A year ago today, council leader Andrew Burns and deputy Steve Cardownie forged a Labour-SNP coalition to run the Capital. Here, they reflect on what they have achieved in the past 12 months.
Cllr Burns said: “While there is still a lot of work to be done in the coming years, there’s also much we can be proud of in the year since last May. We have introduced a living wage for the lowest-earning council staff, created a new Transport Forum to help develop a vision for how we all get around the city and helped to get more young people into work.
“We have also tackled some of the more challenging issues facing the council. The Deloitte reports into the allegations about property services were recently published and a new shared repairs service to help homeowners began in April. There is now a bill lodged with the Scottish Parliament that we hope will pave the way towards creating a much-needed new high school in Portobello. The tram project is making very good progress against the revised timetable and budget and the recent reopening of St Andrew Square is just one of several major milestones we expect to reach this year.
“I’m not aware of any other council in Scotland that has made the same commitment we have to regularly and visibly report on progress against specific pledges.
“Accountability, as well as performance against the targets we set, is essential in fulfilling our aim to rebuild trust with the people of Edinburgh.”
Cllr Cardownie added: “The progress we have made really underlines the importance of having a strong coalition. This gives the city stable leadership and allows us to create a new way of working within the council and with our partners.
“Yes, there are many pledges that we need to keep working towards and there some big issues that the council still has to resolve. But, it’s worth remembering that there is a lot to be proud about in the Capital, as demonstrated by the positive feedback in last year’s Edinburgh People’s Survey.
“From increasing satisfaction with neighbourhood services to our international reputation as a Festival City, Edinburgh is a great city for locals and visitors alike.
“We will continue to build on that and I’m really confident that we will go from strength to strength. Of course, we will continue to keep our own performance under review. But thanks to the open approach we have taken, residents will be able to judge for themselves how the council is meeting their expectations.”
FULL STORY SET FOR END OF THE MONTH
The Capital’s coalition was created after the 2012 local government elections, with the Labour and SNP partnership making up 38 of 58 councillors. A full report on the council’s performance against the pledges made in the coalition’s “contract with the Capital” will be presented to councillors on May 30.