South & South West of the City is Being Short Changed

A report coming before the council today reveals that a higher percentage of funding is being awarded to the north of the city than anywhere else, according to community groups in the south of the city.

There are thirteen deputations to the Education, Children and Families Committee later on the Grants to Third Parties Programme alone, including representatives of Craigmillar Books for Babies, Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre, Valley Park Community Centre, Gilmerton Community Centre and Gilmerton & Inch Community Council.

In Liberton/Gilmerton ward Goodtrees Community Centre has launched a petition to ‘send the council a clear message’ to the council that the people of south Edinburgh will not stand for being disproportionately funded by the council.

Cllr Ashley Graczyk, is an Independent councillor for the Sighthill-Gorgie ward. She has done her own calculations and she has concluded that there is disproportionate funding for her part of the city. Local charities in the area have also looked at the report and the figures. Cllr Graczyk explains that out of over £2.5 million for funding priority 1 the allocation is as follows:

  • North East: £569,622

  • South East (includes City Centre): £1,010,766

  • North West: £617,745

  • South West: £442,776

Citywide total (bulk of the organisations are based in SE/CC or NE): £2,580,687

Cllr Graczyk explained: “The local charities have analysed the report and said a very low percentage of funding is coming into Edinburgh South West, an extraordinary situation relative to the amount allocated to other localities or to city wide organisations, and even those with London and Glasgow postcodes. They said there is a concern from this list of decisions that CEC appears to be disinvesting in services in Edinburgh South West and there is no spend from Gorgie and Dalry, to Calders and Broomhouse – missing out on whole communities.

“These examples raise the wider issues related to over-centralised resource allocation in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, Edinburgh South West has also been under-resourced in other areas related to cultural resources and cycle infrastructure.

“Two years ago, I asked Edinburgh Council to investigate the distribution of public budgets by locality. I became aware that not all budgets are proportionately allocated across the city and feel that we have a duty to ensure that resources are fairly and equitably distributed. It also does not seem equitable to constituents in my community who feel overlooked.

“My ward, Sighthill-Gorgie, based in Edinburgh South West locality, has the highest percentage (5.6%) of those who reported having bad or very bad health, has a significantly higher number of individuals (17.7%) who reported that their daily activities are limited, and has the highest number of individuals who reported that they do no exercise (45.6%). Sighthill-Gorgie also has the highest poverty level (30%) and child poverty level (39%) in Edinburgh.

“But, if according to the Communities and Families Grants report their objective is: “to improve the overall health and wellbeing of young people and their families”, then why are we to receive the least funding out of all the four localities in Edinburgh?

“Once again, I was dismayed to discover that there has been a very heavy bias towards funding large institutions headquartered in the city centre at the expense of organisations working within our communities.

“I believe public resources, including Communities and Children Grants, should be equitably distributed to benefit all citizens and all communities across the city. I will be pushing for a review of the current allocations, and I hope that we may still be able to restore some balance to the resource allocation process.”

Cllr Graczyk said that she has taken action to try and avoid the funding round taking place this week. She said: “I have written to the Convenor and Vice-Convenor to request they defer report for a review to analyse these grants by postcode of the recipient organisation, and by value, to get a better picture of the funding distribution (as the majority are ‘citywide’ but obviously based in a particular location) and to consider a minimum cap on funding for each of the four localities along with a maximum cap, to ensure a fairer distribution of funding between the four localities for all residents in our capital city.”

Published in Edinburgh Reporter | 3rd March 2020