£28m Edinburgh council cuts set to go ahead after Scottish Budget

General view of the Edinburgh Western General Hospital Crewe Road South.''Pic: Ian Rutherford
General view of the Edinburgh Western General Hospital Crewe Road South.''Pic: Ian Rutherford
Have your say

COUNCIL chiefs in the Capital look set to press ahead with cuts of up to £28 million in the wake of the Scottish Government budget.

Details of Edinburgh’s share of the cash are due to be published next week.

Council leader Adam McVey said: “Until we’ve been through the numbers in detail we won’t know the full extent on our own budget but it looks like the government have managed to protect council funding which is to be welcomed. The proposed settlement appears to be in line with our financial planning and we’ll keep working hard to make sure we get the most out of every pound of public money.”

Edinburgh had based its planning for next year on an assumption funding would be more or less “flat”. Officials calculated that would require savings of £28m.

No decisions have yet been made on what the cuts will be but the Evening News revealed measures under discussion by the SNP-Labour administration include less money for schools, waste collection and road repairs, closing almost all the city’s public toilets, stopping emergency repairs to 
tenements, ending the free supply of electricity in common stairs and extending parking zones.

The coalition is due to agree a list of cuts in January ahead of setting next year’s budget in February. It is already accepted the council tax will rise by three per cent.

Presenting his budget at Holyrood yesterday afternoon, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay told MSPs total support for local government in 2019/20 would increase by £210m to £11.1 billion. He said: “This provides a real-terms increase in both revenue and capital funding.”

But the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities crunched the figures and said that because of new commitments revenue funding had been cut by two per cent and that ring-fencing meant capital funding was down by a similar amount.

Cosla resources spokeswoman Gail Macgregor said: “There is always smoke and mirrors around how those at the centre present their budget. The one message that the Scottish people need to take from today’s budget is that the local government’s core budget which provides our essential services has taken a hit.

“The essential services local government deliver are the foundations on which Scotland is built. Today’s announcement means that these foundations are under severe pressure.”

Lothian MSP and Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs pressed Mr Mackay to commit to fairer funding for health boards after figures earlier this week showed NHS Lothian receives £11.1m less than the funding formula dictates.

Mr Mackay said NHS Lothian’s budget would increase by over £57m to £1.441 billion.

But Mr Briggs said he was disappointed the Finance Minister had failed to comment on the funding formula. He said: “Waiting times in NHS Lothian are amongst the worst in Scotland, however, ministers continue to underfund the under pressure health board.”