Convenors of the eight-strong group of Green councillors in the city, Mary Campbell and Chas Booth have written to the Finance Secretary Derek McKay with a list of reforms to ensure that Edinburgh can tackle a £41m budget shortfall it faces next year. They include greater freedoms over council tax and tourism taxes and upgrading the capital city supplement secured by the late independent MSP Margo Macdonald in 2009.
Cllr Mary Campbell said:
“The first and biggest priority is the overall size of the cake for all local councils. My Green MSP colleagues have been working tirelessly with the Scottish Government to make that case. However, as councillors in Edinburgh we also recognise that the capital gets the lowest funding share per head in Scotland. That also needs to be addressed rather than wielding the funding axe over services like social care, leisure and nurseries.
“What I have argued for is realistic and necessary. The ball is now in the Scottish Government’s court.”
The Green demands include.
- Recognising the need for an enhanced capital city supplement which, at £3.9m, is only a tiny part of what Edinburgh has to spend as a capital city and has not been updated since 2012.
- Giving the city the power to introduce a tourist levy and a private car parking levy to support city infrastructure and tackle congestion.
- Reviewing the case for Edinburgh to get a share of income from Land and Buildings Transaction Tax given that almost a third of all Scottish receipts come from Edinburgh.
- In advance of replacing the regressive Council Tax, dropping the threat of sanctions if councils decide to raise the tax above 3%, linked to clear service or investment priorities, and giving councils powers to raise council tax at different rates across bands.