The scale of the budget cuts facing Scotland’s capital were made clear in an e-mail that welcomed all of the Council staff to work last month. It outlined how over the past five years we’ve faced cuts amounting to £240m and over the next five years we’ll have to deal with a further £140m.
Despite the problems facing education, social care and waste collection, these budgets will be further squeezed. Readers should ask themselves how we can hope to improve these key services by cutting their budget? How can we deliver the 7,000 hours of social care that goes undelivered in Edinburgh every week when the Council’s budget is being squeezed?
Whilst as much as possible I have argued that we protect services used by the vulnerable,, these cuts have sacrificed non-statutory services to protect what we are legally obliged to deliver. Notwithstanding this, everything from waste collection to education is being cut.
Be in no doubt, this is just the start. If continued, the Council will only provide basic statutory services and those who want something better will have to pay if they can afford to do so.
Edinburgh residents have a chance to inform this debate by taking part in the Council Budget Engagement Process: goo.gl/Q4dmGP (case sensitive link).
One piece of non-statutory provision, however, will not be consulted on. Because policing in the capital is not adequately funded, the Council contributes around £2.6m per year to pay the salaries of well over 50 police officers of various ranks. So not only is Edinburgh dealing with its own funding crisis, it is also making up for the underfunding of Police Scotland.
The items up for discussion range from charging for garden waste collection (item 26) to increasing the ticket price for the Scott Monument (item 31). Make sure you have your say.