ANAS Sarwar accused council bosses of tidying up Govanhill prior to his tour of the community highlighting what he called "14 years of SNP failure".

Speaking yesterday in response to questions from the Glasgow Times, the Labour leader said cleansing staff claimed to have been out "on a clean up operation" the night before.

Mr Sarwar said the move was "not good enough" and "not acceptable".

But council chiefs hit back at the claim, saying it categorically did not happen.

Cleansing workers had been sent home early on Wednesday afternoon after a fire broke out in Polmadie depot.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “This didn’t happen.

"Managers made no such an instruction – and, if anything, Govanhill received a slightly reduced service on Wednesday after crews were evacuated from their depot due to a fire.

"However, the council does have a whistleblowing policy – so, if the person who claims they received this instruction has any evidence of that, we would obviously look into it."

Mr Sarwar, who is standing against First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the Glasgow Southside constituency, toured Allison Street and Langside Road.

He met with local shopkeepers, staff in businesses in the area and cleansing workers from Glasgow City Council, including GMB Scotland representative Chris Mitchell.

Anas Sarwar with GMB convener of cleansing Chris Mitchell to highlight the cleaning issues in the area

Anas Sarwar with GMB convener of cleansing Chris Mitchell to highlight the cleaning issues in the area

The politician said: "I was in Glasgow Southside and in Govanhill with cleansing workers.

"I met cleansing workers who were telling me about the huge cuts they've seen, not just in terms of staff base and infrastructure, but in terms of the cleansing they can do in the area, the huge challenges around infestation, the massive drop in enforcement officers around that as well.

"They were telling me that whenever they hear there's going to be a political visit, either from Nicola Sturgeon or when they heard I was going to be visiting Govanhill today, they were ordered to go out and do a clean up operation the night before.

"They didn't want it to be a bad sight for when the cameras turned up - and that's not good enough, that's not acceptable."

Mr Sarwar pointed to high levels of child poverty in the area - some 50% of children live in poverty in the constituency compared to 25% nationally.

He also emphasised poor living conditions in the community and said the SNP had been "too slow" to devolve powers to local authorities to deal with rogue landlords.

The Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and Govanhill Housing Association have invested millions of pounds, including a further £17 million last month, in buying and refurbishing housing stock in the area.

But Mr Sarwar added: "Glasgow Southside is Nicola Sturgeon's constituency but it's my home and I know first hand the failures of the SNP to address the issues they have there.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar on the campaign trail in Govanhill

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar on the campaign trail in Govanhill

"There's poor housing in Glasgow Southside. There is too much unemployment in Glasgow Southside.

"There are large parts of communities that feel unsafe and insecure in Glasgow Southside.

"There are huge parts of the population being exploited by gangmasters in Glasgow Southside and Nicola Sturgeon talks about taking her eye off the ball in terms of drug deaths.

"She's taken her eye off the ball in terms of her home turf, in terms of her constituency."

Today Scottish Labour will also announce its economic recovery plans, saying this would lead to the creation of 170,000 jobs in Scotland.

The party has proposed a number of job-creating schemes ahead of May's Scottish Parliament election.

These include a "jobs for recovery" plan where every Scot who has struggled to find work is guaranteed a job for at least six months - something Labour says will lead to around 60,000 posts.

Glasgow Times:

At the end of January, 360,000 Scots were furloughed and the most recent figures show a drop in the employment rate.

The party also aims to create 19,000 jobs through a new programme of social home building, 7500 roles through energy efficiency upgrade work, a 10,000-strong Scottish Conservation Corps and 48,000 jobs through a kickstart scheme.