LABOUR has refused to take part in setting Glasgow budget for the next year, with councillors walking out of city hall just minutes before the full council meeting.

The party said they could not take part in a "process which will wreak havoc on our city."

The SNP accused them of "childish political games" and acting like a school debating society.

In a bid to tackle a £50m black hole in the city’s finances, proposals put forward by the administration will see cuts to services and council tax and parking charges hiked up.

READ MORE: Glasgow SNP leader tells Holyrood colleagues to end budget meddling

However, there are no compulsory redundancies as suggested in official documents leaked to the press last month. 

The £2m Children's Holiday Food Programme has also been saved. 

While £6m was taken from the city's reserves, the council still needed to find £31.2m worth of savings.

Council tax will go up by 5%, which means a Band D household will now pay £1,499, while a Band E will need to find £1,969.52.

There will be some cuts to museum and library opening hours, while new entry fees will be introduced the glasshouse in the Botanic Gardens.

Nursery fees over the 1140 free hours will increase and schools will see non-teacher resource budgets cut by around 10%.


Glasgow Life venues will take a hit, with swimming pool opening hours cut and a number of health suites shut during the pandemic simply not re-opening,

The Mitchell Library and the Tramway will also see their opening hours slashed, while a charge will be brought in for the city's outdoor tennis courts.

Burial and cremation charges will go up, and parking and bus lanes fines will also be hiked. 

The cleansing budget will be cut by almost £1m, with new charges brought in for garden and food waste bins

Opening the debate, the SNP’s Ricky Bell, the deputy leader of the council, hit out at Labour. 




“We don't have the luxury of throwing your hands up and walking away. This is not a school debating society. 

“Just nine months ago, each and every one of us stood on a platform, promising the electorate that we would accept the responsibility to maintain services and respond to the ever growing needs of households, communities and businesses. 

“Our eyes were open. We had a pretty clear idea of the financial context that this budget would find itself in.”

Councillor Bell said not setting a budget would “not turn up new or additional money” but rather that external auditors will be appointed, “stripping back services to those required simply by the law to balance the books. It would hand control of staff services and priorities to auditors with no concern for local needs, jobs or policies.”

Seconding the budget, Susan Aitken, the leader of the council said the administration had tried to “find every route available to us to legally balance our budget while protecting and maintaining our services as much as humanly possible.”

She said the SNP administration had “some really tough conversations with our Scottish government colleagues.” 

“We have sympathy for the incredibly difficult financial circumstances they face, but we can't agree with some of the recent decisions they've made. 

“We fought hard for Glasgow, and we've sought to do so constructively. And we have made progress.”

She said the decisions taken would protect the holiday food program, local venues, service levels, and would settle the final stage of the equal pay claim. 

“The most lewdly scare mongering media claims of recent weeks simply have not materialised,” she said. “And on that subject, let me see that the cynical abuse of the cross party budget process in this of all years has been despicable. 

“A few weeks ago, [Labour group leader] Councillor Redmond read a speech at committee claiming that he wanted all parties to work together in these difficult times. Well, clearly that was rubbish.

“The existing cross-party process gives him the opportunity to do just that, but he never actually wanted to. Instead, Labour - for it was them - leaked confidential officer options with a false narrative with the deliberate aim of alarming our staff and communities for their own political ends. 

“And the chance for Anas Sarwar to do his usual personal attacks in the Daily Record. 

“And then after all that they've not even bothered to show up to do the work to prevent the cuts that they claim to oppose. 

“Glasgow Labour has shown every Glaswegian that our services and communities are just pawns to them in their childish political games.”

READ MORE: Scottish Government to 'recoup' money from councils in teacher row

Speaking after leading his group out of the budget process, Cllr George Redmond said: “Enough is enough.

“For too long this SNP government has treated Glasgow with contempt - that they are now planning £400m of cuts is unacceptable.

"Glasgow Labour will simply have no part in a budget process which will wreak havoc on our city and damage those most in need.

“Not a single SNP or Green MSP was willing to listen to Labour and fight against the cuts - including the outgoing First Minister.

“The silence from SNP and Green MSPs is deafening. Our communities rely on these services, and they are willing to turn the other cheek.

“Glasgow deserves better.”

The councillors were joined by Mr Sarwar and the city's Labour MSPs in George Square where a number of unions had gathered. 

Speaking to The Herald earlier this week, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar insisted the idea not to offer an alternative budget came from Labour council group leader George Redmond.

He said: “I think Glasgow Labour is absolutely right. We are not going to do our own version of cuts. We're not going to try and share responsibility and co-own this disaster and attack on the people of Glasgow. 

"It is absolutely for the council group to decide how they want to approach the budget.

“They have made that decision and I think they are right to make that decision.

“George Redmond told me that was his view. I said I absolutely agree with that view. 

"I think he's absolutely right.” 

Pressed on whether it was his idea or Cllr Redmond’s for Labour to sit-out the budget, Mr Sarwar denied telling his junior colleague what to do.

"George Redmond’s idea and I back him up 100 per cent. His idea and I back him up.” 

However, Labour's decision not to head to the chamber saw them mocked by their political opponents. 

Councillor Redmond was panned by the Tories too. 

Bailie Thomas Kerr said his party represented the true opposition on the council.

He also used his speech to criticise the SNP for increasing taxes. 

He said: "Since 2017, Glaswegians have faced a council tax hike of 21% That isn't fair on our working class communities who already feel shafted by this out of touch SNP Green council.

"It's pay more, get less at the very best and our city deserves better.

"The news yesterday of the First Minister's resignation filled me not with delight as many may expect but anger.

"I'm furious and many other Glaswegians will be too that the architect of these savage cuts has decided to leave it to whoever her successor is to clean up the mess.

"That a Glasgow MSP, who will see in her own constituency what years of underfunding our council has done to our communities, has decided to step down the day before councils up and down the country have to come to terms with the horrendous decisions that her government has forced us into."

"There can be no doubt in that the outgoing First Minister has put in an incredible shift through some extremely challenging times," he added. "But many will still be wondering about our timing and the impact on our communities."