By Bill Heaney
While First Minister Nicola Sturgeon continues to look the other way, Edinburgh enters its fifth day of bin strikes,.
Deeply concerned about the appalling situation which is shaming Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has condemned the SNP for abdicating responsibility for strike action and called for an emergency budget review to deliver more support for local authorities and ease the cost-of-living crisis.
Unite the union have refused a pay offer by local authorities from 3.5% to 5%.
Edinburgh’s strike is the first in a series of planned strikes across Scotland and it is due to last for 12 days, until 31st August. It will continue over the city’s International and Fringe festivals.
Bin strikes are now planned for a range of local authorities in Scotland, including Glasgow, Falkirk, Midlothian, Perth & Kinross and North Ayrshire. Each of these councils are controlled by the SNP as was Est Dunbartonshire until May this year when Labour took over.
Because of the Festivals taking place in Edinburgh, images of the disastrous situation are being sent all the world by the media, damaging the capital’s reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “The way the SNP are handling this whole sorry affair is absolutely appalling. Whether it’s rubbish, the cost-of-living crisis or our healthcare emergency, they don’t seem to be lifting a finger to help anyone.
“It’s depressingly predictable that despite his party slashing council budgets over and over again, Angus Robertson’s first instinct isn’t to offer a solution, it’s to point the finger at others.
“No one wants to live in a dirty, rat-infested city. Refuse workers are being hit hard by the cost-of-living crisis. They need emergency changes to the budget which will properly fund local government and support those in need.
“The Scottish Government must fund local authorities so that they can afford to give workers a proper pay rise and put an end to this mess.”