This eerily quiet August in Edinburgh is usually blooming with great numbers of international visitors, performers and artists all flocking to Scotland’s greatest city, Edinburgh.
Covid-19 has led to a huge reduction in visitors and all our innovative festivals have taken a new creative approach to ensure they continue to be some of the greatest in the world. Check out the amazing EIF online at www.eif.co.uk to see some internationally renowned artists or log on to www.edfringe.com for a reimagined 2020 Fringe . . . or join something quite different by logging on to Taiwan Season – part of the Fringe – to make sure that you can be part of Edinburgh’s enduring festival spirit. A huge thank you to our festivals for keeping strong during these challenging times.
We continue to work with Visit Scotland, Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, Essential Edinburgh and many businesses to keep Edinburgh as an international destination for all to enjoy. The council has delivered over £112 million of grants to support businesses and we continue to work with them to do everything we can to make them sustainable during the Covid-19 regulations.
Plus next week, a new campaign will be launched to further help Edinburgh’s economy recover by reigniting people’s memories of all that is fantastic about our city. It comes as we’re starting to see more attractions, hotels, bars and restaurants reopen and is designed to help us and partners promote the safe, gradual and welcome return of tourism – in a way which works for Edinburgh.
As we reconsider plans to celebrate Christmas and New Year with our partners Underbelly – this will be the first time I’ve not been to the street party! But I know the exciting plans being considered will continue to show Edinburgh as the best place to enjoy the Christmas festivities and welcome in our Hogmanay and New Year celebrations.
There has been much coverage of the need to have our young people return to school. Edinburgh Education officials have done a sterling job with planning and preparing to make our schools safe for colleagues and pupils to return on 12 August, should the health advice remain as is. I know parents will be rightly concerned but communications with them has continued from the council and the schools sharing the advice we have to keep everyone safe.
As pupils have not been able to sit exams this year, we see the difficult news last week that many students have had their hard work and efforts marked down by a Scottish Government agency – the SQA (Scottish Qualification Agency).
Last week I learned that in some less affluent areas of the city as much as 75 per cent were marked down in comparison to single figures in some other schools, including the private sector schools . . . who makes these decisions and who will reassure our young people and the parents that this is fair, equitable and unbiased?
At our Policy and Sustainability Committee last Thursday, I tabled an Emergency Motion to the council seeking these assurances from the SQA, and that we support our young people as much as we can.
Finally, please heed the health protection advice on social distancing, the last thing we need is another lockdown . . . Keep safe and well
Cammy Day is the Labour Group leader at Edinburgh City Council