Wednesday 27 February 2008

Edinburgh Budget - excellent piece of work

My anonymous friend has been sending me love letters again. Rather than publishing this great praise of me as a comment, I thought I'd bring it right up front so we could all have a wee laugh together.

Here it is, a fine example of impoverished thinking:

Calum (or is it "A Voice from Scotland"?)

Sorry, this just proves you're talking total MINCE.

I assume you're referring to Appendix 2 of this report:

That's the 2008/09 resource allocations - the clue is in the title to the Appendix - and has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with any previous Labour administration. It's adjusted by the 2008/09 unringfenced monies - try reading paragraph 3.14 and 3.15 for an explanation and then blog an apology.

Now, PLEASE - stop your propaganda; take off your Party blinkers; and accept that there are some serious problems in your local colleagues Edinburgh budget - such as:
- £10K CUT from EVERY Primary School
- £50K CUT from EVERY Secondary School
-£350K CUT from Youth Services
-£850K CUT from Community Education
-over £2million CUT from Voluntary Sector Grants.

Workings shown, so please publish.
Thank you.

Oh dear - I do hope this isn't a Labour councillor or Labour is in worse trouble than I thought and we really need them to shake themselves up and become a proper opposition, no-one gains when the opposition is as weak as it is just now.

You will see that there is no justification offered for the allegations of decreased funding - the reason being that there is no diminution in resources for front-line services, there's an increase - as pointed out in Labour's budget motion (loved the signatures of the proposer and seconder, by the way). Let's look at the first four points of Labour's motion:

1. To note that the priorities of this budget is to set a sustainable budget which meets and protects the needs of vulnerable people, supports the desire of schools to maintain the level of progress achieved in the last 20 years and to provide the impetus for further economic growth including investment in key infrastructure projects.

2. That additional resources of over £21m has been provided in Children and Families, and Health and Social Care to meet various pressures including those of demand led budgets.

3. To note that Council Tax will be frozen at 2007/08 levels, Band D £1,169, which will attract funding of £6.9m from the Scottish Government in accordance with the Scottish Government/COSLA Concordat.

4. A balanced budget is shown over the three year period and unallocated general reserve at 31st March 2011 is provided at a level which is in compliance with the Reserves report from the Director of Finance. This has been achieved despite limited efficiency savings proposals provided for 2009/10 and 2010/11 by a number of departments.
See point 2? Labour acknowledging that the new administration had indicated the injection of an extra £21 million in two areas of frontline services.

Point 4 - a balanced budget with limited efficiency savings.

All of this was before the administration announced additional resources on budget day, so with Labour already impressed by the administration, and stunned by how much more efficiently a council runs when Labour is removed, more wonderfulness was brought to the table. Let's have a look at the rest of Labour's budget motion -

Point 8 noted that there was additional funding in priority areas and then called for that £1 million to buy Princes Street (hands up, the SNP does not believe that Princes Street can be bought for £1 million, but if Ewan Aitken knows how that deal can be done I'm sure there will be a queue of people offering him the resources).

Let's compare and contrast some of Labour's budget ideas with the administration's budget. The administration is made up of SNP councillors in coalition with Lib Dem councillors. These points are in the order they appeared in Labour's motion, showing Labour's priorities:

Tattoo stands - Labour said spend £3 million.
The budget said £3 million if the other funding was coming, no point in spending the money if the project wouldn't happen.

Affordable housing - Labour said an additional £1.9m.
The administration budget motion said - £3.6m for housing regeneration, £36m to increase the supply of affordable housing and £32m to upgrade existing stock.

Vulnerable people - Labour wanted to put just over £5m into various programmes.
The administration said improvements of £5.8m for vulnerable children, £6.2m for care of the elderly, and £1.3m for adults with learning difficulties.

Education (yes, after the tattoo stands in Labour's priorities) - Labour wanted £1.875m for consultation on building 5 schools, £8.75m to 'take forward the design' of those 5 schools, and £12m to refurbish and build nurseries, schools and community centres across the city.
The administration budget was - £19m for school fabric and £33m for rebuilding and refurbishing schools.

Sport and Leisure - Labour said £5.35m for Glenogle Baths (as opposed to the £6m Ewan Aitken talked about in his leaflet to community groups), £21m for Sporting Facilities including the Commonwealth Pool, £2m for parks, pitches and pavilions, £420k for the climbing centre.
The real budget said £5.3m for Glenogle, £21m for the Commonwealth Pool and Meadowbank, £5m in parks, pitches and pavilions, £.7m for supporting key events, and £3.5m for a new library at Drumbrae.

Festivals and Museums - Labour said £242,000 extra for the International Festival, and £6m for the Kings Theatre.
The real budget said £542,000 extra for the International Festival to bring total support to £2.4m, £800,000 for the Winter Festival, £200,000 for other festivals, £6m for the Kings Theatre, £115,000 additional investment in museums and arts services to reverse long-term decline and open on Sundays, £500,000 for the Assembly Rooms, £520,000 for the City Arts Centre.

