"to put up the strongest defence possible of front-line public services. Many of these services in Edinburgh have already suffered over the last few years, and I certainly do not feel they should bear the brunt of any further financial-savings required. Quite the opposite."
And, as per last year, I'll be sure to post the full detail of our Opposition budget up on the blog first-thing Thursday morning - but for now here's a bit more on the priority areas we will protect and how we'll pay for them:
Edinburgh Labour will protect front line services:
a. take NO cuts from any of the city’s Nursery School, Primary School, Secondary School or Special School budgets;
b. take NO cuts from any of the city’s learning and development services at Community High Schools or Community Centres;
c. take NO cuts from the Children and Families’ Department in relation to grants to third parties and voluntary organisations;
d. take NO cuts from the Health and Social Care Department in terms of ‘Care for the Elderly and Disabled’;
e. take NO cuts from the Edinburgh Leisure budget in relation to existing crèche provision;
f. take NO cuts from any other third party or voluntary organisation.
Edinburgh Labour recognises the crucial importance of these front line services and thus, to achieve any required savings, proposes:
a. To dispense with unnecessary schemes and back office functions;
b. To instruct central and non service delivery functions to produce more efficiencies;
c. To freeze the pay of Chief Officers;
d. To freeze the pay of all Councillors;
e. To freeze the pay of all staff earning over £40K (excluding teachers);
f. To reduce the use of highly expensive consultants.
In essence, the Edinburgh Labour budget will again focus on schools; services for vulnerable people; and support for the voluntary sector - areas which have been badly hit by Lib-Dem/SNP cuts over the last 3-years.
By stark contrast, on Thursday 11th February 2011, we'll promote a local budget for the city's youngest, oldest and most vulnerable people.