Queen's death cost city £600,000 under Operation Unicorn

City of Edinburgh Council has demanded Westminster pay back most of the costs of the events to mark the monarch's death.

Edinburgh spends over £600,000 on Operation Unicorn after death of Queen Elizabeth II STV News

Edinburgh Council has called on Westminster to pay back more than £500k spent on events to mark the Queen’s death.

The capital played a major role in the days following the late monarch’s passing in September as her coffin was transported from Balmoral for a period of lying in state.

The painstakingly-planned response, given the codename Operation Unicorn, saw the city incur costs for extra street cleaning, traffic management and stewarding for the arrival of the hearse and vigil at St Giles Cathedral.

Whilst much of the cost was borne by the Scottish Government, council funds were also used to help plan for the proclamation of King Charles III and to show the Queen’s funeral on a big screen in Holyrood Park.

Officials said the total cost of Operation Unicorn to the council was £608,998.

This includes an estimated £42,000 in lost parking income over the period 8-15 September.

A report said it would not be possible to claim this sum back from the UK Government, however added the remaining £566,998 had been requested from the Treasury. The council said it is awaiting a formal response.

Cllr Alys Mumford, co-convenor of Edinburgh Greens councillors, who originally asked for information on the costs to the council of Operation Unicorn, said: “It’s good to finally get some information on the cost of Operation Unicorn to our city, and on how much of this burden must be borne by the council.

“We look forward to further detail about how much the council will be expected to pay towards future royal events, so we can have an open and informed discussion about whether this is a spending priority while the majority of our citizens experience a cost of living crisis.

“And while we welcome the information on costs, we’re concerned the report doesn’t grasp the negative impact of Operation Unicorn on citizens beyond mild inconvenience: during the period of the mourning schools were closed, bus routes diverted, and peaceful protest was suppressed.

“These are all impacts of decisions made at the time, and the council should acknowledge this and do much better in future.”

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