Edinburgh Conservatives call for action to deliver efficient Council

 Edinburgh Conservatives have published a budget that shows how the Council can provide better services at a lower cost. The proposals are to be put forward at the Council budget meeting on Thursday by Conservative Finance Spokesman Cllr Iain Whyte. Some of the things we have highlighted are:

  • A reinstatement of the more than £60m savings wasted by Labour and the SNP when they rejected private sector partnerships in 2011; partnerships provide guaranteed better services;
  • An end to the Labour/SNP War on Motorists and boost for City Centre businesses cllr iain whytewith a freeze on pay and display and permit parking charges;
  • More money and better methods to repair our roads and pavements;
  • Additional resources for care of the elderly to address this year’s uncontrolled budget overspend and to kick start a proper partnership with the NHS.
  • A trial of powered compacting bins with a view to reducing street litter;
  • An increase in reserves to address the huge financial risks the Council faces.

Commenting, Finance Spokesman Councillor Whyte said: “Many of these things are measures for the coming year but the key to our plans also set out a major change in the way the Council works to be delivered over the next few years. This is essential to allow us to meet increasing demands for services like care for the elderly, while addressing the need to cut the amount we spend.The harsh reality is that the Council budget is set to reduce by over £100m in the next five years.  So the failure of this Labour/SNP Council to act is becoming criminal and risking the very services they claim they wish to protect.  Their change plan, called “BOLD”, is actually rather timid as at best it will only save £49m – about half of what is required.  The Administration has no plan to save the rest and their only alternative is savage cuts to services.

We Conservatives would make far greater change and free up resource to maintain frontline services and make service improvements.  We want to see even more service interactions go online, new and efficient ways of doing things imported from outside and new working practices with a more customer based approach. And if the private or voluntary sectors can provide services better and cheaper then we should give them the chance because that will work best for the people of Edinburgh.The Council workforce is also too big and has too many middle managers. But successive Administrations have failed since 2007 to implement a workforce plan as Audit Scotland recommended. We should tackle this issue with all the methods at our disposal even if that ultimately means we have to reverse the current “no compulsory redundancies” policy.  We are here to service the public not just our staff.
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The SNP and Labour Parties have already wasted millions and want to stick to a blinkered, dogmatic and old fashioned approach to service delivery. They support services designed for the convenience of the provider and its workforce rather than the customer.  This is failing to deliver the savings they predict and that are so desperately needed. Their policies, designed to appease the Trade Unions, actively work against a slimmer, better equipped workforce and improved service standards.The time for dogma and inaction are now over.  Change takes a long time in Councils and needs real leadership to deliver. That needs a set of actions to solve the whole problem – not just half – and the determination to see it through. Only the Conservatives will propose that this year.”

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A Link to the Edinburgh Conservative Budget Motion, which will go before all Councillors during this Thursday’s Budget debate, can be found here:

Budget Motion – Edinburgh Conservatives (Final)

Commenting on the Conservatives Budget proposals, Councillor Nick Cook said: “This budget seeks to take the tough decisions needed to deliver the transformational change our Council requires and which taxpayers in Liberton, Gilmerton and across the city deserve.

calendar 2014 shot

It is also a budget which clearly rejects Labour and the SNPs War on the Motorist, throwing out Labour/SNPs proposals for above inflation parking charges which will have a damaging effect on city centre retail and commerce. Instead the Conservative Budget agrees to maintain permit and on-street parking fees at current levels.

Our Budget also rejects the Administration’s current proposed blanket network of 20mph roads and agrees that there are other road safety measures which should be prioritised in the meantime such as fixing potholes and broken pavements which would improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport and other vehicle drivers, including the city’s hardworking tradesmen and taxi drivers. 20mph areas are effective-often essential-in many targeted areas or in response to residents concerns. A blanket approach however reduces effectiveness all round.”

Moredun Park Road Carriageway Resurfacing Works

The following are some details about the proposed Moredun Park Road resurfacing works for your information, which has been passed to me for information. While this is good news, there remain dozens of other roads in the Ward in urgent need of resurfacing. I will continue to lobby for these further works to be done.

Extents of Works: From the junction to Gilmerton Road up to the junction to Ferniehill Road.

Proposed start date: Monday 16th February 2015 (For 10 weeks)

Working Times: Monday to Friday with a mixture of normal (0800 – 1700) and off-peak (0930 – 1530) working hours depending on the locations of the works and the construction depth required.

Start Location: It is planned to carry out all of the works in different phases. The first phase of the works will be from the junction where Moredun Park Road meets Moredun Park Street down to the junction where Moredun Park Road meets Fernieside Drive. It is planned to do this phase of the works first during the mid-term school holidays in order to take advantage of the reduced traffic in this area. It is hoped that this section of works will be fully completed within this school holiday week and then move onto the next phase thereafter.

Traffic Management: Each phase of the works will be carried out under a full road closure between specific junctions with traffic management and diversions in place. Traffic signs, cones and barriers will be set up and put in place for each phase of the works. Street notice signs and information boards will be placed on site along Moredun Park Road and surrounding areas to display changes to any parking restrictions or access, and details of traffic management in place. Please note that a vehicle uplift and tow away process will be in operation throughout the duration of the works to deal with vehicles parking within legally closed off areas.

Junction Closures

Due to the nature of the works, it will be necessary to close off some of the junctions along Moredun Park Road at various times. All of the junctions located along Moredun Park Road will be closed off, each for a period of time, to through traffic with access only being temporarily maintained for emergency vehicles and school buses collecting children within the areas. Details of any closures will be highlighted by signs placed in advance and at the closed junctions. Local residents and the public are asked to follow the appropriate diversions in place in order to maintain traffic flow and avoid unnecessary delays.

 

Bus Services

Throughout the works, certain bus stops will be closed and will not be in use due to the road closures in place. As a result, local residents and members of the general public will instead have to use other alternative bus stops. Details of such bus stop changes and the bus diversions in place will be displayed on site at existing bus stops and shelters prior to each phase of the works taking place.

Residents Letter: The resident letter for the works was distributed to all residents along Moredun Park Road and surrounding areas whom may be affected by the works on Saturday 24th January 2015.

We do apologise in advance for any inconvenience the works may cause, but hope that residents and businesses will understand the greater long-term benefit of these improvements. We will endeavour to keep residents and businesses informed through letters issued and on-street signage.