Sunday, 24 February 2008

SNP froze my Council Tax

Along with all the other goodness coming out of the Edinburgh budget there was the capital city's council tax freeze. After a couple of decades of Labour profligacy and poor financial management, John Swinney's deal was accepted, the council books are being balanced, and the people of Edinburgh will not see their bills rise this year.

I've been out speaking to people who are delighted to see the freeze - amazing, eh? Among the people I've met is a Primary School Head who's delighted at the idea of the cut in the bureaucracy in the education department (it will save £2m as well). Good to know people at the front end of delivering services already appreciate what the budget means - even better to know that there's a welcome for the action that's being taken.

People wonder how Edinburgh got into the Labour Party mess that the SNP Government and new council administration are now sorting out. Well, the previous Labour administration used to sell off capital assets to fund revenue programmes (a bit like selling off parts of your house to buy groceries), Labour never looked to see whether the money they were using (our money) was being used properly or being put to best effect, and Labour never had any idea of how much their madcap schemes were costing the city.

Let me give you an example of how divorced from reality Labour councillors in Edinburgh are. The most cunning wheeze they've given birth to recently is the plan to buy Princes Street from all the people who own it - a kind of mini-nationalisation of one of the world's most famous streets - for £1 million a year. Princes Street is worth £1,350 million.

Ironic that it may be an oil fund which buys Princes Street, isn't it?

4 comments:

James said...

Calum, I take the point about the freeze, but it did look like it also had some pretty expensive consequences locally.

Also, I don't go for "ironic" with the Princes St thing. I go for "downright unappealing". Sure, the Labour plan was a mess, but I dread the thought of us selling off whole streets to non-dom owners. Don't you want a bit of local control?

James said...

Calum, I take the point about the freeze, but it did look like it also had some pretty expensive consequences locally.

Also, I don't go for "ironic" with the Princes St thing. I go for "downright unappealing". Sure, the Labour plan was a mess, but I dread the thought of us selling off whole streets to non-dom owners. Don't you want a bit of local control?

Calum Cashley said...

Some people just keep repeating themselves...

No, I can't see these pretty expensive consequences, locally or otherwise, I see a well-constructed budget looking to the long-term benefit of the city, and I've taken the time to read through the budget - something which the Labour councillors obviously failed to do.

At least the Greens put forward a budget that represented the principles upon which they were elected. Completely barking things, in my opinion, like doing away with the roads budget in favour of cyclepaths, but true to the principles of the Green Party (should have had something in about protecting the increased spending on repairing pavements in Edinburgh, but there you go).

Labour, on the other hand, apparently created a 'wee small hours of the morning' collage of 'good ideas', 'stunning wheezes' and 'off-stage performances', demonstrating an incredible lack of concern for the city and for the residents of the city combined with a stunning selfishness and an incredible incompetence when it came to making their case.

That left Labour with nowhere to turn. Labour councillors had this chance to turn their fortunes around and start being constructive in order to save the long-term future of Labour in Edinburgh. They failed and we will now witness the long-term decline and slide into oblivion of Labour in Edinburgh.

James said...

It isnae my fault if your comment system's knackered, mate..

And as for the roads repairs, the Greens' figure is simply the recommendation of Council officials.

And come on, surely it's at least a little painful having to work with the Liberals, the lowest common denominator of Scottish politics?