In local government, Labour values endure

Jim Logue, Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, reflects on the first year of a Labour minority administration.

 

Labour in Scotland has always had its roots in local government.

From the time of John Wheatley and Mary Barbour to the present day, Labour councillors have worked tirelessly for their communities and sought to protect the most vulnerable. Indeed, it was often remarked that in certain parts of Scotland, the Labour vote was weighed and not counted.

This is no longer the case.

The political landscape has changed for Scottish Labour in recent years, and nowhere has it been more keenly felt than in local government. Gone are the days of thumping majorities and little opposition and in its place is the need to fight for every vote and minority administrations which necessitate the need for compromise.

We find ourselves in such a position in North Lanarkshire, where we are now one year on since the new Labour minority administration took up office. This is the first such administration in the history of North Lanarkshire Council and whilst it has not been without its challenges, I can proudly say that it has been a year of progress.

We are currently in the third phase of our ambitious modernisation programme to rebuild and refurbish our schools and are in the midst of the biggest council housebuilding programme in a generation.

Our plans to significantly transform housing and revitalise our town centre areas – demolishing all 48 residential towers over the next 20 years – are bold, aspirational plans, which have support from all political parties, to really transform the landscape of North Lanarkshire’s towns and communities.

And we’re delivering all of this with less money from the Scottish Government, as we continue to see the cuts in real cash terms that local government receives.

However, despite the great strides and hard work over the last year, the blight of poverty across North Lanarkshire is still very much present in our communities.

That’s why we have delivered the award-winning Club 365 pilot – which will be rolled out further this summer – and an increase in the school uniform clothing grant to one of the highest levels in Scotland, in addition to rolling out free sanitary products to every secondary school in North Lanarkshire to combat period poverty. Our Fairness Commission – set up by the Labour administration in the last council term – will report on its recommendations later this year and build on this vital work to ensure we build a society in North Lanarkshire that is truly for the many and not the few.

On our economy, the latest figures by the ONS indicate that North Lanarkshire is one of the strongest and fastest growing economies in Scotland and the excellent work by our administration through the Glasgow City Region Deal – which includes the biggest single roads and infrastructure investment in North Lanarkshire’s history – and our ambitious economic regeneration programme will improve connectivity in the area, create thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships and provide a significant boost to the North Lanarkshire economy.

Although our plans are only beginning to take shape, significant progress has been made, as we see new roads, schools and housing developments being built, investment in our businesses and local economy and the most vulnerable being protected from the worst of SNP and Tory austerity.

This last year has witnessed some great change and is testament to what Labour can achieve in power and in government. With even more exciting times ahead, I am incredibly proud to have led this first Labour minority administration through its year of progress. Alongside my Labour colleagues, I will continue to do all I can to achieve our vision of North Lanarkshire being a terrific place to live, learn, work, invest and visit and to showcase our Labour values through our policies.

There can be no question that the last few years has changed the way Scottish Labour councillors must approach local government, particularly in negotiating the political complexities of a minority administration.

But our determination, commitment and enduring Labour values are still at the heart of all we do.

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7 thoughts on “In local government, Labour values endure

  1. I am a party member and in the 80s I was told we weigh the votes as well .
    I was quite shocked by that statement .
    As soon as a credible opposition came along the SNP those votes disappeared and went to them .And we did not see it coming and got wiped out at Westminster in 15 .Here in North Ayrshire we took control of the council back from the SNP at the last local election the age of our councillors is mainly 30s 40s I think the council leader is in his early thirties .
    Gone are the days of weighing votes .
    Our council is concentrating on local issues and listening and it is paying off people are telling us what they think and want .

  2. Is there an election in the offing? A by-election in N.Lanarkshire perhaps? This certainly reads like a party political pamphlet.

  3. I bet you forgot which political party voted for Tory austerity down in Westminster, it was just a few years past.

    Hint : it wasn’t the SNP.

  4. No Political statement here .
    I have sent numerous emails to local papers and the National over the years warning about scam phonecalls Irvine Beat FM a local community radio station has a Sunday talkin show which is a phone in .
    I have emphasised never reveal your financial details over the phone .
    I use the DWP as an example by saying the DWP for example will never ask you for your financial details they will write to you .
    In March I returned a form to the DWP by post giving permission for them to approach my Pension Fund for this years details .I have to do this every year .
    This morning a woman contacted me by mobile saying she was DWP Aberdeen I live in North Ayrshire .
    She said to speed things up could I tell her over the phone my Pension details .
    I said I sent a form in in March .
    She said it had just been received and she was trying to speed things up by contacting me direct .
    I would not give any details so she laughed and said she would contact the Pension Fund .
    When she hung up .I checked my mobile the call came from the Bathgate Centre which is the DWP .
    I am writing this because the DWP don’t normally do this by phone.
    I thought this is a scam but Bathgate is a DWP Centre and the form was to Bathgate via Wolverhampton where mail gets scanned into the System .
    That’s where the problem is .
    So maybe when the new system is up and running here we can speed things up .

  5. M and S closing stores 157 jobs going Tesco direct to close 500 jobs at risk and that’s just today what will it take for us to waken up and do something about this. We could start by campaigning against the scourge of online shopping and banking its costing jobs .

  6. That call from the DWP was genuine they cant remember anyone asking for financial details over the phone before .
    I will be phoned again in 48hrs

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