Allotment holders throughout the city are to be hit with a massive fee hike of averaging £105 per year per plot holder, if the current council budget proposals for the next financial year are approved.
According to the Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotments and Gardens Association (FEDAGA) the council currently receives around £80,355 from the city’s 1429 plot holders.
But buried on page 81 of the council’s budget proposals for the next finsncial year is a proposal to more than double the amount charged in fees. Officials want to raise an additional £150,000 from allotment holders.
This would lead to Edinburgh allotment holders paying at least £205 for a full plot, and most likely much more, if one assumes that people on low incomes are protected in some way from paying the full cost of the proposed increases. A standard fee of £300 per year for a full plot – a tripling of the fees – looks like a real possibility.
Even before the proposed rises the city has some of the most expensive allotments in the UK, but these proposed rises are likely to put Edinburgh fees at the most expensive anywhere.
— the warm shoots (@thewarmshoots) October 15, 2014
FEDAGA, who estimate that the average cost of a plot in England is £60 per year, point out that most other local authorities subsidise their allotments because they provide recognised social benefits. But allotments in Edinburgh are not currently subsidised – and so the latest proposed fee hike is about generating a profit from allotment holders to offset budget pressures elsewhere.
This attempt to make a profit from allotment holders is painfully ironic as allotments were originally conceived of as a way to help people grow their own food during hard times.
Indeed, FEDAGA also claim that the proposals could be subject to legal challenge.
If you think the proposed fee hike is unwarranted, then you can write to your local councillor to tell them, and sign this petition. You can find out more about the FEDAGA campaign against the fee hike on the FEDAGA website.