THE Scottish Greens are calling on the Scottish government to hand over a bailout to Glasgow Life to ensure the opening of all libraries and leisure centres in the city.

With no clear reopening date mooted for three South Side local libraries, fears have grown that the community hubs may permanently close.

While Glasgow Life has not given a clear timeline to the question of the future of Govanhill, Langside and Pollokshields libraries, an SNP council insider said there are no plans to close them.

Patrick Harvie MSP said: “Libraries are a lifeline for communities and will be even more so in the months ahead, when many people will need them to get online to look for jobs, access learning, or just have a place to get away from it all.

“Glasgow Life’s financial losses are so great that they will need urgent government help if they’re to safeguard services for the public and avoid damaging job losses.

“That’s why I’m calling for an urgent bailout so these essential services can reopen as soon as possible.”

Glasgow Times:

A petition set up by Govanhill resident Alishia Farnan calling for the future of the three venues to be secured has gained more than 6000 signatures in a matter of days.

Now the Greens have set up a campaign asking residents to contact their MSPs to ask for cash for Glasgow Life to plug a £38 million gap in funding caused by the pandemic.

Councillor David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life, said: “All interest from politicians in the work of Glasgow Life is of help to us during this time of unprecedented challenge.

“As one of Scotland’s largest charities, Glasgow Life has indeed had a lot to cope with as a result of Covid-19. I would be glad to hear from Mr Harvie to understand more about his suggestion, but as of yet he has not been in touch with me or anyone from Glasgow Life to discuss his proposal.

“Glasgow Life has always enjoyed a positive partnership with its main funder Glasgow City Council and enjoyed the regular support of the Scottish Government.

“We look forward to meeting Ministers shortly, with the Glasgow’s City Council leader, to continue discussions about how best to safeguard Glasgow’s cultural assets, which are of local, regional, national and international importance.

“Glasgow Life’s mission is to inspire people in the city to lead richer and more active lives through culture, sport and learning.

“We are proud of the offering we provide through museums, cultural events, communities and sport.

“These facilities and services play a significant role in improving the health and wellbeing of citizens, and Glasgow is a better city for having access to them.

“We are committed to continuing to ensure Glasgow is a vibrant and fulfilling place to live, work and visit, while protecting our shared living heritage in culture, sport and learning.”

Local Green councillor Kim Long said the party had helped secure funding for Glasgow through budget deals.

She pointed to the fact local facilities that are remaining closed, such as Whitehill Pool, have previously been under threat.

But an SNP Group spokesman said: “There are no plans to shut any Glasgow library or for any to remain closed longer than is necessary.

“They have a crucial role in this city’s recovery but the health and safety of staff and service users is paramount.

“Critically, we still await detail from the UK Government on how it intends to compensate local authorities across the UK for loss of income during the pandemic.

“It is vital they move on this fast.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said the impact of Covid-19 on councils’ budgets is "huge", estimated at around £90m across the council and associated organisations.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “This is a hugely challenging and concerning time for those in the culture and heritage sector and we are doing all we can to support them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“To date, the Scottish Government have committed £330 million of additional funding to local government for COVID-19 measures, including £125 million for local government from the Supporting Communities Fund.

“While it remains the responsibility of individual local authorities to allocate funding based on local needs and priorities, we are working closely with all partners, including COSLA, Museums and Galleries Scotland and the Scottish Libraries and Information Council, to understand the specific circumstances in supporting Culture and Leisure Trusts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.”