Elec­tion re­sult dashed any hopes of aus­ter­ity end­ing

Evening Times - - NEWS -

SO the cur­tain comes down on a tu­mul­tuous 2019 with one of the most bru­tal and dam­ag­ing UK Gen­eral Elec­tions in gen­er­a­tions. A ca­bal of hard-right Brex­i­teers ce­mented their place in power at West­min­ster. In just over a month, de­spite al­most three-quar­ters of Scot­land vot­ing for pro-Re­main par­ties in the gen­eral elec­tion, a Gov­ern­ment we didn’t vote for will drag our na­tion out of the Euro­pean Union.

Make no mis­take, the im­pact will be lo­calised and se­vere. The so­cial and eco­nomic poli­cies and agen­das of Boris and his cronies will make the work of Glas­gow’s City Gov­ern­ment much more dif­fi­cult. Peo­ple al­ready strug­gling with poverty and the flawed Univer­sal Credit sys­tem will en­dure fur­ther hard­ship. We will have to step up our ef­forts to en­sure that, where and when we can, our cit­i­zens have a safety net.

Amid the chaos of the push to­wards Brexit, the City Gov­ern­ment has con­tin­ued to progress shift­ing the cul­ture and pri­or­i­ties at the City Cham­bers, de­liv­er­ing the change and so­cial jus­tice our cit­i­zens ex­pect.

Around 10,000 Glas­gow fam­i­lies ben­e­fited from our ex­pan­sion of free early learn­ing and child­care to 900-hours. This pro­vides chil­dren with the skills and con­fi­dence to carry into school, cre­ates jobs, gives par­ents and car­ers much needed flex­i­bil­ity and boosts fam­ily finances. We had another suc­cess­ful run of our pi­o­neer­ing chil­dren’s Hol­i­day Food Pro­gramme, the sum­mer hol­i­day pe­riod alone see­ing over 18,500 chil­dren and young peo­ple take part, and over 282,000 meals and snacks pro­vided.

In our first bud­get, we in­vested in hubs pro­vid­ing ad­vice and sup­port to those af­fected by Univer­sal Credit. This in­vest­ment paid off in 2019. We helped peo­ple, both in and out of work, to ac­cess over £15mil­lion in fi­nan­cial gains. Also, the fi­nan­cial boost thou­sands of work­ing women in Glas­gow re­ceived through the set­tle­ment of the Coun­cil’s long-run­ning Equal

Pay dis­pute was fan­tas­tic for them, their fam­i­lies and our city. But, on Fri­day morn­ing, any hope that the elec­tion would sig­nal the be­gin­ning of the end to aus­ter­ity was dashed. Here at the coun­cil and at Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment level we will have to con­tinue al­le­vi­at­ing the worst of the ide­o­log­i­cally driven choices made by the Tory Gov­ern­ment.

More and more of our re­sources will be chan­nelled into shoring up an un­der-at­tack wel­fare sys­tem.

Glas­gow also hoped the elec­tion could de­liver a much needed shift to al­low us to ad­dress press­ing chal­lenges and is­sues on which this city has long cam­paigned.

We have looked for a more hu­mane ap­proach to asy­lum seek­ers, with an end to the ‘no re­course to pub­lic funds’ laws and threats of evic­tion and des­ti­tu­tion.

We hoped we would be able to put in place safe drug con­sump­tion fa­cil­i­ties to help us ad­dress the ad­dic­tions re­spon­si­ble for hun­dreds of pre­ma­ture deaths in this city.

We have spent con­sid­er­able time, en­ergy and re­source ad­dress­ing these mat­ters be­cause of the stub­born re­fusal of the UK Gov­ern­ment to en­gage with us.

We could use these re­sources and ef­forts more pro­duc­tively and ef­fec­tively if we could work to­gether to ad­dress the chal­lenges fac­ing the city.

It is now more clear than ever that the only way we will see any change in ap­proach to these is­sues, which so pro­foundly af­fect our city, is if Scot­land has the abil­ity to de­liver the change we need with­out be­ing held back by a Tory UK Gov­ern­ment.

Ear­lier this week, a UK Gov­ern­ment source was quoted in The Her­ald claim­ing the Tories are “go­ing to have to do big things in Scot­land” and that their “One Na­tion am­bi­tion is for the whole of the UK but par­tic­u­larly Scot­land”.

In­stead, we are head­ing for a Tory hard Brexit led by the se­ri­ally dis­hon­est Boris John­son.

This is driven by xeno­pho­bia, hid­den fi­nan­cial agen­das and delu­sions about the UK’s place in the world. It will be deeply dam­ag­ing to Glas­gow and Scot­land’s so­cial and eco­nomic well-be­ing.

The peo­ple of this city can­not be forced to en­dure another bout of aus­ter­ity, cuts to so­cial sup­port, power grabs and ero­sion of our wel­fare state and NHS.

Last week, Glas­gow vot­ers com­pre­hen­sively re­jected the Tories and their dam­ag­ing poli­cies. The big thing the UK Gov­ern­ment can do for us is ac­cept the man­date Scot­land de­liv­ered for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum and al­low us to choose our own fu­ture.

The re­sult of the Gen­eral Elec­tion means we are head­ing for a Tory hard Brexit

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