Edinburgh’s budget challenge - map out what matters to you

Skyline of Edinburgh from Calton Hill, it is a sunny day with some clouds. The Castle, Waverley Train Station and the Old Town are pictured.
Edinburgh from Calton Hill (Forever Edinburgh)

An interactive tool that lets residents map out the community services and issues they care most about has been launched by the City of Edinburgh Council. 

As part of a  that went live on Tuesday (9 April), the council is engaging with residents in new ways to capture hyperlocal feedback on specific issues.  

People will be able to geotag areas where council services are being delivered well or areas where spend could be made differently. This information will help to inform the challenging decisions councillors need to make next year and, in the future, to balance the city’s budget. 

As the way we use and access public services shifts, the council needs to deliver services efficiently and invest in the future of Edinburgh and its population, which is expected to grow by almost 60,000 people over the next 20 years.  

To prioritise investment in the next budget year and beyond, the consultation seeks community-level views on where the Council could save money, where it is doing well and where it needs to improve. It forms the first phase of a wide-ranging agreed by members of the Policy and Sustainability Committee in March. 

Residents who take part in the online consultation may also be invited to sign up to series of focus groups to take place in the Autumn, to discuss their concerns, ideas, and ambitions for Edinburgh in-depth. 

Council Leader Cammy Day said: 

The council continues to face high and growing demand for services, and the reality is that this demand exceeds the funding that’s available. As we grapple with these additional pressures, we’ll face significant financial challenges and some tough decisions. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be ambitious for our capital city – or our commitment to protect those services that we know many of our most vulnerable residents rely upon. 

Just as our 2024/25 budget invests millions of pounds towards protecting and improving vital frontline services, we want to continue to get the basics right and plan for our future. Be it continuing to improve our roads, parks, and greenspaces, supporting our schools, addressing poverty and homelessness, or working towards tackling our climate crisis, we need your views to make sure this continues in your communities. 

We remain the lowest funded local authority in Scotland, and I won’t tire of fighting for fairer funding from the Scottish Government for our capital city so that we can continue to deliver the best for Edinburgh. We’ve already had to make £400m in savings over the last decade despite the unique challenges and growth Edinburgh faces and - if this squeeze on local authority budgets continues - we face a further £143m reduction by 2028/29.

Councillor Mandy Watt, Finance and Resources Convener, said: 

The council is facing the same hard choices about spending that many of you are experiencing. We’re trying to make our income stretch further and we’re making every effort to reduce costs without cutting the services or facilities that you rely on. Your local councillors will be thinking about the impact that any changes could have on our citizens, our communities and our workforce - but we want to be sure that we’ve not missed anything that’s important to you.

That’s why we’re asking you to take part in the ongoing discussion about the financial challenges we’re facing. I’m hoping that you’ll choose to take part online or by contacting your local councillors.

Published: April 10th 2024