Council Leader: This is a responsible and caring city budget

Council Leader, Adam McVey talks in today's Evening News about the Budget 2018/19.

I am delighted to have passed our first council budget of this administration; a responsible and caring budget with a particular and determined focus on reducing inequality and protecting the most vulnerable members of our society.

Beyond that, it truly reflects and reinforces our ongoing coalition commitments to improving the quality of life of all Edinburgh residents, enhancing the environment, delivering better infrastructure and building on what is already a fantastic place to live, work and visit.

In the year ahead, we will make significant additional investments in health and social care, homelessness and improving school buildings. Continued investment will also be made in the services people have told the Council are important to them, such as education, waste and recycling and services for our most vulnerable residents.

We have allocated close to £200m for Health and Social Care services – an increase of nearly £13m in resources available to the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board. Funding of £8.5m will bring improvements to our schools and other council buildings. Initiatives to tackle homelessness will receive a £2m boost and there is a further £1m to continue the current year’s investment on waste and cleansing.

Another key priority for residents – roads – will receive a further £3m investment (£2m in capital; £1m revenue) on top of the £25m we are already spending in 2018/19.

As in previous years, we were particularly keen for residents to have their say on our proposals – and I’m delighted that so many of them did. As a direct result of this feedback, we have reduced the saving we are asking Edinburgh Leisure to make, we will retain the Night Noise Team and have modified our proposals for garden waste collections to include an allowance for households who would otherwise struggle to pay.

There was also strong support for introducing a Tourist Tax for Edinburgh and we will take a business case to the Scottish Government later this year.

Linked to this, the £10m investment in the city’s cultural venues, meanwhile, is greater than any time in the last decade, recognising the critically important role culture plays in our communities, to our economy and our global reputation as a cultural capital.

This budget does three very important things: it invests in core services, it addresses our long-standing and most difficult challenges and it helps us all towards meeting our aspirations for this great city.

Further, it highlights our determination to be brave, to do things differently, to invest in key areas, to deliver on our coalition commitments and to listen to feedback from the people of Edinburgh about what is important to them.

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