Savings proposals for 2023/24
The savings decisions
At the full Council meeting on Tuesday 21 February, councillors approved the following savings:
- Increase Civic Licencing Fees by 50% to cover actual costs - estimated income £50,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Fees and Charges – review and increase council wide fees and charges - estimated income £38,000 in 2023/24.
- Introduce discretionary charges for planning services currently free - estimated income £10,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Introduce fees for non-statutory Building Standards duties and continue virtual inspections - estimated income £6,000 in total from 2023/24
- Increase burials charges to the Scottish average - income estimated at £80,000 in total from 2023/24
- Charge commercial event organisers for Safety Advisory Group services - income estimated at £25,000 in total from 2023/24
- Charge developers for road construction consents - income estimated at £93,000 in 2023/24.
- Businesses to advertise in council locations and on council vehicles - income estimate at £25,000 in total by 2025/26.
- Reduce the net cost of administering benefits by 6% - saving of £70,000 in 2023/24 rising to £210,000 in total by 2025/26.
- Reduce shrub bed maintenance or grass over some shrub beds - saving £36,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Close 7 primary schools' community spaces (Lawfield, Gorebridge, Loanhead, Moorfoot, Tynewater, Stobhill and Strathesk) during school holidays - saving £40,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Stop the night security service at the Stobhill depot - saving £150,000 from 2023/24.
- Increase garden waste collection charges from £35 to £40 annually from 2024/25.
- Close all five stand-alone public toilets in Midlothian - saving £81,000 in total from 2023/4.
- Instead of cutting two trading standards officer posts, look at different ways to deliver this service such as collaborating with other councils and generating income - saving £90,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Cut five full-time equivalent property facilities posts (currently vacant) - saving £125,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Review Land Services - saving £75,000 from 2023/24. Instead of cutting two of the three rangers posts, there will be a wider review of Land Services to find the savings. Rangers sit within Land Services.
- Devolved School Management Budgets involving other staff groups and budgets – saving of £34,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Reduction in the Devolved School Management Scheme allocation to schools by 1% – saving of £400,000 in 2023/24 rising to £607,000 in total by 2025/26.
- Transformation of school week – £1.5 million in 2024/25 rising to £2 million in total by 2025/26.
- Potential reduction in the Integrated Joint Board budget of £1.33 million for health and social care.
- Continuous Improvement – non-recruitment to vacant post – saving of £28,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Internal Audit – reduce by 1 Full Time Equivalent post – saving of £55,000 in total from 2023/24.
- To review the Communities and Lifelong Learning Service - saving £250,000 in 2023/24
- To review the Communications Service - saving £50,000 in 2023/24
- To recover the full cost of all parking fines - saving £100,000 in 2023/24
- To replace roads maintenance costs with £2.5 million a year capital spending - saving £300,000 in 2023/24 (there will be additional loan charges of £37,000)
Councillors rejected the following savings proposals:
- Remove school crossing guides from controlled (traffic lights) and zebra crossings - saving £153,000 in 2023/24 rising to a total of £306,000 in 2025/26.
- Stop funding Christmas lights - saving of £60,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Stop supporting gala days and events - saving of £44,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Stop maintaining Dalkeith Bowling Green - saving £25,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Reduce how often grass areas are cut - saving £25,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Cut the budget to maintain council buildings (not housing) - saving £300,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Delay gritting footpaths (currently from 5.30am) until 7.30am - saving £73,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Close Penicuik recycling centre - saving £109,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Stop funding the Midlothian Community Action Team - saving £436,000 in 2023/24 rising to £582,000 in total from 2025/26.
- Reduce the Instrumental Music Service – saving of £444,000 in total from 2023/24.
- End P4 swimming programme – saving of £27,000 in total from 2023/24.
- Rationalisation of school estate – saving of £290,000 in total from 2024/25 (this saving proposal was to consult about closing St Matthew's. However, councillors agreed its vision was to explore a future joint campus with Rosewell Primary. The council has submitted a funding bid to the Scottish Government for the campus and we will be getting back in touch with St Matthew’s parents and carers once we hear back from the government).
- Increase shared head teacher posts – saving of £17,000 in 2023/24 rising to £27,000 in total by 2025/26.
- Stop all sport and leisure staff overtime – saving of £472,000 in total from 2023/24,.
- Community Asset Transfer or closure of Leisure Centre – Newtongrange (total saving of £136,000 from 2023/24) or Gorebridge (total saving of £222,000 from 2023/24).
Reduction of Welfare Rights Services – saving of £27,000 in total from 2023/24.
Councillors agreed these savings proposals would be reviewed and brought back to be considered by the full Council not later than June 2023 as part of an updated Medium Term Financial Strategy:
- Redesigning of community and school libraries - saving £315,000 in 2023/24 rising to £1,029,000 in total by 2025/26.
- Adopt e-book service - saving a total of £144,000 from 2023/24.
- End grants for commercial bus services - saving £60,000 in 2023/24 rising to a total of £120,000 by 2025/26.
- Stop Community Transport funding - saving £157,000 in 2023/24 rising to a total of £314,000 by 2025/26.
- Transformation of grants funding - total saving of £520,000 in large grant funding from 2025/26 and £89,000 in small grants from 2023/24.
- Rationalising home to school transport including Additional Support Needs provision - annual saving of £30,000 from £2023/24.
A proposal to reduce the Devolved School Management Budgets involving teachers – saving of £1.969 million in 2023/24 rising to £6.207 million in total by 2025/26 was removed from the savings to be considered.