Nice Little Earner

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 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….

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44 thoughts on “Nice Little Earner

  1. Unbelievable! They should hang their heads in shame at the GCC, but of course they don’t have any shame. It’s very hard to hang your head when you’ve got a brass neck. Remember it’s not our poor and needy Labour cares about these days, being ‘internationalists’ it’s the poor and needy in those countries they haven’t invaded and bombed yet. But hey, let’s stop worrying and learn to love Trident.

  2. A scandalous state of affairs. Will the issue be highlighted by our “Public Service” broadcaster? Not a hope.

  3. Nothing surprises me now from the pink Tories. The unionist parties are so undistinguishable from each other there is a danger that the UK is becoming a one party state.

  4. Its not just Glasgow City Council that should be ashamed. Newspapers? STV?BBC? Your doing their job for them Derek.

    And well done Glasgow Celtic FC.

  5. Not a fan – to say the least – of Celtic FC.

    if though they are paying the rent of the Maryhill food bank, I am impressed indeed.

    Very well done!

    Food banks are Scotland’s real shame.

    If we as a people vote Yes to become independent, I want food banks rendered unnecessary as soon as is possible by ensuring those in need have those needs met by the Scottish Govt.

    It’s obscene that folk rely on food banks to feed themselves and their families, obscene.

    They shame us all.

    • “Obscene” barely begins to describe it. This must be one of the benefits of walking taller on the world stage and utilising the broad shoulders of the UK. These things can’t go quick enough. It makes me livid that there’s a need for them in our society.

      Just to say as well – very well done to Celtic FC. Not a fan either but full credit where it’s due.

  6. Horrendous, but almost as bad, is the point noted above, of the lack of coverage such news will receive from the Unionist press corps.

    However, as has equally been pointed, out Pacific Quay has no such cover. Yet another reason to attend the demonstration planned there for the 29th. June.

    I wonder if the citizens of Zimbabwe are genuinely worse off with the output from ZANU PF television in Harare compared to we who have to suffer from the propaganda output from the BBC’s Glasgow operation. Tonight we can look forward to more baton relays, weather and ice creams and maybe a mention of Rangers. All the news we need from “where we are”

  7. That’s appalling. What the hell are they thinking?

    These are people in need for God’s sake. The sooner our management is changed up to Holyrood, the better. People in 21st century Scotland should not need to starve. And to have organisations lumbered with unnecessary costs when they are helping your city out of a hole and filling a need? Unacceptable.

    I’m no fan of football in general, but well done Celtic FC for lending a hand.

  8. Another union dividend.

  9. Agree with all above. This is a scandal and well worth highlighting. Thanks Derek.
    If you wouldn’t mind I might steal your topic and do a bit of digging myself?

  10. Not really surprised and sadly not shocked, with Ed Miliband talking about taking money of young people who could train for about every job going and still not get one, Labour lost it a long time ago.
    Vote YES, then we can rid ourselves of Food banks and the Bedroom Tax. Might even get rid of NU Labour or as we like to say, I can’t believe it’s not Tory.

    • Well said, Helena. It comes from the top. Miliband,ha, ha. Party of the people. That will be right. Wonder how many votes his party will get in Liverpool in 2015. I came from a Labour supporting family, but I could never, and have never, voted for them. If we vote No’ I regret to say we will be hearing more stories in this same vein. So vote Yes, and make food banks history. A Jags fan, but very well done to Celtic F.C.

  11. I shout about this quite loudly every time i go out. Food banks in this country and nearly a quarter in poverty. This is the benefit of a union so out of touch and out of date.

    This is Scotlands shame.

    We should have shouted out loud when the first cases came up. Whats wrong with the Scots .How can anyone not see how WRONG this is.

    It’s my biggest gripe.

    As a soldier i took aid to parts of Africa and Central America with the belief that it could never happen back home.

    It does and it shames me.

    I will never forget or forgive if we lose this referendum.

