WHOEVER is Prime Minister in two days’ time, one of the first things in their intray will be correspondence from me demanding urgent action on child poverty.  

Last week, I moved a motion at Glasgow’s Full Council calling on the next UK Government to take the decision, which only it can, to scrap the two-child cap and other welfare curbs which contribute massively to poverty rates in our city.

Shamefully, Glasgow Labour opted to reject all the academic and independent evidence which makes clear that the UK Government’s austerity agenda is a key factor in keeping people in dire poverty. Instead, their position was that Westminster has absolutely no role or responsibility in the fact that up to a third of children in Glasgow live below the poverty threshold.

Like everyone else across these islands, Glasgow Labour knows fine well that their party colleagues at Westminster will form the next government. Yet already they want to duck any responsibility and back Sir Keir Starmer’s indefensible position on the two-child cap and wider austerity.  

Scots are all too familiar with the unprincipled negativity of Labour in this city and beyond. But as they stand on the cusp of power at Westminster, the wellbeing and prosperity of Glasgow and its people can no longer afford the spinelessness and hypocrisy of Labour’s Branch Office.  

Let’s be clear though. Where it’s in Glasgow’s interests, I stand ready to collaborate with the incoming Starmer government, just as I have done with the outgoing Tories. Leadership requires a mature approach to partnerships, and I’ve never let political disagreement stand in the way of securing investment or other benefits for Glasgow.

The economy of metropolitan Glasgow is one particular area where I hope UK Labour take the opportunity to build constructive relationships with my administration and the other City Region leaders.  

The eight City Region council leaders will have clear asks of the new UK Government and what we’re branding as a new Devolution Deal will be landing with it very soon. Our Devolution Deal will be about continuing the job started by the City Deal and securing the funds to build the infrastructure that addresses our post-industrial past and ensures that we’re able to grasp opportunities for the future.  

It must credit the fact that Glasgow is recognised as a global leader in innovation, regularly ranked amongst the top 20 innovative cities in the world and ensure that we have the resources and capacity to build on that. And it must give us the funding tools to tackle the blight of child poverty, an area where Glasgow is delivering ahead of many of our UK peers.  

The Scottish Government isn’t off the hook here either. For any Devolution Deal to be as effective as it needs to be, local leaders need to see powers and delivery mechanisms passed down from Holyrood and national agencies on several areas, starting with skills, enterprise and investment.

Make no mistake. The Glasgow city region is now a truly world-class knowledge-based economy with internationally recognised specialisms.  

Too often though, it has suited Labour and Tories alike to conveniently ignore Glasgow’s successes and simply talk the city down. Sir Keir himself has been guilty of that. If he becomes Prime Minister this week, as we all expect, that will have to change.  

If Sir Keir wants an accurate picture of Glasgow and our city region economy and to truly understand what his government can do to help us grasp opportunities and grow our potential still further, he should speak directly to the locally elected leaders of this metropolitan powerhouse who – regardless of party – know our places best. My door will certainly be open.