Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Council Budget 2016/17

Now that the blog has been resurrected, we may as well dive right in with this year's Council Budget which will be set tomorrow. Things are looking pretty grim financially for Councils across Scotland with Edinburgh alone needing to cut £85 million from this year's spending.

As per recent years we published a draft budget last September and consulted with the Edinburgh public until mid December.

Council funding is broken...
Most of the financial cuts will be achieved through losing staff, about 2000 jobs. Many have left and more will follow through the voluntary schemes available. We want to protect front line services as far as possible but there has to be some impact from cuts that are so deep.

Council funding is reducing while demand for services is increasing. And local government's share of the Scottish Government's budget is also reducing. We're clearly not a high enough priority. Doing more with less is the current mantra but the credibility of such an approach is becoming stretched.

Local government funding is broken and that was also the conclusion reached by the Commission on Local Tax Reform . It now falls to the political parties of Scotland to come forward with workable, understandable and supportable alternatives for funding local services. I've argued for some time that we need to have a debate about what local services we want in our communities and how will we pay for them. The time for that debate is now and we need a decision on the changes very soon.

This is not a budget that we want to be agreeing and is easily the most difficult that I have faced in 17 years as an Edinburgh Councillor.

Further detail i.e. the Council reports and the various motions to be debated tomorrow can be accessed on this link to the Council's CPOL page. 

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