JUST over 10 days ago it was revealed in the pages of this paper that Glasgow City Council faces a £110 million funding gap over the next three years. That is on top of the tens of millions of cuts that councillors have been forced to make since I was elected in 2017 as a direct consequence of Scottish Government cuts to local authority budgets.

I have written extensively in this column over the past year to condemn the SNP’s contempt of local government. For a party that claims to be in favour of greater devolution, the extent to which power has been centralised in Holyrood over the past 14 years has demonstrated the hollowness of those claims as local communities are completely overlooked in favour of SNP ministers amassing ever more control over every aspect of our lives.

Next month, Glasgow City councillors will once again be asked to set a budget for the forthcoming year. This budget isn’t just an administrative tick-box, it has a direct impact on the local services that every resident of the city relies on – from cleansing to education and roads maintenance. This year, funding cuts from the Scottish Government will be exacerbated by coronavirus-related income pressures resulting in Glaswegians once again being expected to foot the bill through inflation-busting council tax hikes.

The SNP like to talk a good game about “Tory austerity” but the numbers don’t lie – they have cut local government funding by a rate three times higher than the reduction in their own revenue budget, and Glasgow has faced among the harshest cuts of all local authorities in Scotland with a real-terms reduction of £233 per person over the period 2013/14 to 2018/19.

Since we were elected in 2017, Glasgow Conservative councillors have attempted to work constructively where possible with all parties during the budget process to find common ground on the issues affecting Glasgow’s residents. Unfortunately, our common sense proposals on roads investment, cleansing and council tax have been rejected in successive years by Glasgow’s SNP administration who have instead chosen to meekly accept relentless funding cuts from their friends and colleagues in the Scottish Government. And they’ve been backed up at every turn by their nationalist colleagues in the Scottish Greens who would sooner sell out their principles for the promise of a cycle path than use their influence to negotiate real change in Glasgow.

As we approach the penultimate year of Glasgow’s first SNP-run council, the truth is that we have run out of road for compromise. From cuts to bin collections to charging for bulk uplifts, we are fundamentally opposed to the policies being forced on the city’s residents by this nationalist administration. The SNP in Glasgow always seem to be able to find the cash to fund their own extravagant expenses or their Provost’s designer clothes, but when it comes to standing up for the city against the Scottish Government they are shamefully silent.

We simply cannot work with an administration that always puts party over city and sells out Glasgow at every turn. I would invite all opposition parties, particularly the Labour Party, to consider joining with us to defeat the SNP’s plans for a pay-more-get-less budget and instead work together to reverse their hated bulk uplift charges, reject further cuts from the Scottish Government and invest in local communities suffering the brunt of SNP neglect as their party attempts to force through a referendum on secession in the middle of a health crisis.