SNP opposition budget will propose a progressive alternative – Adam McVey

The SNP budget would reverse around £8.5m of education cuts, save the King’s Theatre, take action to get on top of damp and mould in council homes, and set the most progressive council tax regime in the country.
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We were told by Labour there were no plans to cut teachers on January 20, yet three weeks later the council published swingeing cuts to education, including axing millions from the classroom, decimating speech and language therapy services, abolishing of student welfare officers. Perhaps worst of all, it would cut inclusive and supportive education, undermining the council’s ability to provide the best supportive environment for young people with additional needs.

All of this would have profound impacts for our young people. By denying them days before they were published, Labour either dropped the ball or misled the public. Either way, the SNP would reverse these cuts. They are not needed to balance the budget as we’re showing through our costed plans.

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We have also set out a plan to match-fund the remaining gap needed by the King’s Theatre. This would ensure that the redevelopment can continue and save this key cultural institution for our city.

Too many of our council tenants are living with cold, damp conditions in their homes. We’ll propose bold action with a new damp and mould taskforce. This would not only tackle the symptoms of poorly insulated buildings to help residents now. It would also mean major investment in building fabric which would not only tackle damp problems for good, but also reduce heating bills.

SNP councillors have also agreed to prioritise money for front-line services, which is why we have a plan to reduce spending on council buildings and instead invest more in our waste and cleansing services as well as our roads and pavements.

We’ll set out a radical plan on council tax that would make council tax reform a reality, raising the money needed for local services in a fairer way. The SNP in opposition is showing that by thinking differently and prioritising properly we can meet the serious challenges we face while continuing to show the ambition Edinburgh deserves.

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The contrast between the SNP in opposition in Edinburgh, setting a roadmap of progressive values, and Labour in opposition in Glasgow Council is the starkest reminder of the gap in work ethic, values and integrity between the SNP and Labour. While we’ve worked to offer a constructive way forward from opposition, Labour in Glasgow couldn’t even be bothered showing up to their budget meeting.

The King's Theatre needs a multi-million-pound refurbishmentThe King's Theatre needs a multi-million-pound refurbishment
The King's Theatre needs a multi-million-pound refurbishment

The First Minster has been Scotland’s most dedicated public servant, leaving enormous shoes to fill for the country, independence movement and the SNP as she stands down after eight years. As well as policies like the Baby Box and Scottish Child Payment that have improved life chances for all young people, she leaves behind a legacy of public service which is an example to those in public life.

Despite eight years of intense mud-slinging by opponents, her integrity remains – fundamentally because she is a hard-working, decent, authentic, honest person. As SNP members decide on a new leader of our party, these are the qualities I will most look for in those seeking to take our nation forward.

Adam McVey is SNP group leader on Edinburgh Council