CITIES are being urged to join forces in a bid to win more powers from the Scottish Government.

The leader of Glasgow City Council will today urge the Cities Alliance, made up of all seven Scottish cities, to lobby ministers for greater control over economic development and job-creation schemes.

Councillor Gordon Matheson said they should be pressing for "Scottish City Deals" modelled on a system south of the Border which transfers funding and powers from central to local government in return for meeting agreed economic targets.

The move follows a call last week by COSLA, the umbrella organisation for councils, to expand local authority powers. Scotland's island councils, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, launched a joint campaign for greater autonomy earlier this year.

In a paper prepared for today's Cities Alliance meeting, Glasgow argues that Scotland's cities risk being left behind in a UK and Europe-wide competition for jobs, investment and tourism.

Under the English City Deal programme, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield are among cities handed sweeping new powers and central government budgets to take over the running of transport, job creation and other functions.

The Glasgow report says: "The approach in the rest of the UK has been to encourage cities to take more responsibility and compete.

"In Scotland, it has been about collaboration. These are fundamentally different approaches."

Citing problems caused by running the Scottish Government's and Glasgow's own youth employment schemes alongside each other it argues that central government budgets for job creation should be handed to cities to "streamline" efforts. It recommends switching spending from the Government's Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland quangos to city councils.

More powers should be devolved to city councils at a later stage as the proposed Scottish City Deals develop, the report says.

Glasgow is now applying for a limited UK City Deal which would let it finance building projects based on the future economic boost the schemes delivered.

However, other potential powers are in the hands of the Scottish Government.

Mr Matheson said: "Throughout the world, it is understood that city regions drive national economies. Devolving power and resources to these powerhouses is required if we are serious about economic growth.

"In Scotland, however, there is a growing tendency to centralise. Our city regions are being disadvantaged and innovation is being stifled."

The move will be discussed at a meeting of the Cities Alliance at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.

It follows a call by COSLA president David O'Neill for stronger local democracy and more powers for councils.

Scotland's 32 authorities have voiced concern that some of their functions have been centralised by the Scottish Government.

At Holyrood yesterday MSPs heard warnings from councillors that plans to merge social care - a local authority responsibility - with NHS health care could undermine local democracy.

Earlier this year, in his "Lerwick Declaration" First Minister Alex Salmond agreed to hand more powers to the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland if Scotland becomes independent.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The powers of independence will finally provide the opportunity for a new relationship between government and local authorities to properly address problems of employment and poverty in the city."