‘No restrictions would hit the city’s coffers’

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SO the cash-strapped city council had 50,000 reasons to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend.

As thousands of city residents enjoyed street parties, or simply took advantage of an extended break from work, there was no let up from the parking wardens.

They dished out more than 2600 tickets – almost 20 per cent more than on an average four days – with many motorists presumably believing mistakenly that parking restrictions had been relaxed for the public holiday. There has to be a certain amount of sympathy for those who, confronted with wall-to-wall media coverage of the Jubilee celebrations, thought that the rules would have been different on those days.

But anyone checking would have discovered that Edinburgh only lifts parking restrictions on four days of the year.

Should that happen on every public holiday?

Well, one obvious result would be a pretty hefty hole in the city’s coffers. If the council can afford to take that kind of hit on its finances it would be better to do so by lowering the cost of parking in the city centre.

Goodwill lacking

Having admitted that it has been responsible for much of the chaos surrounding bin collection in the Capital, the city council has now turned its fire on the bin men themselves.

Just 24 hours after issuing a statement that said it would be “mischief-making” to say they were blaming employees, officials have now said that a small group of refuse staff are being unco-operative and behaving irresponsibly.

The council was right to accept some of the blame, but they are also right to point the finger at staff who are deliberately causing trouble for thousands of Edinburgh households.

The move to fortnightly collections should not have been difficult. After all, neighbouring authorities such as Midlothian switched to fortnightly pickups some years ago and have had little trouble.

Staff intransigence is surely the greatest argument for a move toward privatisation of the service.

Peter Lawson, of Unite, has insisted there are “no disruptive workers”, adding “a lot of goodwill has been shown by bin men moving to new shift patterns and routes”.

But union leaders have issued statements recently saying they will not pick up black bags left next to wheelie bins, citing possible musculoskeletal injury. There’s not a lot of goodwill there. You have to feel sorry for the large number of staff who are working long hours to get things back on track. Those who are failing to do their jobs properly should be dealt with.