From Black Lives Matter to trams, there are signs of hope for the future of Edinburgh – Cammy Day

As the Black Lives Matter movement continues, I’m pleased we have now appointed Professor Geoff Palmer to lead an independent review group for the city.
New tram tracks are being laid on the way to LeithNew tram tracks are being laid on the way to Leith
New tram tracks are being laid on the way to Leith

We look forward to working with Professor Palmer and the other members to make positive changes in the city through the group’s review of features such as statues and street names commemorating those with close links to slavery.

Linked to that, I had the great pleasure of meeting Booby Nwanze, who chairs the council’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) network. Bobby’s positive and energetic discussions with people throughout the council are a breath of fresh air, and we look forward to working alongside him and the BAME Network.

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Last week I met with some residents in south Edinburgh who shared their experiences of lived poverty. The openness and honesty of local people are to be welcomed, and it’s now time for the city to fully respond on how we can end poverty by 2030.

The impact of Covid-19 hits those less well off more than any other sector. Whilst I accept pockets of poverty exist across the city, and that this needs to be addressed, we cannot ignore the abject poverty in some areas. For example, poverty rates in my ward sit at around 27 per cent of the community.

While I’m disappointed that the Scottish government has decided to keep Edinburgh at level three of its Covid-19 restrictions framework and continues to force many businesses to close, the advice from Public Health Scotland has shown continued numbers of Covid-19 in the City of Edinburgh. I hope a robust defence is given to Scottish ministers in support of the many people employed in the hospitality industry, and many of Edinburgh’s small and medium local businesses who are struggling to get by.

Last week, we also agreed to allocate over £1.5 million to key regeneration projects in the city and I was hugely pleased that my Labour colleagues supported additional funding to the Granton Waterfront Project. Our plans are to regenerate the former Caroline Park Railway Station with small businesses, cafes and a new civic square. This will be a huge boost to the local community, and I hope it will bring more investment and jobs into North Edinburgh. Disappointingly the local Tories showed no support for these investments.

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Another area of the city where we’re seeing exciting development already underway is Leith, where the first tracks have been laid as part of Trams to Newhaven. This is a real milestone for the project, and I’m delighted that this progress is backed up by its refreshed final business case, which demonstrates that the economic and financial cases for the line’s completion remain positive, despite the challenging circumstances we face.

Finally, as the festive season looms, I would encourage everyone to head out to your local shops, and to our great city centre and help support our city’s businesses, restaurants and shops. Support the #ForeverEdinburgh campaign.

This is our city, let’s do what we can to support each other and keep safe.

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