A HAPPY, peaceful and prosperous New Year to all Glasgow Times readers.

During 2024, it’s now all but inevitable that we’ll see a change of Government at Westminster.

There’ll be few tears in Scotland when the most inept, far-right clique of charlatans to govern the UK in generations is kicked out.

The Tories leave a dreadful legacy of austerity, corruption, Brexit disaster, and attacks on the welfare of our most vulnerable.  

Current evidence shows that households already struggling under the Tory cost-of-living crisis face further hardships in the year ahead.

A new report coming before council next week lays bare the continuing impact of the crisis across greater Glasgow. With energy costs having risen again this month, an estimated 200,000 households won’t be able to warm their homes to the level they did before.

And with food inflation still at over 10%, approximately 300,000 households will be cutting back spending on essentials. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of households are relying on credit to get by, deepening the debt already overwhelming too many Glaswegians.

But for all that, Labour isn’t offering anything much in way of solutions. Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to maintain Tory spending cuts and plough on with iniquitous policies like the rape clause.  

In order to win over Tory voters, he’s fallen in behind the hard Brexit and right-wing rhetoric on immigration, while promising to stay true to the agendas which make the UK one of, if not the, most socially and economically unequal state in Europe.

Scotland will demand a lot more than a change of party and personality. Indeed, the haste with which Scotland’s newest MP has fallen in behind Sir Keir’s agendas and exposed his campaign bluster as meaningless, shows only the SNP can demand change and deliver alternatives for Scotland.

Alternatives like the Scottish Child Payment, which has responded to the cost-of-living crisis directly with practical support for almost 100,000 youngsters. Yet, all the signs are that under a Labour UK Government, Scotland will be forced to keep providing lifeline support to its most needy with the limited resources we have.

Here at the City Council, we’re continuing to address austerity and the cost-of-living crisis where we can with the resources we have. Our most vulnerable remain our priority. This week, a new report details the successes of the pioneering Glasgow Helps service.

Launched in partnership with the voluntary sector during the pandemic, Glasgow Helps has evolved to provide direct support to over 20,000 Glaswegians, many of whom have been overwhelmed or in crisis and in need of specialised assistance. The service is also crucial to our mission to reduce child poverty in Glasgow, connecting families to the right support on a wide range of issues from financial inclusion services to accessing winter fuel support to concerns around health, housing and care.

By working closely with organisations key to the daily lives of many citizens, Glasgow Helps goes far beyond just referring people on.

The team builds trust and relationships and works intensively with people, listening and helping with their own unique circumstances, issues and needs. Council colleagues and our third sector partners are committed to a service that’s shown itself to be genuinely transformational to the lives of thousands at a time when assistance is needed most.

Glasgow Helps is open to anyone who lives in the city and can be using accessed our online form https://glasgow.gov.uk/29519 or telephone line 0141 276 1185