A CASH-STRAPPED council spent over £90,000 staging internal events at two of Glasgow’s biggest sporting arenas.

Despite wrestling with a near-£50m budget black hole, a new probe has revealed that City Chambers bosses splashed tens of thousands of pounds holding conferences and workshops at both Hampden and Celtic Park.

Just over £67,000 was spent hiring function suits and space at the East End home of the Hoops, while another £23,984 was paid to secure space at Hampden Park for four separate events.

The news comes just days after it was reported that the council will pay £1.5bn to rent back its own buildings over 30 years to raise cash to settle £770m of equal pay claims. Properties in the sale and leaseback agreement include Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the City Chambers. The council settled a long-running pay dispute in 2022, after campaigners said workers in roles such as catering or cleaning were receiving up to £3 an hour less than those in male-dominated sectors such as refuse collection.

The data, released exclusively to the Glasgow Times through a Freedom of Information request, covers the period between December 1 2021 and June 30 this year.

The document shows that £3,420 was spent on a budget update at the national stadium on October 24 2022 before another £4,866 was paid to hold a quality assurance event there two months later. A ‘Glasgow Cares - Reflection on Delivering the Promise’ conference cost £11,708 in December 2022 before a second budget briefing was held at Hampden the following month – costing another £3,990.

Glasgow Times: Celtic ParkCeltic Park (Image: Newsquest)

Events were then switched to Celtic Park by bosses within Education Services in 2022. An Out of School Care conference was the first of these, costing £7,768 on June 25 before a Maths conference in October racked up a bill of £7,290.

The council’s flagship ‘Weans not Widgets’ event on October 22, and a subsequent digital conference five days later, came at a combined cost of almost £26,000, while a learning and teaching seminar at Parkhead a month later cost another £12,135. Finally, the stadium hosted a Women’s Legacy Conference and a ‘nurture’ conference in June this year, costing £4,262 and £9,874 respectively.

Glasgow City Council is facing massive cuts next year with the scale of 'savings' expected to be higher than that seen in recent years and is now struggling to find further ways to make savings.

A City Chambers insider said that many councillors were horrified after discovering how much money had been spent.

Glasgow Times: City ChambersCity Chambers (Image: Newsquest)

They added: “The pandemic changed everything and while there is always a place for face-to-face meetings and large-scale events, sometimes cloth needs to be cut accordingly.

“People found a way to adapt and hold a lot of these things virtually when there was no other option. This saved a lot of money, and in hard times, perhaps there needs to be more a prudent use of public money when appropriate.

“The council has plenty of large, spacious buildings of its own and realistically unless there is no alternative, these should be hosting any conference or event that needs to take place in person.

“It comes at a time when our schools staff are striking and our cleansing teams are fighting for better pay and conditions.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson says efforts are always made to use local authority-run facilities where possible.

They added: “We do always look to book our own facilities where and when we are able, however it’s the size and scale of some events that we hold that means we sometimes need to use other venues.”

Both Celtic and events at Hampden Park declined the opportunity to comment.