Thursday April 22nd 2021
The way in which our growing authorities are funded is extremely unfair. When compared to other councils, Midlothian and East Lothian (fastest growing in Scotland) are disadvantaged as Scottish Government allocated funds are failing to recognise and keep pace with our growth. Council Tax income forms approximately 25% of the entire Council budget, the remainder is allocated by Scottish Government.
Our councils face huge challenges in meeting the growing demand for local services, yet the funding model fails to take full account of our growth.
It really is an insult when you consider our commitment to meet Scottish Government housebuilding demands. The Scottish Government are refusing to reciprocate that commitment and responsibility, with investment for local services and for transport infrastructure (e.g. Sheriffhall) to support the growth demands they place on us.
This is an unsustainable position. My support for Scottish Government housebuilding targets is not unconditional, and I say that as the Cabinet member with responsibility for Housing in Midlothian.
In respect of Sheriffhall Roundabout, the following is an extract from a 2009 SESplan report:
“The Edinburgh and the Lothians Structure Plan 2015 and the Regional Transport Strategy identify the grade separation of Sheriffhall roundabout as a key infrastructure project essential for the delivery of the development strategy.”
“The continuing lack of Scottish Government commitment to grade separation at Sheriffhall will impact inevitably on the ability of Midlothian, East Lothian, south-east Edinburgh and central Scottish Borders to contribute fully to the drive for Scotland’s economic recovery.”
The gross underfunding of the 1140hrs Early Learning and Childcare implementation was highlighted at a meeting of the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee at Holyrood. Absurdly, Scottish Ministers took the decision to allocate funding on the basis of the 2014 population figures. This is one of the most blatant injustices and attacks on equality that I’ve witnessed in local government.
I will continue to campaign for fairer funding for our councils. My constituents will always be my priority.Tweet Share on Facebook