Poisoned chalice has perhaps turned out to be challenge Scott Arthur could not resist - Steve Cardownie

When Councillor Scott Arthur took over as Transport and Environment Convener at City of Edinburgh Council he said that he would only do the job for a few months until one of his new Labour group colleagues gained sufficient experience to enable them to take over the role.
Councillor Scott ArthurCouncillor Scott Arthur
Councillor Scott Arthur

That was nearly two years ago. Either none of his colleagues has gained enough experience (after two years!) or much more likely – he has warmed to the task.

What maybe seemed a poisoned chalice in 2022 has turned out to be a challenge he could not resist. He has certainly made an impact since usurping the SNP’s Councillor MacInnes, who previously held the position until her group were unceremoniously relieved of their role as the administration when three other parties, namely, Labour, Lib Dems and Tories combined their votes to oust the SNP from the leadership.

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Councillor Arthur said in yesterday’s Evening News that when he became convener the budget for roads and footpaths was underfunded by £8 million but the following year it was allocated £11m and that had increased to £12.5m with a pledge of at least the same again for the next two years.

He was speaking in support of a new policy which would prioritise pavement repairs in favour of those that were in “areas of deprivation” as car usage may not be very high leaving “Shanks’s pony” as the only way of getting to a bus stop or the shops. Hailing it as the first step (pardon the pun) taken by a local authority, “to look at it this way and create a more equal city” he is right to take some credit, but we shall have to wait see if the theory works in practice.