Leader: In-tray will be bulging for Andrew Kerr

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AS a former international athlete, the man who is to take over as the city’s most senior public servant should have plenty of stamina. That’s good, because he is going to need it.

The in-tray for Dame Sue Bruce’s successor will be bulging to say the least.

First of all he is going to have to sort out the city’s finances – saving £67 million without damaging frontline services will be challenging to say the least. It is encouraging that in his previous posts Andrew Kerr has shown a willingness to innovate, rather than simply slash and burn, by embracing innovative ideas like community-run libraries and hiring out council services to earn extra cash.

Then there is the small matter of the Capital’s housing crisis and its Local Development Plan. It is no good the Capital enjoying the kind of booming economy detailed on pages four and five of today’s paper if we cannot provide affordable homes for the workers needed to run it. This is somewhere that with clear vision the city can make a real difference without spending money.

Can he help kickstart the redevelopment of Craigmillar and Fountainbridge, for instance, as well as keeping major projects like the St James Quarter on track?

The need to invest half-a-billion pounds in the Capital’s infrastructure – to fix our crumbling roads and overcrowded schools – has been highlighted in these pages many times before. With a Conservative government in power, prising a massive City Deal out of Westminster will be harder for Scotland’s Capital, but building a compelling case will be another key challenge.

And all that without even mentioning the T-word. Delivering the trams to Leith will surely be a priority, but no mean feat in itself.

Those who know Mr Kerr say that he has both gravitas and a sense of humour. He is going to need both in spades to get this job done.