Saturday, November 17, 2012

November Leader's Report

November 2012

Making good on Pledges - Living Wage

I made a commitment to update you on the Capital Coalition’s 'Contract with the Capital' and with progress on our pledges. After six months at the helm with my Capital Coalition colleague, Councillor Steve Cardownie, I’m comfortable with the progress we are making.

We are set to fulfil one of our important pledges at the December Council meeting to introduce a living wage for Council staff of £7.50 per hour, five pence above the recommended rate. More than 2,000 of you, our staff, are set to benefit with hundreds of carers and cleaners who will be over £100 per month better off. You should be appreciated and get a decent wage for working in areas that provide an important service. We know this will have a beneficial effect in stimulating the local economy too as people spend their increased income locally.

I’m grateful to Councillor Alasdair Rankin, Convener of Finance, and his deputy Councillor Bill Cook who have brought a fresh approach and sound financial management to the table to enable us to find the money to fund this.

We have appointed Councillor Norman Work as our Care Champion, another of our Capital Coalition Pledges fulfilled. I know he will work hard on behalf of carers to ensure they are supported so they can provide the best possible care to those who need it.

Councillor Maureen Child, Equalities and Third Sector Champion, has also been appointed and will take a lead in ensuring the Third Sector will be a close partner in decisions about service provision and that equalities issues are embedded in all Council decision making.


Budget consultation

People on the doorstep told us, in no uncertain terms, that they wanted better financial management and more influence over Council decisions. Last week, the Finance and Budget Committee took the decision to publish the draft budget three months in advance so we can seek the views of city stakeholders and the public about the best way to improve quality of life for people in Edinburgh. I really hope that you take the opportunity to make your views known on this one year budget due to be set in February 2013 as part of a five year financial plan. Consultation will be ongoing over the next five years so there will be plenty of opportunities to give feedback and present ideas.


Portobello High School update

This continues to be a very difficult pledge to bring to fruition and there is a comprehensive report going to this month’s Council meeting on the options we are pursuing to get this school built as quickly as possible, in the most suitable place at the best cost. Pupils and parents deserve nothing less.

New Business Development Centre

A fully integrated one-stop-shop for Edinburgh businesses is now open in Waverley Court in the city centre. This dedicated resource brings together the Council’s building standards service and planning with Business Gateway, the national advice programme and will be much more convenient for clients using the services.

Winter in Edinburgh

This is a very exciting time of the year in Edinburgh when you can look forward to our winter festivals. Christmas events look really attractive and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay events have just been launched. There really is no better place to be over winter.

Our Be Prepared for Winter campaign is designed to help residents gear up for whatever winter brings in terms of weather too. Worth a look.

I know that many of you play a crucial part in keeping the city running during severe weather as well as in organising our festive celebrations. Your efforts do not go unnoticed, thank you for all your hard work.

For many years now, Edinburgh has outshone her fellow UK cities in several popular polls and our latest accolade as Best UK City from the readers of the Telegraph is another welcome tribute. We can't rest on our laurels though in these difficult financial times and must continue to promote our city. The Winter Marketing campaign is a step in this direction.

Edinburgh Award

The Edinburgh Award nominations are open to 3 December. Why don’t you nominate someone who you think has contributed significantly to our city?

Be in the picture

Keep yourself in the picture with our news section online.



Unknown said...

Good news on the Living Wage. I'd be happy to pay a bit more Council Tax to fund it. However, before it sounds as though I'm at one with Johann Lamont:

* I'd prefer a more progressive system of local taxation than the CouncilTax.

* I don't think we live in a "something for nothing society". I pay my tax for free prescriptions & tuition fees, and would be happy to pay more to ensure their survival for all.

Back to the Living Wage. I've often wondered why, especially at a time of high inflation of everyday items, organisations (not just the council) tend to offer percentage rather than flat wage increases.

David Sterratt

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment and feedback - all much appreciated.

I agree on Local Taxation - I've long been a supporter of Land Value Tax (LVT) and have blogged about it here:

Hope that's of further interest.


Unknown said...

Dear Andrew,

Thanks - LVT is of interest. It certainly looks like an idea worth considering, and it's good to see that you're willing to put forward ideas that are more associated with other parties (i.e. the Greens).