SUSAN Aitken said the SNP can list achievements in every area of the council business in Glasgow.

Speaking to the Glasgow Times ahead of the council election on Thursday, the council leader listed equal pay, education, housing, homelessness, jobs and public transport among her administration’s successes.

She said: “There’s probably not an area of the council’s business where there isn’t a record of delivery, that there’s an achievement, we can be proud of.”

The biggest, she said, was equal pay.

Glasgow Times:

Ms Aitken said: “That has been massive. It will have a massive impact on the city for a long time to come.

"It’s a legacy that will cost Glasgow for a long time to come but it was a huge injustice that we inherited and I think it was a very difficult thing to take on. We didn’t have to take it on but we chose to and I’m proud of that achievement.”

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The council leader said her administration has transformed homelessness services and reduced rough sleeping to single figures.

She admitted that there is still an issue with temporary accommodation.

Ms Aitken said: “We inherited a service that was under sanction by the housing regulator, facing the biggest challenges.

“There is a lot to do. We still need to bring down the time people spend in temporary accommodation but the difference from what we inherited in massive.”

Reminded that there are people waiting three years in temporary accommodation, the SNP group leader said: “The temporary accommodation and the length of time in temporary accommodation is the next big challenge we need to take on in homelessness services.

“We’ve got a system that is night and day from what it was five years ago and that system is now much better placed to deliver continuous improvement.”

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She said the Clyde Metro would bring Glasgow’s transport infrastructure in line with cities like Manchester.

Glasgow Times:

She said: “This is billions of pounds of investment into Glasgow over the coming decades, finally bringing us up to match our comparator cities.”

And she said the bus fleet has been improved from “one of the oldest and dirtiest bus fleets” and that fare capping and integrated ticketing will follow in the next two years.

In education she hailed the “best ever outcomes for our young people leaving school going to positive destinations” and delivering 1140 hours of free childcare ahead of schedule.

When asked about the attainment gap and exam results being below the national average, the council leader said there are mitigating factors to be considered.

She said: “It depends on what you are measuring it against.

“If you take into account, as you properly should, the particular challenges that Glasgow has in our schools, whether that is levels of deprivation, whether that’s the numbers of children who don’t have English as a first language, Glasgow has shown continuous improvement."

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Since being elected as first SNP leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken has had an SNP Lord Provost resign over expenses, narrowly survived a leadership challenge, subsequently sacked her City Treasurer, Allan Gow, who challenged her and business manager, John Letford, who backed him, and then suffered a spate of backbench resignations amid criticism of her leadership style.

Glasgow Times:

She said: “I’d never done this job before so I’m not sure what I expected. I think if you look at other government generally, it’s probably not that unusual.

“When you’re going through it, it can feel like a rollercoaster but what I would say is it’s the first time there had been political change in Glasgow City Chambers in decades, the first minority administration in generations and we are still here.

“Not only still here, we have this record of delivery that I’m really proud of.”

Looking ahead Ms Aitken said there is a vision that will bring change.

She added: “If we are re-elected and I’m re-elected as leader, we have a plan and a vision.

“Particularly focusing on recovery from the pandemic, in our communities and in our services.

"A vision to deliver a city that is fairer, where people are healthier, where they are able to live in well maintained neighbourhoods with access to decent well paid jobs and a city that is well on the way to a net-zero city.

“Everything the SNP in Glasgow has done has been for Glasgow and Glasgow’s communities. We’ve created a foundation for success.”