Glasgow leader calls for devolution of powers from Holyrood

More powers should be devolved to Glasgow from Holyrood in order to transform its economy, the leader of the city council has said.

Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council, says the Holyrood should devolve more power to the city. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

Frank McAveety said the Scottish Government should allow Glasgow greater say in health, transport and business rates.

“Since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament there has been a sucking of powers from local government towards a more centralised model,” he said in an interview with The Times.

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“The SNP has levered £250 million out of our budget since 2007. Instead of things being sucked into the centre and being directed by Edinburgh and by ministers, let’s trust local democracy to deliver the changes that really matter.”

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Mr McAveety, a former Labour MSP, was speaking shortly after it was announced funding for infrastructure projects in the Clyde Valley as part of the region’s City Deal agreement has passed £100 million for the first time.

Land remediation work in Sighthill, which will allow a major housebuilding programme near Glasgow city centre, and the construction of the Gartcosh link road in North Lanarkshire are among the schemes to have grant applications signed off this week.

The link road, which won planning permission last year, will unlock hundreds of millions of pounds for the economy by facilitating delivery of up to 3,300 new homes and generating £250m in private sector housing investment.

The Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal, signed in 2014, frees up central government funding for regional investment, as well as allowing local authorities to borrow the remainder required to complete projects.

A total of £1.3 billion has already been secured and will be distributed over the coming years.

In a statement, Mr McAveety, chair of the Glasgow City Region cabinet, said: “We’re seeing projects take shape and the latest round of business cases approved today means we’ve now released more than £100m from the City Deal pot.

“We’re making real progress and we’re well on the road to realising the benefits that our City Deal will bring in terms of new jobs, improved infrastructure and more investment.”