Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Signing away our fiscal-autonomy?

I've mentioned the issue of Single Outcome Agreements (SOA's) on several occasions in the last few months (see here, and the links therein) ...

... well, I've now seen a draft of the SOA for the City of Edinburgh Council. I should stress it is a draft and that it will (apparently?) be going to the Full Council for debate/amendment at least twice in the coming months.

BUT, it has been submitted to the Scottish Government and I think the chances of it being radically overhauled are now not great. I'd like to be wrong.

Looking at the sections on educational issues, two things really jump out at you:
  • there is no data about the % of pre-school (Nursery) children who are receiving a minimum of 570-hours (?) per year of pre-school education ... remember that key SNP pledge to give an entitlement of 600-hours per year nursery education to all?
  • there are only some 24% of P2 classes in Edinburgh which currently have under 20 pupils ... remember that other key SNP pledge to reduce all P1, P2, P3 class size to 18 or less??

... and guess what, no resources are identified to deliver either of these 'national pledges' :-(

And I've just looked at the education section! - I dread to think about the scale of other unfunded commitments that are contained in the whole document, which is some 62-pages long :-((

The City of Edinburgh Council would be mad to sign this document as it currently stands.


Anonymous said...

at least there seems to be some information available for you to criticise, unlike the cabal you work for who would only let us know when they had decided what was best for us (the residents). On the rare occasion that they deigned to ask our views (with our money spent on the lobbying for the councils view)they then complained & whined that our views where wrong.
e.g. housing stock & road charging.
The arrogance shown after the housing stock vote and the lack of any plan b for such a result that among other things resulted in the council not having enough space in the new H.Q. for a housing department and a lot of jobs for the boys down the drain.
a quick mention for ppf and pfi, costs more used less and we don't own the stock or have a say in how it's run. The ongoing Edinburgh leisure disaster, was ours(Edinburgh residents) is now a charity(unaccountable)with our stock, mountgrange meeting lobbied by LOCAL VOTERS and given the bird(literally) by councilor in the process of getting his snout in the trough
Hence thats why they are no longer in power.

As a voter i have listened to the labour party nationaly blame the last lot (tories) for all our woes.
after 10 or so years or so, it is tedious and lazy politics that doesn't resolve problems. I would like you to take on the job that you where voted to do, i realise that it might be a bit of a culture shock for you to try not listening to your party line and start Listining to your electorate. should be fairly easy as there are now 3 councilors in your area or maybe i have it wrong, do you only listen to your voters?

Andrew said...


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Not sure we're likely to agree on much, but I will try and respond to some of your points:

- I really don't think 'available information' is better (or worse, to be fair) since the change of Council ... it's much the same as before, which I feel is a missed opportunity given the change to the way the Council is made-up (now has 5 main Parties etc.)
- As you might know, I was very involved in the Road Charging vote; I was bitterly disappointed with the result; accepted it immediately; and publicly said that Road Charging in Edinburgh would not therefore happen
- I'm not widely regarded as someone who is personally arrogant, but if that's how you perceive me then as far as I'm concerned I am doing something wrong and regret it
- I couldn't agree more that blaming your predecessors for everything is tedious and lazy ... power comes with responsibility and that should never be abdicated
- I don't always listen to the Party-line ... indeed, I'm somewhat infamous for it on the issue of electoral reform :-(
- I do listen to voters to the best of my ability ... that doesn't always mean we'll agree.

Thanks again for reading the blog and taking the time to comment.


Anonymous said...

'cabal' ? , 'snouts in troughs'? , lack of good grammar....hey! the idiot John Wallace is back.

plord said...

thanks for the response to my comments. The arrogance I mentioned was aimed collectively at the previous council and not a personal slight. If we agree or not is beside the point. BTW you may be able to answer a question for me, how much did the council spend on hardware, consultants and planning for the road tolls before they asked if we wanted it?.
- other anonymous
unfortunately i was educated by Edinburgh council so my grammar may be slightly off but my choice of the word cabal was chosen with care, definition cabal - a clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue.
I also think that the phrase "in the process of getting his snout in the trough" is self evidently a truism. I am not john wallace but I suspect you work in PR and know the inside of John Smith House well.

Andrew said...

Anonymous / plord

Thanks for the comments - but no fighting here please ;-)

plord - on your specific question ... have a look at the questions/answers here, from 24th February 2005 Council meeting:


... actual referendum costs are in answer 3 - £550K

... total on congestion charging is in answer 5 - £7M, half from the Government

... but PLEASE keep in mind answer 11, which shows £140M investment which ONLY came to Edinburgh because of Charging programme

... AND answer 12, which shows over £1BN of investment secured during the life of the programme

Hope that's helpful ...