All parties must unite to bring heat and dignity this winter - Adam McVey
It was brilliant to see the new Meadowbank Sports Centre open and bustling with people at the official opening last week.
The new centre has brought world-class facilities to the city and represents the biggest investment in sport in generations. This was a key SNP achievement of the last five-year council term and I was proud to have worked with so many others to drive this forward to completion.
This is a new home in Edinburgh for many sports clubs and also importantly Edinburgh Football Club, who will also play there. When so many other areas are talking about pulling back facilities, we are supporting the wellbeing of our residents and expanding access to sport. I’m glad in Edinburgh the SNP saw the value in delivering a new world-class centre.
Unfortunately, not all council-related events have been so positive. The council and charities across the city are bracing for a catastrophic winter with people being unable to heat their home and feed themselves - and their families - properly. The casualties of Tory hard right economics have been our communities. In weeks, the Tories have set poverty reduction back years in the Capital and are now pursuing an austerity 2.0 agenda which will again hammer our public services and push folk into poverty - including thousands of our children. Many of our communities are still getting over the disastrous policies of the Tory/LibDem austerity attack on struggling families and public services. This time, the consequences could be even more dire.
We need to do all we can to fight this agenda, and Edinburgh’s SNP MPs are working hard to do just that.
Locally too, we are working across parties to try and support people as best as possible through the winter and we were pleased that, following the work of SNP Councillor Euan Hyslop, there is strong action between the council, local community centres and other local facilities to support people through the next few months.
People need not only basic support of food and heat - they also need dignity. So, the work done by council officers is very welcome to provide the support needed while removing the stigma of getting that help. While this response is a collaborative and effective one, it could and should have gone further. EVOC, the overarching body representing Edinburgh charities, made a request last week for a small amount of money to help some of those most in need this winter. SNP and Greens voted to support this but unfortunately this was blocked by the Labour, Tory and LibDem administration parties who voted against a proposal that could have led to allocation of a small amount of additional money.
While the administration parties spend their time attacking the SNP, this is a proposal we should have united on. It shouldn’t just be SNP MPs taking the fight to the right-wing Tories, it should be our entire Council standing up for our communities. The Scottish Government is now having to deal with the consequences of the Tory mini-budget fiasco. We should all worry about what the impact on public spending will mean for our local services. But we should be in no doubt of the cause - this, like the Tory cost of living crisis, originates in Westminster.