Council approves budget for 2017/18
Midlothian’s Council Tax is to rise by 3% from this April, with the new Band D level for 2017/18 set at £1,246. The rise is the first since 2006, following the Scottish Government’s decision to end the council tax freeze. The current tax on Band D properties in Midlothian is £1,210.
Spending on services
The increase was agreed at a meeting of Midlothian Council on Tuesday (7 February 2017) where councillors approved spending on services in the coming financial year totalling £198.666 million. The council will use £3.970 million from its general fund reserves to achieve a balanced budget, reducing the level of its remaining reserves to £5.408 million. This comes on top of an already agreed £2 million package of savings for 2017/18, rising to £4 million by 2021/22.
The budget decisions follow the Scottish Government’s announcement that Midlothian Council will receive grant funding of £149.692 million in the coming financial year. The Scottish Government is making extra money available for schools and health and social care. Midlothian will receive a £2.273 million share of the new Attainment Scotland Fund, which will be allocated directly to schools. In addition, the Midlothian Integration Joint Board will receive an additional £1.5 million to help meet social care cost pressures.
Council leader, councillor Cath Johnstone, said:
“Our priority in setting this year’s budget is to maintain key services and protect the most vulnerable in our communities. The additional funding for schools and for social care will be widely welcomed, particularly given the financial pressures councils are currently facing. “Where we have had to make savings, we have been careful to protect those who depend most on the vital services the council provides.
“Given that we have been able to keep council tax levels frozen for so long, and despite the fact that those on the lowest incomes will be able to get help in meeting the costs, it was not an easy decision to increase charges,” added councillor Johnstone. “However the additional income will help us maintain community facilities, local services and our support to local groups.”
As the result of a separate Scottish Government decision, council taxpayers in bands E to H will also pay more from April 2017. Adjustments to these higher bands mean that the average band E household will pay around £2 per week more, and the average household in the highest band about £10 a week more. This is on top of the 3% increase agreed by the council for 2017/18. People on low incomes in these bands will be entitled to claim an exemption from the increase.
You can check which Council Tax Band you are in by visiting the Scottish Assessors website