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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day

Everyday Life

Public Services

By Irene Maver

Glasgow X-ray Campaign The notion of the "Welfare State" was politically prominent in Glasgow during the 1950s. Health improvements were evident in the city’s sharply falling infant mortality levels and in 1957 a concerted campaign against tuberculosis yielded positive results. Municipal powers had contracted after the Second World War, with the creation of the National Health Service and state control of utilities such as gas and electricity. However, Glasgow Corporation still co-ordinated important social, environmental, transport and recreational services.

Clive House Given the growing scale of responsibilities in key areas such as housing and planning, public policy became more complex to administer. In a sweeping overhaul of the city's local government, the Corporation was abolished in 1975. Its functions were transferred to the dual authorities of Glasgow District Council and Strathclyde Regional Council. The latter body aimed to integrate the city with surrounding communities, to achieve a more equitable and cost-effective distribution of resources.

Building Control From the mid-1970s public services altered radically. Policing and fire provision operated on a regional basis, even after further local government reorganisation in 1996, when Glasgow reverted to single-tier administration. Water, too, became a regional function, and after 1999 came under control of the Scottish Executive. Public opinion was resistant to water privatisation, but during the 1980s certain services were transferred to the private sector, notably bus transport. In 1980 legislation to encourage the sale of council housing helped to shift the basis of tenure in the city towards home ownership. Despite these changes, the public sector remains vital for the day to day functioning of Glasgow and is a major employer.

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