Save our local Police

Just last week rank and file police officers rejected the SNP, Labour and Conservative plans to create a national police force.

I agree with the police officers. The plans to scrap our local police forces will cost £92million and it has been estimated, could cut 3,000 front line police officers – we cannot afford this proposal.

At a time when we need to save money, this proposal doesn’t make sense. The Scottish Liberal Democrats want to help the local police and people work together to cut crime. However, under the plans supported by Labour, the SNP and Conservatives every police officer would be allocated according to national directions not local policing need. That could mean your local police seeing dozens of officers sent to support other areas hundreds of miles away.

I’m concerned that by creating a single national police force, the chief constable will come under the political control of a government minister who will tell them what to do and will lose their links with local communities.

For 150 years people in this democracy have worried about the government gaining political operational control over policing. We need a police service that is responsive to local needs not one which is subject to central diktat and centrally imposed targets.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats want to keep policing local, help the local police to work with the local community and to keep the number of officers high.

For more information check out the campaign on Facebook.

Good news for Glasgow’s Pensioners

The Scottish Liberal Democrats launched our plans to make the council tax fairer on Wednesday 30th March.

Our proposal is to exempt less well off pensioners from council tax. A pensioner on an income of less than £10,000 will pay nothing at all in council tax. Our proposals will mean a saving of up to £400 from a typical Band D bill.

Pensioners often pay hundreds of pounds in council tax. But Liberal Democrats have solutions for Scottish pensioners, whose income is just above the state pension.

A third of Scottish single pensioner households have incomes of less than £10,000. That’s less than £200 a week. Under the current system, a single pensioner living in a Band D house gets some help, but still has to pay out £406 annually. That’s over £40 a month out of an income of less than £800 when she has to feed and clothe herself and heat her house too. Under the Liberal Democrat plans she would pay nothing in Council Tax.

How does this compare to the SNP and Labour policy of a Council Tax freeze?

The SNP and Labour council tax freeze will save the pensioner £22 on her £800 bill. Under our plans she saves up to £406. 

What about the Conservatives policy?

The Scottish Conservatives have said they will cut the council tax bill by £200 for any household containing a pensioner.

The pensioners on £7k, £8k and £8.5k will pay nothing under either party.

The pensioner on £9k will pay nothing under the Lib Dems but £55 under the Conservatives.

The pensioner on £9999 will pay nothing under the Lib Dems but £206 under the Conservatives.

Very wealthy pensioners – such as Annabel Goldie and other Conservative MSPs – will not benefit from our policy but will benefit by £200 under Conservative policy.

What about Local Income Tax?

We are still in favour of local income tax. We have made the judgement that it will be best to wait until 2016 to begin to introduce it. That way we can learn lessons from the introduction of the new Scottish income tax following the new powers in the Scotland Bill that came from Calman. Under those powers the Scottish Parliament will have control of 10p of income tax from April 2015. That will be preceded by an enormous amount of work from the HMRC to set up the systems. It is a significant moment in the development of a federal structure for the UK – two governments sharing responsibilities over the HMRC. It makes sense to gain the benefit of that experience.

Incident in Summerston


Can I urge constituents with any information that might assist the Police with their investigation to contact Maryhill Police or Crimestoppers in confidence at the numbers below.   

Shots Fired At House – Maryhill 

Strathclyde Police is continuing enquiries and appealing for information after a firearm was discharged at a house in Maryhill on Sunday 30 January 2011.  

Around 0355 hours on Sunday morning, police were called to a report of a firearm having been discharged at a window of a house in Rothes Drive, Maryhill. 

Officers attended and quickly established that no one had been injured, however, the property had been damaged as a result of the shots fired. 

Appeal for witnesses 

Detective Sergeant John Semple at Maryhill Police Office is appealing for witnesses. He said today: “Thankfully the residents of this property were asleep at the time and nobody was injured. However, the people responsible for this reckless act obviously have no regard for anyone’s wellbeing and it is vital that we trace them. 

“We are carrying out a thorough investigation into the circumstances, and would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and may have any information at all which might help us with our enquiries to come forward.” 

He added:  

“We are confident that someone within the local community knows who may be responsible. Even if you don’t want to speak to police, please do the right thing and call CRIMESTOPPERS – you won’t need to leave any personal details.” 

Anyone with information is asked to contact officers at Maryhill Police office on 0141 532 3700. Alternatively CRIMESTOPPERS can be contacted on 0800 555 111, where anonymity can be maintained. 

