M E Mackenzie (February 27) is right to draw attention once again to the woeful lack of information and prior consultation by Glasgow City Council regarding the transfer of control of certain services and assets to a separate charitable company.
Common good assets included in this transfer were donated or bequeathed to Glasgow by many past benefactors, to be held in trust and administered by the city council for the benefit of the whole community. Whatever argument there may be about the actual ownership of these assets, there is no doubt that the elected councillors have both a legal and a moral duty of trust, which they are now in process of abandoning.
Readers may be interested in the recent comments of the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government Committee, in its report to ministers after taking evidence and debating this matter. “The committee is concerned that the standard of record-keeping of common good assets by local authorities does not appear to be consistent.”
“Assets should be properly valued and clearly and correctly recorded, and this information should be transparent and easily accessible.”
“Common good assets should be promoted better to allow communities more influence over their use,” and “there should be formal consultation with a community before the disposal of any common good asset.”
Glasgow City Council’s rushed decision to transfer control of some of these assets to a separate company is hardly the best way to meet these requirements. The action is not just irresponsible, it shows total contempt for the citizens who put them into power.
It seems that council leader Stephen Purcell is now behaving like Big Brother Tony Blair, ignoring all opposition and using an unrepresentative majority produced by an undemocratic voting system to drive through his own personal agenda.
Iain A D Mann, 7 Kelvin Court, Glasgow.