Councillors prioritise poverty, climate and vital services for residents as budget balanced

Council Leader Cammy Day
Council Leader Cammy Day in the City Chambers

Millions of pounds will be spent on protecting and improving crucial frontline services in Edinburgh after councillors agreed a balanced budget for 2024/25.

Featuring an additional £27m for schools and young people and £12.5m additional annual investment in roads, pavements, lighting and drainage improvements, stays true to the Council’s core commitments of tackling poverty and inequality, becoming a net zero city by 2030 and ‘getting the basics right’ for the residents of Edinburgh.

Council Tax will be frozen and money will be ringfenced from a 7% rent rise for tenants to tackle the city's housing emergency. This rent increase could raise around £2bn over 10 years to repair, upgrade and retrofit housing and to build and buy much needed social and affordable homes.

Funding for poverty fighting projects includes £100,000 for a Youth and Community Welfare Transition Fund, £25,000 to support the Big Hoose project which helps families experiencing hardship with household items, £500,000 towards child poverty reduction and close to £3m towards the city’s homelessness spend.

Boosting the biodiversity of Edinburgh’s award-winning parks and greenspaces, £600,000 will be put towards climate improvements, with additional funds for tree planting and new climate jobs. Up to £750,000 extra every year for three years will be spent on a rolling programme of localised and coastal flood prevention, acting on the city’s ambitious Climate Ready Plan, while closer to £900,000 will be directed towards a 'Scrub our Streets' deep clean.

In order to balance the budget, councillors also agreed raise to fees and charges such as Pay & Display parking and to update the council's approach to pensions administered by the Lothian Pension Fund, subject to decisions made by the Pensions Committee and at no impact to employees.

Council Leader Cammy Day said: “I’m pleased that, despite ever-worsening settlements from the Scottish Government, we’ve been able to deliver a balanced budget and the very best investment plan we can for our city and for our residents.

“This is a budget aimed at protecting vital frontline services on which our communities and residents rightly depend. It will help us to keep on getting the basics right by improving our roads and parks and greenspaces, supporting our schools, tackling poverty, and working towards our climate crisis.

“We’re also putting additional funding towards Edinburgh Leisure, the creation of new public toilets and continuing our work with partners to reduce the harmful effects of poverty. This will include supporting the Big Hoose Project and lifting households out of homelessness.

“For all that, we remain the lowest funded local authority in Scotland, and I won’t tire of fighting for fairer funding for our Capital City.”

Published: February 22nd 2024