Council bosses blasted for 'shambolic' handling of Marketing Edinburgh's future

The city council has insisted that no decision has been made to wind up Marketing Edinburgh, which sells the city to the world, amid accusations the authority has left staff in the dark over its future..

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 11:45 am
Marketing Edinburgh has previously been tasked with selling Edinburgh to the world

Council chiefs have been labelled “shambolic” as staff at the company tasked with selling Edinburgh to the world face an uncertain future.

Marketing Edinburgh saw a reprieve to a full proposed funding cut by the city council last year, on the condition that plans were brought forward this year in order for the company, owned by the council, to become self sustaining. But in October, the council’s housing, homelessness and fair work committee rejected proposals by the Marketing Edinburgh board and management team, which would have seen a shift to managing rather than encouraging tourism, due to no funding being available.

This led to the entire board quitting – with housing, homelessness and fair work convener, Cllr Kate Campbell becoming the new chair of the board – with Labour Cllr Mandy Watt and Green Cllr Claire Miller also now sitting on the board – after Conservatives declined to take up a position.

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It is thought that council officials have been attempting to secure funding from Marketing Edinburgh members including Edinburgh University in order to keep the company operating – while conventions and film could be retained in-house.

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Conservative economy spokesperson, Cllr John McLellan, criticised the council’s delay in finding a solution with time running out and 16 jobs on the line.

He said: “This is an organisation that the council took the decision, last year in October, to basically wind up, and therefore putting staff members at risk of redundancy. There’s a significant risk of redundancy to staff members.

“Is it not fair to say that the whole process, as far as the staff were concerned, they would be forgiven to think that this has been a somewhat shambolic process and it looks like the council has just bitten off more than it can chew?”

But the council’s director place, Paul Lawrence, stressed that “work is ongoing with a significant degree of urgency” and reiterated that no decision has been taken to wind down the company. The committee cannot even decide to wind down Marketing Edinburgh as it is a matter for the board.

Cllr Campbell said: “It is a very difficult situation and we are very mindful of the impact on staff. The board is working in good faith to look at all of the options to find the best possible outcome for Marketing Edinburgh as quickly as possible.

“The board is very keen to get on with that work and that will come to committee or council in due course.”