CAMPAIGNERS calling for all Glasgow Life venues to be reopened have criticised the lack of consultation and communication with communities.

Representatives of campaign groups were invited to speak at a council committee meeting to raise their concerns over the continued closure of facilities such as libraries and community centres.

Some speakers felt the committee did not set aside enough time to hear their views.

Glasgow Life, the council’s arms-length body in charge of culture and leisure venues, lost £38million when the pandemic forced facilities to close.

It is predicting income of £6.4m this year, and councillors reiterated calls for more government funding. The council has agreed to give a minimum guarantee of £100m over the next four years, which has allowed 90 venues to reopen.

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Council finance director Martin Booth said Glasgow Life’s earned income had “frankly fallen off a cliff at the start of the pandemic”.

“The assumption is that it will take three or four years to recover.

“Without significant additional funding, they cannot guarantee when any additional venues will open.”

He said there were regular talks with the Scottish Government and the council is lobbying for additional funding and financial flexibilities.

Jim Monaghan, from Glasgow Against Closures, said: “It does feel like we have three minutes and then we watch councillors telling each other how everything is not their fault.”

His campaign group had three demands: an end to all closures, a moratorium on all asset transfers until they are fully investigated and taking Glasgow Life back in-house.

Mr Booth said taking Glasgow Life back in-house would put “additional pressure” on to the council.

Mr Monaghan added: “Why if this committee is about listening to communities has it taken this backlash and the anger for you to finally to begin to hear people other than those that tell you what you want to hear?”

Committee chairwoman Councillor Annette Christie said: “This is a council committee and the additional members that have been invited are here as guests.

“There may be a wee bit of a misunderstanding of what this committee can do today.”

Helen Pope, from Save Glasgow Libraries, said 34% of Glasgow’s children live in poverty and only have access to books at schools or libraries.

She added: “The council are currently playing the semantics game by saying that no libraries are closing rather they are just not-reopening, this condescending tone attempts to cover up our legitimate demands and hinders rather than fosters community engagement.”

Colin McGeoch, campaigning to reopen Whiteinch Library, added: “It’s baffling that Hillhead and Partick libraries have reopened, the most affluent areas of the West End, yet Whiteinch has not been reopened.

“Communication has been regarded as appalling, disingenuous and contradictory.”

Dr Bridget McConnell, the Glasgow Life chief executive, said there is no “hidden policy” to close buildings.

“The pandemic has required buildings to close and the council has a very clear commitment to reopening them when it has the money,” she added.

Income streams were turned off overnight and they are “limping back”, Dr McConnell said, adding Glasgow Life had become “increasingly dependent” on extra income to deliver public services.

The service fee from the council has dropped from 77% of the body’s budget to 69% over the past decade.

Dr McConnell said: “The austerity years have not been just a concept or a headline in a newspaper.”

Carolyn Lochead, of the Save Couper Library campaign, asked how much money was required to reopen the Couper. Dr McConnell said the estimation was £400,000 for the Couper and £1.2m for all closed libraries.

Philip Mendelsohn, chair of Interfaith Glasgow, raised concerns over the lack of consultation with the faith communities over the future of St Mungo’s museum.

Green councillor Kim Long said: “Hearing directly from communities shouldn’t be hard or unusual for council committees.”

She added it was “evident that communication has been poor and must be improved going forward”.