Glasgow has been one of the more proactive authorities in terms of keeping its citizens and workforce abreast of just how severe the situation is, but the details of what is being discussed show that even ‘‘big ticket’’ or prestige venues like the SECC or Citizens’ Theatre are far from immune from severe overhauls.

With overall budgets expected to be down by up to 15% by 2013/2014, they are also an indication of how even the arms-length agencies are being tasked with maximising the public purse to stave off meltdown beyond what they would have previously anticipated.

Such has been the pace of the root and branch examination of where savings can be made and cash brought in that senior sources within the authority claim that within a month there will be realistic proposals coming to committee, including how it will look to reduce its workforce by anything up to 3000 members of staff.

Here, The Herald looks at some of the avenues the city council is exploring to both cut costs and generate much-needed income.




THE national exhibition centre, after years of financial buoyancy, is now said to be struggling somewhat, although sources claim its board of directors are confident of turning the situation around in the short to medium term.

However, in the meantime the council has a review “to investigate the removal of the subsidy to the SECC in relation to rates and deficit funding and to review the governance arrangements in relation to the remuneration policy. This was extended to also consider business development opportunities.”

The Herald understands that one option is for the SECC to hive off the Armadillo and put it under the umbrella of Culture and Sport Glasgow.

This would then give the Armadillo charitable status, leaving it exempt from rates payments. Discussions are already at the stage of how the SECC would then be governed.




THE Herald understands two facilities reviews are under way, one targeting office accommodation and what can be made of those parts of the schools estate now redundant being conducted by development and regeneration services and another examining the ongoing viability of community facilities, being carried out by Culture and Sport Glasgow.

One senior source within the council said: “What this is about is the number of local facilities dotted across Glasgow which are either not well used or in a bad state and putting these up for closure. Expect a raft of community halls to be potentially shut in the coming years.”

A Culture and Sport Glasgow spokesman said: “We will continue to look at ways of providing the breadth and quality of services that the people of Glasgow have come to expect in all our facilities.”




ACCORDING to one leading figure within the wider “council family” the details of what is in the pipeline for the cultural sector overall will “generate a week of bad news” and mobilise the arts lobby in the west of Scotland like few other issues in recent years.

The Herald understands that in a review of arts grants one of the more contentious proposals is a reduction in the grant provided to the world-renowned Citizens’ Theatre. It survived the removal of its foundation funding by the then Scottish Arts Council, but with culture minister Mike Russell signalling that there will be no additional funding from Creative Scotland next year, the Citizens’ will find it difficult to source cash from elsewhere if there is a significant cut in its grant from the council.

According to sources there has been an increase in the number of meetings between the theatre’s management and the council in recent times and at the start of the year was told there were no guarantees that the same level of funding would be available after 2010.

Anna Stevenson of the Citizens’ said: “The city council has been incredibly supportive and is doing a lot of work with the building, which is fantastic.”

A Culture and Sport Glasgow spokesman said: “We make recommendations to the council regarding arts funding but it is not for us to award the money.”




ON a week when the Commonwealth Games athletes village site has been firebombed, the £300m development targeted the day after a security firm set up guard there, a council-owned security firm guarding both its own sites and those elsewhere in the public sector could be a major income generator.

Across the whole of Scotland, security firms linked with the criminal fraternity are bringing in millions of pounds from major public sector contracts. The stock line when agencies are asked why such firms are being recruited is that the responsibility lies with the subcontractor.

Privately, bodies from health boards to councils would relish the chance to employ an operation completely devoid of criminal links guarding their sites. GCSS could also offer staff all thoroughly vetted by the police, while there would be no questioning the integrity of the firm involved.

Across Glasgow in the medium term millions could be generated for the public purse by GCSS through contracts ranging from the new Southern General, GHA demolitions, M74 extension and 2014 Games sites.

However, how the criminal fraternity currently benefiting from such contracts would react would lead one to speculate there would be repeats of the Games village site incident on a vast scale.

Cllr James Dornan, the SNP group leader in Glasgow City Council, said: “I am delighted to see that there is serious consideration being given to the idea that GCSS take over the security of certain properties. “This would go a long way to combating the organised criminals involved in the security business who threaten builders, burn down houses and intimidate all who stand in their way. Organised crime is a blight on our city and with the 2014 Commonwealth Games coming up it is important we clean up this grubby business once and for all.”




AS part of the build-up to the 2014 Games its ‘‘legacy’’is never far from discussions. One argument is whether that legacy could involve people within the communities keeping their jobs.

Council leader Steven Purcell has made a number of announcements about a ‘‘social procurement policy’’ for goods and services. In terms of ‘‘maximising income’’ the Cordia team are examining the impact financially on the organisation if it were to secure a major 2014 contract. The combined cleansing and catering contract is worth around £8m for 11 days work. Securing that could allow it to borrow for more pressing demands.