Cllr Ross on the Council's budget challenge

Edinburgh is an economic success, and we must make decisions to maintain that success, says Economy Convener Councillor Frank Ross.

This article first appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News.

"As Edinburgh’s economy convener, I am often asked by other cities what lies behind Edinburgh’s success. And a successful city it certainly is second only to London economically. Edinburgh was also recently named as the best place to live in the UK.

"Our overseas profile continues to improve as Edinburgh, alongside Milan and Gothenburg, were named earlier this month as winners of the EUROCITIES awards. In the latest City Growth Index by accountants PWC, figures indicate UK-wide growth is rising and that Edinburgh is leading the way in Scotland.

"So what does all of this mean for residents and how did we get here?

"The Council’s Economic Development Service has been working hard to promote the growth of inward investment by building relationships with international businesses to encourage new developments focusing on key sectors and areas of the city and encouraging footfall in our city centre.

"On a local level, supporting employment has been at the heart of the Council’s strategy for jobs and we now have an employment rate of 77%. By focusing on the needs of local employers and matching the skills of local people, we’re boosting employability and tackling joblessness head on and supporting our town centre.

"We are renowned for being successful in the sectors of finance, science, culture, tourism, creative industries and technology and this is thanks in part to our drive to encourage such businesses to set up in the city. We are home to Skyscanner and FanDuel, start up tech companies now valued at over $1bn. The city is also home to Europe’s largest technology hub, CodeBase and the new CodeClan digital Academy.

"To keep the industry growing at or ahead of its current rate, we need to increase the flow of fresh talent coming into Edinburgh and would encourage the Chancellor to extend the fast-track applications process for the Tier 1 Exceptional Tech Talent Visa programme, recently given to North England Cities, to the Capital.

"The Edinburgh 12 initiative was launched in 2013 with the aim of progressing strategically important gap sites within Edinburgh. Benefits to the city include 1.5 million sq ft of office space and 1,650 homes and the potential to support approximately 20,000 FTE jobs upon completion, as well as 28,000 jobs during construction. Since the start of the initiative, some of these benefits are already on their way. 

"It is this all-encompassing approach which supports growth in the city, leads to success stories, and lays the foundation for future economic growth but it does not come without complex challenges.

"Like many cities, we have a growing population who will all require support services from the Council. The Council faces significant financial pressures. That is why it is so important our next steps our carefully considered.

"We need more local powers to create the right environment to stimulate sustainable economic growth and reduce inequality such as control over DWP expenditure. Our pursuit of an Edinburgh City Region Deal could unlock billions of pounds of potential infrastructure investment, thereby ensuring continued prosperity.

When this year’s budget decisions are made, we need to ensure the stability of the city’s economic future is considered. You can make your voice heard and let us know what you think of the measures under consideration. I urge you send in your comments at our online planner."


The City of Edinburgh Council news blog - letters, opinion, news snippets, video, photos and more.....

Recent posts