15 February, 2017 - 22:13

Our proposals ... seek to protect the interests of our lowest income citizens and invest in services which build for the future. I hope that other parties will follow our lead. Councillor Martha Wardrop

Green Councillors in Glasgow are looking to capitalise on the £17m extracted from the SNP by Green MSPs in Holyrood with their budget proposals for the city, including the protection of local services and radical new transport plans for the city.

Glasgow’s Green Councillors will push to reverse planned cuts to community safety, school janitors and sheltered housing as Glasgow City Council meets to discuss its budget for 2017-18.

Green Cllr Martha Wardrop said: “Our proposals seek to head off some of the worst cuts to services which people in Glasgow hold dear. However, we should also spend wisely just now to create extra savings in the future. The Green budget motion tackles pressure on community services like schools, libraries, street cleaning and street lighting. It seeks to protect the interests of our lowest income citizens and invests in services which build for the future. I hope that other parties will follow our lead.”

The Green group in Glasgow have also said that they will reverse cuts to libraries, sports centres and the cleaning of buildings.

Among the Green Proposals are rejections of a £1.2m cut to community safety services which have seen staffing slashed and services to local neighbourhoods reduced; of a £888k cut to Glasgow Life; of a £515k cut to janitors in schools; and knocking back cuts of £1m to Sheltered Housing.

At the same time the Greens propose extra money for safe and clean streets. The group has set aside £200k for ‘Superenforcer’ wardens to take action on fly-tipping, dog-fouling and anti-social behaviour; £1.5m for 75 new frontline street cleaners in a Clean City campaign; and £2.2m for green tenement wheelie bins to replace metal bins.

Green Councillors have also put forward £19.3m for a scheme of upgrading to LED street lights and lampposts, aiming to reduce energy costs and repair bills.

Additionally, they have pledged to plug a £3.3m funding gap in flood prevention projects and providing £2.5m for replacing 30 oil-fired boilers in schools with a low carbon option.

Alongside Green action against cuts, public transport is at the centre of Green plans with £1m new money set aside for improving transport in Glasgow.

Transport spokesman, Cllr Dr Martin Bartos said: “While other parties say they care about public transport they freeze or cut SPT’s core funding. Only Greens publicly committed last week to reversing Glasgow’s £200k share of cuts to SPT’s grant, with this money being spent on modernising technology - like smart-card payment on buses and work on Low Emission Zones. 

"Other parties complain about bus cuts but simply beg the private companies to look again - Greens are bolder. We believe it’s time to get on board with buying publicly owned electric buses and cleaning up the dirty diesel buses whose exhausts are poisoning Glaswegians. Until government brings so-called public transport properly into public control, our vision is to work with SPT to gradually build a clean, publicly owned, Electric Overground fleet and have SPT, as a publicly accountable body, managing the service contracts.”

As a first step in this radical plan for clean Green public transport, Glasgow’s Green Councillors have set aside £800k towards purchase of publicly owned Electric Overground buses to operate in a new city Low Emission Zone on routes complementary to the subway. Greens have also set aside funding to fit pollution cutting diesel filters to help clean up current operators while the fleet grows.

Measures for active transport feature highly in budget plans with Greens putting major investment into renewed pavements and separate cycle routes. £4.5m of extra money for safer pavements across Glasgow and long proposed segregated cycle ways for the East End and North of the city at a cost of £8m.

Road users are also considered with Greens are also investing £5.3m in emergency repairs to the Clyde Tunnel which SNP transport ministers have refused to fund.

Greens' balanced budget plans are wide ranging, with eye-catching measures across the board including the reversal of cuts to teaching resources for English as a Second Language in schools; taking development of local currency plans to the next level; support for a Basic Income pilot project scheme for Glasgow; measures to increase transparency of decision making; as well as delivering on food waste recycling across schools and other council facilities to comply with Waste Regulations.

Finally, the Greens say that it is vital to use the extra money this year to reduce pressures in future years so they support accelerating a renewable energy development programme which seeks to invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy generation and waste prevention.

 

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