As a council, we’re putting significant resources into support the NHS and other agencies to fight the virus and that includes our community testing programme aimed at people not showing symptoms – particularly in those areas of the city with higher numbers of cases.
There are lots of ways you can get a test; either come along to one of our community testing centres and take a rapid test or collect a pack of tests for use at home. You can also order free home testing kits online. Full details are available from our website: www.edinburgh.gov.uk
Last week was Fair Tax Week, and I had the pleasure of speaking at an event with the Scottish Co-operative party and Fair Tax UK. Hearing from the many companies across the country signing up to ensure they pay the right level of tax, I hope they also promote living wage and trade union recognition, perhaps setting the bar for other multinationals to pay their fair share too.
At the final council meeting before recess on Thursday, my group, Edinburgh Labour, will present motions on future opportunities for inhousing council services, expanding apprenticeship schemes, working with small and medium businesses in the city and hopefully delivering a better quality service to our tenants and the wider public.
The meeting will also see an update from the Edinburgh Slavery and Colonialism Legacy Review Group. This work commenced after our motion to council calling for wider action as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement. I would again like to thank Sir Geoff Palmer and the wider review group for their commitment and hard work in getting us this far. Edinburgh is a welcoming, open city and we need to be honest about our past and respond to that appropriately.
This summer will see our many festivals return to the city, some with blended online and physical performances. The Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues festival launches on 16 July, showcasing performances from Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and Taiwan, closely followed in August by our world- famous Edinburgh International Festival, featuring Nicola Benedetti, the Chineke! Orchestra and Dancing in the Streets to name but a few. Check out the full programme on their website: www.eif.co.uk
Please make every effort to support our many amazing festivals and support our local bars and restaurants as our city opens up again.
Finally, I was astounded last week to hear an SNP politician at the Scottish Parliament suggest that Lothian buses withdrew services on 17 March due it being St Patrick’s day. To be clear, this was because of sustained attacks on buses and the staff in some parts of the city. I hope he has now apologised to Lothian buses and their drivers, and to the Scottish Parliament for his dangerous and ill-informed comments.
Have a good summer and keep safe.