Newly elected MSP for Glasgow, Humza Yousaf, has urged Glasgow City Council to call a moratorium on their proposals to withdraw concessionary rates for local charities.
The current proposals are estimated, by Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS), to affect 200 local charities, community groups and service providers.
Mr Yousaf has released an open letter to Glasgow City Council from local charities, national organisations, international NGOs, civic leaders and cross party MSPs calling for a rethink on the proposed plans.
The letter urges the city council to consult with the third sector and warns that many local services will be lost, if the plans go ahead, with the cost having to be met by the local authority and taxpayers.
Humza Yousaf MSP said: "I've been consulting many local charities over the last week and it is clear that these plans are making all of them extremely anxious and worried.
"The findings from GCVS clearly indicate that many of Glasgow's loved charities and local community organisations will have to shut if their rent is forcibly increased by the City Council.
"The proposal seems extremely ill thought out. With local services, such as Carers centres, having to be reduced or scrapped, the taxpayer and the city council will have to pick up the bill
"These proposals are a dagger in the heart of Glasgow's historic and global reputation as a caring and compassionate city.
"With support from DEC members such as Oxfam and Islamic Relief, Civic leaders from Churches and Mosques and even cross-party support from my parliamentary colleagues, I am sure the call for a moratorium is loud and clear. I urge Glasgow City Council to listen to that call."
1. The letter is below:
Charity Concessionary Rates
We the undersigned, urge Glasgow City Council to reconsider its position to withdraw concessionary rental rates for charities across the city.
We believe that Glasgow has an historic tradition of responding to those most vulnerable in our society and current proposals would threaten this global reputation.
Many of the charities affected offer a vital local service which they can only provide because of the concessionary rental scheme. The withdrawal of this will lead to many of them having to either close down or provide a seriously reduced service.
We believe the cost to the local authority of losing these services will far outweigh the income they may generate from withdrawing the concessionary rate.
We therefore call on Glasgow City Council to put an immediate moratorium on their plans and consult with the third sector to find a way forward, whereby Glasgow's reputation as a caring city is not put at risk.
Judith Robertson - Director Oxfam Scotland Habib Malik - Chairperson Islamic Relief Scotland Rev. Neil Galbraith - Moderator of the Glasgow Presbytery Mr Shaheen Tufail - President of Glasgow Central Mosque (TBC) Rev. John Matthews - Chair Faith in Community Scotland Martin Sime - Scottish Council Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) Helen MacNeil - Chief Exec Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) The Princess Royal Trust for Carers Dr Rami Ousta -Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure Scotland (BEMIS) Colin Lee - Council for Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations (CEMVO) Gary Christie - Head of Policy & Communications Scottish Refugee Council Ross Galbraith -Glasgow the Caring City Agnes G. McGroarty - Glasgow Forum of Scottish Seniors Alliance Humza Yousaf MSP (Glasgow Region) Sandra White MSP (Glasgow Kelvin) James Dornan MSP (Glasgow Cathcart) John Mason MSP (Glasgow Shettleston) Bill Kidd (Glasgow Anniesland) Bob Doris (Glasgow Region - SNP) Ruth Davidson MSP (Glasgow Region - Scottish Conservatives) Patrick Harvie (Glasgow Region - Scottish Green Party) Angela Donaldson - Scotland Director Arthritis Care Scotland Shirley Maxwell - Epilepsy Connections Elizabeth Gore - Energy Action Scotland David Thomson - Destiny Church Frances Monaghan - Wise Women Mohammed Rajak - Ucare Foundation Jack Trow - Harps Community Project Robina Qureshi - Positive Action in Housing Firooz Behseresht - Iranian Scottish Association Derek Goh - Glasgow Chinese Association Kut-O Village Benevolent Society Furrah Arshad - Ethnic Enable Arvind Salwan - New Media Corp Ian Dickson - Your Choice (Strathclyde) Kiran Women's Support Group
2. James Dornan MSP has also put forward a motion in the Scottish Parliament on the issue:
Concessionary Rents Scheme S4M-00014 James Dornan (Scottish National Party):
That the Parliament expresses its deep concern at the decision by Glasgow City Council to cease its concessionary rents scheme and charge local charities full commercial rents for their properties; understands that the ending of the scheme will adversely affect many charities across Glasgow, including Glasgow the Caring City, based in the Castlemilk area of the Glasgow Cathcart constituency, which, it understands, helps thousands of children who live in Glasgow and also helps hundreds of thousands of children across the world deal with the effects of natural disasters and poverty; considers this proposal to be diametrically opposed to Glasgow's history and tradition of helping those most in need around the world, and calls on Glasgow City Council to reconsider its decision to scrap this policy and to allow Glasgow's charities to flourish, not flounder.
3. GCVS Report on the issue is available here.