Edinburgh's minority Labour administration appeals to other parties: 'Let's work together'
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Council leader Cammy Day has tabled a motion for next week's full council meeting, recognising there were manifesto commitments at the May elections which the parties had in common and proposing cross-party working groups meeting at least three times during July and August to develop "joint policy and funding strategies".
But it looks as if the SNP and Greens could turn down invitation if the working groups include the Tories.
The motion highlights prioritising investment to “deliver a high standard of basic services” as well as building on the work of the Poverty Commission, making Edinburgh net zero by 2030, building more affordable homes and introducing a tourist tax.
Councillor Day said: “I’m inviting the other parties to work with us over the summer to come up with a revised business plan for the city, which might encompass a number of people's ideas on how to take the city forward.”
He said the idea was for the programme to be presented at the full council meeting in September.
“Rather than have a political bunfight in September, we're saying come and work with us over the summer and we'll try and get something that suits most if not all of us. If they want to walk away from the chance to influence measures on poverty, climate, housing and other matters that will be their decision but the opportunity will be put to them.”
Lib Dem group leader Kevin Lang said it was right that parties should work together to “deliver the change the city needs”. He said: “We have the most politically fragmented council in the city's history and it will require parties to work together and find common ground where that exists. That's not always going to be easy. Lib Dems want to work with other groups so we can deliver on the key priorities people of Edinburgh want.”
Tory group leader Iain Whyte said Labour’s proposal was “an interesting idea”. He said: “I think we'd be prepared to give it a go, but we'd have to see what would come out of it."
And he said his group would have suggestions to make. "We have put in a motion for next week about the cleanliness of the city, given it was key in our manifesto and other manifestos seemed to echo some of the points we were making, so I would hope issues like that would come forward."
SNP group leader Adam McVey said the administration needed to set out their plans. But he added: “Unlike Labour, we ruled out working with the Tories in administration and that stands while we're in opposition."
And Green group co-convener Steve Burgess said: “By giving Tories and Lib Dems senior positions within their coalition, the Labour group has handed these parties influence within Edinburgh Council and now it seems Labour are willing to increase that influence still further through an all-party plan for Edinburgh. Greens have progressive proposals for the city and that’s what we will be pushing for at the council not a plan co-produced by Tories.”