Scotland's councils are desperate for cash but SNP government is squirreling away a vast fortune – Cammy Day

Picture: Labour Leader Cammy Day at the City ChambersPicture: Labour Leader Cammy Day at the City Chambers
Picture: Labour Leader Cammy Day at the City Chambers
With our budget now passed, Edinburgh Labour are pleased to see investment into anti-poverty measures.

With over £1m committed to respond to some of the Edinburgh Poverty Commission’s report, called A Just Capital, we want to see poverty reduced and ultimately eradicated from our city.

Last week the Chancellor set his Budget, offering little or no support for hard-pressed social care workers and NHS staff – only a planned tax hike for many on low incomes. Now is not the time, and nor are these the people to punish. Perhaps tax hikes on the huge profits of online retailers, or on those who can afford more, would be more appropriate?

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And all the while, the SNP government continues to squirrel away hundreds of millions of pounds for some future event – I wonder what that could be? Local government needs fairer funding for our services in social care, education, and providing affordable housing for our residents.

Meanwhile, there’s the ongoing and extremely damaging SNP soap opera of who said what, and who forgot who said what, or not. I know my Labour MSP colleagues and newly elected leader Anas Sarwar will hold them to account and call for appropriate action once the inquiry has concluded.

Back to School

I know primary parents and carers will be delighted to see their children back in school next week. Being back where they belong, with their pals and getting back to some kind of normality.

There has been a tremendous effort from all school-based staff, and from parents who have been providing home learning while juggling work and other commitments. I want to acknowledge this and say thank you.

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We will of course make sure our schools are safe for our young people and teaching staff and encourage everyone to continue following the latest public health guidance.

Granton Waterfront

Just last week our landmark plans for the Granton waterfront area took another big step forward with the award of a £4.75m investment into the former Caroline Park Railway station to support local employment and learning.

From early next year, this historic Edwardian building will be restored and transformed into high-quality creative workspace, with the currently derelict land in front of it returned to use as a public square for community events and recreation.

This is a key milestone in our £1.3bn sustainable regeneration project, which will unlock the potential of the area as a thriving place to live, work and spend time in.

The future’s bright for our Festivals

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As we start looking ahead to the future of our tremendous Edinburgh Festivals, I’d like to congratulate all of the operators for their hard work and determination in 2020. We must return Edinburgh’s historic and internationally renowned festivals to our city as soon – and as safely – as we can. We need to bold, embrace new challenges and bring the world back to Edinburgh.

We’re also considering the future of our Winter Festivals and I’d like to encourage you to take part in our 12-week consultation.

Finally, on International Women’s Day, let’s join together to celebrate the many and varied achievements of women in Edinburgh – and beyond, raise awareness against bias and prejudice and take positive action for equality.

Keep safe and look after one another.

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