AFTER five years of a second stint as Labour Leader on Glasgow City Council, my good friend and colleague, Frank McAveety, decided to stand down.

Everyone who knows him knows how much he has given to community he has represented at both George Square and Holyrood.

It would be selfish to begrudge him the time and opportunity to enjoy fresh opportunities and a bit more ‘me time’.

In their collective wisdom, the Labour Group has decided that I should step up and take on the leadership role.

I am tremendously grateful for the trust that has been placed in me but only too well aware of the responsibility and the hard work that lies ahead.

When you take on a new job, in an ideal world, it is best to take a little time to settle in. But in politics, as in life more generally, you do not always get that opportunity.

Over the past few days a storm has blown up as it became clear that changes to how the council fund community organisations, voluntary groups and the like meant that many faced an immediate loss of funding.

The SNP administration had been warned that this was bound to happen and Labour councillors had proposed solutions, but they forged ahead anyway.

The core of the problem is that the SNP administration decided to cut the funding, and then force hundreds of vital projects to compete against each other.

It does not take a financial genius to work out that you cannot squeeze a quart into a pint pot.

Advice centres across the city faced a total withdrawal of their funding, Castlemilk Law Centre in my own ward amongst them.

In the midst of an economic crisis, this proposal was particularly crass.

We all know someone who has lost their job, or who has seen their income tumble as the crisis takes hold.

It is now that the need for these services will be the greatest. But it is not just advice centres that were threatened; cultural groups, projects to support victims of gender-based violence, youth organisations and specialist support groups for the BAME community are all to be slashed. The list goes on and on.

The third sector have been the glue keeping our city together at this moment of anxiety and uncertainty. And they will be again as some restrictions have been reinstated in Glasgow.

I am delighted, for all those organisations and all those people who depend on their services, that the SNP administration has listened to the third sector and to the Labour Group and have now found the money to protect those vital services.

This last-minute solution is welcome. But is symptomatic of a wider problem.

There needs to be a root and branch review of the entire system which is clearly not fit for purpose.

We will await the details of the amended proposal, and hope that it is enough to fill the gap. But let me be clear: this was only because the communities affected rose up and spoke out. But remember that the SNP administration were willing to let these organisations go to the wall.