Welcome to Edinburgh, best city in the world- Cammy Day

What a great week this has been. Boris has gone and yesterday Time out Magazine listed Edinburgh, Scotland’s Capital, as the best city in the world, and I totally agree.

New leader: Labour's Cammy Day is heading up the administration at Edinburgh City Council
Pic: CEC
New leader: Labour's Cammy Day is heading up the administration at Edinburgh City Council Pic: CEC

The city ranked highly across the board, topping the global chart as the most beautiful and the most walkable city in the world.

As we see tourists flock to the capital, the airport getting busier, bars, restaurants and local business busy, its great to see Edinburgh bouncing back after a long pandemic affecting all of us. We aren’t there yet, with lots more work ongoing and getting services back with so many council and partner colleagues being impacted by Covid.

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Earlier this year, our budget committed to a deep clean of the heavily used city centre and I look forward to discussing how this can be best achieved to get our city centre looking great again. This will need the support of the local community, and importantly local businesses.

Recently I’ve witnessed litter from local fast food outlets strewn all over the streets, these businesses need to be more proactive in helping keep the city looking its best.

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining the amazing King’s Theatre colleagues, and a behind the scenes gander at how the theatre works. This beautiful building built back in 1906, now needs substantial investment to make sure its fit for the next 100 plus years. The Kings have fundraised nearly £25 million, including support from the council, Scottish Government and some very generous patrons and donations.

As I spoke with Edinburgh’s one and only Grant Stott last weekend, he reminded me that some of the best panto in the world comes from The Kings and he can’t wait to get back. If you can donate to this read more here Support the future of Everyone’s Theatre - Capital Theatres.

And it’s not just the King’s that is undergoing a transformation. When it opens next week, Meadowbank will be one of the country’s top community sports centres and features some of the most state-of-the-art fitness facilities in Britain.

Participation and accessibility is at the heart of the centre and I can’t wait to seeing Meadowbank bustling with sporting activity. I’m sure the centre will bring huge physical, mental and social benefits to generations of local people for years to come.

As we see the street performers out and about, the city buzzing with visitors from across the world and preparations for the many festivals ready to be launched, with the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues launch this week, all of this reminds me of the Transient Visitor Levy - TVL, or as we call it the Tourist Levy.

I couldn’t recall how many years I have been lobbying for this along with COSLA - yet the Scottish Government drag their heels with another consultation and lobbying from big businesses.

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It’s time to give local councils the power and choice to implement this levy, providing additional income to support culture in the city, better infrastructure and benefits to all.

With Boris gone, it’s time for a general election and hopefully a new government that will make an impact on the cost of living crisis, as neither the current UK or Scottish Government have made any impact. I hope things can only get better.

Cammy Day is leader of City of Edinburgh Council