Council Leader presses case for additional funding
Midlothian Council Leader Derek Milligan is to meet with Finance Minister Derek Mackay next month to discuss the financial pressures the council is facing as a result of continuing cuts in Scottish Government funding.
Severe funding pressures
The Council is facing a budget shortfall next year of £13.5 million. By 2021/22, this could be as much as £45 million. The shortfalls assume that Scottish Government funding will continue to be cut at the same time as demands for essential services grow. With Midlothian’s rapidly growing population, key services such as health, social care and education will all face severe funding pressures.
Financial impact of population growth
“As well as making a plea that the Scottish Government avoids yet more cuts in grant funding to local government in general, I will be urging the Minister to provide additional, specific funding for Midlothian,” said councillor Milligan. “This is on the grounds that we will be harder hit than other areas in terms of the financial impact of population growth. This growth is a direct result of the Scottish Government's demand for thousands of new houses across Midlothian.
Fastest growing local authority
“The fact is we are predicted to be the fastest growing local authority area in Scotland in the coming years and if Midlothian Council’s grant from the Scottish Government does not rise in line with this growth, the effect on local services will be catastrophic.
Seeking assurances from Minister
“I will be seeking assurances from Mr Mackay that Scottish Government grants are not cut at the levels predicted, and instead they are actually increased to reflect the pressures we face,” added councillor Milligan.
The council is already considering a multi-million pound savings programme to meet the budget shortfalls over the next four years. This is now open for public consultation.
Councillor Milligan will meet Mr Mackay on Thursday 2 November, with the Scottish Government expected to announce its 2018/19 grant funding settlement for local councils on Thursday 14 December.