This is a great time for our capital city. It’s summer and the city is ablaze with culture, festivals and fun. With numbers on a par with World Cup attendances, our city is alive and celebrating 70 years of our worldwide festivals.
I’m proud to live in one of the best cities in the world, and welcome visitors from all countries to enjoy what Edinburgh can offer – great history and culture, great communities, a fine shoreline and tranquil hills around us.
As leader of Edinburgh Labour, it’s great to be able to play my part, as part of a coalition, in shaping the city over the next few years.
I want to see our communities thrive and businesses grow and to provide the best we can for our citizens. I and my colleagues will ensure that Edinburgh Labour’s priorities are delivered and will work with governments that should properly resource us.
We have committed to working with partners across the city to bring in a Transient Visitor Levy (tourist tax), bringing millions into potentially supporting festivals, promoting the city and delivering council objectives. I’m sure the Festival community would welcome this and I look forward to working with them and many others in Edinburgh to make this happen.
As the city grows, increasing by the current population size of Midlothian in the next 20 years, Edinburgh needs to expand its housing offer and provide transport fit for the 21st century. That’s why Edinburgh will continue to have the best bus company in the UK – a publicly owned one – and a modern efficient tram which we need to expand across the city. We need to build more high quality, energy efficient, affordable housing to meet Edinburgh’s needs now and for the next generation.
I hope that as part of the City Deal we will see Edinburgh become the data capital of the UK, with leading universities providing some of the most modern technological advances and jobs here in the Capital.
Whilst these great successes are to be celebrated we should remember that Edinburgh still has around 20 per cent of children in poverty and, in some parts of the city, regular and increased use of food banks, with national policies of welfare reform and benefit caps hitting many families hard in the city.
The city needs to build on its huge wealth and success to ensure it can be shared with all of its citizens. We will soon develop a poverty commission for the capital city – bringing together industry leaders, communities and key players to look at what more Edinburgh can do to target those most vulnerable in our city. I hope that politicians, community leaders and businesses can work together on many of these issues to ensure we invest in our citizens and our city to make it the best city to work, live, visit and celebrate.
Councillor Cammy Day is depute leader of the city council and leader of the Labour Group