By Susannah Radford
The future of nine Glasgow Railway stations was at the heart of the debate at the Glasgow City Council Meeting in the Council Chambers last week.
In the first motion of the meeting, Councillor Alistair Watson called on The Scottish Government “to instruct its Transport Agency to withdraw the consultation document on the future of Rail and engage in meaningful consultation that will support the growth of the Rail Network in Glasgow.”
His motion follows the huge public response to the Transport Scotland fact sheet published in December 2011. This fact sheet listed a number of railway stations in Glasgow located within a mile of each other, heightening fears that some might be closed.
Labour Councillor Watson was highly critical of the Rail 2014 consultation document which examines the way that train services will be delivered from 2014 onwards, saying the consultation was ” flawed.”
SNP Councillor Craig Mackay proposing an amendment to the motion, highlighted there were “no plans to close stations in Glasgow,” and accused Labour of “scaremongering.” Bailie John McLaughlin, seconding the SNP amendment, also highlighted in his speech that there were no proposals to close any stations.
Councillor James Dornan defended the consultation, saying that it was about asking questions and again reiterated that the consultation “will not close any stations.”
Lib Dem Councillor Christopher Mason, warned against the phrase “there are no plans” while providing a few historical examples of when politicians had gone back on their word.
Councillor Watson summing up the motion said that this was “an issue important to Glasgow.” He was happy to accept Scottish Green Party Councillor Kieran Wild’s amendment as an addendum. Watson’s motion was voted in favour of the SNP amendment 55 – 18, with 1 abstention.[caption id="attachment_510" align="alignright" width="147" caption="Councillor John Flanagan"][/caption]
Councillor John Flanagan raised a motion to set up a Cross Party Working group to engage with the carers of people with Alzheimers. This group would ensure that carers were supported and listened to.
Councillor Flanagan was inspired by the efforts of Tommy Whitelaw whose ‘Tommy on Tour‘ campaign raised awareness of dementia throughout Scotland, particularly the challenges faced by the carers of those with dementia.
Seconded by Councillor Glass, a number of councillors lent their support to this cause. Councillor David McDonald said he “was humbled” to read some of the carer’s letters collected by Tommy Whitelaw.
Just before a unanimous council vote to set up a Cross Party Working Group, Councillor Flanagan praised Tommy Whitelaw:- ”He is a real true life hero to Glasgow.”
Prison Visiting Committees also came under the spotlight when Councillor Mary Paris called on The Scottish Government to “oppose the abolition of Prison Visiting Committees and to support instead their strengthening.” Prison Visiting Committees provide an independent monitoring of prisons and committee members are made up of volunteers.
There was strong support for Councillor Paris’s motion. Councillor Mason urged MSPs not to approve the consultation document. He said that Prison Visiting Committees were fundamental. Representing the citizen in the prison service, he said:- “They are there on behalf of us to make sure standards in prison reflect community aspiration.”
The motion was voted for by 50 – 12.
Click here for the full Council agenda for the meeting held on 16 February 2012.
Click here for The Edinburgh Reporter’s coverage of The City of Edinburgh Council’s motion regarding the abolition of Prison Visiting Committees