Green councillor Gavin Corbett has responded to a proposed £41m package of budget cuts for Edinburgh next year. Cllr Corbett said:
“These are the deepest budget cuts I’ve seen in my time as a councillor. Some of the ideas have been trailed already: reduced police funding, fewer nursery teachers and public toilet closures, for example. But others are new, such as reduced funding for Edinburgh Leisure for swimming pools and sports facilities, or reduced grants for local voluntary organisations. And, for the first time, the number of job cuts – at 300 next year – is given.
“Amidst the pain there are some ideas worth pursuing: creating income from renewable energy; or improving the collection rates from fines for littering or fly-tipping, for example. And it’s good to see carbon budgeting included at a time of urgent need for climate action. However, the overall picture is as gloomy as I can remember.
“While councillors have to wrestle with the cold reality of cuts, all eyes now turn to the Scottish Government and its budget statement on 31 January. It is vital that councils which are SNP-led, including Edinburgh, flex a bit of muscle and demand a fair and proper settlement for local services, coupled with proper reform in future years on how councils are funded.”