Refuse Collection update


Like many other Councillors I’ve been contacted about bin collections being affected due to the recent bad weather so I’ve posted the most recent update on cleansing operations received from Land and Environmental Services.


Dear Member

As you are aware, our refuse collection service was disrupted during November and December as a consequence of the extreme weather conditions.  The situation was exacerbated to a certain extent during the festive holiday period, with the normal seasonal peak in refuse produced coupled with reduced resources on certain public holidays.  I am pleased to inform you that with the recent improvement in the weather the majority of these services are now returning to normal, however, I must warn you that further snowfall has been forecast for the coming weekend which may once again impact on this service.

Provided below is a general summary of the current situation, followed by further detail on an area basis.

Multi-Storey Locations – Collections from all multi-storey locations across the city are all currently up to date.  Advance uplifts are continuing at a number of these locations to ensure refuse chambers within these properties have sufficient space to safely cope with any additional New Year refuse.

Kerbside Wheeled Bin Uplifts – The Service has returned to scheduled weekly uplifts for residents with kerbside collections.  The vast majority of wheeled bins presented are now up to date citywide.  Festive arrangements for kerbside wheeled bin uplifts were generally successful with certain allowances for delays due to weather.  All New Year refuse will be collected from domestic wheeled bin routes by Sunday 9 January. 

Back-Court and Lane Collections – These locations continue to present the most challenges at the moment and additional resources are being deployed to assist with dealing with the backlog in specific areas noted below.  Priority will continue to be given to putrescible waste with recycling collections following thereafter.

Outstanding Collections – We continue to work closely with Customer & Business Services, sharing information and identifying and resolving known hot-spot locations.

Temporary Neighbourhood Refuse Deposits – Prior to Christmas, additional large bins were sited in neighbourhoods across the city in order to assist residents who wish to deposit excess waste.  We have identified locations within each area where these additional refuse containers have been successfully utilised.  At these locations the service will be extended until Friday 14 January in order to alleviate any local difficulties.

Commercial Collections – Have been largely unaffected and have now returned to normal.

Bulk Uplift – A limited service is being operated at present with priority being given to bulk materials already placed on the kerbside.  The remaining resource from this service is currently assisting with domestic waste collections and will return to their core duties as soon as possible.  Partner organisations such as GHA and GERA have also been providing much appreciated assistance with this service.

Area summaries are provided below with more detailed information.

North Area


Wheeled Bin Routes – all up to date.

Tenemental/multi occupancy/lane routes (domestic waste) – all up to date.

St Rollox

Tenemental/multi occupancy/lane routes (domestic waste) – all up to date.

South East Area

Polmadie Complex


Wheeled Bin Routes – 2 hours behind.

Tenemental/multi occupancy/lane routes (domestic waste) – generally 2 days behind in Govanhill, Castlemilk and Shawlands areas.  Up to 3 days behind in Gorbals and Mount Florida.

Additional resources are being deployed in each of the areas, to recover the outstanding backlog.  As they become available resources from other areas in the city will be diverted to the South East in order to assist this worst affected area.

East Area


Wheeled Bin Routes – 2 hours behind.

Tenemental/multi occupancy/lane routes (domestic waste) – half day behind schedule.

Easter Queenslie Complex

Wheeled Bin Routes – all up to date.

Tenemental/multi occupancy/lane routes (domestic waste) – 1 day behind (Tollcross area) additional resources deployed to clear backlog.

West Area

Western Depot

Tenemental/multi occupancy/lane routes (domestic waste) – half day behind schedule.

South West Area

Wheeled Bin Routes – all up to date.

Tenemental/multi occupancy/lane routes (domestic waste) – 1 day behind.

Working closely with the Customer Care Centre, we are continually reviewing and responding to any addresses within the city where domestic refuse has remained uncollected for any substantial period.  Close liaison with our colleagues in the Customer Care Centre has meant that for the period 1 Jan until 7 Jan 2011, we have managed to reduce the number of reported missed collections to 620 – representing 44% of the total for the same period last year.  Notwithstanding any further adverse weather, we anticipate that we will return to a normal collection schedule by Friday 14 January.

Maryhill Kelvin – new grit bin locations Dec 2010


Below is the new list of grit bin locations within Ward 15 Maryhill Kelvin including the temporary 1 ton self help supplies. Constituents can also get up to 10kg of rock salt for free from the Dawsholm Depot.

There is a 24hr free phone number 0800 37 36 35 or 0141 276 7000 (for mobile phones) to report any requests for gritting or replenishing of salt bins.   

