Council Leader comments on Scottish budget announcement

Friday December 14th 2018

Midlothian Council

Midlothian Council Leader, Councillor Derek Milligan, has said that the Scottish Government’s budget, announced earlier this week, has “failed to recognise that additional funding is urgently needed for vital local services in Midlothian and across Scotland.”

Although the impact of the budget settlement on Midlothian has still to be fully assessed, Councillor Milligan has pointed to figures produced by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) which show that councils are facing a 2 per cent cut in their budgets for core services in 2019/20.

“The Scottish Government has presented its budget as promising a £163 million cash increase for councils but the reality is very different,” said Councillor Milligan. “This is because £373 million in new government commitments for councils are also included in the funding settlement. What we are getting is a real cut in the funding from Scottish Government instead of additional cash to meet the growing demand for key council services which people depend on.”

He added: “As the fastest growing council area in Scotland, we are facing an increasing demand for services. However, with an estimated £6 million budget gap next year, the level of funding announced by the Scottish Government will still leave us with serious financial challenges.

“I will be pressing the Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, to urgently look at making extra funding available to councils, and to recognise in particular, the additional pressures that areas like Midlothian are having to deal with as our population rapidly expands.”

The Scottish Government has also confirmed that the 3% Council Tax cap will remain in place for 2019/20, which means that councils will not be able to approve increases above that level without incurring financial penalties.

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