Bit Of A Surprise, Glasgow City Council Called Incorruptible


Given the history of one party fiefs in local government the idea that Glasgow City Council is incorruptible comes as something of a nice surprise. Although it should be said that this hasn’t been said as praise, we should still take it that way.

The background is that the female workers there won a big court case. Apparently men working outside in all weathers were paid more than women working indoors with no heavy lifting. This was sexual discrimination and illegal. Thus the women’s pay has been upgraded to that of the men – and backdated.

Hmm, well.

At which point Glasgow City Council scoured the books to see which of the women hadn’t been paying their council tax. Quite a lot of them if we’re to have an actual policy about how the backpay should be used to pay off the backbills. This is, apparently, most unfair and, well, whaddayameanwe’vegottapay?

Women who spent years fighting wage discrimination at Glasgow city council could lose significant sums from their awards as the authority attempts to claw back council tax debts. As the first women start to receive their payouts, the council is seeking to recoup at least £10 million, and 200 women could lose their entire award because they are in council tax arrears. Campaigners said that many of the women would not have been in debt in the first place had they been paid fairly.

Stefan Cross, a lawyer from Action 4 Equality which represents thousands of women, said that some women had built up their hopes around the award only to see them dashed. “The principle of people paying for their debts we have no problem with,” he said. “Our problem is how they have gone about it, and their lack of flexibility and empathy with people in difficult circumstances. “They were incorruptible and dogmatic in the way they went about it.”

That is nice, isn’t it? That a one party fief local council is incorruptible? But you can understand the shock.

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The Mole
The Mole

I want to congratulate whichever civil servant came up with the idea of joining up different parts of the local government in such a simple bet sensible manner.

And if they wouldn’t have been in debt if they were paid ‘fairly’ then clearly using that back pay to repay those debts they wouldn’t have been in is entirely equitable and sensible. And the only women who are justified in feeling disappointed in the reward being reduced are those who weren’t planning to use it to pay back the legal debt they owe – which doesn’t seem a particularly compelling concern.


Dear Tim,

The Trade Unionists are accustomed to the corruptness of Glasgow City Council under Labour. It is a horrible shock to them that a SNP-minority administration is not corrupt (or even not as corrupt).
It is just possible that some SNP individual is completely …-off at Labour’s scoring political points over Labour’s own past “discrimination” and decided to retaliate, but the revelation that the Glasgow Labour-controlled Council was allowing its unionised workforce to default on Council Tax illustrates how endemic was corruption.

Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston

“If we’d been paid fairly we wouldn’t be in debt”. Yes, and you *still* wouldn’t have the money, because it would have been used to pay your tax bills.