By Jim Main
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2766

‘These venues are ours’—hundreds march against council cuts in Glasgow

This article is over 2 years, 9 months old
Issue 2766
On the march to stop Glasgow Life closing venues
On the march to stop Glasgow Life closing venues (Pic: Duncan Brown)

More than 300 trade unionists and campaigners marched and rallied in Glasgow on Saturday against council cuts.

Glasgow Life—a council‑controlled arms-length organisation—wants to close almost half of its venues such as libraries, museums, and sports and community centres.

The SNP-led council claims that these venues have not been closed, but simply they have “not reopened.”

It says this is because of a £38 million drop in income for Glasgow Life during the pandemic.

Yet many of the threatened venues were earmarked in 2019 for possible closure.

Campaigners have voiced concerns that Glasgow Life has used the pandemic as an excuse to make cuts.

There is also widespread anger that the SNP-led council is using “community empowerment” legislation to hand over its venues to vested interests.

Already, community assets have transferred to the charity wings of Rangers and Partick Thistle football clubs and the Scottish Golf Union.

The latter involved the sale of a large strip of land for £200,000—less than the cost of an average size house in the city.

At the rally, speaker after speaker told how the threatened venues enriched their lives.

They said they would fight up to and beyond next year’s council elections to save them.

Laura, a Unison union rep in Glasgow Life said, “These venues are ours and we want to keep them.”

Dr Elspeth King, former curator at the People’s Palace museum, said Glasgow Life is “literally sucking the life out of the museums and libraries, out of the sports facilities”.

Jim Monaghan, from march organisers Glasgow Against Closures, said, “Libraries, museums, sports fields, swimming pools, they are not an extra, they are not a luxury.

 “We can’t afford not to have these things. They are an essential part of a council’s service and an essential part of communities thriving.

“If they close these services, everything else that the council does gets more difficult.

“Without libraries, social work becomes more difficult, without swimming pools and sports centres, health becomes more difficult. Without museums and galleries, education becomes more difficult.”

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