Saturday, March 08, 2014

March Leader's Report

March 2014

This Is Edinburgh


Andrew Burns
You may already have seen the TV or other ads included in the city's new marketing campaign, This Is Edinburgh, which was launched to great acclaim last month.

Of course, there's a very specific objective behind this: promoting our city centre as a quality shopping and leisure destination. By giving people compelling reasons to come back into town, such as brand-new events and special discounts, the campaign is projected to generate £50m for the local economy over the next two years.

Edinburgh is consistently voted the UK's favourite city - and deservedly so. The city's beauty, its people, its culture - nowhere else can beat it. 'This Is Edinburgh' celebrates Scotland's Capital the way it deserves to be. No gimmicks, no stunts - just a simple statement of pride that will remind us that our city-centre is a great place to be.
Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader of the City of Edinburgh

Shared repairs


The Council is acutely aware of the issues faced, and the problems caused, by the former Property Conservation Service but progress is now being made towards bringing these to a close.

The replacement Shared Repairs service that we introduced last April has been successful but is limited in scope. And, while additional features, such as the trusted trader scheme, will undoubtedly provide welcome assistance to homeowners, there is clear public demand for enforcement, particularly in the most difficult cases.

We are currently exploring how best to develop a new service, consciously balancing the council's commitment to protect the fabric of our beautiful and historic city with the need to encourage owners to take responsibility for repairs to their own homes. A report on the way forward will be considered at this month's council meeting.

Tram project latest


The return of trams to the centre of town has created quite a stir - I spotted the first daytime tram being tested on Princes Street from a window at the City Chambers and I know from Twitter that lots of other people have spotted them too.

Similarly, a public call for volunteers issued for an exercise to test crowd management at Murrayfield next week generated a remarkable response - with all 1,000 places taken up in less than 24 hours. Here's hoping demand for the service is as strong as that in May!

The next few weeks and months will give everyone the chance to become accustomed to trams and, if you haven't already, check out the series of helpful safety videos. Do also have a look at the excellent 'tram driver's eye view' video (Preview) capturing the whole route. And remember you can keep up-to-date with the latest tram news by following @edinburghtrams on Twitter.

Rent arrears


You may see some high profile adverts and messages around the city over the next few weeks encouraging council tenants in rent arrears to contact us before they get any deeper into debt. The Council can help and does have some funding available, particularly for those adversely affected by the recent welfare reforms. As long as people are making arrangements to pay their rent, we can help.

The last thing we want is for people to lose their homes but, at the same time, we rely on rental income to invest in providing cheap-to-heat, modern and comfortable homes fit for the 21st Century.

If you know of someone who is in arrears with their rent, please encourage them to contact us to get help. They can email or phone 0800 028 2786.

Speak up, Speak out


The launch of our latest Speak up, Speak out campaign took place last month to coincide with Safer Internet Day 2014.

Pupils from Drummond Community High School discussed the problem of "sexting" and being bullied via mobile phones and social networking sites in this campaign about keeping safe online and on your phone.

I was delighted to see that such an important issue received national coverage on TV, online and in newspapers and that the campaign won praise from the Scottish Parliament.

Stay in the picture


Keep yourself in the picture with our news section online. Watch live full Council and some committee meetings on our webcast. Join the debate on Twitter #edinwebcast 
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