FIVE weeks into lockdown and Glasgow’s response to this most brutal of human tragedies and trying of circumstances has been outstanding.

From our NHS and council workers, supermarket staff, the third sector and community groups mustering across communities, and indeed from ordinary Glaswegians, the reaction to Covid-19 has brought out much of what is great about our city.

We can’t lose sight that we remain in an emergency situation. The number of fatalities continues to rise and all the scientific advice tells us the current measures are essential to protect life and must remain in place. Despite that, it’s inevitable that conversations begin to turn to preparing for life after lockdown. The financial shock for many employers and households has been severe. When we come through the other side, some businesses may not recover and jobs could be lost.

As part of the council’s emergency response, our Business Support team has worked round the clock to administer the Scottish Government’s business grants scheme. This is neither easy nor straightforward but is one of our top priorities. Glasgow has one of the UK’s biggest business bases and a particularly high number of smaller businesses. New systems had to be put in place from scratch and additional staff trained to process the 13,000 applications received so far. But more than £20million has already gone into the accounts of city businesses. Staff are making a monumental effort and I ask businesses to please continue to bear with us as we work through the applications.

Working with our city partners, the council is already planning a path to get the city economy back on its feet and support those hardest hit. Our Covid-19 Recovery Group will meet for the first time next week. Made up of experts from the public, private, academic and third sectors, it mobilises our well-established and mature ‘Team Glasgow’ approach to the city economy to step up in response to this biggest economic challenge we’ve faced in decades.

Glasgow doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel here. We’ve already got the structures, shared vision and a proven willingness to collaborate and innovate across sectors for the sake of our city. Our task now is to sharpen focus and accelerate activity on the things we already know we need to build a city economy that really works for Glasgow’s people and communities.

I’m determined the City Govern-ment’s work on the road ahead focuses not just on economic recovery but also renewal. We cannot simply return to ‘business as usual’. The coronavirus emergency has exposed once again that many people in the UK live in the most precarious financial circumstances, just one step ahead of crisis.

In Glasgow, our economic policies focus on championing Fair Work, expanding opportunities to disadvantaged communities, and equalising our young people’ life chances. Post-lockdown, we must grasp the opportunity to not only push that work further but to reimagine and rebuild our city economy as something more sustainable and inclusive.

Talk of rebuilding isn’t just rhetoric. Major investment in infrastructure will be pivotal to stimulating our recovery. Glasgow City Council has been actively planning with Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise colleagues to push forward with the revitalisation of the Clyde and our riverfront.

The Clyde Mission has the capacity to bring vacant and derelict land back into use for homes and jobs and activate the potential of the river to help address the climate change emergency. In the post-pandemic world, these plans will have a real urgency.

So too will the opportunities from the construction and completion of our plans for a city Metro: a transformational green infrastructure project, the first stage of which would complement the work on the Clyde Mission.

Across the world, cities are looking to make permanent the huge increase in walking and cycling we’ve seen during the lockdown, making people-centred public spaces the future norm. Glasgow’s ambitions in this respect are already well known and we’re thinking about fast forwarding implementation of our existing plans for healthier, greener, more vibrant living streets.

We’ll also have challenging asks of both the UK and Scottish Governments. These will not just be demands for more money but also about giving the Glasgow City Region – the powerhouse of the Scottish economy – the powers and flexibility we need to lead recovery and renewal, not just for ourselves but for the whole nation.

The City Deal is one example: there are hundreds of millions of pounds still in the pot. The Glasgow City Region has already proven our ability to deliver. Maybe now’s the time for both governments to drop the planned 20-year timescale and release those funds now, to allow us to urgently address both our pressing immediate needs and longer-term well-being.

This pandemic has been a collective trauma such as our society has not experienced in most of our lifetimes. For too many, that trauma has also been deeply personal. Recovery will be no easy task. But by thinking and planning ahead, using our networks, partnerships and talent for innovation and resilience, Glasgow will recover and renew, as we have had to before. We need to get our economy motoring again – but an economy which delivers for all our people and for a sustainable future.