‘You’ve let people down’ Sturgeon grilled over Glasgow waste collection crisis

Nicola Sturgeon addresses Glasgow waste collection issues

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Nicola Sturgeon dismissed the claims by Alan Smith, political editor for Radio Forth News. Mr Smith asked: “On local issues, you talk about the SNP providing strong leadership. Much has been made about Glasgow for example and the cleansing issues Glasgow has had. Just outside where we are doing these interviews today, there is rubbish across the streets.

“Is that not an example of the SNP letting down people in these communities?”

Ms Sturgeon said: “I think that there are real issues for councils across the country.

“We are doing what they can to protect this budget so in this financial year, the Scottish government budget reduced about five percent in real terms.

“The decisions we’ve taken have resulted in around six percent in the overall increase in the local government funding settlement.

“But these are difficult times and I know that cleansing issues in Glasgow are difficult.

“Although I also know that you will see people here over the course cleaning up rubbish in the street because the cleansing workers do a really good job.

“As a local MSP here, these are issues I raise on behalf of my constituents all the time and the council have been and will continue to work hard in these difficult times to get on top of these things and make sure people have the services they deserve.”

Last October, Glasgow’s SNP council leader Susan Aitken has denied bins are overflowing and rubbish collectors have needed hospital treatment for rat attacks, as she insisted the city is ready to host Cop26.

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She went on to argue that other cities are dirtier than Glasgow and she is “not embarrassed” about its condition while blaming Margaret Thatcher for “abandoning” the city.

Ms Aitken has told Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee: “I do not, in any way, shy away from the challenges that we face as a city, historic challenges that have been around for many, many years.

“Much of them a legacy of our post-industrial past when the Thatcher government walked away and abandoned Glasgow and left in neglect communities right across this city.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross asked whether the “technical issues were that the bins are overflowing, there’s rats in the streets and some of your employees have been taken to hospital while collecting that rubbish?”

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Ms Aitken denied that was the case, although she later admitted that there have been “small incidents” where rubbish collectors had been taken to hospital after “very minor contact with a rat”.

The GMB union has said it is aware of four binmen being taken to hospital after rat attacks, although Ms Aitken told the committee there was “one, possibly two at most”.

The SNP councillor said: “Our cleansing employees occasionally experience rats.

“It’s also not something that is unique to Glasgow, it’s something that’s happening right across the UK – all cities have rats.”

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