Leader: ‘The sky is looking a lot brighter’

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THERE is little doubt that Edinburgh’s economy could do with some good news. Despite the estimated £250 million boost that the city’s festivals give us and the feel-good factor from the 2012 Olympics and Sir Chris Hoy, on several indicators the Capital’s economic performance is weak.

Youth unemployment has soared to worrying levels, property prices are flat-lining and the rate of new business start-up is below average.

Today’s front page brings together a series of announcements that suggest green shoots of recovery. Construction has been a key area of decline (don’t mention the trams) and the announcement of 
a £110 million development of student flats in the Old Town, together with the plans to regenerate the Barnton Hotel into “assisted-living” homes are positives. Add in new proposals for a £20 million hotel development in north Edinburgh, the ongoing SoCo regeneration and 
a step forward for the Caltongate plan and the sky is looking a lot brighter.

As the Chamber of Commerce rightly points out, this does not mean our problems are over but it’s a sign that the Capital remains very attractive to developers.

Earlier this month it was reported that the value of proposed developments in the city last year hit £10.6 billion – the highest level since the start of the recession, raising hopes that Edinburgh is emerging from the economic frost.

Despite the huge blows to our reputation as a result of the financial crisis that severely dented the Bank of Scotland and RBS, Edinburgh has largely weathered the worst of the economic storm. Much of this was due to our diverse base - as well as finance we have strong universities, a healthy arts sector and a stable public sector and voluntary sector. Now we must build on that and emerge from the recession ahead of other cities.

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WE need a hero – and time is running out. Nominations are about to close for the Evening News-backed Health Hero award which aims to honour the ordinary workers who do extraordinary things every day. Often those who do the most are the ones who are overlooked.

Any member of NHS Lothian’s 28,000 staff is eligible to be nominated by simply following the details on page 17 today. So don’t delay, get nominating and help ensure one unsung hero gets the recognition they deserve.