COUNCIL leaders in Edinburgh have set out proposals to invest an extra £8.5 million into public services – with plans drawn up to support social care and repair potholes.

The city’s SNP-Labour minority coalition will bring forward the plans for approval next month.

Edinburgh Conservatives have labelled the announcement “too little too late” and accused the coalition of a “cynical attempt” so close to the election “to influence the public”. 

The proposals include an extra £2.5 million to help support social care services and £6 million to improve roads and pavements, including £2 million to repair potholes and £4 million to resurface roads and pavements.

Last week, the council leadership announced £450,000 plans to open temporary public toilets across the capital including at the Meadows and Portobello after a spate of anti-social behaviour. The council has previously closed a host of public toilets.

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The council administration’s budget, which was approved in February, committed to investigating additional spending to deal with the winter impact on roads and provide extra investment for health and social care once the Scottish and UK budgets had been passed and funding deals finalised.

Discussions will take place with opposition parties over any further investment with a report drawn up by officials for the authority’s finance and resources committee on May 20.

SNP council leader Adam McVey said: “This winter weather has had a major impact on the surface of our roads so we’re proposing to spend £6 million on roads and pavements, in addition to our existing £100 million roads investment programme.

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“We’ve been listening carefully to what our residents are telling us and prioritising their local needs. We hope they will see a real difference from this investment and everyone will benefit from an improved condition, particularly vulnerable road users and pedestrians.”

He added: “We’ll have further cross-party discussions in the coming days and weeks to inform the council’s spending plans, which will be approved in May.

“We’re determined to make sure additional investments benefit the people of Edinburgh now, who have shown enormous perseverance through the pandemic, while helping us build the future Capital City our residents want.”

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Iain Whyte, Conservative group leader at the city council, warned over a lack of detailed plans he claimed could put the funding at risk of being wasted. 

He said: “As with most things from this SNP-Labour run council this announcement is too little too late.  

“Also, without a real plan to implement change it runs the risk of being wasted spending.   

“The Conservative budget we presented back in February proposed extra funding for road and pavement repairs and health and social care.  

“Importantly, it tied that funding to action to transform the services getting more value for money on pothole repairs and new and efficient ways of working on social care.” 

Mr Whyte added: “The funding for public toilets is welcome but won’t be enough for all the sites involved and needs to be backed up with a plan to enforce park rules and ensure more is done in partnership with the police on anti-social behaviour.   

“We called for this last summer and the SNP still haven’t caught up showing they really don’t understand the need to make our parks safe and pleasant places for everyone as we approach a summer where most social interaction will still be outdoors.” 

 Mr Whyte also accused council leaders of “ignoring” election rules. 

He said: “What’s probably most worrying is the timing of this announcement so close to an election suggesting a cynical attempt by the SNP Council to influence the public.   

“It begs serious questions when it was the SNP who suggested earlier in the year that they wanted to limit democracy by curtailing the number of council meetings during the parliamentary purdah period.  

“Now the election is here they are ignoring purdah and making major announcements without any advance reference to committee or public scrutiny.”