Greens make budget choices for capital

Supporting the least well-off and investing in the fabric of the city should be the city’s budget priorities according to the capital’s Green councillors.

Presenting their budget today (12th February) the Greens say they have allocated £8.5 million for repairs and improvements to schools and other public buildings and £5 million for road condition safety and footway improvements, as well as measures to accelerate the payment of Living Wage to staff; to give local people more say over local budgets; and to address outstanding rent arrears from the bedroom tax.

The Greens also propose a reduced rent rise for council tenants, reject all new budget cuts to homelessness organisations, and seek to reinstate funding for community centres and for Edinburgh Leisure which runs swimming pools and sports facilities.

Thumb Gavin-at-City-Chambers-close-815x1024Green Finance Spokesperson Cllr Gavin Corbett said:

“Last week I published a “what if” budget which showed that if Edinburgh had the financial powers which other European countries take for granted then we could raise enough money to cover the budget cuts in full. I was heartened to hear many of the deputations to the budget meeting support that approach.

“As it stands, however, we do not have those powers so my budget amendment today is a balanced budget within a very tight straitjacket. Nevertheless, I have aimed to maximise the level of investment in city infrastructure and in offering a helping hand to people who most need it.

“Our Living Wage proposal, for example, puts an extra £100 in the pockets of low-paid workers, while our proposals on council rents and bedroom tax ease the pressure on council house tenants.

“The city still faces some really tough budget decisions next year and there is growing appreciation that a race to the bottom on public funding beggars the whole city.”

In the event, the Coalition Budget was expected to be passed by the Council with Green amendments on living wage, “beyond foodbanks” and putting local people in control of budgets being accepted in principle.

Cllr Corbett added:

“I’m pleased that the Finance Convenor has indicated a willingness to take some modest Green budget ideas forward and look forward to further discussion.”