Thursday, February 19, 2009


Budget Update

Well, unsurprisingly the local Lib-Dem/SNP budget was voted through last Thursday in the Council Chambers.

There is a huge amount of detail in the confirmed budget - please don't hesitate to contact me directly if you'd like any specific information - but meantime here's some quick analysis of the main differences and some of the problems that will quickly become apparent with what the Lib-Dems and SNP have just passed:

- Both Labour (and Tories interestingly) put the 1.5% cut in School Budgets BACK INTO this year's figures ... some £2.7million would have been returned to schools. The Lib/Nats didn't, and instead allocated a paltry £250K to all of the city's schools - that's not very much for each school :-(

- In terms of allocation of additional funding to front line services ... here's the running order: Labour £28.1million; Tories £26.9million; Lib/Nats £25.6million. So, again, even the Tories appear to care more for front-line services than the current Administration.

- Very worrying increases in the 'school let' figures - which we rejected in our proposals - with the Lib/Nats raising charges for these rentals very, very significantly. For example, to hire a general games hall goes up from £21.25 to £27.63 - that's a shocking 30% (yes, 30%) increase. In total, this area of income is going up by some £319,000 and I confidently predict real pain for many over this, and I doubt if any of the 29 Lib/Nats even realised they approved it in their budget.

- Another £350,000 taken OUT OF Community Education - that's on top of the £850,000 last year - both cuts we rejected. Again, this will lead to serious service reductions in a whole host of areas and I doubt very much if those in charge politically, realise the full impact of what they've just agreed. I reckon the 'Scouts' and 'Lothian Association of Youth Clubs' can kiss goodbye to their seconded-posts, for example?

- No new monies for 'supported bus services' - this WILL come back to haunt them I'm sure - whilst we allocated an extra £300,000 to this area.

- No general uplift for voluntary organisations whatsoever - we did have 'inflation provision' for these organisations in our budget.

- No additional monies (once again, despite the avowed emphasis on 'doing things locally') for Neighbourhood Partnerships - we had put in an extra £600,000 for this.

- No extra monies for additional local Police Officers - the Libs had consistently failed to back this initiative when they were in Opposition and continue to show no real support - we had an extra £320,000 for this in our budget, which would have paid for 10 new Police Officers.

Overall, pretty poor emphasis on 'front-line service delivery', and it's certain that some very serious problems will arise out of what's just been approved.

In short, another weak budget for the city of Edinburgh's residents.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

January NEN update

Firstly I’d like to say well done to the North Edinburgh News, despite
a very difficult time, that they continue to struggle on to provide a
great local newspaper for North Edinburgh. I was very
disappointed to read Cllr McIvor’s column about the NEN. I’m sure
the NEN would be keen to expand, if the resources were made
available for this to happen... not really a possibility given they’ve just
had a 56% cut, in addition to the cut last year when the SNP/Lib
Dem Council cut the grant from Edinburgh Community Newspaper
Trust, in total a cut of approximately 75% to the NEN!!
There are no community project ‘Empires’ in North Edinburgh, and
if there are - I’d be keen to know where and visit them!!
Fairer Scotland Fund I am continuing to work with officers to look for alternative
funding streams, including Health, Police and Council resources to try
and save the local projects threatened by the cuts imposed on
them. These projects are essential for North Edinburgh, and I hope
the whole community will rally to support them.

17 Bus

A number of local people have been in touch about the 17 service
being cut. We have spoken with Lothian Buses, and they argue the
service is financially unviable. My Labour colleagues argued
against this cut, but it was pushed through. This loss is in addition to
the 32 being peak only - means a drastic reduction in buses serving
this side of the city!

Clean Green and Safe?

The state of the streets continues to be high on local people’s agenda.
Whether it’s dog fouling, broken glass in the parks, litter or general
neglect, as I am keen to hear more from local people if this concerns
you then please get in touch - details are as follows;

Contact details

My surgery details are: first and
third Wednesday of the month at
6pm in Muirhouse Millennium
Centre then at 7pm in Royston
Wardieburn Community Centre
Second and fourth Wednesday of
the month at 6pm in the Prentice
Centre then at 7 pm at Trinity
Primary (during term times only).
Phone; 529 3281
City Chambers High Street
Edinburgh EH1 1YJ

Not sure what to say about the latest blundering of the SNP/Lib Dem Administration.. 1.5 % savage cuts to schoosl last year, anoither 25 proposed this year - devastating most school based budgets!
But no, theres been a u turn, roundabout decision making? or something else - there now wont be cuts to school based budgets?>!
I say well done to Parents who have rallied support to fight againt these cuts. Cuts to young peoples education in this city! and excellent campaign.. worryingly we've yet to hear where the saving will be made??


Many of you may have heard of the recent cuts by the SNP and Liberal Democtras to the North Edinburgh Community.
I have been meeting with officers to look for alternative funds to support many of the local projects that have taken cuts in excess of 50-60% - shocking, i know - but true!
If you are a project user, and these cuts affect you please get in touch. I will be working along side other councillors, your local MP Mark Lazarowicz and Malcolm Chisholm your MSP to fight these unnecessary cuts!!