Of course, SNP Council Leader Adam McVey is correct to highlight the impact “Tory Austerity” is having on Edinburgh (Opinion, 11-06-18). Their ideological squeeze on public spending combined with their assault on the welfare system makes it harder for Edinburgh to be all it can be.
That, however, is only part of the story. We know that in the five years since 2013-14, funding for day-to-day council funding from the Scottish Government has decreased by 7.1% but the UK Government only cut the Scottish Government’s revenue budget by 1.8%. On average across Scotland, the SNP have cut Council spending by £148 per person but in Edinburgh the cut has been even bigger – £226 per person.
It is within that context that services in Edinburgh are being cut, charges are rising, projects are delayed, services are failing and that people in our Capital will soon be forced to pay to have their garden waste collected. This should anger us all.
Edinburgh’s Labour Councillors have responded by spearheading the debate on introducing a modest “hotel tax” to help fund services for visitors and tourists alike. This has massive public support, but the SNP and the Tories continue to oppose giving Edinburgh this power – they are hand-in-glove on holding us back.
This is not the only area where the SNP Government is holding back Edinburgh. On everything from Airbnb to Uber, they simply will not give out Capital the powers to act.
The SNP spent their conference in Aberdeen last week spouting the tired old line about being “Stronger for Scotland”, I just wish their Edinburgh branch office would stand up for our Capital. The first step in doing that must surely be to be honest about who is cutting our budget.