Edinburgh council budget: Greens would raise council tax and spend £6.5m to combat climate emergency

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Greens set out proposals for Edinburgh council's 2024/25 budget

Edinburgh Greens say they would reject the Scottish Government's council tax freeze and approve a 7 per cent increase to fund more spending on the climate emergency - including more trees and flood prevention, as well as new public toilets and support for vulnerable residents.

Unveiling their proposals for the city council's 2024-25 budget, they said they would also scrap free meals for councillors attending full council, cut the Lord Provost's budget by 10 per cent and save £1 million by bringing contracts in-house.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The council meets next week to agree its spending plans and set the council tax for the next year. Each political group will put forward their own proposals.Last year, tactical voting by the Greens saw the minority Labour administration's budget plans defeated and the Lib Dems' alternative proposals approved instead. 

Councillors meet next week to set the city's budget for 2024/25Councillors meet next week to set the city's budget for 2024/25
Councillors meet next week to set the city's budget for 2024/25 | TSPL

Green finance spokesperson Alys Mumford said: "The administration is nervous that something might happen again like happened last year. We don't have any plans to do anything like last year. We've told people in advance what is in our budget, we've said what we want to see in theirs and we'll be making a decision on the basis of that." 

The centrepiece of the Greens' budget is an additional £6.5 million on responding to the climate and nature emergency. This includes increased spending on trees and biodiversity measures, re-funding the community climate fund for local groups to access, and investing in flood prevention. And she said they were calling on all groups to add climate spending to their own budgets.

The Greens also propose building toilets in local town centres which do not currently have them, such as Gorgie-Dalry; continuing free tram travel for under 22 year olds; creating a fund to support people leaving prison; and reversing the £2 million reduction in Scottish Welfare Payments for the most vulnerable residents.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cllr Mumford said: "We’re funding this by ignoring the SNP council tax freeze and raising council tax, reducing the Lord Provost’s budget – including cancelling council catering for full council meetings and instead using the money for accessibility measures during council meetings, and raising £1 million from in-sourcing services to reduce spending on agency staff."

She said the council tax would rise by between 6 and 7 per cent, meaning an extra £100 on the bill for an average Band D property. But everyone who currently receives Council Tax Reduction would get a one-off payment of £100 if they are in Bands A-D.

Cllr Mumford said it was difficult for councils to turn down the council tax freeze and the money it brought from the Scottish Govenment. "But for us the investment in services is too great - we cannot do the spending we need to do with that council tax freeze."

She said the Greens would stop spending £1,500 on free meals for councillors at each full council meeting. "It doesn't' make sense," she said.  "Councillors can pay for it themselves if they still want a hot meal, but as a standard expenditure we cant justify that £15,000 a year on feeding councillors."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There would be a 10 per cent reduction in the Lord Provost's budget, which includes civic receptions. "The Lord Provost's budget as a whole has not been examined in any great depth before, and all other departments are being asked to find savings."

And the Greens want to step up efforts to reduce sending on outsourcing services. "As a council we have said we are in favour of in-sourcing, yet we're not doing much of it.  We have staff who have been employed through agency work for two years - they should be on proper contracts. For us it's about workers' rights, but it would also save the council money."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.