The City of Edinburgh Council plans to set a four year budget in the spring of next year, agreeing how much they will have to spend, how many jobs have to go to ensure they have enough money and where they will prioritise spending. It will not be easy given that they have to find savings of £126m in the process.
The council’s transformation programme will play a major role in providing some of those savings, but the council also plan to offer improved incentives for those members of staff who might agree to voluntary redundancy.
The council must reduce their staff by around 2000 roles to balance the books, and hope to do that by agreement with employees. They are however seeking powers to use compulsory redundancy measures as a last resort, which will be discussed at the Finance & Resources Committee meeting on Thursday of this week.
It appears that every department will be fighting its corner to ensure that they will get sufficient funds to deliver the services they provide.
We spoke to Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds who is in charge of Transport and Environment. This department has a well documented history. The new tram line cost a lot more money than originally planned, but savings are also being made in relation to the amount of recycling now offered by the council.
The budgeted gross revenue spend for the transport area of council business in the financial year 2015/16 (this includes neighbourhoods, roads, pavements, Water of Leith scheme and some other projects) totals £62.8 million
Budgeted revenue spend for Transport (net of any parking income) in 2015/16 is estimated at £11.5 million
Total budgeted capital spend for all of the Transport projects in 2015/16 is in the calculations at £25.066 million
And budgeted capital spend for roads alone in 2015/16 is estimated to be £12 million
We asked the convener how priorities would be set for future spending.
Councillor Hinds explained: “We are in a difficult position as we have more services to provide with less funding. The next few years will be even more challenging as a council.
“But if we can invest more in active travel that will have an effect on health and the economy of our city.”
Watch our full length interview with Councillor Hinds here: