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Midlothian Council is facing a budget gap of £14.4 million

Tuesday August 23rd 2022

Midlothian Council Fairfield House Main


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Midlothian Council is facing a budget gap of £14.4 million for 2023/24, rising to a projected £27.1 million by 2027/28.

In a financial update presented to a meeting of the full council on today, councillors were advised that the Scottish Government’s Resource Spending Review, published in May, sets out an “extremely challenging” position for local government, made worse by rising costs due to inflation and the financial pressures associated with population growth in Midlothian.

As a result of the Spending Review, councils can expect “cash flat” grant settlements from the Scottish Government through to 2025/26, leaving a significant and growing gap between the cost of delivering services and the income available to fund these over that period.

Council officers in Midlothian are currently developing the measures needed to reduce the projected budget gap for next year and beyond. Although some of this work will focus on transforming services through improved business processes, digital solutions and other initiatives, the level of savings needed is likely to have a wide-ranging impact on local services.

As well as setting out the need for savings measures, the financial report advised councillors that each 1% a year increase in Council Tax would generate around £580,000 a year in additional income for the council.

“Clearly this is a major challenge for us, which needs to be addressed with urgency,” said Midlothian Council Leader, Councillor Kelly Parry. “The UK Government needs to do more to address increasing costs and I will continue to press for an emergency budget to tackle the in-year pressures councils are facing. I will also continue to engage with the Scottish Government to make the case for supporting our services and communities, within the limits of the financial powers available.

“Officers are working on proposals and engaging with the cross-party Business Transformation Steering Group with the aim of setting out these measures to councillors, alongside our draft 5-year strategic plan, to the full Council,” added Councillor Parry.

“We also plan to engage fully with our residents, communities and other stakeholders before any decisions are taken by councillors and will be bringing forward proposals for a public consultation as soon as is practical.”

The council’s budget, including council tax levels for 2023/24, is due to be finalised in February 2023.

Yiu can read the report presented to councillors today, Medium Term Financial Strategy – 2023/24 to 2027/28 HERE.

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