Susan Dalgety: Sorry but looking after old folks beats fixing potholes

I would like to make a very public apology to an old friend and former colleague.

Tuesday, 27th March 2018, 10:39 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th March 2018, 10:48 am Pothole, Lothian Road

Andrew Slorance, who was featured in yesterday’s Evening News, suffered terrible injuries a few years ago when his bike collided with one of Edinburgh’s many potholes.

And he is not alone. The city council has just revealed that it has handed out £65,000 in compensation to cyclists who came a cropper on our terrible roads.

But why should I, a humble columnist and granny, say sorry to Andrew? Well, in a different life, back in the 1990s, I was a city councillor.

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Cyclist shares pictures of horrific injuries caused by Edinburgh pothole

And as a member of the council’s budget group, I had to make some very difficult decisions about how we spent our shrinking resources.

When faced with a choice between closing old folk’s homes or filling in pot holes, I am afraid we always plumped for looking after Edinburgh’s grandparents.

“The roads can wait another year,” we would say, much to the chagrin of the long-suffering transport boss.

Things haven’t changed much since I left local government. A nine-year freeze on council tax rises, imposed by the Scottish Government, has left Edinburgh’s councillors facing the same insidious dilemma my comrades and I struggled with back in 1990s – spend money on essential social services or fill in holes in the road.

I am really sorry Andrew, but the old folk win every time.