National and Devolved Politics

07.06.18

MPs say Glasgow council asleep at wheel for accepting mystery Rolls-Royce gift during austerity

Scotland’s largest local authority has been criticised for accepting an anonymous donation of a Rolls-Royce for use of Lord Provost Eva Bolander.

The donation of the two-year-old Rolls-Royce Ghost— which will replace one of Glasgow City Council’s Volkswagen Phaetons that was due to have its lease renewed— will be used to transport the Lord Provost and other city representatives for civic duties, as well as VIPs.

But MPs have publicly condemned the move, with one Labour member claiming the donation was ‘Dickensian’ to be using the vehicle whilst the city is going through austerity.

Labour MP Paul Sweeney tweeted: “It's Dickensian to have the Lord Provost of Glasgow swanning around in a new 8mpg chauffeur driven Rolls Royce while local council services are cut by SNP austerity.

“Nursery fees doubled and free swimming for kids the latest cuts [sic]. Auction it off to fund services for Glaswegians.”

But leader of Glasgow Council Susan Aitken defended the gift, tweeting: “a) this is a civic gift by a philanthropic donor. No one in the administration had any involvement & won’t be using the car b) no additional public money has or will be spent c) I understand it was a Labour Cllr who facilitated the donation.”

Aitken added a philanthropic donor is “fairly common” and their wishes to be kept anonymous have been fulfilled:

Conservative councillor Thomas Kerr tweeted: “When the civic head of GCC is donated a car worth more than £230,000, it is expected that the source of that donation is declared.

“We need real transparency over this and for the source of this donation to be publicly declared.”

Labour councillor Eva Murray argued that “you couldn’t make it up” with children’s services being cut around the area:

The Lord Provost said: “On behalf of the city, I'd like to thank the donor for their civic generosity and philanthropy. I want Glasgow to show its best face to the world and this gift will help us do that.

“It's a show-stopping car and a tremendous asset.”

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 Image credit: Glasgow City Council

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