Today we came so close. In fact we came to within 2 votes of securing a better budget, a budget that met Glasgow’s needs. Too often people tell me that when push comes to shove politicians will always go with what is in the interests of our party and not what is necessarily the best for Glasgow.
So today we faced the question head on and we put Glasgow first. All of Glasgow’s opposition parties agreed to meet this morning and see if we had the wit and the will to set aside party advantage and work in partnership to present a credible alternative budget that for the first time in a generation stood a real chance of securing a majority in Council.
This wasn’t going to be an SNP budget, a Green Budget or a Scottish Liberal Democrat budget. No party would be able to claim it had sole ownership or led on this budget.
We were able to agree an alternative and the full detail of our budget is contained here in the Opposition Budget
Despite our best efforts and the support of six Labour Councillors we were unsuccessful. The Labour party budget secured the support of 38 Labour Councillors, one suspended Labour Councillor and one Independent. In total they had 40 votes to our 38.
Despite the spin they place upon the opposition budget and claim it cut education and jobs, the fact is that our joint budget proposed:
- £32 million for a new primary school building programme.
- To restore the cap of no more than 20 pupils in S1/S2 Maths and English classes.
- Employ additional ESL Teachers and increase the number of teachers in Family Centres
- A £2 million jobs fund to support training and employment for young people
- The appointment of a Carers Champion and increased investment in Carers Centres.
- £8 million additional investment in roads and pavement maintenance.
- Enhanced recycling and the introduction of weekly blue bin collections.
We believe that it was right for Glasgow’s opposition parties to try to secure the best possible budget for Glasgow. This time we lost but I believe all of us benefitted from working in partnership in the best interests of Glasgow. I think that’s what people want to see more of, not less. Rest asssured I will always work with those who continue to put Glasgow First.