Labour Council Election Manifesto

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FINANCE

• Start talks with the Scottish Parliament to allow Edinburgh to raise funds to support heritage and festivals through a tourist tax.

• Press for business rates to come back to the council.

• Support charities and communities by transferring council assets into their ownership or management and agreeing five-year funding packages.

• Introduce a living wage for council staff of £7.20 an hour – and encourage firms which do business with the council to do the same.

• Work towards greater equality in council salaries, a ratio of 1:12 between lowest and highest paid.

• Set up a budget committee open to representations from the public.

ECONOMY

• Work with local firms to encourage them to offer real apprenticeships to young people and in return seek to reduce their business rates.

• Strive to support local businesses by tipping the balance against unfair competition from big outsiders.

• Put more money into the council’s Edinburgh Guarantee apprenticeship system.

• Help people find premises for business through unused council premises as short low-cost lets.

• Where legal make sure council buys from local suppliers.

Transport

• Set up a Transport Forum of experts and citizens to think through transport needs.

• Have a two-year hiatus on any major transport projects.

• Bring roads and pavements up to a good standard.

• Control the work standards of utilities companies.

• Try to get the tram back on track and support a public inquiry into the problems.

• Extend 20mph routes.

• Spend a minimum of five per cent of transport budget on cycling and walking.

• Pledge never to sell off Lothian Buses.

Culture/Leisure/Sport

• Transfer decisions about local pitches and pavilions to co-operative groups of the clubs which use them.

• Back the reintroduction of community newspapers to strengthen community voices.

n End a tick-box target culture within the council to focus on what Edinburgh needs.

Education/Children

• Set up a city-wide “childcare co-op” to provide affordable childcare for working parents.

• Give parent councils the right to share in decision- making on schools by nominating a member of the council’s education committee.

• Ensure teachers are given as much training and support as required to introduce Curriculum for Excellence.

• Widen access and minimise charges for the use of schools by the community.

• Draw up a long-term plan to tackle overcrowding and underuse in schools.

Environment

• Protect green spaces from development and place decisions about their care into hands of local people.

• Consult tenants about bulk buying gas and electricity for their homes through an energy co-op to save them money.

• Confront all that’s tacky in the city centre from pavements to shops.

• Use council property to generate green electricity and encourage the development organisations like the Edinburgh Community Energy Co-operative.

Health

• Bring council, care staff and users together in a co-operative to decide on and provide the means to make life better for users of social care.

• Never seek to privatise or sell these services to the lowest bidder.

Housing

• Set up a task force to find fair ways to bring empty homes into use and build useful developments on derelict land.

• Press the Scottish Government to release money for Edinburgh to build new high-quality affordable homes for rent.

• Work with landowners to free up urgently needed land.

Planning

• Seek to revoke planning permissions where builders are hoarding land and not developing it.

• Ensure new builds comply with top design and green standards.

Crime

• Working with the police, we will set up a special antisocial behaviour unit to target persistent offenders.

• Expand drug and alcohol control programmes and support voluntary groups who offer safety to vulnerable people at risk.

• Faster enforcement of council tenancy agreements over disruptive neighbours.

• Where the law allows, place restrictions on party flats.

• Ensure links to local police and fire services are not lost by the move to single Scottish forces.