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When the Glasgow Fort opened in 2004, the regeneration of the Greater Easterhouse area was well underway, with new housing and schools already built or in development. I was clear at the time that, if utilised intelligently, the arrival of a shopping complex the size of the Fort had the potential to boost local employment opportunities and build upon this material transformation. So I was delighted when Labour-led Glasgow City Council reached an agreement with retailers to ensure that local people benefited from the new jobs created. As a result it is estimated that currently around 1,700 of the 2,500 employees live in the surrounding area.

When Marks & Spencers announced that they would open a store at the Fort later this year, I was again clear that the local community must benefit from the jobs and opportunities that will be created – a point I made directly to the Chief Executive. At the end of last month I met with regional M&S bosses, alongside Paul Martin MSP and Cllr Maureen Burke, and was pleased to be given firm assurances that this will be the case.

M&S have outlined a very clear commitment to working alongside Jobs & Business Glasgow and Jobcentre Plus to maximise community benefit. It is absolutely right that people in the east end who are looking for a job should benefit from this development on their own doorstep. Over the coming months, I’ll be making sure M&S bosses stick by their word and the benefits of this new development go to local people.

BLOG: Marks and Spencers’ local jobs commitment is a boost for the East End

When the Glasgow Fort opened in 2004, the regeneration of the Greater Easterhouse area was well underway, with new housing and schools already built or in development. I was clear...

Something strange happened in the Scottish Parliament last week. Glasgow Shettleston’s MSP, John Mason, used a debate on Infrastructure to argue that investment in Glasgow shouldn’t be a priority. Not only did he defend his Government’s controversial decision to cancel the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL), he also argued that investment in Aberdeen should take precedent ahead of the ‘Glasgow Crossrail’ scheme - despite admitting that the latter would be a boost to his constituency.

The novelty of a Glasgow MSP arguing against investment in Glasgow aside, John’s remarks highlight an important point: Glasgow is being held back by SNP neglect. The city’s share of the overall local authority budget has declined year on year – with not a word of protest from the local SNP - and much needed transport improvements have been shelved or kicked into the long-grass.

The Greater Glasgow area needs a 21st century infrastructure in order to maximise its economic potential. Scottish Labour will deliver this infrastructure by investing in the ‘Glasgow Crossrail’ scheme when next in Government. It is estimated that the scheme, which will link services to the north and east of Glasgow to those in the south and west, will create 130 jobs and contribute £36m to Glasgow’s economy. Unlike John Mason and the local SNP, I am not “somewhat torn as to how high a priority” it should be.

If the SNP are serious about creating the economic growth Glasgow needs then they should stop messing about and get behind the Glasgow Crossrail scheme.

 

NOTES: John Mason’s comments were made during the ‘Building Scotland’s Infrastructure’ debate in the Scottish Parliament on 24th February:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28862.aspx?r=9794#.VO7y7Cxim9Y

John Mason on the Glasgow Airport Rail Link:

“I guess that I am somewhat torn as to how high a priority that should be.

John Mason on investing in Aberdeen instead of Glasgow:

“Against the Glasgow-focused projects, albeit that they also benefit much of the rest of Scotland, there is a need to address other projects around the country—for example, double tracking the line to Aberdeen from the south at the current bottleneck at Montrose. I am, of course, a Glasgow MSP, but we all have to think nationally as well. Aberdeen and the north-east surely deserve a proper rail line all the way.”

BLOG: Only Scottish Labour will deliver the Infrastructure investment Glasgow needs

Something strange happened in the Scottish Parliament last week. Glasgow Shettleston’s MSP, John Mason, used a debate on Infrastructure to argue that investment in Glasgow shouldn’t be a priority. Not...

Margaret Curran has called on John Mason MSP to explain recent statements in which he spoke out against major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and the Glasgow Airport Rail Link which would benefit people in the east end of Glasgow, and suggested that projects in other parts of Scotland should be a higher priority.

Mr Mason, who represents Glasgow Shettleston, used an Infrastructure debate in the Scottish Parliament to defend the SNP’s controversial decision to cancel the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL), arguing that the current bus service was sufficient. He used the same debate to suggest that the ‘Glasgow Crossrail’ scheme – which would link services from the north and east of the region to those in the south and west – should not be considered a priority.

Margaret Curran said:

“The local SNP should be standing up for people who live and work here, not fighting for more investment in Aberdeen. It’s not every day you hear an MSP for a Glasgow seat arguing that investment in Glasgow shouldn’t be a priority. John Mason needs to explain to his constituents why he is against this infrastructure investment in Glasgow. First he refuses to apologise for the decision to cancel the airport rail link – despite almost £30million of public money already being spent – and now he is actively encouraging SNP Ministers to divert money away from Glasgow.

“The Greater Glasgow area needs a 21st century infrastructure in order to maximise its economic potential. That is why Scottish Labour will fund the Glasgow Crossrail scheme when next in Government.”

Ms Curran also challenged the SNP Westminster candidate in Glasgow East, Natalie McGarry, to clarify whether she agrees with Mr Mason. She said:

“Natalie McGarry needs to let people know whether she agrees with her party colleague that investment in Aberdeen is more important than investment in Glasgow.”

Notes:

John Mason’s comments were made during the ‘Building Scotland’s Infrastructure’ debate in the Scottish Parliament on 24th February:

John Mason on the Glasgow Airport Rail Link:

“I guess that I am somewhat torn as to how high a priority that should be.”

 John Mason on investing in Aberdeen instead of Glasgow:

“Against the Glasgow-focused projects, albeit that they also benefit much of the rest of Scotland, there is a need to address other projects around the country—for example, double tracking the line to Aberdeen from the south at the current bottleneck at Montrose. I am, of course, a Glasgow MSP, but we all have to think nationally as well. Aberdeen and the north-east surely deserve a proper rail line all the way.”

John Mason refuses to apologise for the cancellation of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link

Paul Martin: If John Mason wants to apologise to Glaswegians for the cancellation of the GARL project, I would be more than happy to give wayJohn Mason: Does Paul Martin accept that the argument for GARL is difficult because the airport is so close to the city centre and the bus link is so good that rail does not really add a lot?”

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28862.aspx?r=9794#.VO7y7Cxim9Y

Local SNP MSP must explain why he is standing up for Aberdeen and not Glasgow

Margaret Curran has called on John Mason MSP to explain recent statements in which he spoke out against major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and the Glasgow Airport Rail Link...

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