The news that a recent survey of Council owned property in Edinburgh highlighted the need for £153.5m (report, 1st of December 2017) of capital investment is a damning indictment of 10 years of a SNP Government that, at best, has been indifferent to the needs of Scotland’s Councils and the communities they serve.
The survey highlighted problems that require careful consideration, but also acute problems requiring immediate attention – these ranged from vermin infestation to loose masonry over school playgrounds. Tragedy has arguably been averted due to the diligence of Council Officers.
The problems with the Council properties are, however, the tip of the iceberg. Alongside that, we have a crumbling road network and widespread housing maintenance problems. Edinburgh is a city to be truly proud of, but it is being held back every day by political decisions made by the SNP Government.
I therefore welcome the fact that the SNP Council Leader will be asking the Nationalist Government for more capital funding to address the crisis Edinburgh is facing. However, this must be done in an open and transparent way.
It is worth noting that if the SNP Government simply pass on the Tory budget proportionately to Edinburgh we’ll land an extra £5m in capital spending and a marginal decline in revenue funding. I hope Councillor McVey is asking for more than that, and I hope he’ll publish his request.
If the SNP again decide to disproportionately cut Edinburgh’s budget to protect the wealthiest, then people should be left in no doubt that this is again a political decision to pass austerity on to our schools, community centres and libraries.
It’s now time for the SNP to convert some of their Westminster anti-austerity rhetoric in to action in Holyrood. It is time for real change. It is time to set a budget for the many, not the few.