Councillors agree Council Tax and budget

Despite a further cut in core funding from Scottish Government, councillors have unanimously agreed the budget for the year ahead. Today’s decision provides much needed certainly to residents, staff and organisations who rely on council services and funding.

A 4.84% rise

At the full Council meeting on Tuesday, councillors approved an increase in Council Tax, which will see householders in Band D properties pay £1,409 in Council Tax and £448.11 for water and sewerage charges.

Greater stability

Midlothian Council Leader Derek Milligan said: “Approving our medium term financial strategy, back in June 2019, has been an important step change for us, giving us greater fiscal stability and allowing us to plan ahead.

Challenges ahead

“That said, we hadn’t anticipated what, according to COSLA, equates to a 17% cut in our Scottish Government grant for capital projects. This will mean Midlothian is short £1.8 million next year to fund planned investment in schools, care facilities, roads and sports facilities.

Hard choices

“It leaves the council with hard choices to make to reduce investment to fill the gap caused by the government’s cut,” he added.

Little choice

Cllr Milligan said the Scottish Government’s budget includes the presumption all local councils across Scotland will increase Council Tax by 4.84%. “This effectively means in Midlothian, we have no choice but to increase Council Tax by the maximum allowed by Scottish Government to balance our books,” he added.

Fastest growing authority

Cllr Milligan said “While we’ve secured the required savings for a balanced budget for the year ahead, as the fastest growing local authority in Scotland, we’re facing huge financial challenges which we are addressing through our medium term financial strategy.”

11 Feb 2020