Scotland’s largest local authority has called for a great devolution of powers wielded by quangos to help tackle the scourge of poor health in Glasgow and get people back into employment.
With nearly a third of the city’s working age population economically inactive, Glasgow City Council is campaigning for greater levers to allow them to tackle historic socio-economic problems.
The local authority’s leader, Frank McAveety, has appointed a commission to see how best to get sick people back to work and address the estimated £4.6 billion drain on the local economy.
Mr McAveety, a deputy health minister in the first Labour-led Holyrood administration, said that although the city has a higher proportion of working-age residents than the national average, it also has the third largest share of those out of work.
The new health and inequality commission, set up to find ways to create a healthy workforce and bolster the economy, was announced at yesterday’s State of the City economy conference.
Mr McAveety urged the Scottish Government to devolve the functions of bodies such as Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, which he called “distant, national bodies”.
He said: “We need to foster a cross-body approach which tackles our city’s poor health and creates a healthy workforce, capable of securing personally rewarding jobs for themselves and their families, and contributing to the sort of economic growth in the city that we are aiming for.”
“Glasgow’s city region currently has two governments intent on pursuing their own agendas. What we need is for both of them to support us and devolve the necessary tools to innovate our skill base, attract high-quality jobs and tackle the socio-economic barriers that are keeping our people out of work.”