to sustain their vital work.
“The difference will be felt by communities who’ve campaigned for venues to reopen. Greens had already secured the funding to keep all our libraries open – now we will make sure all our museums and dozens of local venues open their doors soon too.”
The Greens co-convener outlined the budget commitments on climate policies.
He continued: “The difference is also evident in increased action to match our climate ambition. Greens led the work that saw Glasgow set its 2030 net zero target.
“We will now see more action, including progress on a free public transport pilot, a city-wide 20mph zone, a massive wildflower city plan and investment in local, renewable energy. From the other groups’ proposals, it is clear they are paying lip service to the climate emergency and they are not prepared to take the actions needed.
Molyneux added: “Other parties are living in the past, with nothing new to offer.
“Instead, Greens have pooled our ideas to create a budget which meets our citizens’ immediate needs and moves Glasgow forward in ways that are greener and fairer.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country