Land and Environmental Services confirm that all available resources, both Glasgow City Council and sub-contractors, continue to be deployed on winter maintenance duties on a 24 hour basis. All priority roads and footways have been continually gritted during this period of adverse weather, with resources being deployed to secondary routes, e.g. residential areas, when resources permit, together with the replenishment of the 1,000 salt bins deployed throughout the City.


Herma Street Opp. No. 65, North Footway of Tresta Road @ Fara Street, 13 Scapa Street, Tresta Road @ Skirsa Street, Tresta Road Opp No.179


Ilay Road @ Vets College, Acre Road @ No.63, Acre Road @ No.71, Acre Road @ No.107, Acre Drive Opp No.19, Dalsholm  Road @ path leading to Dalsholm Bridge, Dalsholm Road near Maryhill Road, Crosbie Street @ Dungoyne Street, Kirn Street Opp No.11, Innellan Grdns between 16 + 20 @ parking entrance, Innellan Place @ Innellan Gardens, Skaethorn Rd 30m South of Roundabout with Cowal Rd, Skaethorn Road @ Fearnach Place, Fearnmore Road Between No.32 & 4, Fearnmore Road @ No.88 (A), Fearnmore Road @ No.88 (B), Fingal Street @ No.71, Fingal Street @ No.27, Aray Street @ Sandbank Street, Sandbank Drive @ Sandbank Street, McLaren Crescent Between Fernie Gdns + Willock Pl, McLaren Crescent @ Willock Place, McLaren Gardens, McLaren Crescent Opp No.6, McLaren Crescent @ No.17, Glenburn Street @ Cottar Street, Glenavon Road @ Thornton Street, Arrochar Court, Fairhaven Road @ No.27, Dougalston Road @ No.10, Invershiel Road @ Gallan Avenue, Broughton Road Opp No.220, Broughton Road @ No.241, Lynne Drive @ No.2, Broughton Road @ No.171 – 181, Newstead Gardens Opp No.23, Abercorn Place @ No.2, Letterfearn Drive @ No.46, Milovaig Street @ Invershiel Road, Dalsholm Rd Opp No 106 @ Dalsholm Park entrance, 20 Celtic Street, Duncruin Street @ Cranbrooke Drive, Sandbank Avenue @ side of No.1, Killermont View @ side of No.1 TEMP GRIT BAG, 171 Cumlodden Drive


Strathcona Gardens @ Strathcona Drive, Dorchester Avenue at path leading to Ripon Drive, Weymouth Drive Opp No.70, Beaconsfield Road @ Cleveden Drive, Beaconsfield Road @ Service Road, 5 Lancaster Crescent, Cleveden Drive @ Cleveden Road, Bellshaugh Rd @ Kirklee Gardens Opp.Cleveden Drive, Kirklee Gate Opp NIB, Balcarres Avenue at Winton Drive, Balcarres Avenue Opp Sub Station, Grandtully Drive Opp Fortingall Avenue, Fortingall Ave @ car park ent to Nos 1-3, Highfield Place @ Cleveden Road, Dorchester Avenue @ Cleveden Road, Colchester Drive @ Weymouth Drive, Colchester Drive @ Winchester Drive, Opp 1 Kirklee Road @ Kirklee Terrace, GWR, Ashburton Road @ side of 76 Leicester Avenue, Chelmsford Drive @ Ashburton Road, Chelmsford Drive opp No.2050 Manchester Drive


Gairbraid Court @ Kelvindale Gardens, Glenfinnan Road @ Fogo Place, Ruchill Street @ Chapel Street, Chapel Street Industrial Estate @ No.13, Oran Gate @ Dead End (Footpath to Avenuepark St), Oran Place @ Sub Station, Garrioch Drive Opp No.14

Local Champions? not for Glasgow


The news arrived late yesteday afternoon in the City Chambers that the SNP Government, having last year awarded Glasgow the lowest funding settlement of any local authority, had ripped off Glasgow yet again.

Early this year John Swinney had told Glasgow to expect a reduction of 2.6%, equivalent to £43 million in cuts. Now Glasgow residents have been told we are to face instead a reduction of 3.6%, adding a further cut of £13.5 million. The Labour administration are now warning that “brutal and unpalatable” cuts options across all services will now be back on the table for consideration. 

And what of the SNP who said they would be ‘Local Champions’ for our communities. Had Glasgow received the same deal as SNP controlled West Lothian then the city would actually be £46 million better off. 

SNP Councillors in Glasgow however are out defending this cut – saying Glasgow got its fair share! With ‘Champions’ like this who need’s enemies.

