We constantly hear from the SNP Government that Edinburgh City Council is getting a good deal when it comes to local government funding.
But figures released this week by the politically neutral Scottish Parliament Information Centre paint a very different picture.
They show the true impact of SNP Scottish Government cuts in Edinburgh and reveal the uneven burden placed on the capital when compared with most other parts of Scotland.
In real terms Scottish Government funding of councils has dropped by 7%, whereas it has been slashed by 13% per person in Edinburgh since the SNP took power in 2007. Glasgow has also been hit particularly hard with a 15% cut.
Edinburgh is a strong, growing city but the SNP’s cynical and unfair cuts undermine the efforts being made by Edinburgh’s Labour Led Council to strengthen our local economy and support local services.
This is austerity plain and simple, and it seems the SNP are focused on hitting Labour run cities like Edinburgh far more than the 1% real terms budget cut the Scottish Government itself has received.
The price is being paid by people who will be hit by reductions in council services and vulnerable people who need quality social care.
The SNP portray themselves as a party fighting for social justice. But their actions don’t match their words. They talk left, but they act right. They say they are in favour of social justice then impose swingeing cuts that will make it harder for councils to support the most vulnerable in our society.
There is nothing forcing the SNP to impose this austerity on Edinburgh City Council. They could make a different choice.
For one, they could support Scottish Labour’s radical proposal to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to raise income tax that would generate £500m a year, and which would be ploughed back into our councils allowing them to protect our education and social care services. Our plan would provide for rebates for low paid earners and pensioners so that it would be truly progressive.
The price of austerity is unacceptable. As Sandy Howatt SNP group leader in Edinburgh said in relation to the most recent local government settlement:
“A revenue cut of this scale would be very damaging for jobs and services within Scottish local government generally, and here in Edinburgh specifically – the harsh reality is that this will translate to real job cuts that hit real families, in real communities throughout our capital city. Everyone will be hurt by this.”
I couldn’t agree more.