Business as usual budget won’t meet Edinburgh’s aspirations say Greens

The draft Budget published today by the Labour-SNP Administration in Edinburgh bears all the hallmarks of business as usual, according to Green councillors.

Green Finance Spokesperson Gavin Corbett said:

“Aside from a Living Wage commitment, which the Greens strongly support, it is difficult to see the new Coalition’s distinctive imprint on the budget.  Rather it seems largely to be based on reacting to external factors like demographic change and welfare reform.

“After the sugar of additional election year funding we get the sour taste of funding reductions.  £4 million extra is being spent on school refurbishment this year – are we really saying that is “job done” by taking it away next year?  There will be £3 million less for road repairs next year – are we really saying that all is well with the state of the roads?

“And by dismissing innovative ways of raising income put forward by the Greens such as a hotel bed tax the Council has surrendered to the Government’s council tax straitjacket and is left scrabbling around for scraps of income like charging for all public toilets.

“Additional tax is never popular but better a bed tax than a bladder tax.”

The draft budget published today contains a series of measures agreed by the previous Council which leave a funding gap of £3.9 million.  Once new pressures and priorities are added, the gap rises to £10.8 million for 2013-14.  Today’s draft proposals suggest a number of ways of reducing costs and raising income to bridge that gap.