Battle lines drawn over Glasgow

THE SNP are set to launch their manifesto today in a bid to wrestle control of Glasgow city council.

Labour fired the starting pistol on Monday with current GCC leader Gordon Matheson unveiling 100 policies to transform the city.

The party focused on the youth of Glasgow, listing a number of policies to appeal to young adults.

Mr Matheson pledged to extend free childcare to three-year-olds in the city by up to five months, while promising a guarantee of a job, training or an apprenticeship to every 16-24 year old in Glasgow.

Among other proposals, the combative leader pledged to aid first-time buyers, build schools, help pensioners with the cost of heating and act on dog fouling.

Labour’s top man in the council said: “There is a choice in this election. The SNP are fighting hard.

“Their Glasgow leader — the woman who wants to lead this city — says this is a stepping stone to the referendum. “But let me tell her: no-one steps on Glasgow.

“The local elections are about jobs, homes, schools, services, our whole city and I will do everything I can to put Glasgow first”.

Labour’s promise of a council tax freeze came under assault from SNP group leader councillor Allison Hunter, who said: “Gordon Matheson says he wants to freeze the council tax for the next five years”. She added, “but Scottish Labour’s deputy leader — Glasgow MP Anas Sarwar — has already said he doesn’t think that is credible or progressive.

“Gordon Matheson has been itching to put council tax up – saying being forced to freeze it is like having a gun to his head.

“Is he now holding a gun to his own head?”.

SNP Glasgow council candidates are set to gather alongside depute leader Nicola Sturgeon in George Square today at the launch of the party’s city manifesto.

There, they are set to match Labour’s promise to guarantee work, training or a job for 16-24 year olds in Glasgow while also promising 600 hours of free education a year for three and four year olds.

The party will put the idea of community at the heart of its manifesto, with a promise that every area of Glasgow will be represented by a community council.

Of 108 possible community councils in the city, 30 are currently not in operation.

SNP candidate for Langside ward Alex Hewetson said: “The SNP will ensure the city council listens to the views of community councils when making decisions and doesn’t just pay lip service”.

Meanwhile, SNP MSP for Glasgow Humza Yousaf has taken to social networking website Twitter to accuse Newlands and Auldburn Labour councillor Stephen Curran of “pitching for Matheson’s job”, asking “if he doesn’t “have confidence in him (Matheson) why should Glasgow”.

Mr Curran down-played any link between him and party leadership in the city replying: “Matheson is the best choice for Glasgow.

“As I’m not joining the SNP, I won’t be running for leader of the opposition”.