The Evening News headline claiming the Council Tax rise would be used to fund new schools in Edinburgh (Report, 10.02.20) is nothing more than a cynical piece of spin. The reality is that Council Tax is going up and school budgets are going down due to Scottish Government cuts.
The Scottish Government has forced £590m of new commitments on to Councils, but have given them only £495m to undertake the work. Edinburgh has a £35m black hole to fill.
It is heart-breaking that the poorest people in Edinburgh will feel the impact of this most. The Oxgangs area of my Ward alone will see:
- Over ninety-thousand pounds slashed from school budgets;
- A threat to nursery teacher posts;
- Community policing cut,
- Local library opening hours cut; and,
- The unfair Council Tax will rise by almost 5%.
The cuts in schools kids in my Ward attend are roughly as follows:
- Bonaly Primary – £17,000
- Buckstone Primary – £18,000
- Colinton Primary – £7,000
- Juniper Green Primary – £13,000
- Oxgangs Primary – £10,000
- Pentland Primary – £14,000
- St Mark’s Primary – £4,000
- St Peter’s Primary – £15,000
- Boroughmuir High School – £75,000
- Currie High School – £45,000
- Balerno High School – £45,000
- Firrhill High School – £70,000
- St. Thomas of Aquin’s High School – £45,000
A cut to libraries is a cut to education and well-being, and will only increase social isolation. When I was elected in 2017 I pledged to voters in my ward that I would protect library opening hours, and I don’t see that changing.
How can the head-teacher at Firrhill High School in my Ward raise attainment when Scottish Government cuts will mean his budget is cut by £70,000?
The SNP Government must think again. Please write to your MSP and ask him/her to block this budget. For people in my Ward, that’s Gordon MacDonald MSP and he plans to back the cuts.
The draft Council budget overview is here.