Edinburgh school building programme: Scottish Government cuts a 'devastating blow', says MP Ian Murray
Scottish Government spending cuts imposed on the Capital are a “devastating blow” to school building plans, Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray has said.
The city council is planning to shelve plans for a series of new schools because of a £123 million funding gap in its capital budget. Plans for a new Balerno High School are to be scrapped and the existing will undergo a full retrofit instead. The proposed new west Edinburgh secondary school and new primary schools at Buiyleon Road, Gilmerton Station Road, Granton and East of Milburn Tower will now only go ahead following the development of fully funded business cases, meaning construction could be pushed back or even axed altogether.
Mr Murray said the new primary in Gilmerton, in his constituency, was urgently needed because the existing Gilmerton Primary is “bursting at the seams”.
And he pinned the blame for the shelving of the schemes on the SNP administration at Holyrood, accusing them of inflicting huge cuts in local authority budgets for over a decade – “far and above any reduction to the Scottish Government’s overall budget”.
He said the SNP had cut £6 billion from local authority budgets since 2013, with Edinburgh council alone suffering £600 million in cuts.
And he said the removal of the new school from the capital programme was “another kick in the teeth for communities in Gilmerton”. He said: “Every GP in the area is closed to new patients, the much-supported Gilmerton Gateway project has taken too long to get approved, and now the promised primary school at Gilmerton Station Road has been shelved. These decisions are a devastating blow and are the price we have to pay for political choices made by our governments.
“The SNP, supported by the Greens in Holyrood, have been cutting local authority budgets to the bone for years, while the Conservatives’ mishandling of the budget has caused economic chaos. I have contacted the Scottish Government to stress the urgent need for additional primary school provision in Gilmerton. If we are going to build new homes, we owe it to new and existing residents, to build proper infrastructure.”