East Renfrewshire residents are being threatened with congestion charges if they want to drive into Glasgow.

Ricky Bell, depute leader of Glasgow City Council, has revealed that discussions have already taken place with the Scottish Government about the controversial measure.

The charges would be aimed at visiting motorists from suburban areas such as neighbouring East Renfrewshire, including those who travel into the city to work.

Councillor Bell believes that people who drive into Glasgow and use services there for “free” should contribute to the city’s coffers.

In an interview with our sister paper The Herald at the weekend, he said: “We have a huge amount of people who come into the city because they live in the suburbs and use our services.

“They are paying all their council tax to other councils and that’s great but they are not paying anything for the services they use here.

“Those are the type of discussions we are having with the Scottish Government.”

Congestion charges were introduced in London 20 years ago and have helped to reduce traffic, as well as generating hundreds of millions of pounds for the city.

The London charging period runs from 7am until 6pm and the standard fee is £15, while buses, taxis, electric vehicles and certain cars are exempt.

Plans for a similar set-up in Glasgow have already attracted criticism from rival politicians, business leaders and motoring organisations.

Labour MSP Paul O’Kane, who represents East Renfrewshire as part of his West Scotland remit, told the Barrhead News: “This is an out-of-touch idea – one that totally ignores the cost-of-living crisis and the vast amounts people are already having to pay to get to work and just cover the bills.

“It would essentially be a tax on working people and the city itself would be negatively impacted in the long run.

“People who come into the city, whether they are working, shopping or socialising, are already putting money into Glasgow and this charge, I fear, would put quite a few people off visiting.”

Hisashi Kuboyama, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “It could potentially have a negative impact on footfall and trade in the city centre and therefore on small businesses.”

Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, added: “They can’t even fix the potholes or pick up litter in the city centre, let alone run a high-tech road charging system.”

Glasgow is also looking at a possible charging policy “for non-Glaswegians” for the city’s museums and galleries, the majority of which are currently free.

In a separate move, a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) that was introduced in Glasgow city centre in June means older cars which cause more pollution are now banned there.

Drivers who breach the ban face a financial penalty.

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland, which is tasked with delivering the Scottish Government’s vision for transport, told the Barrhead News: “We will work with all local authorities to support equitable measures which encourage active travel and accompany greater investment in public transport for a fairer and greener transport system.”

East Renfrewshire Council declined to comment.