City Budget Protects Essential Frontline Services in Tough Times

It is expected that investment in education and care services will be at the heart of the City of Edinburgh Council’s budget announced today (Thursday 11 February). The unprecedented third successive freeze in Council Tax will maintain Edinburgh’s Band D rate as the lowest of Scotland’s four major cities.

The overall schools budget will increase by 2.6% (£5.2m). There will be an extra spend of £3.16m to support vulnerable children and an additional £3.7m in services for vulnerable adults.

Cllr Phil Wheeler, Convener for Finance and Resources, said: "We have managed to freeze Council Tax and protect essential frontline services. We have also added £2m to our reserve funds to cope with unexpected circumstances and unforeseen situations such as flooding, all while the Council faces the greatest financial challenges it has experienced in living memory.

"It is essential that we build on our reserves to meet future financial risks if the Council is to maintain a sustainable budget. Despite these pressures we will continue to invest in Edinburgh's long term prosperity.

"Around 72% of the savings required for 2010/11(of £41.6m) will come from efficiency savings, increased income and other savings which do not impact on service provision.

"The next couple of years are going to be even tougher and savings of around £30m need to be made in each of the next two years. We have made a start by proposing savings of £11.6m and £7.4m in 2011/12 and 2012/13. The Council is facing a severe reduction in its budget over the next few years. At the same time, as a result of population changes, demand for certain services such as support for vulnerable adults and children, will continue to increase."

Councillor Jenny Dawe, Council Leader, said: "The reduction in public sector funding, caused by the global recession, means that Edinburgh must save around £90m in the next three years and the 2010 Spending Review may threaten that position further.

"Work is already underway to bring about significant cost savings for the current financial year, and we are on target to save over £26million. The Council must continue to improve the efficiency and productivity across all services and where appropriate look at other ways of delivering them. Sharing services with other local authorities and public bodies is another option we are looking at which could help to modernise the Council."


Notes to Editors

The council tax band levels for Edinburgh in 2010/11 will be:

A: £779.33, B: £909.22, C:£1,039.00,

D: £1,169.00, E: £1,428.78, F: £1,688.56,

G: £1,948.33, H: £2,338.00

Scottish Water charges for water and sewerage have been frozen this year.

The total revenue budget is £1038.2million. Council Tax makes up £226.9million of this with £811.3million coming from Government grants. The total capital budget is £235.205million.

Key provisions

Investing in schools and nurseries

 Almost £1.3m over the next 2 years to implement class sizes of 18 in P1-        P3 in our most deprived communities
 £371,000 for early years services
 £250,000 for supplies and services
 £163,000 for smart metering technology to give schools greater  control    over their budgets
 £41m for a new Portobello High School
 £20m for a new James Gillespies High School

Looking after vulnerable children

 £358,000 for inflation on payments to carers
 £1.8m for services dealing with the increase in numbers of vulnerable    children
 £1m for children's social work services

Caring for vulnerable adults

 £2.5m for people with learning and physical disabilities
 £1.124m for older people
 £100,000 for respite care to support carers
 £3m to complete the Kings Inch Care Home
 £7.6m for an additional care home at Drumbrae

Promoting economic development

 Commitment to maintaining the record additional investment of £1.3m in  economic development

Improving housing quality

 £38m to improve the quality of council homes for existing tenants

Improving the transport network

 £2million for projects to improve road safety and to promote walking and  cycling
 £18m to complete the flood protection works on the Braid Burn
 £25m for phase 2 of the Water of Leith flood protection scheme
 £2.8m for a new public transport route linking Craigmillar and the  Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
 Commitment to keeping Lothian Buses in public ownership

Promoting culture and sport

 £37m to continue refurbishment of the Royal Commonwealth Pool
 An additional  £600,000 to fulfil our commitment to £2million capital  works to the the King's Theatre
 £2m for refurbishment of the Assembly Rooms
 £660,000 investment in properties managed by Edinburgh Leisure over the  next three years
 £243,000 fabric renewal across the cultural and sporting estate

Promoting Edinburgh's festivals

 Protection for festival funding, with the reduction limited to 1.5% on    previous year's funding


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