Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, unveiled his election bus in Glasgow which he will use to head around Scotland on the campaign.

The bus is a covid safe environment with Sarwar and a small team of just five forming a bubble to travel together, getting tested regularly for covid along with the driver as they tour Scotland seeking votes.

The Glasgow Times was invited to board the bus, after taking a rapid lateral flow covid test, on its first day to see the set up and speak to the Labour leader as it travelled around the city .

On its first trip the bus left the waterfront in Govan heading through the southside into the city centre.

The new leader said he was realistic about the challenge Labour faces in Glasgow and Scotland.

He said: “I’m hoping for us to win as many votes and as many seats as possible. But I’m not naïve about the scale of the challenge. 

Glasgow Times: Anas SarwarAnas Sarwar

“If you look at the polls, people would laugh at me if I was going to suggest in six weeks time we are going to have a Labour government and Labour First Minister.” He said he aspires to that “one day”.

In Glasgow, he said, “There is a need for much to change.”

Sarwar said: “Child Poverty is massively on the rise. Almost 50% of children in Glasgow Southside live in poverty. We have the constituency of the First Minister having one of the highest rats of child poverty in the country. That’s not good enough. 

“Huge housing challenges, challenges around youth unemployment and unemployment generally. We’ve seen in previous economic downturns where people have lost work and never gone on to work again in their lives, we can’t have a lost generation.”

Crossing the River Clyde and passing the Barclays development in Tradeston, he said:“We have a huge challenge as the economy opens up again to get a thriving economy in Glasgow again.

“We need to invest in capital projects and invest in individual sectors to create employment and also improve connectivity in the city. We need a much greater focus on that as we come through this.”

Entering the city centre and empty lockdown streets he said changes need to happen for recovery.

“There is going to be so many vacant properties in the city centre,” he said. “The culture has changed and so many more people are using Amazon and online  and that’s harder for the high streets.

“We’ve got to put much more scrutiny on these big multinational who have done phenomenally well in this pandemic, the way they treat their staff  the way the pay staff and on the taxes they pay, We should be having a fair level of taxation  on those companies to support high streets and retail and other businesses across the city.

“I hate to say there has been any winners but they have been during this pandemic.

“We can’t decimate our high streets and city centres and lose hundreds of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs that would not be right for our city.”

Sarwar is standing in Southside against Nicola Sturgeon. He said: “It is the First Minister’s constituency but it is my home. where I live and bring up my children.”

Glasgow Times: Nicola SturgeonNicola Sturgeon

The dad of three, said his oldest son “makes the mistake of googling my name and watching you tube videos of me”.

“Sometimes” he said its hard. “Obviously we had the incident this week around the individual outside parliament. Them watching that video and phoning and asking questions about it, is tough.”