A 'Save our Services' campaign has been launched as fears rise over council tax hikes to fill a at £91m back hole in Glasgow's public finances over the next two years.

The UNISON union has said Glasgow faces a "funding crisis", saying there is "historical unfairness" over the Scottish Government’s funding arrangements for the city exacerbated by what it called "a decade of Tory cuts from Westminster and now the Covid19 pandemic".

It warned that in the past decade Glasgow City Council has seen almost £400M cut from its revenue budget by national governments – a loss of around 25% and services such as cleansing, parks, roads, trading standards, environmental health, cultural and sport, libraries, cleaning and catering, economic development and community safety have been subjected to significant cuts.

READ MORE: Scots face huge council tax rises to fill £500m funding black hole

UNISON have joined the teachers union EIS, GMB and Unite to launched an online Save Our Services petition calling for more money for the city and calls on councillors to refuse to implement any more cuts in the council budget whilst a campaign is built to win more money for the city.

HeraldScotland:

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has asked to remove the cap for the rate of council tax which councils can set - which currently sits at three percent.

It said £500m of additional funding would be needed to help fund all Scottish councils as authorities warn they face “devastating” financial black holes.

A previous COSLA paper which emerged in July said: “Given the initial forecasts from local authorities it would require a Council Tax increase in 2021/22 in excess of 50 percent.”

UNISON has said: "As well as not fully recognising the levels of income deprivation in the 'city, the current Scottish Government funding arrangements do not reflect the 'metropolitan” status of Glasgow.

"The council runs and maintains many museum, cultural and sporting venues that attract visitors from across the world however not enough of the revenue generated comes back to the council.

"Further, the city’s boundaries do not reflect the local populations who use and enjoy many of these services. At local government reorganisation in 1996 some of the more prosperous suburbs that are part of the urban conurbation of Glasgow were placed in smaller neighbouring councils.

"There is a lack of alignment between the city’s council tax base and who uses some the services. There is a £26M hole in the Glasgow Life budget this year due to Covid19 that must be filled.

"The Covid19 pandemic has highlighted the crucial role of council services in holding our communities together, many provided by lower paid women workers. The same workers the council discriminated against."

Councils have broadly three main sources of funding – council tax, service charges / income generation and direct funding from the Scottish Government.

Council tax is the smallest with a 3% rise each April, raising around £7M per year in Glasgow.

UNISON says the council has already increased charges in a range of areas in recent years such as elderly day care, car parking, planning, school lets, etc.

Increased charging for environmental services is often counterproductive and higher rates for sports and community venue use undermines health living. Also, individual service charges often hit poorer families more.

"Therefore, the main focus must be on winning more money from the Scottish Government," it said.

Brian Smith, UNISON branch secretary said: "The trade unions are asking their members and the wider Glasgow public to sign and support the petition.

"We are calling on Glasgow's politicians to do the same and use their influence to win more money for our city."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been incredibly challenging for everyone, including local authorities, and the value of our overall COVID-19 support package for councils now totals more than £1 billion.
 

“Despite a real terms cut of £840 million by the UK Government to Scotland’s discretionary resource budget since 2010-11, we have ensured our partners in local government receive a fair funding settlement that supports vital public services. “All local authorities, including City of Glasgow Council, receive their formula share of the funding available and the formula is kept under constant review and agreed with COSLA.”