  12. So Celtic FC, which is a commercial enterprise, has a better sense of social responsibility than Glasgow City Council? I would say they should be ashamed of themselves but Glasgow Council? Shame? They would have to look it up in a dictionary.

    • JGedd, I entirely agree with you. It is shameful that a football club should be more compassionate than a city council. However, I feel at this point that I must point out the “slightly off topic, but just whilst we’re talking about it”, this is what Celtic Football Club was founded for! Not foodbanks ffs, but Brother Walfrids vision was that CFC was going to be a charity which offered team spirit, exercise, and camaraderie for the poor in the East End. I am NOT a football fan, in any way shape or form, but I grew up in a Celtic supporting household, so the background sunk in by osmosis!! 🙂 In a world of “I’m alright Jack”, I am thrilled that such a huge, and financially successful (for the most part) company, will remember their own roots, and look after their fellow man!! A little beacon of hope that all is not lost. 🙂 xx

  13. “Is this what we expect from a Labour authority at a time of biting austerity?” Yes, I’m afraid it is!

  14. If elected senior officials are hell-bent on outsourcing services and decision making then *their* salary should be reduced accordingly. This is because they are either no longer responsible for it, or they have created enough ambiguity that they will never be held responsibility for any failings.

    The written response on the rent paid by the food bank demonstrates a complete lack of practical care, let alone compassion, around the plight of people trying to make ends meet and those trying to support them.

    It’s also interesting to note the total absence of any inquisitiveness or desire to go beyond a minimal standard reply to the question asked. Is that normal behaviour in Limited Liability Partnerships – minimum service?

  15. The Labour Party is a business and a personal career choice now.

    Celtic FC (well done) by taking on the social responsibility once expected of “the party of the people!”

    I would prefer Independence to remove this burden completely from the most needy in our society. However if you think voting is a waste of time and changes nothing then here is your chance – send a message to your Labour councillor that,arms length or not, you hold HIM responsible.

    Every council should waive the rental/rates and donations such as from Celtic should go to buying food.

  16. Apologies for going off topic Derek, but you might want to give this a look.

  17. Certain to be top item in “Crossfire” – whoever is going to front it! Or maybe not.
    Let’s face it, the elite couldn’t care less about poverty, deprivation and hopelessness. “There is no such thing as society”. The Westminster parties and their Scottish branches regard themselves as part of the elite, the political wing of the global casino. What is truly pathetic is that local councillors adopt these hard nosed “third way” attitudes and sneer at old fashioned British values such as socialism! We have to remedy this ourselves in September in the face of vehement opposition.

  18. I worked on a project called Fareshare in Glasgow where excess (not out-of-date) food, is distributed free to local outlets, mainly foodbanks. Glasgow City Council supported this project and with reduced rates and in other ways. Good help, of course, but I later learned that several of our outlets were under strain for a variety of reasons, including benefit issues for people volunteering, but also some because they weren’t registered as charities and/or got no relief on rent. Apart from anything else, I doubt very much any commercial concern would be interested most of the premises we saw – e.g. shop units in otherwise boarded up precincts. Glasgow City Council is rife with bureaucracy, poor communications – and corruption. I fear it will take more than independence to sort out that particular quagmire – though it would help!

    P.S. Again, not a Celtic fan, but respect to them for living up to their social responsiblity ethos. A few other clubs could and should do the same; for many the annual rent on such outlets would be less than a week’s wages for many first team players.

  19. This is a disturbing story from Dundee whereby DWP claimants who have been sanctioned and have had their payments stopped have been reduced to stealing food for themselves and their families to survive.

    This is modern Scotland.

