GLASGOW City Council has proposed the sale of Kelvingrove Art Gallery, City Chambers, and other iconic council-owned buildings in an effort to raise millions to settle outstanding equal pay claims.

In 2017, a court ruled against the council after it was revealed that some jobs – which were predominantly held by women – were being paid less per hour than roles in the same pay grade that were largely held by men.

A £500 million settlement was reached in 2019 with around 16,000 present and former staff but the council has not yet managed to raise the funds to settle every claim.

A report released by Glasgow City Council showed that the council now plans to raise around £270m by selling high-profile properties to a publicly-owned spin off firm and leasing them back.

It stresses that the “funding deal includes external finance for the sale and lease back of council family-owned properties and services delivered from the properties will continue to operate as they do now.”

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Kelvin Hall, the Gallery of Modern Art, City Chambers, Sighthill School Campus and Gowanbank School Campus are all included in the deal.

The report states that the scheme will “significantly contribute to the overall funding available for the settlement of the remaining equal pay liability."

“Together with existing reserves, the total funding available to settle our equal pay liabilities (including all costs) will be circa £270m.”

SNP councillor for the North East ward Ruairi Kelly tweeted that the financial arrangements were necessary due to Labour’s “legacy of pay discrimination” (Glasgow City Council was controlled by Labour until 2017).

He said: “These buildings are being mortgaged to cover the cost of settling Labour's legacy of pay discrimination in Glasgow.

“Approx £50m a year from budgets, for decades, will have to be found to clean up their mess.”

Co-convenor of the Glasgow City Council Green group and councillor for Hillhead ward Martha Wardrop said: 

“This deal moves the Council a step closer to finally settling the historic pay injustice against its women workers.

"That's the right thing to do. That the funds needed to do that can only be raised by mortgaging city assets is the price of clearing up Glasgow Labour's mess."