Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar has today backed The Herald's campaign for a fair deal for Glasgow's cultural assets and treasures which face mounting financial pressures.

The Glasgow MSP echoed our calls for both governments to come together to appropriately fund the city's culture and leisure services and is among several Glasgow politicians supporting our fight.

We launched A Fair Deal for Glasgow campaign calling on both Scottish and UK governments to agree a new funding deal for Glasgow’s assets and venues of national and international significance.

We are also seeking commitment from both Scottish and UK governments to work with the city to achieve this and Glasgow’s cultural assets and collections of national and international significance are recognised and funded at national level.

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These venues and services are run by charitable organisation Glasgow Life on behalf of Glasgow City Council. However, it lost £38m last year due to lockdown and its estimated income for 2020/21 is around £6.4m. An agreed council funding deal will see Glasgow Life receive a guaranteed £100m for the next four years to open 90 out of its 171 venues. Without further funding, they say they cannot reopen any more venues.

Our funding call comes at a time when around 500 jobs will go at the organisation over a five year period.

Mr Sarwar said: "Glasgow is a global leader in the arts and culture, with our artists, writers, and musicians spreading insight and joy across the world.

"But SNP austerity and the failure of Susan Aitken's Glasgow administration means we face a situation where the people of my home city will be denied access to their own cultural heritage.

"They have closed culture and leisure facilities, and have not stood up for a fair deal of our city. Because of that failure, I am proud to back the Herald's campaign. Both of Scotland's Governments must come together to properly fund access to our leisure and cultural facilities and right the wrongs of the SNP in Glasgow.

"Recovery from the pandemic which doesn't take into account people's access to these services isn't worthy of the name."

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Leader of Glasgow City Council's Labour group Malcolm Cunning said he wholeheartedly welcome and support the Herald campaign.

"Glasgow Life desperately needs a stable and secure future. Glasgow Life run venues and facilities are, as this campaign attests, of national significance," Mr Cunning said.

"The cost of running these facilities cannot be met by Glasgow council tax payers alone any longer. We require a strong and resilient partnership with central Government, to ensure that vital facilities are not lost, and that the communities who rely on these facilities can recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

"Year after year, we are confronted with headlines of venues and services under threat. This as a direct consequence of decisions made by the SNP at Holyrood, and their failure to properly fund Local Government. We cannot go on like this. Glasgow, our communities and our people, deserve so much better.

"Glasgow Labour Group have long been calling for a long-term and sustainable funding model, both in administration and in opposition. In December last year, we forced a discussion of the situation facing Glasgow Life and its facilities.

"The current administration sought to portray us as scaremongering. But what we have seen in recent days underlines the scale of the challenge, and the importance of honest leadership which stands up for Glasgow."

The Herald: The Herald is leading A Fair Deal for Glasgow campaignThe Herald is leading A Fair Deal for Glasgow campaign

Former chairman of Glasgow Life and fellow Labour councillor, Archie Graham added his support, saying: "I am totally behind the campaign. In fact the Labour group on the Council has been campaigning along these lines for many years."

Scottish Conservative Glasgow MSP Annie Wells said a fair funding deal was long overdue.

Ms Wells said: “Glasgow is home to so many wonderful cultural and leisure venues and it is hugely depressing that so many jobs are set to be axed and that many of these facilities are critically under threat.

“It is long overdue that the city I am proud to call home is given a fair funding deal. Successive SNP Governments have continued to slash local authority funding for Glasgow City Council which has put vital services and jobs at great risk.

“I was proud to stand up in Parliament and push for a fair funding deal for our councils, including Glasgow to be enshrined in law. This was rejected by SNP Ministers.

“The UK Government have given the SNP Government over £14 billion worth of funding during the pandemic. They must use that to stop many Glasgow attractions being lost forever.

“I will never shy away from standing up for Glasgow and I warmly welcome this campaign from The Herald.”

Read more: Glasgow Life will see 500 jobs go amid covid crisis recovery

While Conservative councillor Thomas Kerr gave the campaign his backing and feels the city has been short changed.

He said: "I am fully supportive of the Herald's A Fair Deal for Glasgow Campaign. Since I was elected I have been campaigning for a better funding settlement for local authorities throughout Scotland from the SNP Government, especially here in Glasgow where we have been consistently short changed.

"Glasgow's cultural assets are world class but they do not receive the national funding of our competitor cities across the UK. This just isn't fair. I have been working with the Chief Executive of Glasgow Life on this issue and have personally spoken with the Secretary of State for Scotland to raise this matter with him directly."

A Scottish Government spokesman told The Herald recently: “Glasgow City Council will receive a total funding package of almost £1.5 billion to support local services, which includes an extra £29.8 million to support vital day to day services, equivalent to an increase of 2.2 per cent compared to 2020-21.

“To date, the council has been allocated an additional £221.7 million to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, through the local government settlement - over and above their regular grant payments.

“It is the responsibility of individual councils to manage their own budgets and to allocate the financial resources available to them on the basis of local needs and priorities.”