Half of the underspend in the Lord Provost’s Department for civic hospitality will be carried into next year’s budget following a decision by the Finance & Resources Committee on Thursday.
It is hoped that this additional one-off amount will help the council to hold events later this year to ‘boost morale’ in the city.
The Lord Provost’s department has a total budget of £507,891 in 2020/21, including £67,000 for Civic Hospitality. There has of course been an underspend in this financial year as the pandemic has prevented any taking place, except for some in person and also events held virtually.
The proposal put to the Finance & Resources was agreed on Thursday and means that £30,000 will be added to the budget for the Lord Provost’s department for the next financial year.
The Green Group wanted this amount, which they admitted was a small sum in the scheme of the overall council budget, added in full to the council resources, saying would be a way of showing by example in light of the tight council finances.
The Conservative Group added to what was agreed by setting out that the Lord Provost would be asked to mark only 25th anniversaries after any body or organisation has achieved its 100th. The Conservatives said this would make the Lord Provost’s involvement more significant than recognising them more often.
The Lord Provost and the Depute Lord Provost have held events which are noted on their newish website here. Our photos show some of the civic duties performed during lockdown.
The council has plans the Lord Provost will host a Garden Party in the Walled Garden at Saughton Park when it might be possible for awards for volunteers to be presented. It is also hoped to hold an event to mark the installation of the Governor of Edinburgh Castle with a civic procession from Holyrood to the Castle where the installation of the Governor would take place on the Esplanade.
There are also plans to recognise the 250th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott with a service of celebration at St Giles and a Grand March to the Scott Monument.
The council believes that there will be further civic events as lockdown restrictions are eased and it is ‘appropriate and desirable to create an enhanced Civic Hospitality Budget in the next financial year, on a one-off basis’. Any individual event costing over £10,000 has to be approved by the Finance and Resources Committee.
The nature of civic receptions is to say well done or thank someone or an organisation for their work. They are not political events, and the position of Lord Provost is not a political appointment either. Most often the events are held in the Lord Provost’s suite of rooms or in the main City Chamber with council catering staff attending.