Former shadow minister Paul Sweeney blames SNP budget cuts for 'horrendous level of lost venues' in Glasgow

Labour candidate Paul Sweeney has blamed SNP budget cuts for the “horrendous level of lost venues” in Glasgow as venues across Scotland’s largest city remain closed.

The former MP and shadow minister took to Twitter to highlight his concern for many venues still unable to reopen in Glasgow despite lockdown easing.

Citing Glasgow Life’s list of venues unable to open with immediate effect, Mr Sweeney, current Labour candidate for Glasgow, said: “This is still a horrendous level of lost venues in Glasgow's communities.

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"Closures, 'not scheduled for reopening', privatised or dumped on community groups with no guarantees on grant funding.

"It all goes back to SNP budget cuts.”

The list of venues includes the Gallery of Modern Art’s library, Scotland Street School Museum, and several community and sports facilities across the city.

Glasgow City Council said there were “various reasons” for the closures, citing that some were being used as testing centres, others were unable to operate under Covid restrictions and some were the subject of discussions regarding “a greater level of community management”.

A spokesperson for Glasgow Life said: “We have been very clear for some time now about the impact of the pandemic on Glasgow Life.

The Gallery of Modern Art is the main gallery of contemporary art in Glasgow (Photo: John Devlin).

"It has affected our ability to open venues and run the services, events and experiences we are proud of delivering for the people of Glasgow and visitors to the city.”

Glasgow Life’s budget for 2021/22 is nearly 15 per cent lower than their pre-pandemic budget.

A £100 million safety net recently announced by Glasgow City Council will be used in its entirety to reopen more than 90 facilities across the city.

The Glasgow Life spokesperson said: "The increased financial security provided by the council will allow us to reopen a third more venues than the initial 61 we indicated in July last year.”

The organisation said they were “exploring opportunities” with the council for the alternative provision and were looking at how communities could become involved in running venues.

Three Glasgow Life venues are being run by local organisations as part of Community Activation Pilots with more than 150 expressions of interest, including for some Glasgow Life venues that do not currently have reopening dates.

Glasgow Life added: “The initiative was launched just two months ago and it will take time to assess these and further applications.”

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