A cuts document everyone needs to read

Wednesday June 19th 2019

Midlothian Council

Written by Midlothian View editor, Phil Bowen

Midlothian Council have said repeatedly that they need to make further cuts in future financial years. A document of proposed cuts has now been published for discussion at the full council meeting on Tuesday 25th June.

The document will not make pleasant reading for residents but it is very important that they read and understand what is being proposed. In previous years some cuts have made the headlines whilst others passed unnoticed until they were implemented.

The council is looking to introduce a medium term financial strategy to cover the next three years in order that they can plan ahead and avoid being reactive.

Despite planning to raise council tax by 4.79% each year for the next three years, which is the maximum they are allowed to do, the council still predict that they will be short of the following amounts requiring the need for more cuts.

2020/21 £4.6m
2021/22 £10.9m
2022/23 £18.8m

To do this the council has produced a long list of proposed cuts. Every resident will have particular cuts that concern them but some selective ones are

– Cuts to school transport for children at Saltersgate School and for children with Additional Support Needs
– Reduce teacher numbers and the amount schools are given to cover long term absence for sickness
– Reduce the Primary school day
– Income Generation Sport & Leisure – including using Direct Debit as a way to increase income, the model used by private gyms to maximise income as people then tend to pay for gym membership they rarely use
– Reduction of the number of Catholic schools in Midlothian
– Taxi Testing Service – so that the council are competing against established private garages
– Further reduction in school bus provision
– Cuts to music provision – in effect privatising the delivery of music whereby parents pay a minimum of £675 per year for music tuition. Reducing the number of music teachers in Midlothian from 14 to 3.
– Remove the allocation of free P4 Primary School Swimming
– Stop funding for Midlothian’s two Community Policing Teams at a cost of £500,000 per annum

Here is the full list of proposed cuts, see document link at bottom for the published council document:
– Reduce Silo Working
– Reduce Management
– Reduce Management costs
– Digital First’ and the introduction of a Cashless Council
– Managed Print Service – Downsize devices at contract renewal
– Reduction of Early Intervention and Prevention services
– EWiM – Further Office consolidation
– Digital solutions
– Digital Customers & Service Redesign
– Achieve revenue savings from the implementation of the Learning Estate Strategy – including the reduction of Catholic schools
– Review teacher numbers and the amount schools are given to cover long term absence
– Bring Early Years funding into base budget allocation following the 1140 expansion in 2020
– Remove the allocation of free P4 Primary School Swimming –
– Review Public Toilets
– Reduce the Cleaning Service in non PPP Schools by 20%
– Work with communities in order to encourage CAT of Non-Hub Libraries Services
– Efficiency Savings target of 0.5%
– Destination Hillend
– Building Services Company
– Industrial Estate Expansion
– Professional Consultancy
– Expand Catering/Function Service
– Taxi Testing Service – competing against established private garages
– Vogrie Functions / Indoor Flexible market
– Income Generation Sport & Leisure – including using Direct Debit as a way to increase income
– Promotion of Wedding Services
– Deliver Creative Arts in a different way
– Reduce planned increase in resources allocated to MIJB
– Work with Communities in order to establish more CAT arrangements for the management of halls and pavilions to community groups
– Work with Communities in order to establish a sustainable solution/CAT for Gorebridge Leisure Centre
– Work with Communities in order to establish a sustainable solution/CAT for Newtongrange Leisure Centre
– Work with Communities in order to establish a sustainable solution/CAT for Buccleuch Bowling Club
– Reduce failure demand – Waste
– Reduce funding to the Midlothian Community Policing Team
– Pursue Joint Working Opportunities for all Services: commencing with back-office functions
– Renewable Sources of Energy
– Grow walking buses and cycling schemes in order to bridge the gap between 2-3 miles transport for Secondary pupils
– Identify alternative transport arrangements for children to Saltersgate and ASL School Transport
– Paperless Council – 30% reduction in print and copy volumes in the first instance
– Paperless Council – 30% reduction in central postage costs in the first instance

Click here for the council document detailing the proposed cuts

Click here for the council’s medium term financial strategy

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