Edinburgh council elections: Labour accused of hypocrisy over compensation call for traders hit by roadworks

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A Labour candidate has been accused of "rank hypocrisy" in calling for compensation for traders hit by roadworks outside their shops when Labour councillors voted against such a proposal less than two weeks ago.

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Richard Parker, who is standing for the party in Corstorphine/Murrayfield in the May 5 council elections, has launched a petition for the council to reverse its decision and give financial help to the Roseburn traders who say they have lost up to 70 per cent of their business because of the roadworks for the cross-city cycle route, the City Centre West to East Link (CCWEL).

But the Tories and Lib Dems were quick to point out all the Labour councillors had voted against a compensation scheme at the full council meeting on March 17 despite hearing pleas direct from some of the affected shopkeepers.

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Corstorphine/Murrayfield Tory councillor Scott Douglas, who put forward the motion calling for compensation said: “This is rank hypocrisy from the Labour Party. Just days after voting against giving compensation to traders in Roseburn, their candidate is claiming they’re in support of it.

“They had their chance to save these businesses, but instead voted with their SNP chums to deny them any meaningful help. Thankfully those in Murrayfield & Corstorphine won’t be fooled by such blatant political gamesmanship.”

Lib Dem councillor Kevin Lang said it was only the Conservatives and the Lib Dems who voted in favour of a compensation scheme while the SNP, Labour and the Greens had voted against it and defeated it.

“This is rank hypocrisy and political opportunism from the Labour party. To be running a petition calling for something that less than two weeks ago their party voted to block is disgraceful, given the seriousness of the issue.

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The traders in Roseburn Terrace say they have lost business because of the roadworksThe traders in Roseburn Terrace say they have lost business because of the roadworks
The traders in Roseburn Terrace say they have lost business because of the roadworks

“The traders came and made a heartfelt plea for the council to do more and yet every Labour councillor ignored those requests and voted to block a compensation scheme for these traders.”

Mr Parker said the cycle link had been supported by all political parties on the council and would provide a wonderful space for businesses and the community, but it was imperative that traders were able to survive until its completion.

“When work started, earlier than the traders were previously told, and after speaking to both traders and residents, I knew I had to do something. Their dismay and reasoning for why they need a modest support scheme to stay in business, until completion of the works in December, convinced me. I agreed with them and took action.

“The existing Labour councillors supported an opportunity open for further engagement with local business; our manifesto commits us to a strong focus on the recovery of the local economy – how could I not act on the residents’ concerns with such a mandate?

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“While I’m taking action, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are sniping on social media and crying foul. One of the few establishments to close in Roseburn is the Tory office, let’s support the traders and make sure they stay in business until the end of the works.”

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