Councillor Rankin: We want your views on spending and saving

Finance Convener, Cllr Alasdair Rankin, writes in Saturday's Evening News on the budget challenges faced by the Council.

"Demand for Council services has been increasing year-on-year but the Council’s annual income has remained broadly the same. This is the financial challenge we have been dealing with both now and expect to face into the future. We all know what a great place Edinburgh is to live in and work but our population is growing and the cost of providing services to the increasing numbers of young and old people in particular is constantly increasing. Like every householder in the city we are also facing, amongst other things, increases in everyday bills such as energy costs.  So, in acknowledging these financial pressures it is vital that we ensure our resources are spent as wisely and fairly as possible.

"To protect the services that matter the most to people in Edinburgh, we have had to prepare for difficult choices. As part of our necessary careful financial management Councillors agreed on Thursday to a range of early budget proposals to help towards meeting a £126m shortfall over the next four years. 

"By approving these measures now, these proposals, which look to make efficiencies and generate incomes, will enable us to begin making savings sooner rather than later.

"However, this is just part of the picture.  We want to hear as many views as possible on a set of further savings proposals and ways of raising money before the final budget is set next year.  While these choices will not be easy, it’s essential that we involve you at the heart of the process when deciding where to spend and save money. That’s why we’ve made it easier than ever for people to give us their feedback. You can choose to send in comments by email, Facebook, Twitter or the new online planner. Of course, you can still call or come into any Council office to register your views.

"Along with the new budget, our plans to deliver Council services more efficiently will enable us to give priority to the services that mean the most to people. Yes, there will be tough decisions. One of the toughest comes from the recognition that the Council will have to employ fewer people in future, something which we will handle as sensitively as we can by working with Trades Unions and our staff. 

"Find out more about the budget, comment on proposals and make use of our budget planner and dialogue tool on the Council website at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/budget."

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