‘Edinburgh is well-placed for recovery’

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We may be on the brink of a double-dip recession. The jury may be out on George Osborne’s plans to recharge the economy.

But amid all the financial doom and gloom today there is a ray of light in Edinburgh.

New independent figures on foreign investment show 2011 is set to be a record year for the number of deals completed.

The total investment in Edinburgh by foreign firms this year already stands at nearly £340 million – behind only 2009. Most important of all to many city workers, the number of jobs created as a result is almost 1700.

All of which can only be seen as good news, and the council rightly points to schemes including the flagship Primark store due to open next week on Princes Street as evidence of the confidence in the city’s economy.

Other major developments are in the pipeline and while it is perhaps premature to rely on the revival of the Caltongate scheme, the fact that there is even the hint of a deal using foreign money in these times is impressive.

The latest figures are good news beyond Edinburgh too, for the Capital is an engine room for growth across Scotland.

More directly, work on the Forth replacement crossing should be a boost to the regional economy, though there have to be doubt about the practicality of Labour’s plans to make sure local companies and staff get the lion’s share.

Taken overall though, while it may not seem like it to many city residents struggling to make their money go further this festive season, today’s figures show that Edinburgh is well placed to recover and grow as we meet the challenges ahead.

Watching brief

Whenever you hear of squatters you can’t help thinking of the usual motley crew of chancers and free-loaders.

But the group staging a sit-in at the empty Forest Cafe building in Bristo Place insist they are genuine local activists.

They say their only aim is to create an asset for the local community to replace the social enterprise that operated there until its landlord went bankrupt.

Let us hope that is true and that their protest isn’t derailed by lay-abouts keen to grab a slice of something for nothing.

We and the rest of the community will be watching closely to see that these protesters really are who they say they are and that they stay true to their word.