ONE of the most important things we do as elected members in Glasgow is setting a budget for our city each year.

With our city facing a £40,000,000 black hole and consistent cuts from the Scottish Government (despite Scotland’s overall budget rising), these decisions are incredibly difficult. We in the Conservative group have been weighing up the options for months and have put forward our five key priorities.

Firstly, more money for our parks and the cleansing department. Anyone who has been to a park in the city recently will have seen firsthand the issues that have cropped up and I have witnessed this in my own ward with Linn Park. Glaswegians are not happy with the filth and litter that is all over their streets and greenspaces – it’s time more money is allocated so we can get our city back to a presentable standard.

Secondly, the most common complaint that residents have is the state of our roads and pavements. This is often given lip service by the governing party at the time of elections but now it’s clear that the patchwork jobs simply won’t cut it anymore. It’s time for proper investment in this area for the sake of car suspensions across the city.

Thirdly, a real focus on children’s literacy. This was articulated by my colleague Councillor Kerr at the last full council meeting. Far too many young people are growing up without the books and reading resources that they need and with falling literacy rates across Scotland this must be a priority.

Fourthly, an expanded town centre action fund. There is some progress being made by the council in this area, but we must be ambitious. Many people feel that their areas are being left behind and money is only being spent in the city centre.

Lastly, council tax. I have proudly stood with my colleagues in the last two budgets and fought tooth and nail for a freeze in council tax. In conversations I have had at Community Councils, many people feel that they are always paying more but seem to be getting less. The Conservative group will always fight for fairer council tax and in this budget, we want to ensure that the cash that is raised with an increase is directly tied to improving services.

It is my belief that these five areas are ambitious but also grounded in the depressing reality that the Scottish Government have placed us all in. Anyone that walks our streets knows that we need serious investment in the city’s physical infrastructure and in the staff that work to maintain it. For too long these basic services have been neglected by an administration that is more interested in grandstanding on Brexit or independence than focusing on bins and potholes. This budget is a chance to change that and focus on the day to day priorities of Glaswegians – the day job that as councillors we are elected to do. Let’s work together and find common ground.