31 May 2016
Life at the Chamber is hugely varied because our members are diverse - large and small and from all sectors. But there are some issues raised with us which are of great concern to every member and, with one of these in mind, I spent a couple of hours last week at an event supporting the launch of a new Council initiative.
The Leader of the Council, Frank McAveety, announced the establishment of an Environmental Task Force (ETF). Businesses hate seeing Glasgow clogged up with litter and waste, and this is one of the most common complaints when we have our member discussions with the Council Leader. So I had no hesitation accepting an invitation to speak in favour of the initiative.
The ETF is an addition to the normal cleansing service and will involve 30 rapid response teams managed from the city’s Operations Centre in Bridgeton. The teams will be specialist units that will tackle fly tipping, general littering and graffiti removal alongside wider measures to improve the look and feel of the city. The teams are already up on social media and citizens, including businesses, can contact the teams directly to highlight areas that need to be dealt with.
I set out three reasons why we think the ETF is worthwhile. The first is the obvious one - there are businesses all across Glasgow welcoming customers to their premises who want to be seen in the best light and certainly don’t like operating in a rubbish tip. Many of these owners and managers live in the city, are proud of Glasgow and want everyone who comes here to be impressed.
That applies to tourists as well. Glasgow is seeing a growth in leisure visitors as a legacy of the Commonwealth Games, the development of the Hydro and the many sports and cultural events like the World Gymnastics or the Turner Prize that have been staged since the end of the Games. Our tourist attractions, unlike many other cities, are not all concentrated in the city centre, whether it’s the Burrell Collection, the Riverside Museum, the Science Centre or the Emirates Arena. So tourists are travelling all across the city every day. We made a special effort to keep Glasgow clean during the Games but we need to be doing the same thing all year round and every year.
Finally, we have been arguing vigorously that Glasgow’s economy is a powerhouse for Scotland. It is a success and we’ve been setting out why we think it is no longer appropriate to talk about the need to ‘regenerate’ Glasgow. Glasgow’s economy has diversified and is growing. But if we are to persuade investors to come to enjoy the opportunities Glasgow can offer we need everyone in Glasgow to share in the city’s prosperity. Citizens of our city surrounded by fly tipping and litter are bound to be sceptical.
So we are supporting the work of the EFT and we encourage members to put it to the test, and to let us know how you get on.