Here’s a heart-warming story of how we’re Better Together. Word reached me that some of Scotland’s burgeoning industry of food banks were struggling to pay the rental on their premises. In particular, I was told that in Glasgow council-run properties used for this purpose were charged a full commercial rent.
Astonished that such a thing could be possible when the need is so great, and given the Labour council’s commitment to protect its citizens, I asked my local councillor to check for me.
This is the reply they sent him.
Dear Councillor Andrew
Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying. City Property’s Commercial Group Manager has confirmed that we do not have a policy on food banks. Commercial rates would be charged unless the property and tenant qualified under the concessionary rent scheme. I trust that this is sufficient but please do not hesitate to contact me should you require anything further.
Anne Gilmour Member and Community Liaison Officer
City Property (Glasgow) LLP
Exchange House 229 George Street
Glasgow G1 1QU
T: 0141 287 6166
I have since confirmed with my local food bank in Maryhill which occupies a unit on an industrial estate that they are charged the full commercial rate of £5000 a year, an onerous undertaking for a volunteer effort working to keep people fed through donations.
If it wasn’t for the help of Celtic Football Club who pay a monthly sum to cover the rent, the food bank would need to relocate or disband. Is this what we expect from a Labour authority at a time of biting austerity? Interestingly, the reply isn’t from the council as such, it’s from their arms length property organisation. Does this mean that the politicians escape responsibility? Have they no way of ameliorating the pressures on a socially important project by restricting the rents?
It may be worth asking your local authority what their policy is if they have a food bank in one of their properties. This needs some campaigning zeal behind it to cut costs for those providing a safety net for the poorest.
In Glasgow, were spending lots of cash on decorating the old lady for the Commonwealth Games so the foreign visitors won’t recoil at the grubby mess us local scum (as Rab C would say) have to put up with. I’d forgo some of that to let the Maryhill Food Bank https://twitter.com/MaryhillBank go rent free. Maybe visitors from developing countries could be taken on a visit to the Maryhill site to see how poor people live in this developing country. Remember, we’re Better Together….by