IN the wake of Burns night, we hope readers will forgive us for saying: Stats are chiels that winna ding/But aye can be disputed.

According to a report by think-tank Centre for Cities, Glasgow has suffered much more than other Scottish cities from austerity. Since 2009, the city council’s spending has fallen by 23 per cent, compared to 9% in Edinburgh, 3% in Dundee, and 2% in Aberdeen.

This has prompted some observers, notably trade unionists, to question if Glasgow City Council has been fighting hard enough to secure funding. That would be a strange occurrence. It’s generally in the nature of the council beast to maximise its income. Has Glasgow been distracted by always finding itself on the backfoot, trying to make ends meet? Or by politicking over the years? Is the situation somehow caused by the balance of power in Scotland shifting from Glasgow to Edinburgh? Or is it all down to invalid comparisons?

Certainly, the council disputes the statistics, believing they do indeed ding, principally by not taking into account education spending or money-generating services, in which Glasgow must presumably do better than other local authorities.

The picture is also clouded by “austerity”, whose end-point of hurting people is only reached after filtering down a distorting process that starts with the Tories in Westminster, who inflict it on the Scottish Government, who pass it on to local authorities. Further obfuscation is caused by both Westminster and Holyrood administrations claiming that seeming cuts are actually “real-term” increases. All of which matters little in the real world of dirty streets, pot-holed roads and closed facilities.

If Glasgow City Council is content that it is doing everything that it can, then fine. If, even privately, behind the defensive prickliness, it finds – as others do – the figures discomfiting, then it must consider any stones that it may have left unturned in the search for funding.