UPDATE 13 Dec 2010

The Chief Executive has now written to all staff to alert them to the consequencies of the Scottish Government’s decision.


Glasgow City Council budget allocation for 2011 to 2012

You will be aware from reading the newspapers or listening to the radio that the Scottish Government has now announced our funding allocation for next year. I want to tell you what this means for us.

What has been announced?
The Scottish Government had previously announced that Local Government would receive a cut in budget of 2.6%. This would have meant a reduction in Glasgow’s budget of some £37 million and you will remember that last month we published a draft budget based on these figures..

In actual fact we have had our budget cut by 3.6% which means additional cuts to our budget of some £13.5 million. The circular which was published by the Scottish Government, along with an initial analysis – Finance Settlement Key Points – by the Executive Director of Finance..

It is also worth reflecting on the fact that if we had received the same cut as West Lothian Council, who received the smallest cut at 0.32%, our budget would require to be cut by a total of £5 million next year, not the £51 million by which we will actually have to cut it.

What happens next?
The Executive Director of Finance will be working to amend our draft budget to take into account these new, much deeper cuts. I am afraid I cannot say at this time when the new draft will be available for you to read. As you might imagine, a great deal of work will be required, probably through the Christmas break, so it may be late January before we have anything to share with you. Rest assured I will communicate with you again as soon as the draft budget is available.

I would like to stress that you must not underestimate the seriousness of the situation we now face. It is very likely that there will be difficult and painful cuts to services which we are proud to deliver and on which we all rely as citizens. I am confident that if any group of staff can get us through this it is you, however it will not be easy.

Ready for Winter?

 grit bin

As winter starts to bite with heavy snow falls and freezing temperatures I’ve been contacted about the Council’s gritting policy and the location of the nearest grit bin.

To try to help I’ve posted the answers to the Frequently Asked Questions supplied by Land and Environmental Services as well links to the winter Maintenance Plan and a list of all grit bin locations in our ward.


A1 The Council has agreed a set of priorities in the event of snow or ice on road surfaces being forecast.Top priority is given to:

·         Major Bus Routes;

·         Junctions;

·         Emergency Facility Access Routes.

Lowest priority is given to:-

·         Parks;

·         Private Roads.

A list of agreed precautionary treatment targets can be found in our Winter Maintenance Plan along with treatment priorities in the continued presence of snow or ice on the City’s roads within normal working hours.


A2. Land & Environmental Services has a contract with the Metreological Office to supply weather forecasts for Glasgow each day from the beginning of October until mid May.The Service has also installed ice stations at 5 selected locations within the City which, together with the facility to access 15 other stations in adjacent authorities, help to improve the accuracy of forecasts. Staff can access information from these stations via portable computers.Pre-gritting operations are undertaken from the beginning of November until the end of March on a standby arrangement. Ad hoc gritting is done outwith this period.


A3. Yes. A list of our footway treatment priorities can be found in our Winter Maintenance Plan.


A4. You can visit a Land & Environmental Services’ Depot and pick up some salt (maximum 10 kgs) or take salt from one of approximately 500 bins located around the City.


A5. Grit bin locations have been agreed with local communities. Further details of the Council’s policy on grit bins can be found in the Council Minutes.If you want to request that a bin be relocated, please contact Land & Environmental Services.


A6. Check if your road is covered by the criteria for pre-gritting as per Section 3 of the Winter Maintenance Plan. Roads outwith the priority criteria will be treated in accordance with Section 3.3.1 in the Winter Maintenance Plan.

Further Information

Details of the winter maintenance plan can be found here

Open the pdf here for further info: Grit bin locations in Ward 15 Maryhill Kelvin

Labour considers £100 million in cuts to City services


This morning saw the release of  details of spending cuts of over £100 million being considered by the city’s Labour administration.


  2011-12    2012-13    Total
    £m   £m    £m
Corporate 6,150,000 7,125,000 13,275,000
Corporate Services/Chief Executives 457,300 2,952,400 3,409,700
Development and Regeneration Services 430,000 120,000 550,000
Education Services 17,534,200 15,913,800 33,448,000
Financial Services 660,000 617,500 1,277,500
Land and Environmental Services 1,220,000 1,050,000 2,270,000
Related Companies 3,900,000 3,705,000 7,605,000
Social Work Services 15,500,000 11,000,000 26,500,000
Technical 7,346,700 5,954,700 13,301,400
Total 53,198,200 48,438,400 101,636,600

The Herald newspaper lead with the headline that “Schools bear brunt of Glasgow council’s £90m budget cuts” and listing proposals under consideration including:

  • the possible removal of the school breakfast provision.
  • removing mobile creche facilities.
  • reviewing early years provision
  • cutting school psychologists
  • increasing Secondary class sizes in Mathematics and English above the current limit of 20 pupils per class in S1/S2
  • freezing teacher pay
  • issuing 90 day notices to remove salary conservation from teachers
  • moving school support staff from 52 week contracts to term time working contracts.

