As Challenge Poverty Week begins, Tories show their true colours – Cammy Day
Today marks the start of Challenge Poverty Week and I would urge everyone to speak out against poverty and come together with others in calling for a more just and equal Scotland.
Many of you will have seen the fantastic and innovative work of the independent Edinburgh Poverty Commission, working hand in hand with local people through the End Poverty Edinburgh group. We’ll receive their annual update this week looking at what’s been done, and what more needs challenged to help get the 80,000 people in our city out of poverty.
Linked to that, I was appalled to see the recent vote in Scottish Parliament where local Conservatives voted against helping the poorest people in Edinburgh, hit again by a further kick from the Tory government, continuing with cutting the £20 uplift in Universal Credit. Here was a chance to show their true colours and the local Tories did exactly that – the only party to vote against!
With Cop26 on our horizon, and world leaders coming to Scotland, Edinburgh must continue to push ahead with our commitment to net carbon zero by 2030. We’re creating partnerships to retrofit homes in Edinburgh, developing an Edinburgh Community Climate Forum, green investment plans and working with our Lothian Buses to decarbonise their fleet by 2023 and much more besides.
Every one of us needs to get involved in whatever way we can, and see how every little we do can help the city’s ambitious targets.
Many of you will be pleased to hear that the development of the brand new £50m Meadowbank Sports Centre opening is very much ‘on track’ for later this year. Once open, it will be one of the country’s top community sports centres and will feature some of the most state-of-the-art fitness facilities in the United Kingdom.
The centre will open to the public in December, with a Wall of Honour – for members of the public who have made significant contributions to Meadowbank’s past and legacy – added in the New Year.
I was pleased to join fellow Labour councillors, MSPs and trade unionists at the Unison demonstration against care home closures. With huge pressures in health and social care, many older people living longer, some with more complex conditions, we need a care service fit for the 21st century, that provides the best care we can.
Closing care homes should not be part of that. With the Scottish government set to centralise a National Care Service – and likely remove any local democratic influence over it – it’s important all of us express our opinions on the future of health and social care now – you can access the consultation, A National Care Service for Scotland, at www.gov.scot.
Finally, as we celebrate Black History Month 2021 – Proud To Be, I wanted to thank again Sir Geoff Palmer and the members of the Edinburgh Slavery and Colonialism Legacy Review Group, for leading the work here in Edinburgh. I look forward to hearing the updates on the progressive work they have been doing and I would encourage you to take part in their public consultation when it opens later this year.
More details about Challenge Poverty Week can be found at www.challengepoverty.net
Cammy Day is leader of Edinburgh Council’s Labour group