Edinburgh’s budget problems are only just beginning – Steve Cardownie

I had a chance to speak with SNP councillor Alasdair Rankin, the city’s finance and resources convener, who remarked that now the dust has settled on the 2019/20 Budget the hard work begins to deliver the undertakings made to the full council.

Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 5:00 am
Alasdair Rankin says the hard work on delivering the budget begins now. Picture: Neil Hanna

When considering the Budget, the SNP/Labour administration laid down a number of challenges to council officials and if it has any chance of success further efficiency savings will have to be made. Their role is to implement the strategy laid down by council and nothing short of total commitment will suffice.

Alasdair pointed out that the administration’s priorities are to maintain services to the old, the vulnerable and the young as far as possible.

There will be increased spending on health and social care and the Scottish Government’s programme to substantially increase capacity in early learning and childcare will be fully implemented.

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He was keen to stress that more money will be spent on roads maintenance than last year and that additional money has been found to fund a tree planting programme, which should see thousands of trees being planted over the lifetime of the current administration.

Passing budgets is a tricky business but implementing them is even trickier and the administration will be all too aware that close scrutiny will be required if problems are not to be stored up for next year.

The next Budget will be difficult enough without departmental overspends adding to the problem.