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Glasgow 'to sell' concert hall to pay £500m equal pay bill

Several high-profile buildings will be sold to arms-length company City Property.

Concert Hall: Will be sold and leased back to council.
Concert Hall: Will be sold and leased back to council. STV

Glasgow City Council will 'sell off' high-profile buildings to help fund an equal pay settlement worth more than £500m.

The Royal Concert Hall and SEC Armadillo are among the venues to be sold to its arms-length property company and then leased back.

Around 16,000 current and former employees are expected to start receiving payments in June after councillors formally approved the compensation deal.

The council leadership reached an agreement with claimants last month to end the long-running dispute and have been ironing out the details since.

The deal will see the buildings, also including the Emirates Arena and Riverside Museum, sold to City Property before being leased back to the council at a commercial rate.

At a meeting on Thursday, city leader Susan Aitken said this would be one of the most significant issues councillors would ever have to consider.

"That starts to put right a wrong that has damaged the council, its workforce and the city for too long."
Susan Aitken.

She said: "I'm delighted to have won backing for a deal that finally delivers pay justice for thousands of women in our workforce.

"When I became council leader in 2017, I promised I'd bring to an end more than a decade of inaction on equal pay.

"A year ago, we began negotiations and, today, the council formally agreed a plan to pay women at Glasgow City Council what they are owed.

"That starts to put right a wrong that has damaged the council, its workforce and the city for too long.

"I want to thank the women for their determination; their dedication to the city and its people, and for trusting me to deliver what they have always deserved."

Also among the building that the council expects to become part of the City Property portfolio are Scotstoun Leisure Centre, Tollcross International Swimming Centre, City Halls, Toryglen Football Centre, Gorbals Leisure Centre and Bellahouston Leisure Centre.

The council said it would still be managing the venues and that visitors would see no day-to-day changes.

Cllr Aitken said: "I've always been clear that, although settling equal pay has been about delivering justice for thousands of the women in our workforce, meeting the substantial cost of doing that must be fair for citizens.

"Releasing the potential of our property, while keeping it in the city's ownership, protects services and the future of these valued assets."

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