The City of Edinburgh Council has set a balanced budget for 2019/20. Councillors have agreed a £1bn package of spending for the next financial year as part of a four-year Change Strategy.
Designed to meet the changing demands of the city and its residents, the strategy targets the delivery of high-quality services, while maximising income, investing in prevention and early intervention and ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth.
In 2019/20, the Council will invest:
- £66.7m on new or refurbished primary and secondary schools across the city
- £59.3m on early years services, doubling provision by April 2020
- £48.9m for asset management works, as part of five-year £153m investment programme
- £30m towards fixing potholes and resurfacing roads, as part of four-year £125m roads programme
- £11m to upgrade street lighting to energy efficient LED lights
- £5m in improving active travel and £2.4m on cycling projects.
Additional investments will be made in:
- Health and Social Care: up to £15.7m of additional investment to reflect increasing demand, new legislation and to contribute to better outcomes for service users
- Homelessness: fund Rapid Access Accommodation pilot and provide funding for one housing officer in each locality focussed on preventing homelessness. This builds on the £2m of extra investment included in the 2018/19 budget
- Supported bus services – £0.250m towards enhanced services in rural west Edinburgh.
Whilst making the required savings of £33m for the next 12 months, significant investment will continue in those services have residents identified as being most important. These include:
- £7.3m Pupil Equity Funding aimed at addressing the attainment gap in schools
- £1.5m additional funding for looked-after children (continued from 18/19)
- £3m additional funding to address rising rolls, including pupils in need of additional support
All means to maximise income will also be explored, such as full cost recovery for major events and generating additional income from the Council’s outdoor advertising contract, including tram stops.
Cllr Adam McVey, Council Leader, said:
As a council, we are working hard to ensure all residents can share in Edinburgh’s success. This budget lives up to that commitment. It is a strong budget for the city and for our residents, particularly those most in need of our support.
In the coming year, we are investing well over £100m more in schools and early years, giving every child in Edinburgh the best start in life; we are committing record levels of investment in our roads, including almost £30m on potholes and resurfacing works in the next year alone; and we are allocating up to an additional £16m to address the increasing demands on our health and social care services.
It is a budget that allows us to invest in key frontline services but also one that allows us to continue investing in the huge ambition we have for our capital city – ensuring our economy and public services are more inclusive so everyone can enjoy the benefits of sustainable and well-managed growth.
Securing the powers to introduce a tourist tax and Workplace Parking Levy, which we explore further, will help towards this goal in future years, allowing us to target investment towards those areas that support and sustain our growth and success while confronting the challenges that come with it.
Public engagement is a key part of setting the budget and more than 2,700 residents had their say between October 2018 and February 2019 on the four-year strategy and budget proposals for 2019/20.
Cllr Cammy Day, Depute Leader, said:
When we launched our budget process back in October, we said that engaging with residents at every stage would be key. Thanks to their feedback, we have restored funding for primary school teachers in nurseries, provided transitional funding for Marketing Edinburgh and reviewed our proposals for Edinburgh Leisure, alongside continued funding for smaller sports organisations.
We have also allocated additional funding to the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board to respond to increasing demands on social care and to support voluntary sector transition following the recent grants process.
I’m pleased that, despite ever-greater financial pressures, we have once again set a balanced budget for the year ahead but we must continue to look forward and our change strategy lays out ambitious plans for the next four years – taking a strategic view in the interests of a growing and successful city.
The tax band levels for Edinburgh in 2019/20 will be:
A – £851.60
B – £993.53
C – £1135.47
D – £1277.40
E – £1678.36
F – £2075.78
G – £2501.58
H – £3129.63