The elections for Edinburgh City Council take place on May 5th. You can find the list of candidates on the council website.
Over the last eighteen months Another Edinburgh is Possible has been developing a list of actions and ideas which we think would contribute to the transformation of public services in the city. We’ve turned these into a series of pledges (see below) which we are asking candidates to consider and sign up to. The list of pledges doesn’t cover every area of the council’s activities, it’s work in progress and we welcome your contributions.
We are also holding an online hustings event on Thursday 21st April from 6.30am until 8pm – register for the event here. We are aiming to make this event as participative as possible – we want candidates to hear your voices. We’d like to group questions together by topic, so while there will be the possibility to ask questions on the 21st, priority will be given to questions notified in advance. If you have a question for the candidates please email it to email@example.com and let us know whether you’d prefer to ask the question yourself or to have it read by one of the co-chairs.
Tonight, in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, children and families in Edinburgh will go to bed cold and hungry. The Edinburgh Poverty Commission reports that in some areas, 27% of residents are officially designated as living in poverty. Meanwhile, according to Oxfam, global billionaires increased their wealth by $5 trillion during the pandemic. In the same period, the collective wealth of the ten richest men in the world doubled. Clearly, we are not all in this together.
Another Edinburgh is Possible is a grassroots campaign linking up community activists, trade unions and Edinburgh Trades Council to build public support for defending and extending local government services. Campaigners have come together to oppose privatisation and wealth flight out of our city. We have surveyed the Edinburgh public on what they think their Council’s priorities should be. Our results showed a clear demand for elected representatives to be closer to the people who elect them, and for officials to be accessible and responsive to residents’ concerns.
We support a rent cap on private rented properties and a windfall tax on energy companies making tens of billions annually while avoiding taxes which could pay for a move towards sustainable provision. We argue for bringing local government services back in house. We want elected Councillors, not unelected quangos such as the Edinburgh Joint Board, to make transparent decisions on care that affect families, residents and staff across the city. We argue for restoring democratic accountability to the running of our city’s infrastructure.
We argue for the extension of free transport, the maintenance of places for parks and people and not commercial activity, and for care to be removed from the marketplace and made freely available to all in need.
The Pledges below summarise the key commitments we hope and expect candidates of all parties standing in the May 2022 elections to sign up to. They have been developed from the responses to the OU City survey which we conducted at the beginning of 2021 and at the meetings that we have held over the last 18months. They do not represent a completely comprehensive list or represent the entirety of our ambition for the city. They describe the least our communities should expect. The Pledges are based on values we think the provision and running of Edinburgh’s services should be firmly based on. If these Pledges are consistent with your ambitions for our city, we would ask that you show your support by putting your name to them.
Local government finance
- Will you commit to reviewing the regressive council tax with a view to replacing it with a progressive alternative?
- Will you support calls to in-source services to ensure wealth created in Edinburgh stays in Edinburgh?
- Will you commit to building a campaign to force Holyrood and Westminster to provide a settlement consistent with the needs of our city?
- Will you support calls to end out-sourced public services and to severely limit the use of, and expenditure on private sector consultants?
- Will you campaign to extend free public transport?
- Will you limit the number of tourist on/off buses allowed to operate?
- Will you retain & maintain ‘Spaces for people’ as introduced during Covid?
Will you argue for stopping use of public spaces and parks for commercial activities?
Will you argue for disincentivising and controlling the hard surfacing of private green space i.e. garden space?
- Will you commit to ending parking charges for all staff, patients and visitors in hospital carparks
Save our care homes
- Will you campaign to keep the four threatened council run care homes open?
- Will you argue for the council to borrow from the Public Loans Board to finance a first-class care service in Edinburgh?
- Will you argue that social care is a public good?
- Will you campaign to take profit out of care?
- Will you commit to Improve pay & conditions for workers in social care?
- Will you commit to making care local & accountable?
- Will you campaign to ensure adequate funding for social care in Edinburgh?
- Will you commit to making care a free service?
- Will you commit to campaigning to enusre that the proposed National Care Service is based on the principles outlined above?
- Will you commit to improving the system to help prevent the formation of mould, damp and condensation in tenancies?
- Will you monitor whether the new resolution team is improving the complaints procedure and if not commit to further action in the interests of tenants?
- Will you campaign for the return of council housing at volume with a focus on warm, well-ventilated homes, for the reuse of empty homes and for tax policies that encourage the repair and reuse of old homes?
- Will you commit to rebuilding a direct works workforce that is well trained and secure and can take the lead on home insulation, retrofitting and district heating?
- Will you ensure that regulations for new building in the city requires that new houses are built to passive house standards?
Local Democracy and accountability
- Will you campaign for the reintroduction pf the public petitions committee?
- Will you commit to the council ensuring that its systems for responding to the public are fit for purpose? (In response to the Our City Survey many people reported difficulties in making contact, lack of response and failure to deliver on commitments made)
Ventilation in schools and other public buildings
- Will you ensure that the council develops and implements policy on healthy working environments so that CO2 monitors, filter systems and good ventilation is the norm?