New schools, homelessness, care for older people and tackling the climate emergency should be Edinburgh’s budget priorities, according to Green councillors.
Ahead of this week’s budget decision (Thursday 21 February) the capital’s 8-strong Green group have published their own budget proposals which include:
• £2.875m over 4 years for a “Climate Emergency Fund” to deliver projects on transport, food, energy and waste
• Over £9m extra to boost care for older people.
• Extra funding to tackle and prevent homelessness
• Borrowing of almost £80m to drive forward a programme of six new high schools.
Greens have also knocked back spending cuts on nursery teachers and sports facilities, while seeking to use the extra funding flexibility over council tax agreed in Parliament in January. The Greens propose an extra 0.5% on council tax for new schools and 1% to increase social care funding: together these changes add 36p a week to average council tax bills next year.
Green Finance spokesperson Cllr Gavin Corbett said
“This is probably the most difficult budget that I have had to handle in my time as a councillor with real pressure on service spending. However, it is still important that the council invests in what Edinburgh needs, both now and in the future. That includes the climate emergency with a real chance for Edinburgh to be a leader in doing what needs done before 2030. So the Green climate emergency fund can really force the pace in projects to change transport, to improve buildings, support local food markets and slashing waste. Within that, our commitment to build six new secondary schools can showcase 21st century buildings for young people to learn in.”
His Green colleague on Finance Committee Claire Miller added:
“I am pleased that our budget is giving a big boost to funding for social care of older people, up from £199m currently to over £215m. It has been clear for years now that social care needs more money to tackle the backlog of people waiting for care but also to change services in the years ahead. Equally, homelessness services are clearly in crisis in the city. Much more needs to be done on prevention and early action: better for people and better for future budgets.”
The Council will vote on its budget on Thursday 21 February.