Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas and Very Best Wishes for 2014 :-)

My last day in the Office for this year ...

... and I'm planning to have a bit of a break from 'the blog/facebook/twitter/blipfoto' over the next couple of weeks.

Normal service will resume around Monday 6th January ;-)

I am in Edinburgh over some of the holiday-period, and sort-of-hoping to reacquaint myself with the family!

My work e-mails are though being read by staff, so if you need to get in touch urgently then that's the best way to do so:

I am also available on the mobile if its a real emergency ...

... hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Very Best Wishes for 2014 :-)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Can you help me, to help Venture Scotland?

I've generally kept my running-exploits off the blog, and made my blipfoto account the focus of my somewhat sporadic training-programme ;-)

But - thought I'd take the opportunity of the approaching year-end, to flag up that the training is actually going reasonably well: I'm up to 14-miles ... and looking forward to the coming few months, and taking part in the Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday 25th May 2014!

And behind the challenge of winning that pint from my Dad! - there's also a very serious point to all my running-efforts ...

... and that's to raise money for the wonderful Venture Scotland, whom I've had a long-standing association with, so - if you're feeling the Christmas-spirit, and want to help me, help Venture Scotland; then you could do so via my JustGiving page :-))

Friday, December 13, 2013

One week left to comment on Draft Budget!

Just one week left to submit any responses to the Council's 2014/15 Draft Budget proposals ...

... all the relevant details/links from here.

Hope to hear from you :-)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

December Leader's Report

December 2013

Best start in life

Andrew Burns
We are committed to ensuring that every child in Edinburgh has the best start in life and, despite budget pressures, investing in our schools remains a high priority.

Work to deliver the new James Gillespie's High School is now well underway and the planning application for the new Boroughmuir High School is due to be submitted later this month. Good news also regarding the new Portobello High School with the Scottish Parliament Committee recommending this week that the Private Bill to address the legal obstacle preventing the school being built on Portobello Park should proceed.

Meanwhile, many of our existing schools and nurseries are in line for a boost, assuming proposals for a £30m programme of works are approved by the education committee next week.
Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader of the
City of Edinburgh Council


Nelson Mandela

We were greatly saddened to learn of Nelson Mandela's death. Our thoughts are with his family and friends but also with the people of South Africa as they come to terms with their great loss.

His influence extended far beyond South Africa's borders and his legacy and everything it represents will live on forever.

Edinburgh has a long and close association with South Africa and its struggle for equality and, of course, with Nelson Mandela himself. In 1997, councillors were keen to demonstrate their admiration for his great courage, strength and determination and unanimously agreed to award him Freedom of the City.

A Book of Condolence has been opened in the City Chambers and online, where it will remain for the next seven days.


Clutha tragedy

I spend much of my time in this report discussing Edinburgh but, given recent events, it's only right that I mention Glasgow.

The extraordinary response of the emergency services and from passers by in the aftermath of last week's tragic acccident has brought great credit to the city and to Scotland.

Our deepest sympathy goes to the families and friends of those who lost their lives, and our thoughts are also with those who were injured to whom we wish a speedy recovery.


Tram project latest

This week we witnessed a significant milestone in the life of the project: a moving tram on Princes Street.

Testing now extends along the whole 14km route and we're on course to launch passenger services in May next year. It's important that everyone gets used to the return of trams to the streets of Edinburgh and, with testing set to step up a gear in the New Year, we'll extend our ongoing safety campaign to ensure that all road-users know what to expect.

Remember you can keep up-to-date with the latest tram news by following @edinburghtrams on Twitter.


Cooperative Capital

I have spoken in previous editions of our commitment to becoming a Cooperative Capital and to 'doing things with people, not to them' and there are some developments that I would like to highlight.

We recently approved funding of £25,000 to help the Craigmillar Eco Housing Co-operative take forward plans to build 10 affordable homes in Greendykes, providing much-needed affordable housing in this part of the city. And, working with the Edinburgh Community Solar Cooperative, we are developing a project that will make use of council buildings to generate electricity for the benefit of the local community.


Clean up Edinburgh

My thanks go to the many volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and took to Edinburgh's streets and green spaces to pick up litter, wipe clean graffiti, collect cigarette butts and many other things besides as part of our 'Clean Up Edinburgh' campaign day of action.

Since launching in October, the campaign has focused on getting people, including Sir Chris Hoy and Scotland Rugby star Ross Rennie, to sign a pledge to clean up Edinburgh. It runs until next September and will include more clean-ups once spring arrives. In the meantime, visit the council website for more information and to sign the pledge.


Season's greetings

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a merry Christmas and all the very best for 2014. I can think of nowhere better to bring in the New Year than right here in Scotland's great capital city.


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Friday, December 06, 2013

December's Full Council Meeting

November's Full Council Meeting is coming up next week - 10am on Thursday 12th December ...

... all the reports are now up on Committee Papers On-Line (CPOL) and you can access the main agenda directly here; and the individual reports via this link.

Couple of issues to highlight:

  1. Fairly lengthy 'appointments report', mainly due to events during the week :-(
  2. Motion about the death of Nelson Mandela, at item 9.1 on the main Agenda, which calls for a lasting Edinburgh-tribute to be investigated.
And - of course - if you're so minded, you can watch all the proceedings live here ... or the meeting will be archived a few hours after it finishes for viewing at your leisure ;-)

Monday, December 02, 2013

Tell us what you think about our 2014/15 Draft Budget Proposals

I've highlighted the publication of our Draft 2014/15 Budget proposals on several occasions now ...

... and as mentioned before, there is plenty of additional information up on the Council's website - main (but not exclusive) links I'd highlight would be:

Closing date for feedback is Friday 20th December 2013 ... and there are lots of options for how to send in your thoughts:

  • Online – – links to the short budget film and presentation, and feedback form 
  • Feedback at 
  • Complete a printed feedback form – available from libraries and neighbourhood offices
  • Email –
  • By writing at Freepost, RSJC-SLXC-YTJY, Budget, Council Leader, City Chambers Edinburgh EH1 1YJ
  • completing the feedback form over the phone 0131 200 2305 (open 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 3.40 pm Friday)

I do hope as many Edinburgh residents as possible will provide some feedback on these draft proposals - it will be taken into account prior to the final setting of the 2014/15 Budget on Thursday 13th February 2014.

Let's talk about our saving and spending
Read about the financial challenges with the Council's budget
See the proposals we have for where we spend and save
Tell us what you think