The Edinburgh Labour Manifesto was launched today. It comprises a range of practical and radical policies which are focussed on the problems our city and its residents are facing. With these policies enacted we will be in a good place to tackle the cost of living crises, rebuild the economy after the pandemic and respond to the Climate Emergency.
Our key priorities are:
- Investing in our services and in our communities.
- Getting basic services back on track – everything from filling potholes to getting litter bins emptied.
- Campaigning for Fair Funding for Edinburgh and fighting cuts in services.
- Working to eradicate child poverty by 2030.
- Tackling the Climate Emergency to reach the target of net zero emissions by 2030.
The manifesto is packed full of policies and ideas, but the key ones for me are:
- Putting additional resources into increasing the frequency of street bin emptying and street cleaning services.
- Stopping charging for bulk uplifts, and enforcing the toughest penalties for fly tipping and dog fouling.
- Making provision of safe travel home for staff a condition of licensing in the night time economy.
- Prioritising women’s safety on public transport and in public spaces.
- Retaining and improving our network of public libraries and community centres.
- Upgrading existing public toilets and increasing the number across the city, including in parks, all to meet accessible and changing room standards.
- Delivering a programme to upgrade public parks and play facilities.
- Providing additional funding for home adaptations in council homes, and lobbying the Scottish Government to provide more grants for private renters and home owners.
- Increasing the number of qualified pupil support assistants to guarantee support for all nursery, primary and first and second year high school classes, and improve their pay and terms and conditions.
- Working with the voluntary sector to ensure availability of good quality informal youth work provision that meets the needs and aspirations young people in their communities.
- Establishing a new tourism body for the city that includes local community representatives as well as the tourist industry and councillors.
- Introducing a presumption against using public spaces and parks for commercial purposes where there is not clear community support.
- Making payment of the Real Living Wage a condition of any council contracts.
- Starting a programme to build at least 25,000 council owned homes within 10 years, including enough accessible and larger family homes to meet need. We call on the Scottish Government to match fund the investment coming from tenants’ rents.
- Requiring 35% of housing on development sites to be for council or housing association homes, with a target of 70% of these being for social rent.
- Upgrade council homes to keep them warm and help reduce fuel bills, using organisations like the Edinburgh Solar Co-op and supply from renewable sources where possible. We will press the Scottish Government to match fund the investment being put in from rents.
- Committing to making no more green belt land being allocated to development.
- Press the Scottish Parliament to reform the planning system to give communities rights of appeal.
- Increasing the pavement maintenance budget by 20%, increasing the active transport budget to 15% of the total transport budget.
- Establishing a fast track repair service for dangerous pot holes.
- Increasing the pedestrian crossing budget by 20%, and review timings to cut waiting time and ensure the less mobile have time to cross.
- Reviewing winter gritting plans to ensure key walking routes to bus stops, schools, GP surgeries etc are prioritised.
- Protecting and improving Edinburgh’s bus network. We will review all routes, oppose plans to remove bus stops and will invest in bus shelters. We will also ensure that all new buses provide space for both wheelchairs and buggies.
- Committing to work in partnership with business and our neighbouring local authorities to find a solution to commuter parking, including improved public transport, park and ride schemes, restrictions on commuter street parking in residential areas, restricting parking spaces in new office developments and other measures to help meet our net zero carbon target.
- Monitoring the introduction of low emission zones to ensure neighbouring areas are not affected by increased traffic and pollution.
I hope that these commitments, and the others in the manifesto, will be at the heart of everything the city does over the next five years.