Edinburgh Council’s priorities have never been further away from residents' – Adam McVey
Councils are duty-bound to consult on their budget. In previous years, thousands of residents responded with their welcome views. However, instead of consulting with the public on how the council spends their money, the Labour/Tory/Lib Dem council administration told residents that they knew best, with no consultation of any form.
The unionists’ ivory tower, “we know best” politics wasn’t the only budget disaster. Labour chose to vote down a progressive, balanced budget, instead backing the Lib Dem’s. This saddled the city with millions in extra debt, failed to tackle poverty and blocked meaningful climate change action.
It also cut money from education, ended no compulsory redundancies and outsourced public services. Labour’s excuse for breaching their “red lines” and breaking their promises to the unions was they “hadn’t read” their Lib Dem partner’s budget. One thing is certain, Edinburgh’s now a city without effective leadership and has been listing along for an entire year now.
The council’s social care services are in disarray. Despite millions in additional funding going directly into these services from the Scottish Government, social care has received its worst-ever inspection report, with serious failings being highlighted across the board. This is unprecedented.
This means that vital lifeline services aren’t being provided. Our loved ones are remaining in hospital unable to get the home-care they need, despite our amazing staff’s fantastic work. Even when care is being provided through self-directed support, we know through the fantastic work of SNP Councillor Vicky Nicolson that £2m of these payments are being stripped off families annually.
Unpaid carers are pushed to breaking point and have told us they can't understand how social care is overspending by £35m whilst simultaneously failing to deliver care. Why have we pushed so many people into crisis that they need costly emergency support?
SNP councillors will keep pressing for change and hold the administration to account for being asleep at the wheel. They need to take responsibility and deliver change, starting by sacking their hapless convenor.
Just last week, the Labour, Tory, Lib Dem administration had to extend their “consultation” on the replacements for Covid-related cycling and pedestrian schemes due to their botched plan. Again, they were paying no attention to get the process right and hear the voice of the people. On this issue, where feelings run high, it’s essential those in power take care to listen. However, on this, like everything else, they’re not interested.
Of course, as well as ignoring voters, Labour, Tory and Lib Dems have failed in many other areas too. The administration is the first in living memory to be held in contempt of council for failing to alert councillors and the public over the winter festivals calamity.
Labour have effectively ended the council-house building programme, decimating the strong construction pipeline they inherited from the SNP, making the already dire housing situation worse. While Labour blames anyone they can think of for their disastrous management of our Capital, folk are canny. People see through Labour and one year in, it’s all caught up with them. Voters can see Labour, Tories and Lib Dems taking them for granted. Ignoring our residents will not build a better Edinburgh.
Adam McVey is SNP leader on Edinburgh Council