Labour must win trust in communities to regain power in Glasgow says Frank McAveety as he prepares to step down as Glasgow group leader.

The Labour stalwart, twice leader of the council, once in 1997 and again in 2015, has seen many changes in the city and sees many challenges ahead.

The two main issues he highlights are decisions taken in his first spell as a councillor but which he says improvements now prove they were correct at the time.

Housing and schools are two of the biggest achievements Mr McAveety says he can look back on over a career spanning four decades.

When he first took over, Labour in the City Chambers had been at war with itself with rivalry between Jean McFadden and Pat Lally hamstringing the party.

Mr McAveety said, at aged 35, he was the “generational shift” choice as leader.

He said the challenges facing the council then was improving conditions in communities.

Mr McAveety said: “The most fundamental change is in public social housing. It has been nothing short of revolutionary.

“The council had previously borrowed money to build houses that didn’t last. There was no money for investment or a decent repair service.”

He said the Labour Government in 1997, with Gordon Brown as Chancellor after 18 years of Tory Government, offered an opportunity for change.

The key, he said, was Gordon Brown was willing to take the debt into the exchequer with a new model of management.

He said: “After a few turbulent years we now have GHA and Wheatley Group with good leadership of housing in the city, and they have money to invest.

“We even have new housing in the city with two toilets.”

The move to close many schools and rebuild and refurbish a new secondary school estate using private finance is also paying off, he said.

He said school rolls were falling and buildings were decaying and over capacity.

On private finance being at odds with Labour principles, he said: “My view is, change is painful and difficult. You can be ideologically pure and maintain mediocrity. Or make the change.”

“It was the right decision. While there are massive challenges we are seeing now improvements in exam results year on year.

“If you can provide decent housing and good schools then young people have got a chance.”

His successor faces the challenge of trying to win back control at the City Chambers in a political climate dominated by the argument over independence.

The Labour Party in Glasgow has gone from total domination at elections, with every MP and constituency MSP and a majority on the council, to the total opposite.

It also has to content with a Conservative Party winning seas in the council and at Holyrood on the back of anti-independence.

Mr McAveety said Labour needs to stick to its principles.

He said: “Scotland has changed. How does Labour command its historic mission to tackle poverty and speak to aspiration?”

He said the party is best when it combines the two.

The Labour Party has to operate on three levels, UK, Scotland and at a local government level.

He said: “Keir Starmer will make a difference at a UK level but what’s the message for the future of Scotland.”

A credible Labour alternative at a UK level is crucial to providing an answer to independence, he said.

Just now he sees politics which a its lowest common denominator is “the waving of one flag or another”.

He said: “Does waving a flag provide good social housing or decent schools.”

It takes him back to the purpose and mission of what he thinks Labour must be in the future.

He said: “Labour needs to learn to go local. It must be in people’s everyday lives. And councils engaging with communities.”

As he prepares to hand over the reins to a new group leader Mr McAveety says he sees people capable of the role.

But he adds: “We need to encourage more talented people to come through.

Within the group of councillors, where his successor will come from, he said “Some have experience others could test themselves”.

He added: “We need to have an open and inclusive contest.

“The SNP have their own troubles. Labour needs to focus on being credible alternative.”

His parting message as leader is: “To win trust back, every Labour councillor has to work doubly hard.”