  20. Never thought I would ever say this but well done Celtic Football Club.

  21. Robert Graham

    just e/mailed North Lanarkshire Council after reading this disgraceful story thats conveniently been overlooked by the media to ask them their policy on food banks in the area they are responsible for if i get a reply i will post their response it will also go to the local paper and i will wait and see of any reaction in this day day and age they should be bloody well embarrassed by the thought of them . A small clip on STV about the demo that was given top billing about foster care protesting against the Scottish Government it if i am not mistaken has the smell of bitter together dirty tricks unit i could be wrong but it looks like a set up maybe someone else can shine some light on it i wouldn’t put anything past them now

    • The Unionist parties have been saying for some time that they want finance to go directly to Local Authorities and bypass the Scottish Government. So you are right to smell a rat. The BBC FOI inquiries on the NHS have increased seven fold since the SNP gained power.

  22. Glasgow’s favelas.
    Typical British Labour activity,putting on a good show being more important than addressing deep seated social problems.
    All window dressing for the superficial media world these politicians live in and unfortunately,Glasgow Labour are not unique in that respect.
    Time to drag people away from their TV sets and into the real world.
    Thanks Derek.

  23. The fact that there are food banks in Scotland is appalling but now to be told that members of Labour – the supposed party of working people – are actually charging the volunteers rent is preposterous. I have no interest in football but I’m proud to learn that ordinary folk in Scotland still have compassion.
    Thank you, Derek, for digging up this incredible story and thus highlighting the imperative need for Scottish Labour to return to the ideology it once fostered. Labour For Independence clearly have the only answer.

  24. A shocking indictment on the lack of morals and ethics displayed by our community politicians. Not just labour but all parties. One day these nuggets may be running an independent Scotland. Jesus if only wee Tommy could have kept his zipper shut.

  25. Well done Celtic is all I can say bar Labour voters should hang their heads in shame.

  26. Having now read Blossom, Caledonian Dreaming, and halfway through Common Weal I’m fully signed up to the ideas proposed, with inter alia, improved pay and with luck the disappearance of Food Banks.

    However this will not happen overnight and meanwhile Food Banks are everywhere, including in economies such as Germany. Institutional Scotland seems to moan about them, but what, actually, should we do with all this surplus food ? My main worry is the dependency culture they represent.

  27. Shameful policy from shameful people.

  28. David McCarthy

    Charity shops abound on the high streets as a result of favourable rates, yet Foodbanks that help feed the poorest in the areas and in particular under a socialist council require to pay. Unbelievable.
    Well done to Celtic FC in shaming the council and helping those deserving.

  29. lastchancetoshine

    Right, had enough of this no point waiting for stuff to get better, either with a yes or with jam. we need to do all this holding to account ourselves, I’m starting now.

    please sign my petition to the council asking them to do the right thing by the selfless volunteers who are doing their job for them, thanks

    • last chance – put your link up on WOS should get you all the signitures you need

      Please let us know how you get on with this as if you don’t get them to change we can crowdfund a bill board in glasgow shaming the council into action 🙂

  30. Sorry I know there are some who are so illequip to work but the rest of you get off your arse and go find work there is lots of it out there if you want to work, ah if you want too!!! Trust me I have been there no work leaving school busted my butt and now have all I need the story of the Scots is aim high and you can reach, if you don’t then still go to the end of the street and open a tin of beans. That is not what your country is and has never been about, get off your arse and find work

    • My partner was made unemployed approx 1 year ago, he filled in approx 3 – 10 application a week for 5 months

      1 JOB INTERVIEW in all that time

      Too highly qualified for jobs is as bad as being under qualified

      getting a job is not as easy as you seem to believe it to be

  31. Surely the daily record will report this with big headlines like they have been doing all this week.O sorry that wis fur the no campaigns good.

  32. […] Scottish Labour councils are charging those foodbanks full commercial rates for renting their properties, as if they were running a […]

  33. […] of newspaper coverage and hours if not days of television debate and analysis. The fact that a Scottish Labour council is charging a registered charity full commercial rates as it deals with something it claims to be against should have brought universal criticism. It […]

  34. […] Labour-run council charges them full commercial rates for their […]

  35. […] those things, could we? Your party was not promising to stop austerity, or zero-hours contracts, or food banks, or even make work pay. And we don’t need to point out that even if every seat in Scotland […]

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