Edinburgh Council approves annual budget to tackle £126m shortfall
Frontline services for Edinburgh’s vulnerable, older and younger residents will be prioritised in the City of Edinburgh Council’s 2016/17 budget which was unveiled yesterday as the authority attempts to address a £126 million budget shortfall over the next four years.
The £950m budget, the first agreed by any of the 32 Scottish local authorities, revealed that spending on schools, health and social care provision, in addition to improvements to roads, pavements and cycle routes, will also continue to be areas of focus for future investment.
By focusing on these priorities, the council hopes to retain the services that matter the most to people by delivering them more efficiently and effectively.
The budget also began the process of shedding 2,000 jobs, with around 700 staff are already earmarked for redundancy.
Parking charges in the city will rise by up to 50 per cent, museums and galleries’ opening hours will be cut, and grants to local organisations will also be reduced in the initial saving of £85m for next year.
Councillor Alasdair Rankin, convener of the finance and resources committee, said: “Like other local authorities around the country, we face the challenge of a rising demand for services while funding is reducing.
“That’s why we will focus on the services that matter the most to the public. I am confident that we have taken the needs of Edinburgh’s residents into account when setting this year’s budget and am delighted that more than 4000 people took the time to have their say on our draft budget proposals.”
Councillor Bill Cook, vice-convener of the finance and resources committee, said: “Thanks to the feedback gained during the budget engagement process we have been able to make decisions such as maintaining the full in-house home care service and retaining lunch time crossing patrols at primary schools.”