A lot to smile about going by the numbers - Cammy Day

The numbers are in, and this year’s findings paint a picture of a city bouncing back to better health. Published this week the 17th annual edition of Edinburgh by Numbers provides a statistical snapshot of our Capital, collated from sources around the UK by the data team in the council.
Record numbers of Edinburgh residents say they feel ‘positive’Record numbers of Edinburgh residents say they feel ‘positive’
Record numbers of Edinburgh residents say they feel ‘positive’

I’m proud to note that record levels of Edinburgh residents are saying they feel positive and satisfied with life in the Capital, with feelings of “worthwhile” the highest they have been for a decade.

Overall, there is a lot to smile about from this year’s results – but there are also some alarming statistics pointing to an increase in poverty and an ageing population. Changes which place pressure on core services and infrastructure, at a time when public sector finances are limited.

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Whilst Edinburgh remains the worst funded local authority in Scotland, I remain committed to doing my utmost as council leader along with colleagues and our city’s partners to improving the situation here as there’s still a lot more work to do.

Edinburgh has experienced its most successful year of Living Wage accreditations to date. A record 117 organisations have voluntarily committed to paying their employees a wage rate that is based on the cost of living and enables them to meet their everyday needs. This is our most successful year for new sign ups in the city and has resulted in 933 employees receiving a direct uplift in pay. I’m so grateful to all the employers who are choosing to pay the real Living Wage and tackling in-work poverty, despite increasingly challenging business conditions – everyone deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

The Scottish government has confirmed it will scrap its annual and interim targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, replacing with a system which measures emissions every five years. I am disappointed with this decision – the clear disregard for our climate and retracting such a flagship policy is hugely worrying.

This announcement however, doesn’t mean that climate change will be any less of a priority for us here in Edinburgh. But tackling this is an incredibly challenging task which will only get harder as public funding decreases. Our success depends upon collective effort and participation across society, Scotland’s public and private sector bodies, and closer working with both the UK and Scottish Governments.

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Last year saw us make good progress against our climate goals in Edinburgh, ranked best in Scotland for climate action by Climate Emergency UK and despite the Scottish Governments inaction, we in Edinburgh remain committed to our environment.

In November, the council committed a contribution of £60,000 to support the return of the Edinburgh Filmhouse building on Lothian Road and it’s good to see the UK Government has now joined us in pledging £1.5 million support.

This is fantastic news for a truly wonderful Edinburgh institution. Not only will it bring back the cinema to use, it will also create a fully refurbished space with the opportunity to provide a smaller screening room for educational use. I am delighted that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy the Filmhouse as I, and many our residents did. It’s special places such as this that make Edinburgh a great place to live.

Councillor Cammy Day is Leader of City of Edinburgh Council