Edinburgh should forget grandiose ‘projects’ until the Brexit dust settles – Helen Martin

Massive spending, funding, borrowing and financing commitments are being made at at time of great uncertainty, says Helen Martin

By The Newsroom
Monday, 30th September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 2:46 am
The tram extension to Leith remains on track - for now. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

THERE is rarely a time when our city council isn’t planning a project, whether it’s tram extension, Princes Street remodelling, or the City Centre Transformation.

None of them have 100 per cent backing from the citizens, most have tiny little consultation attempts of maximum 3000 people, but at the end of the day if a council majority backs it that’s fair enough. It’s council democracy if not people democracy. What worries me now is not whether I agree with any of it or not, but why massive spending and funding and borrowing and financing are commitments being made when we have no idea if and how Brexit will happen and what it will mean to our economy.

The value of the pound, loss of EU support, extra costs and delays for imports, closures of business, increased levels of poverty, rising costs for food and fuel, public disorder and an impact on cross-border financial services, are just some of the Yellowhammer predictions.

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For the sake of the environment and climate change, the council could ban cars from the city centre, but is it necessary to carry out a full structural transformation?

The financial Sword of Damocles is hanging over the Capital and all of its citizens as well as the rest of the UK. Surely this is not the time to embark on yet another costly “project”.

And if as a result, the temptation of upping charges for everything from suburban car parking to council tax and cutting back even further on services is on the agenda, that’s adding to people’s poverty.

Wouldn’t the wise idea be to at least put projects on hold until the financial future is clear?

Garden blunder is a blooming disgrace

YOU pop out shopping and come home to discover someone has wrecked and stolen your garden by uprooting your plants and a 100-year-old bush and taken them away.

Calling the police about theft and vandalism would have been my reaction. Instead the victims, Matthew and Christine Schofield in Harden Place, were just given an apology by the Spruce Garden Services who admitted they had “removed” the wrong garden. They added that because residents were out, they couldn’t check they were in the right place, so they simply went ahead and ripped it out.

They also had the nerve to suggest where the Schofields should buy new plants!

Doesn’t it seem obvious that the company should have not only financially compensated the family but provided the labour and experience to restore the garden as well as possible, albeit without a centenarian plant?

Smart thinking

SMART meters have even more problems. Some installers are converting them to pre-payment meters without the agreement and consent of the home owners, a tactic that’s tripled in the last year. And along with that energy firms are bullying and harassing customers, claiming it’s a legal requirement.

The government target is to have them all installed within the next five years but it’s not compulsory now while old smart meters with faults are still being issued. Say no. And if they hassle you, change your supplier.