Edinburgh budget: Greens secure extra funds to tackle cuts

Edinburgh Greens are welcoming the party’s historic deal to secure £160 million of additional funds from the Scottish Government to protect local council services such as schools and social care.

For City of Edinburgh Council this agreement could mean an extra £10 million in revenue and £2.3 million in capital.

Following discussions with Green MSPs over the draft Scottish budget, Scottish Ministers have agreed to abandon their proposed tax giveaway for higher earners and provide a total of £160 million for local councils to spend on local priorities.

Edinburgh’s Green councillors have highlighted that the extra revenue should, for example:

  • Save libraries from cuts
  • Restore cut from welfare advice and homelessness services
  • Head off a cut of £400k from swimming pools and sports halls
  • Stop £300k being cut from support staff in Additional Support Needs schools

Aj at conf 2014 (2)It would also allow the council to:

  • Re-consider the disastrous decision to withdraw repairs from stair lighting in tenements at £500k
  • Invest at least an extra £2m in schools repairs
  • Put another £500k into safe and clean streets

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“Greens stand firmly with communities in Edinburgh and public sector workers affected by cuts and closures, and these new funds secured by Green MSPs mean we can start to repair the damage done by years of underfunding and lack of local flexibility.

“In practice this change allows the council to reflect again on cuts proposed by the Labour-SNP-led council in January 2016; to increase investment in hard-pressed service areas; and to fund new energy efficiency works which will reduce budget pressures going forward.

“This is the biggest budget concession in Holyrood’s history. Other parties effectively ruled themselves out of constructive dialogue. My Green colleagues in Parliament have achieved more in a single budget than the Labour Party has in a decade of opposition.

“This is, however, only the start of a journey on restoring financial powers at local level.”