COMMENT: The reality of the situation is shocking
EDINBURGH is a wealthy city. Wander along Multrees Walk, past some of our celebrated restaurants and exclusive car dealerships, or down certain leafy avenues, and that wealth is there for all to see. It is not always flashy, this being Edinburgh, but it is unmistakable.
Anyone who has spent long in the city knows that this wealth is only one, relatively small, part of the Capital.
It is in many ways a facade that quickly crumbles when you look past the surface.
The closure of four schools in recent days because building inspections raised safety fears is just the latest startling evidence of that.
The fact many of these schools are likely to reopen within days shows that the council is taking a prudent and precautionary approach.
That is exactly the right thing to do, we cannot take any chances when it comes to the well-being of our children. But it does not make the reality of the situation any less shocking.
The city’s infrastructure, our buildings, our roads and so on, has been neglected for far too long and desperately needs investment. Our overcrowded, potholed roads are another prime example.
The City Deal announced by Chancellor George Osborne this week is a huge step in the right direction.
Invested wisely, the money involved – up to £4 billion including public and private cash – has the potential to change life for the better for many of us.
It is, however, only part of the problem.
The rules of the deal will prevent the city using the money to repair broken school buildings. Of course we have to invest in 21st century communication technology, better public transport, including the trams, and other infrastructure.
But before we do all that we have to make sure that the schools our children attend are safe places for them to be.