Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Budget time ! The Lib Dem/SNP administration will reveal their budget on the 21st Feb which could be bad news for anyone who stands to lose out as it is also when the decision gets made! They have even gone as far as to call it a 'disgrace' for anyone to leek anything in advance of this date. Not much consultation here then. We on the other hand have been firing out our intentions using every method of communication we can think of (eg see the website). If I was being cynical I might think that the Administration was trying to discourage deputations or citizens coming up to the City Chambers. We know already that they do not like deputations and have been known to attempt not to hear them. We will see what happens this time. See below budget statement from Ewan Aitken.

Dear Edinburgh Resident

Still Standing up for Edinburgh

I wanted to write to you directly and outline our 2008/09 budget proposals for the City of Edinburgh Council .

Edinburgh Labour may be in opposition but we still have a vision for the City that reflects our values and our priorities. We left the present administration an award-winning city of low unemployment, a strong economy, clean streets, successful schools, and with a great record of investment in green spaces, roads, arts, creativity, and services for the vulnerable, the young and the old.

Our alternative budget for Edinburgh would keep that record strong and sustainable. Here are just 20 of the many reasons why the Edinburgh Labour budget would provide the coherence, clarity and conviction that this city needs. More details are contained within the accompanying leaflet, and I would welcome the chance to answer any queries you may have – do just get in touch … all my contact details are as below.

Budgets are about choices. These would be some of our choices.

By cutting waste and reducing bureaucracy at the centre, along with careful use of the resources available, the Edinburgh Labour Budget would provide support for …

Our schools, investing in our young people by:

Preserve school based budgets, not cutting them as the LibDem/SNP administration already have
Creating ‘School Based Trusts’ to build 5 new schools
Increasing the money available for school building maintenance
Increasing support for School and Pupil Councils to £100,000 , not cutting it like the LibDems/SNP
Continued support for the Youngedinburgh programme

The vulnerable, being there for our citizens in their hour of need by:

Investing £3m of new money for home helps and other individual care packages
Restoring the £750,000 of cuts in home care made by the LibDem/SNP administration
Increasing spending on young people with learning difficulties by £750,000
Restoring cuts to the voluntary sector grants budget
Protecting Community Learning and Development from the LibDem/SNP proposed £833,000 of cuts

Our economy, building on the 50,000 jobs we helped create in 10 years by:

Creating a single ‘Edinburgh Bureau’ for inward investment and marketing
Creating a ‘Princes Street Trust’ to re–invigorate shopping and bring homes into the many un-used upper floors on Princes Street
Investing a further £20m in roads and pavements
Investing in more affordable homes
Restoring cuts made to supported bus services

Our Sport and culture, keeping Scotland ’s Capital healthy, active and creative by:

Investing in cycling in the city
Investing additional money in the International Festival
Investing in the Kings Theatre
Refurbishing Glenogle baths
Investing an additional £19.5m in National and Regional sports facilities and the Royal Commonwealth Pool

And much more beside… we have the vision, the political will, and we have the experience. We know what needs to be done, and how it can be done, to keep Scotland ’s Capital strong and safe, caring and creative.

Yours sincerely

Ewan Aitken
Councillor Ewan Aitken
Labour Group Leader – City of Edinburgh Council

Download the Labour Group Budget Leaflet in PDF here