Also proposed but not recommended included the closure of Blairvadoch Outdoor Resource Centre, increasing the cost of school meals, cutting teacher numbers and scrapping nurture classes.

Options under consideration elsewhere include the Assisted House Gardens Maintenance scheme which provides a service for over 17,000 vulnerable citizens. Labour are now considering a proposal to introduce a new weekly charge for this service.

Full details of the budget options put forward by departments can be found at: Glasgow Budget options

Labour to scrap North Glasgow Regeneration Agency

Glasgow’s Labour Administration are proposing to scrap 4 of Glasgow’s current Local Regeneration Agencies and merge them into the unnamed remaining 5th LRA to create one new agency controlling the entire regeneration budget for Glasgow.

Glasgow’s 5 LRAs currently employ 800 staff who must now wait while the Council decides on the scale of ‘efficiency savings’ that a single Local Regeneration Company can deliver.

There may be a sound business case for a single strategic body to oversee local regeneration in the city but the report before the Council’s Executive Committee today was only given to opposition Councillors less than 48 hours before the meeting and there are significant questions unanswered in the report. How many staff will be lost? how many local offices will close? how will this impact on the people who use the services?

North LRA has managed to get almost 900 unemployed people into work this year, helped local organisations to recruit staff and establish new businesses in Maryhill Kelvin. It has been at the heart of the business plans to save Ledgowan and Cadder Community Halls. It has also secured apprenticeships for young people in partnership with housing associations as well as helping youngsters in our area gain Commonwealth apprenticeships, it has also helped people back into further education and secured multi-million pound investment in the new Saracen Exchange project.

Labour want to scrap the  current network of Local Regeneration Agencies and have a new single company in place by 31st March 2011. The timetable looks impossible and the information to justify this is lacking in detail. Rest assured, as your Liberal Democrat Councillors, Mary Paris and I will want to ensure that any changes pushed through by Labour protect staff and enhance the ongoing work to create badly needed jobs and businesses in Maryhill Kelvin.

Bigman 3 Festival – Bigdance, Bigsing

 Last year’s Bigman 2 event was a huge success and so I was delighted to get news about this year’s event which promises to be even bigger.

 Big Man Festival flyer

Saturday 18th September
11am – 3pm
Maryhill Locks, Glasgow

The Bigman 3 Festival is an event that celebrates Maryhill, its canal and its people. Now in its 3rd year we are changing the format to include a big level of audience participation, but with a twist.

This year the Big idea for the Bigman event is to have YOU take centre stage.

Working with Clyde 1, the entertainment will be provided by You – 200 of you we hope! In the run up to the 18th September we want to recruit people to come and join in Dance & Singing rehearsals in local venues that will lead to a massive community performance on the day of the event. This will involve working with professional dancers and singers to create a one off piece for the Bigman 3 event at Maryhill Locks, 18th September – 11am-3pm. Think Don‘t stop believing but bigger, everyone is welcome, all ages and abilities. Performances on the day will be at 12.30pm & 2pm and will be triggered by the Radio Clyde Roadshow presenters playing a certain track of music. If you are interested please call 0141 573 5876.

Other family fun on the day will be:

  • Street entertainment (Gutty slippers, The Seagulls, Cake The Clown, Heather The Fairy)
  • Music
  • Stand up comedy
  • Boat Trips
  • Sailing in the city
  • Water Walking Demonstrations
  • Food stalls

At the heart of the festival is the Bigman project itself – The Maryhill Bigman, designed by celebrated sculptor Andy Scott, will stand on the Stockingfield Junction of the Forth & Clyde Canal in Maryhill, Glasgow. It is a support for a new proposed footbridge over the canal. Rather than a simple steel construction Andy has designed a sculpture which will act as the support for the bridge. It will appear as though the sculpture is lifting the bridge up from the banks of the canal, and will create a very impressive feature for the area.

It will be made of steel and Andy will design and make the construction models at his workshop studio in Maryhill where he has worked for over 16 years. This is where Andy made many well-known sculptures for Glasgow and other places, including the famous “Heavy Horse” which stands on the M8 motorway at Easterhouse.