01/04/2011 - Glasgow Council cuts Threaten Small Businesses

IN THE WAKE of the huge TUC demonstration against Government cuts last weekend there cannot be many people unaware of the strength of people’s feelings against the axe being wielded on public sector jobs.

Another often overlooked aspect of spending cuts, however, is that they have an impact not only on the public sector jobs lost directly but also on many private sector jobs that rely on assistance from the public sector.

An example of this is the cutting of support staff at the Glenwood Business Centre in the Castlemilk area of Glasgow which is managed by Castlemilk Property Company, (CPC), which is a subsidiary of the local regeneration agency which in turn is controlled by Glasgow City Council.  Castlemilk has long been one of the city’s poorest districts and so any job losses there are felt keenly.  Two out of the three support staff at Glenwood are being made redundant as part a merger of five local regeneration agencies which will result in a total of 200 jobs being lost.

The owners of some of the small businesses based at Glenwood spoke to Glasgow’s Evening Times, (23 March 2011), of how the loss of support staff at the centre would affect them.  The owner of Red Hot Comics, Ivor Davies, said: “CPC helps all the businesses here with clerical support and things like mail services.  The units don’t have letter boxes, for example, so CPC sort out all the mail for us.  As of Friday, that will simply disappear and we have no idea what to expect.  It seems clear to me the council has set out to make job cuts but not put any thought into where the jobs will be lost and what impact that will have”.  Theresa McMonagle, who runs a cake-making business, paid tribute to the centre’s staff: “The support I have had down the years from CPC and the various other regeneration groups has been fantastic.  I can honestly say that if I had set my company up anywhere else I don’t think I’d still be in business.  Taking away the CPC staff is the exact opposite of regeneration”.  

The cut-backs at the Glenwood Business Centre in Glasgow no doubt offers a snapshot of the kind of situation that small businesses previously supported by local councils face across the country.  Surely in these times of rising unemployment the last thing that councils should be doing is cutting posts that support a much greater number of jobs in small businesses?