Talk of the Town: So this is what we pay council tax for

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NO-ONE says setting a council budget is easy, but isn’t the whole idea of electing councillors that they’re supposed to take responsibility for it?

At the local authority in Midlothian, bosses are handing their abacus to the people by launching a budget simulator on their website.

Members of the public who fancy themselves as beancounters must achieve a savings target of two per cent across six key service areas to balance the books.

Some might say it sounds like the council is passing the bucks.

It’s murder being a crime writer, isn’t it, Ian?

CRIME writer Ian Rankin seems to be enjoying himself at a book festival in Turkey.

The Merchiston-based author tweeted: “Was going to sightsee afterwards, but the temptation of a cold Efes Pils was too great. Now people-watching and car-horn listening.”

Your DIY ticket to ride

TRAIN operator East Coast reckons it has a million reasons to celebrate.

The company, which operates services between Edinburgh and England, has revealed it has sold one million “print-at-home” train tickets.

The landmark ticket was sold to a city passenger who was travelling from York to Waverley.

East Coast commercial and customer service director Peter Williams said: “We’re delighted to have sold our one millionth print-at-home ticket. We look forward to many more customers discovering how convenient and easy it is to use.”

Not quite like winning the lottery, but nonetheless we offer our warmest congratulations to both passenger and company.

Shaken, not stirred

AS a festival city and tourist haven, Edinburgh has many accolades – and now it can boast three bars in the UK’s cocktails top five.

According to consumer reviews website Qype, Queen Street’s Bramble came out on top for its “interesting and exciting flavours” and “great cocktails and hospitality”.

The list also features Cabaret Voltaire, which came second, and Dragonfly.

“Edinburgh is increasingly offering exciting and innovative social options to locals and visitors alike and this is undoubtedly a trend that is set to continue,” says Richard Dennys, Qype’s chief marketing officer.

Which is good to know next time you head down your local social option.