The council are £5.9m short

Saturday October 29th 2016

Midlothian Council Fairfield House Main

Phil Bowen, Editor

Midlothian Council are to receive less money from the Scottish Government and so are asking residents to give an opinion as to where cuts should be made to make up the £5.9 million shortfall.

Choices include music tuition, school transport, increased charges for personal care, charges for brown bin collection, reducing road maintenance, increasing sports charges by 10%, providing less Tourism and local business support and a 3% council tax increase.

Despite the budget shortfall, the Scottish Government are also asking that £1 million of Midlothian council tax increases are diverted to other areas of Scotland to pay for Education in those areas, such as Glasgow and Dundee.

Residents who want to have their say on the future of local services in Midlothian have until Monday November 7th to complete the council’s Choices for Change survey.

A separate consultation setting out options for library and customer services closes a week later, on Monday November 14.

Part of the Shaping our Future consultation launched by the council earlier this year, Choices for Change includes a series of service changes and money saving options on which residents can express their opinions. The findings will be used by the council in making its budget decisions for 2017/18 and beyond.

“Our aim is both to save money and to make sure that local services meet future needs,” explained council leader, councillor Cath Johnstone.

“[Scottish] Government funding cuts mean that the council is expected to have a budget gap of £5.9 million next year. By 2020, this could be as much as £23.8 million. That’s why we need to take action now to make sure our services are fit for the future.

“Several hundred people have already completed our survey or given us their comments and suggestions,” added councillor Johnstone.

“I would strongly urge many more to take part as the views of our residents are really important to us.”

You can find details of both consultations, and complete the opinion surveys online, at www.midlothian.gov.uk/shapingourfuture. Paper copies are also available in libraries, leisure centres and council offices.

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