Midlothian Council makes the case for urgent changes in government funding

Wednesday December 9th 2020


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Midlothian Council is pressing the Scottish Government to urgently reconsider the way in which it provides funding for local councils.

Government funding currently meets over 70% of the cost of council services. However, as the fastest growing area in Scotland, Midlothian argues that it has been left at a major disadvantage compared to other councils, as the way funds are allocated fails to keep pace with population changes.

By 2028, Midlothian’s population is projected to increase by 13.8%, compared to 1.8% for Scotland as a whole. Against the trend seen in almost every other council area, Midlothian is also expected to see a significant rise in its child population over the next 25 years, resulting in the need for more schools, school extensions, more teachers, and other services and facilities for young people and families.

The number of older people is also set to increase, with the over 75 age group projected to grow faster than any other. This is likely to place even greater pressure on health and social care services, particularly as many of these older people will have complex care needs.

“We are facing huge challenges in meeting this growing demand for local services,” explained Council Leader, Councillor Derek Milligan.

“The current funding formula is clearly unfair, both in the way it is administered and in the adverse impact it is having on our area. The Scottish Government needs to urgently look at changing the way local government support is allocated, taking full account of population growth and the pressures we face in planning and providing local services.”

The council leader has written to Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, asking for a meeting to discuss the issue and is calling for a specific government funding stream to meet these additional demands.

“The Scottish Government already recognises that growth in the Edinburgh City Region – which includes Midlothian – is critical to the economic wellbeing and planned growth of the Scottish economy as a whole,” added Councillor Milligan. “However for this to succeed, we need funding for services and infrastructure which matches the level of population growth we are experiencing here.”

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