THE city council is to receive an extra £12.4 million following changes to the Scottish Government budget, prompting hopes that many of the cuts being proposed in the Capital can now be abandoned..
The deal negotiated between Finance Secretary Derek Mackay and Green MSPs, which allowed the SNP budget to pass its first hurdle at Holyrood on Wednesday, included an additional £170m for local authorities across Scotland.
Edinburgh’s SNP-Labour administration welcomed the boost and signalled social care and homelessness were two areas which were now likely to see extra investment.
But the Greens said the new cash, combined with a better-than-expected original allocation when the Government’s initial budget plans were unveiled in December, meant the council was now £27m better off than expected.
And they insisted it could go further and drop its plans to charge for garden waste collections as well as other savings.
At the end of last year the council proposed £21m of cuts, including the £25-a-year garden waste charge, £3m cuts to health and social care, a five per cent increase in parking permit prices, a £420,000 reduction in funding for Edinburgh Leisure and a plan to make the arms-length body pay £375,000 for the council’s maintenance of its playing fields and sport pitches.
Green finance spokesperson Gavin Corbett said: “The extra £12.4m for Edinburgh which Green MSPs secured means that the council now has £27m more than it expected to have when it consulted on its own budget last November.
“First of all, I expect all parties to commit to fully funding the repair backlog in schools, libraries, community centres and depots.
“Secondly, it allows the council to look again at the £21m package of cuts issued last November: for example, in waste services or playing fields.
“And thirdly, it allows additional funding to be earmarked for lifeline services like homelessness, social care and support for vulnerable children – in a way which puts those services on a stronger footing in years to come.”
Council leader Adam McVey welcome the extra £12.4m as “a positive deal for the Capital”.
He said: “We are currently analysing the figures in more detail but it is clear we will now be able to invest significantly more in priority areas, such as social care and homelessness, when we set our budget for the next financial year.
“While there will undoubtedly be financial challenges ahead, we will continue to work constructively with the Scottish Government to deliver the best possible deal for Edinburgh.”