Labour's budget motion also went on to reject the administration's moves to cut red tape and bureaucracy in education, planning, and social services and to ask for reports into various things like repairing roads and pavements.
The real budget presented by the administration didn't call for reports into fixing the roads in Edinburgh which were neglected for decades under Labour, it just went ahead with £60m for roads and pavements, £2.4m for cycling and walking routes and for safer streets, a further £.5m for cycling projects, £1m on supported bus routes, £.6m on Bustracker and further work on the South Suburban Line.

Before budget day, Labour sent a scaremongering leaflet out to community groups (read it here). Leaving aside the fact that Labour can't even spell coalition, let alone understand the new politics, there was an admission that they wouldn't have any provision for building new schools in this budget. It was Labour's failure to apply for funds when in power that left the school building programme in such a mess to begin with, now they are admitting that they have no idea how to go about getting schools built in Edinburgh.

Here's something else interesting, though - the difference between what Labour councillors presented to the budget and Labour was saying to community groups through its scaremongering leaflet:

Transport - in the leaflet; restore bus service support, invest in cycling, create a roads inspection team. In Labour's budget motion; nothing, absolutely nothing.

Vulnerable people - in the leaflet they promised £2.5m extra for care for the elderly, £750,000 investment in home care, £3m on respite care, and £750,000 for vulnerable young people. Care for the elderly and respite care were forgotten in Labour's budget motion and the home care investment had been turned into change management funding.

Leisure - Labour promised £2.5m for pitches and pavilions and £6m for Glenogle Baths. By the time they got into the council chamber Labour was cutting that to £2m for pitches and pavilions and had added parks into that budget line, and £5.35m for Glenogle.

Labour councillors quite obviously can't count, are not consistent, and just are not very good at being councillors. Just as well we have the SNP to make things better, isn't it?

By the way, can anybody tell me what the "Voice from Scotland" quip was about?


Anseo said...

"A voice from Scotland" is a poster on the Scotsman newspaper comments sections.

AVFS is swearier (is this a word?)than you though.

I suspect that you anon commenter believe you to be said poster on the Scotsman for reasons best know to themselves.

Calum Cashley said...

I see, never alone with paranoia, eh?

JohnJo said...


I'm intrigued by your logic here?

- first off, you don't deny the anonymous posters point about Appendix 2 (from your earlier entry) which you clearly got badly wrong
- next you bang on about the extra 21million in Labour's motion as if it was an extra 21million from the SNP - sorry, its in the Labour Motion because that's the extra amount that THEY allocated to those services
- so 2 factual errors now
- then you rabbit on about the Labour Motion as if that's the Labour Budget - sorry, you need to look at all the associated appendices to see the detail of the figues for any Party motion
- yet another basic mistake

Its clear to me from your last few posts that your political philosophy can be boiled down to LABOUR BAD/SNP GOOD - really, your tribalism does no service to the good bits of the Edinburgh Coalition budget: yes, there were some :-)

Now come on old chap, do take those blinkers off - yes, some bits of the Council Coalition budget are good but some are pretty poor:

- they have cut school-based budgets by 1.5%: ask your Liberal colleagues in the City Chambers if you don't believe me!
- they have put 10p on school meals
- they have reduced funding for Youth Services, Community Education and Voluntary Sectors grants

Unlike John Swinney's budget, this is a 5/10 job and a little honesty about that would go a long way in convincing me your not just yet nother Party Apparatchik.


Calum Cashley said...

John, you're still as wrong as you were when you were posting anonymously. Who knows, one day you might even use your own name.

All the documents are there for people to read - I'm willing to let everyone make up their own minds.

For the record, you are right on one thing - I do believe that Labour was bad for Edinburgh and that the SNP is good for Edinburgh. The evidence would seem to suggest that I am right.

I offer, as an example, unallocated resources reserves which Labour robbed year after year because Labour councillors couldn't balance a budget. That resource was down to £37,000 when Labour was horsed out of office.

Considering that the minimum payment by the council to offset Belwin should there be a flood would be around £1.2million, that's not very good protection for the citizens in the line of fire, is it? I'm sure other people can also think of instances where £37,000 is a dangerously ridiculous amount for a council the size of Edinburgh to hold as a reserve - the excess on insurance for school buildings, for example.

Yes, LAbour was bad for Edinburgh, the SNP is good for Edinburgh, and it is to the benefit of our capital city that Labour has gone from office and is unlikely to return in the near or medium term.

JohnJo said...


Okay, okay - you have now duly convinced me that you are just yet another Party Apparatchik: shame really.


JohnJo said...


- forgot to say, the Council Reserves were not 'robbed' (can't believe you used that word - says it all really don't you think?) but over £20million was taken out to go towards the Equal Pay Settlement Bill. All parties supported that at the time, including a certain Councillor Cardownie.