Chief warns ‘sacred cows’ will be slaughtered to save money
‘SACRED cows’ will need to be slaughtered to allow the council to manage its finances and deliver on priorities, the leader of Glasgow City Council has warned.
Susan Aitken said council chiefs will have big decisions to make as they struggle with reduced budgets and demand for improved services.
Speaking at a fringe event at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, Ms Aitken, who has been in power for just over a year at the City Chambers, said people in the city are proposing some radical solutions to the tightening financial situation.
She said the council has already taken action in one area, to protect leisure facilities and improve affordable access to swimming.
The controversial move to remove free swimming from over 60s and children has attracted criticism from opposition councillors.
Ms Aitken also took a swipe at her opponents in Labour who she said failed to act despite decades in office.
However, she said these decisions are necessary and others will have to follow.
Ms Aitken said: “We will need to slaughter some sacred cows as we reform services to deliver outcomes.
“That is going to be difficult. We are finding it difficult.
“We are trying to go above and below the noise and go directly to communities. We have done that and we are going to keep that up.
“Glaswegians are saying do people who don’t live in Glasgow need to have free access to museums. That’s one sacred cow.
“They are talking about congestion charging. That’s what’s coming up.”
She said the council is already making some decisions on free provision but to improve services.
She said: “It sounds great but it hasn’t really worked. We have made changes to that.”
She said before the changes were made, the council consulted with around 5,000 people who were asked about free provision for facilities.
Ms Aitken added: “We are targeting the people that need it most. We have been able to keep pools open and gyms open. Other local authorities have closed swimming pools, we haven’t.”
She said the coming year would be challenging for the council as it manages its finances and she said there would be opposition.
However, she added: “It will be the very people who failed to make the necessary changes while the financial sun was shining who will shout the loudest.”
Susan Aitken said council chiefs will have big decisions to make