Our budget challenge 2023/24

Our budget gap

Midlothian Council is facing budget gap in 2023/24 of £13.85 rising to £25.94million by 2027/28.

This budget gap is the difference between what the council needs to spend to maintain local services at current levels, and the amount of funding it gets from the Scottish Government and other sources of income, such as Council Tax.

Why this has happened

Like all council areas, Midlothian faces big challenges. The level of funding we receive from the Scottish Government cannot cover the services we currently provide. As one of the fastest growing local authority areas in Scotland, we have increased demand for key services such as education, health and social care.  Although we’ve already made substantial changes to save money and work more efficiently, we need to do more. 

What you need to know

  • Council Tax meets less than a quarter of the cost of local services in Midlothian. Most of the council’s money (around 75%) comes from the Scottish Government. But our core funding is reducing every year. At the same time, Midlothian’s population is growing and changing. This means that the demand for essential services, and the cost of providing them, is rising rapidly
  • This year (2022/23), the council's approved spending is £250.1 million. £184.2 million of this comes from Scottish Government grant funding. £58.496m comes from Council Tax. We are also using one-off funding sources of £5.576 million.
  • Midlothian’s estimated budget gap (£13.85 million in 2023/24, rising to £25.94 million by 2027/28) assumes that the funding we get from the Scottish Government won’t be enough to meet the increasing cost of providing existing council services.
  • Recovering from the pandemic, rising energy prices, high inflation and the cost of living crisis, are all putting our budget under even greater pressure.
  • We are the fastest growing local authority area in Scotland with our population predicted to rise 13.8% by 2028. This compares to a projected increase of 1.8% for Scotland as a whole.
  • If agreed, each 1% rise in Council Tax would generate around £580,000 of additional income annually for the council
  • The council’s budget, including council tax levels for 2023/24, is due to be finalised in February 2023. By law, the council must balance its budget. 

Where we can and can't make savings

Some of the funding the council receives from the Scottish Government is “ring-fenced” - which means that it can only be used for certain services or projects. For example, if the council gets new funding to support health and social care, it can’t be diverted to pay for other services. Similarly, national policies, supported by the council, mean we need to maintain certain levels of spending on services like education, teacher numbers and other statutory services.

After these fixed costs are taken into account, we are left with just over a quarter of the council’s budget (26%) from which to make the savings we need.

In 2022/23, 26% of our budget amounts to £64 million from a total expenditure of £251 million. That £64 million covers services including maintaining roads, libraries, parks, sport & leisure, customer services, non-statutory health & social care, non-statutory education and support for businesses.

Our savings proposals 

Councillors are considering savings proposals before setting a balanced budget at the full Council meeting on Tuesday 21 February.