The first year of the twenties is shaping up to be a big year for Glasgow.

As well as major events planned there are big changes looming and also real opportunities to take action to solve some very serious long running problems that have been allowed to get out of control.

COP 26

At the end of the year one of the biggest political events to come to the city will be held as the UN COP 26 Climate Change summit rolls into Glasgow.

It will put the city at the forefront of environmental action as world leaders, scientists, academics and others with an interest in climate change will gather in the city.

Glasgow will of course benefit economically from such a huge gathering, but it offers a greater opportunity for the city. It must lead by example and show what it is doing to tackle climate change at a local level.

A city choked with private motor vehicles won’t do that but one with a vision for an integrated public transport network and a clean city environment, and not just in the city centre, will.

Last year the Connectivity Commission, set up by the council, published its report and many of the recommendations will be implemented. Some will take time but others can be done quicker and are already happening.


The first is what to do with George Square. Leave it as it is or make some changes.

The changes could include full pedestrianisation or a car free square with other changes in the city centre to make it a more appealing environment for people.

It is not just the famous square that will be affected as the plans will ripple through the city centre turning streets into places for people to be, not just for getting through.

The Low Emission Zone will progress, moving towards cars as well as buses being included.

Change is definitely coming to the city centre and we can expect the pace of that to increase this year.

The Connectivity Commission also proposed a Glasgow Metro, with trams running on key routes into the city centre.

This is obviously a long-term project but we can expect some movement in 2020 on making it a reality.


The Glasgow Times, last year, called for an emergency Drug Death Summit. Both Scottish and UK Governments have said it will take place in Glasgow.

Last year, the statistics showed 280 people died in Glasgow in 2018 of a drug related death. The 2019 figures, due in July, will certainly show another increase and the need to act cannot be ignored any longer.

What the statistics do not show are the 280 families devastated by the loss of someone they love. They do not show the person’s story and what led them down a life of drug addiction and what possibly could have been done to intervene.

The summit must happen and the opportunity for not only serious discussions but urgent action that can save lives this year, and in the coming years, must not be squandered.

We have an opportunity to start to turn around a tragedy that has blighted our city for decades.


The SNP administration, led by Susan Aitken at the City Chambers, is no longer a new administration and it will be expected to deliver on solving problems.

When it sets its budget this year, it will be expected to have the stated commitments backed up with action.

It includes tackling homelessness among the hard to reach, people with multiple complex needs, including rough sleepers but also among those who are registered as homeless but still with a roof over their heads.

The council is facing court action by the charity Shelter and the Housing Regulator is investigating the procedures in place.

The first step is getting recognition from the Scottish Government that the city has a bigger problem than most.

Because of its size and greater population but also, Glasgow is a magnet for people coming from other areas in Scotland, the UK and Europe and who then present as homeless.

This needs extra funding for services to cope.

Housing First has been established and must be properly resourced to achieve its undoubted potential.

Then there needs to be enough cash spent on the right configuration of services needed to get people into housing but more important is the need for support services to deal with the serious underlying problems that lead to people becoming homeless in the first place.

The year 2020 can be a year when Glasgow effects meaningful change in the city and helps those who need it, which will benefit everyone in the long run.

And real progress to create the infrastructure for a modern city that functions for the people who live and work here.

Happy New Year to all our Glasgow Times readers.