Council budget 2020

Standing up and speaking out against council cuts

Yesterday, Unite reps and members met outside the City Chambers before the Full Council budget meeting to demonstrate against the continued cuts to services and jobs.

Your branch officials gave a deputation to speak out against the cuts and raise our concerns with

  • the impact of cuts on citizens and workers
  • spending on debt interest payments
  • using digital technology to make savings and deliver services
  • the use of a 3-year budget when the Council only has a 1-year settlement from the Scottish Government, especially in these changing times
  • exclusion of citizens and workers with disabilites due to how digital technology is introduced.

Watch the webcast—our deputation is item 3d and read our brief guide to the budget below.

Brief guide to the budget

Read the papers for the meeting—these include the budget proposals and the change strategy 2020/23.

The three-year revenue budget proposals looks to make savings of £88m:

  • £35m in 2020/21
  • £24m in 2021/22
  • £28m in 2022/23.

This includes a workforce saving of £1m, £1.7m and £2.6m respectively. We assume that the savings increase as digital systems become more established, automating more tasks.

Concernings points for citizens

On libraries

  • a fee to reserve books in libraries
  • libraries to be closed on Saturday afternoons
  • proposals to move to libraries without librarians in 2022/23

In learning and leisure there are potential

  • increases in Edinburgh Leisure prices
  • cut to the adult education programme
  • cuts to school instrumental music lessons.

When it comes to money

  • 5% increase to some fees
  • council tax increase by 4.79%
  • potential increase to council house rates.

There will also be more advertising in public spaces.

These measures look to impact low-paid workers and our most vulnerable citizens

How these measures make sure that ‘everyone benefits from Edinburgh’s success’, as goes the new mantra of the change strategy, is anybody’s guess.

Concerning points for staff

On top of the issues raised by the changes to services, the budget also notes that

  • “some staff may have to change role/adapt to a new role”.
  • increased automation of tasks and use of digital technology to deliver services.

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