Building a better Edinburgh, together

Council sets out initial draft framework for Capital’s crisis recovery strategy.

  • First plans for an Adaptation and Renewal Programme to be considered by Councillors on Thursday 28 May
  • Programme would include the creation of five interlinked programmes to support the city as it emerges from the COVID-19 crisis
  • Capital could be rebuilt around the four key principles of the 2050 City Vision, with tackling poverty and promoting sustainability to remain central to the Council’s approach
  • A draft strategy to steer Edinburgh through and out of the current pandemic will go before Councillors next week, as part of the Council’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Members of the Policy and Sustainability Committee will consider a report on Thursday 28 May which sets out the Council’s planned approach to the city’s recovery. As we continue to respond to the ongoing crisis, the proposal for an Adaptation and Renewal Programme looks at how we can build on the driving forces behind our response to date – protecting our most vulnerable residents, keeping staff as safe as possible and maintaining as many services as possible.
The report outlines five new, interlinked programmes of work to help Council services and the city adapt to, and harness opportunities presented by, the longer-term impacts of the pandemic: 

  • Public Health Advisory Board – ensuring the effective communication and implementation of national public health advice
  • Service Operations – looking at how to re-introduce essential services that need to be adapted for social distancing and/or digital delivery
  • Change People and Finance – understanding the financial consequences on the Council, our Budget forecasts and assessing the current strategies and deliverables in place
  • Sustainable Economic Recovery – engaging with businesses, stakeholders and sectors to inform the economic recovery plan
  • Life Changes – developing the Council’s short- and long-term responses in tackling poverty across Edinburgh
  • Early engagement is already under way, including a series of round table discussions looking at how COVID-19 has affected Edinburgh’s sectors and how they can begin to rebuild in a more sustainable manner. A joint effort for the Capital’s recovery is recommended, so that the Council alongside its partners and residents can focus on working together towards rebuilding the kind of city the people of Edinburgh want to see.

 To this end, it’s proposed that the recovery strategy and approach are guided and shaped by the outcomes of the 2050 City Vision. The 2050 public consultation – the largest such exercise ever undertaken by the Council – identified four key values that people want Edinburgh to stand for: welcoming, thriving, fair and pioneering. It’s proposed that these values underpin a long-term vision for how the Capital should mould itself.
Council Leader, Adam McVey, said:

Like all cities, Edinburgh will feel the impact of this crisis for some time to come. With the Scottish Government having set out a route to recovery, Edinburgh is doing the same. Our Capital is a key driver of the national economy and source of innovation that we’ll all rely on as we change and adapt how we work. In starting to plan for our future we need to acknowledge that business as usual isn’t an option. The Adaptation and Renewal Programme Report is the first step in building a future that keeps poverty reduction and sustainability in sharp focus.
We will continue to do absolutely everything we can to provide help and support to those who need it now. Looking to the future will influence how we begin to build a better Edinburgh, together as one City.
Last year, residents told us what they wanted their city to be –fair, welcoming, thriving and pioneering – and while the pandemic has presented us with significant challenges that will remain our focus alongside the financial challenges, this is still the city that we are committing to build for Edinburgh’s future.


Depute Leader, Cammy Day, said:

This has undoubtedly been the worst crisis that Edinburgh and its residents have seen for many years and sadly many people have suffered severe losses over the past few months. However, the strength and sense of togetherness we have seen throughout this incredibly trying time has been truly inspiring and we hope this will continue as we move into recovery and beyond.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who has been part of the response to date – our Council colleagues, NHS staff, care givers and all of Edinburgh’s people – our steadfast response as a City has only been made possible because of you.
The Adaptation and Renewal Programme is a crucial first step in moving us through the current crisis and on towards a ‘new normal’. In the meantime, we’ll continue to do absolutely everything we can to tackle the crisis and the challenges it presents while supporting our great city and its residents and helping us build an even better Capital for the future.

The Council’s priority in response to the crisis has been to ensure that residents are receiving the help and support that they need.
To date, almost half a million pounds has been paid out through Crisis and Community Care grants, with a further £500,000 distributed to families in school meal payments. The amount of temporary accommodation available has been vastly increased to help those facing homelessness during this time and the Council has distributed nearly £600,000 in welfare payments since the lockdown started.
Full details of the Council’s response to date are available here.

Published: May 22nd 2020