Edinburgh Budget choices need to be bolder

The city council needs to be bolder in protecting public services say the capital’s Green councillors.

In the aftermath of the city council’s budget meeting today (Thursday 21 January) Green councillors said they were disappointed but not surprised that their package of £10m to give priority to schools, social care and vulnerable children was not backed by the Labour-SNP council.

Green Finance spokesperson Cllr Gavin Corbett said:

“The council today pushed through the biggest set of cuts for almost 20 years.  However, the Green budget offered the choice of softening that blow on frontline services and providing extra money for social care and schools.

“The council’s own budget consultation showed over 60% support for council tax rising to support services.  The organisations coming to the council today to speak on the budget urged the council to be more challenging to governments – both UK and Scottish – about cuts to services.

“Sadly, however, it seems that the council prefers to hide behind the threat of Scottish Government penalties rather than be bold enough to stand up for the capital, stand up for children and older people, and stand up for decent services.”

The Green budget package, funded by 97p a week rise in council tax, proposed £10 million of extra funding to reverse cuts in priority areas: schools, social care and vulnerable children and also to invest in school buildings and decent pay for social care staff.

Specifically, it provided funding to:

  • Reject cuts of £3.85m in social care
  • Mitigate cuts to business support in schools
  • Reject in full the cuts to school music over all 4 years of the budget
  • Reject the closure of Hillview centre for disabled children.
  • Invest £1.76 million for a “Living Wage Plus” for care staff
  • Invest £8.6 million extra over 4 years for school repairs
  • Reverse cuts in libraries, parks, community centres, leisure centres and homelessness services
  • Invest in a new sports facility at Meadowbank