This article was originally written for and appeared on the Subrosa blog and is republished here wih permission.
We’re still in a fairly tricky financial position. The EU is teetering on the brink and it’s beginning to look like there is no way out. Not to worry though the last minute hard fought deal to save the Euro will be tomorrow nights news. Back slapping all around. 2 Trillion Euro fund to spend. Result! Oh goody!
In Edinburgh we have the trams. A billion pounds of light railway, falling well short of what it should have been whilst costing twice as much. The debt will have to be paid back by the council taxpayers. Oh goody!
Then we have the small question of the Edinburgh Gaelic School. Does this sound remotely familiar?
“The Scottish Government decision to provide capital funding of £1.4m to cover the cost of the project as identified by the City of Edinburgh Council. Recently however new estimates of £3.6m have emerged, putting a question mark over the development of the school.
Result! ”That’s only just over 2.5 times the original estimate. Shortfall in funding? No problem. Borrow it. Use council money to pay for it. Of course there is no council money there is only taxpayers money. Oh goody!
Strolling swiftly along there’s the small issue of the statutory notices issued by the Council for repairs to Edinburgh buildings.
“The value of statutory notices issued by council surveyors has increased dramatically in recent years, from £9.2m in 2005 to more than £30m in 2010”.
Edinburgh Council surveyors arrange the work through approved (well approved may not be the correct word) contractors and recoup the cash from homeowners who are told what is to be done, who will do it and what it will cost. Oh goody!
“Edinburgh Council, the local authority, receives 15% of the final bill.”
So this system, designed to preserve Edinburgh buildings is a cash cow providing £4.5m to the council. Oh goody!
One final thought about Edinburgh. Let’s think transport. No not trams again. No. Buses. Lothian Buses. The only municipal owned Bus Company in Scotland. They provide a very good service. Well they would since they have an almost complete monopoly. Will they cut services, which may mean that people will have to use the trams? Of course not. Edinburgh Council wouldn’t do that. No way. Never.
Those brave souls staying out in tents (well maybe not staying out) without running water (well only until they nip home for a shower etc,) who are demonstrating about the unfairness of capitalism? You know the same ones as are outside St Pauls? Well maybe they should take a long hard look at Edinburgh Council. Maybe they would see some financial practices which make their present targets look like saints. Oh goody.