April was still a busy time for councillors but, obviously, for very different reasons than the norm. A lot of constituency work was taken up with ensuring people received their small business grants and making sure vulnerable people were looked after. Other updates of special interest:
Alex Staniforth attended the first Leadership Advisory Panel meeting at which he successfully put forward Green amendments to ensure ward councillors were still included in the scrutiny of planning and licensing decisions as well as an amendment ensuring third sector partners could be funded as a matter of emergency.
Melanie Main attended the second (and final) Leadership Advisory Panel at which she insisted on as much transparency as possible with regard to the council budget and worked to ensure that the winter festivals consultation would be high priority as council consultations resume.
In Fountainbridge-Craiglockhart, Gavin Corbett had been helping out with the overall volunteer effort in the area and getting a new “Hutchison Home Grown” group up and running; plus he has focused on safety for walking and cycling: from restoring bridges on the Water of Leith, to reducing pressure on the canal towpath to coming up with ideas for safe distancing.
Claire Miller responded quickly to reports from other lockdown cities across the world, where more space was being made for walking and cycling, by contacting Sustrans with a request for guidance for councils on the best designs and implementation measures, and by working with council officers and other politicians to build support to introduce measures in Edinburgh. The first measures are to close three roads in Edinburgh and Claire hopes that there will be more space given to people on foot and on bike very soon across the city.
The response to Covid-19 has seen an upsurge in support for the idea of a Universal Basic Income. Members might be interested in a blog Gavin Corbett wrote explaining why Scotland is uniquely well-placed to lead the debate: Coronavirus Crisis: time for Basic Income in Scotland?