We know that in the 5 years since 2013-14 funding for day-to-day council spending from the SNP 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.
As Ian Swanson’s interview with the SNP’s Councillor Alistair Rankin makes clear (report, 20/09/18), Edinburgh is now facing yet another round of unprecedented cuts – £28m in total this year. Over one half of this is due to a long overdue pay rise for Council staff which the Scottish Government refuse to fund, but will take credit for. The Council will have to axe jobs to fund a pay rise for those that remain.
I am reminded of Ouroboros – a serpent from ancient Egyptian mythology which consumed its own tail. However, Scotland’s capital should not have to cannibalise services to pay its workers.
To fill the £28m budget black hole, “savings” will be needed and charges will rise. The dozen or so discussed in the Evening News by Swanson & Rankin are the tip of the iceberg. In recent weeks proposals for the best part of 100 charges and cuts have been circulated in the City Chambers on what has euphemistically been called a “change deck”.
It is tempting to question which of these cuts will happen and what charges will increase or be introduced. The real question, however, is what are the SNP in Edinburgh doing to stop them?
After all, what is the point of Edinburgh having a SNP led Council if they are unable (or perhaps unwilling) to demand Edinburgh gets a fair deal from their masters in Holyrood?