Tuesday October 10th 2023
Population growth in Midlothian has been five times higher than the national average over the last decade making it the fastest growing area in Scotland, councillors were told this week.
The number of people living in the county rose by more than 16 per cent to 96,600 according to the latest Census figures, compared to a national rise of 2.7 per cent.
However calls for local government body COSLA to increase funding for the county’s services were described as ‘asking turkeys to vote for Christmas’ by one councillor who described the growth as ‘frightening’.
Councillors were asked to write to the UK Government, Scottish Government and COSLA asking them to take the updated rise in residents into account for future funding.
Labour councillor Derek Milligan said the increase in population since 2011 was higher than Midlothian Council had even predicted itself and said it was ‘frightening’ to think how much higher it might have been had Covid not slowed down house building over the last two years.
Councillors in Midlothian have raised concerns for some time about the current formula used by local government body COSLA to distribute Government funding to local authorities claiming it is unfair and uses old population figures.
They agreed with officers recommendation to write to government bodies to ask that “the 2022 Midlothian Population data be taken into account in respect of allocation for resource, capital and revenue funding and the updating of associated formula”.
Councillor Milligan said: “Asking other local authorities who have dwindling populations to change the funding formula is like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas.
“We should demand action.”
The latest census figures reveal that the highest percentage of Midlothian’s population is in their thirties with nearly 15 per cent, followed closely by those in their fifties.
Less than four per cent are over the age of 80 with nearly 12 per cent children under the age of nine.
Council leader Kelly Parry said that while there were challenges and problems caused by a rising population in Midlothian on its resources, it should also be welcomed.
She said: “We should celebrate that Midlothian is a great place to live and work and people want to be here.”Tweet Share on Facebook