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.
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.
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.