‘Government must foot bill for its policy’

A fear of looking out of touch forced David Cameron to tone down a call yesterday to people to pay off their debts.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 6th October 2011, 4:27 pm

But he had a point – and not just with regard to ordinary Britons lumbered with maxed-out credit cards and unaffordable loans.

The UK public sector is also deeply in hock – to the tune of a trillion pounds – and it is no revelation that Edinburgh owes more than its share.

In fact, according to Labour group leader Andrew Burns, the city will soon spend £11 of every £100 in revenue servicing a debt of £1.5 billion.

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That figure was inflated recently by the £231m that will be borrowed to pay for the inflated cost of the trams. Opinion, of course, is split on whether or not it will be worth it.

Opinion will also be divided on the latest civic debt, which we report today. Rising costs mean the bill to convert Bonnington Primary into a Gaelic school has doubled to a whopping £3.5m. The council will have to borrow £1.7m to pay its share.

The News said at the start of this project that the city’s squeezed education budget would be better spent on pupils more generally, rather than on a small number of kids at a self-selecting school.

That is why we feel that if this cash must be spent delivering the SNP’s ambition of more Gaelic education then the Scottish Government needs to foot the bill.

Instead, ministers have increased their share of the Bonnington bill by just £400,000, to only £1.8m.

The rest will be paid by the city’s residents for years to come – just like the trams . . . but at least we should all get a shot on those.

Power of Scotland

the coal-fuelled power station that looms over the Firth of Forth at Cockenzie was recently damned as the dirtiest of its kind in Europe.

So no tears will be shed when this ugly brute of a building finally closes its doors after more than 40 years producing power for up to 670,000 homes.

Its greener, gas-powered replacement will more than halve noxious emissions and create 50 permanent and 1000 temporary demolition and construction jobs.

We can only hope that it also will be less of a blot on the landscape. And those who oppose it being built must remember that we need to get our energy from somewhere. Are they ready to turn to the alternative source of reliable, large-scale, clean power – more nuclear energy?