THE SCOTTISH Green party are to launch a campaign to save cultural venues and libraries in Scotland’s biggest city.

Patrick Harvie will ask the Scottish Government to bail out Glasgow Life - the arms’ length council organisation responsible for managing the city’s libraries, leisure centres and some museums.

The organisation is facing an estimated £38million black hole in its finances as a result of the pandemic.

According to figures obtained by the Herald in June, 36% of the organisation’s staff had been furloughed and now it cannot afford to reopen dozens of venues.

Currently more than two-thirds of libraries are to remain shut indefinitely including Govanhill and Pollokshields Libraries in the First Minister’s constituency.

Mr Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, will launch a campaign to save the organisation today at Govanhill Library.

Speaking ahead of the launch, the MSP said: “Libraries are a lifeline for communities and will be even more so in the months ahead, when many people will need them to get online to look for jobs, access learning, or just have a place to get away from it all.

“Glasgow Life’s financial losses are so great that they will need urgent government help if they’re to safeguard services for the public and avoid damaging job losses. I’m calling for an urgent bailout so these essential services can reopen as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Life acknowledged the organisation was suffering, and said venues were going through a ‘phased reopening’.

She said: “We know people love and value the services and venues we deliver but since lockdown began we have lost £14m of income from memberships and ticket sales to-date and expect to lose tens of millions by the end of the financial year.

“We’re currently working on the phased reopening of a number of our venues... and have already reopened the iconic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, several libraries, and some outdoor golf, lawn bowls, and tennis venues.

“However, the fundamental principle that informs which venues and services can restart continues to be the financial landscape in which Glasgow Life will have to operate in for the foreseeable future.”

Mr Harvie raised the issue with Nicola Sturgeon last week at Holyrood, to which she said she was “concerned” about facilities not reopening.

She said: “This is not intended to be a political point or moan, but there is a limit to the Scottish Government’s ability to make financial resources available. We have limited borrowing powers, and therefore there is a hard limit and we are not able to overspend. We have seen welcome action so far from the UK Government in its extending of the furlough scheme, but it could also look at giving more borrowing flexibility to this Government and taking decisions that lead to more consequentials,”