Edinburgh council to seek reimbursement for Operation Unicorn events following death of Queen Elizabeth II

Plea for increased funding to cover future national events

Council chiefs are to ask the Scottish Government to reimburse Edinburgh for costs involved in Operation Unicorn which followed the Queen's death.

And the council is also to call for an increase in the Capital City Supplement which Edinburgh receives in recognition of the extra costs it faces as a result of its status, such as hosting major national events.

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A meeting of the full council agreed unanimously a Green motion congratulating officers for successfully running Operation Unicorn, but noting that despite careful planning, last-minute changes beyond the council's control led to considerable extra work and costs.

The motion went on to ask for a breakdown of the costs, including overtime worked by officers, costs associated with queuing and crowd management and the costs of unplanned elements of the operation. And it requested an outline of the costs associated with future planned visits from Charles III or other members of the monarchy that will be incurred by the council over the next year.

Green councillor Ben Parker said: "Like myself, many residents in the city do not support the monarchy, but even for those who do I think it's important the council can evidence and explain exactly what public money was spent on as part of Operation Unicorn and the mourning of Queen Elizabeth and the proclamation of King Charles.

"This motion is about asking for detail on a number of points raised related to the activities of Operation Unicorn, from the outright financial costs to the impact on council business and staff wellbeing, as well as details of the equality impact assessments that should have been undertaken as part of the planning and implementation. It also looks ahead at future royal visits and asks for information on costs associated with those and whether they're met in full by the Capital City Supplement. It also asks the council leader to raise the costs of Operation Unicorn with the UK and Scottish Governments to ensure we’re not burdened with these as a council.”

Lib Dem councillor Neil Ross said the Capital City Supplement, which dates back to 2009, now amounted to £3.9m, which was paid as part of the general revenue grant from the Scottish Government. But he said he understood it did not cover all the costs incurred and argued it should be increased and paid as a separate grant.

Edinburgh was at the centre of the first national events following the Queen's death.

“Reinstating the Capital City Supplement as a separate payment at a realistic amount would be a suitable response for the Scottish Government to acknowledge the way the council worked together with other agencies to make Operation Unicorn a fitting tribute to our late monarch.”