Open letter to Glasgow city Council

Conversations for Change (initiated by SANE and Enough Scotland) is bringing together organisations campaigning for transformative action in Glasgow to respond to climate change, inequality & poverty and our post-pandemic future. Two fundamental starting points are: citizens must have the lead role in decision-making through participative democracy and assemblies, and we need to work immediately towards an economy that rejects the need for continuous growth.
Glasgow City Council HAS set up a Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery Group and it is clear that these principles are not included. The groups listed here have sent  an open letter to the leader of the Council. Signatories so far: Commonweal, Commonweal Glasgow, Divest Strathclyde, Enough (Scotland), Get Glasgow Moving, Glasgow Eco-Trust, Feminist Exchange Network, Peoples Health Movement Scotland, Alison Phipps OBE, Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies Glasgow University, Planning Democracy, Propagate, REPAIREL CIC, The Common Good Awareness Project, The Peoples Bank of Govanhill, The S.A.N.E. Collective.

In addition, we have offered some suggestions of research and actions in other cities the Council could build on. Read about them here

If you would like to be a signatory email us, and please forward it to your councillors, with a covering letter saying you would like them to take up the issues highlighted.

Dear Susan...

We hope you are safe and well during these unprecedented and challenging times. We welcome Glasgow City Council (GCC) in establishing of the COVID 19 Economic Recovery Group, to consider how Glasgow begins to recover - and very importantly - renews from the pandemic.

However, we have significant concerns regarding the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Group’s ability to provide advice which will deliver the profound and radical changes needed to ensure the well-being of all Glasgow residents in an uncertain future.

We have identified and detailed two main challenges:  

·       Scope and Remit: This should be more ambitious, systemic and progressive by including broader perspectives, which go beyond a narrow and traditional framing of economic recovery centred on growth. To respond to the unprecedented challenges that we face from the COVD-19 pandemic and the climate and ecological emergencies, an economic recovery should be just and sustainable.  

·       Composition and Process: This critical process has been removed from the people it primarily impacts. It should enable and facilitate the people of Glasgow to contribute and participate in the renewal of their city - a resident-led participatory process. 

If GCC really believes that its PEOPLE MAKE GLASGOWthen we encourage it to let its people lead the way in shaping its future. There is no group of experts who can better understand what Glasgow needs and who, we know, will be working in the best interests of everyone.  

In light of these considerations, we call on GCC to dissolve the current COVID-19 Economic Recovery Group and replace it with a resident-led participatory process, whose remit will make binding recommendations on achieving the collective well-being of all residents of Glasgow, within planetary boundaries. The expertise of the Economic Recovery Group members and others can make still a valuable contribution to a process which has resident involvement at its centre, from the start.  

We offer our support and willingness to be in dialogue and work together with GCC on the development of this process. 

The situation demands urgency, but we believe getting the future right is more important than speed. Substantial expertise on participatory processes, a highly committed and engaged Glasgow civil society sector and a significant amount of policy knowledge from across sectors and perspectives already exist in Scotland. By building from this, Glasgow City Council is well positioned to enable and collaborate in a truly transformative process for this city.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has already changed peoples’ lives immeasurably. There is a powerful sense that Glaswegians want and need something different. Ensuring a just, fair, and sustainable response to this crisis is the biggest responsibility and challenge we have collectively faced in decades. The depth of the economic crisis we now face means that making economic growth the driver of recovery will only result in the same uneven outcomes for the people who live here that we have been witnessing for decades.  

We urge Glasgow City Council to exercise bravery, leadership and creativity in calling upon and trusting the people of Glasgow to shape our collective future. We ask, if not now, when will we Let Glasgow Flourish