“The cause of the £14m deficit this year is the consistent underfunding of local authorities”

Thursday February 9th 2023


Brian Farrell Vice Chair Midlothian Federation of Community Councils addressing the full council meeting in January.

This View has been written by Midlothian Federation of Community Councils, the umbrella group for the 15 Community Councils in Midlothian.

On 29 January 2023, Midlothian Federation of Community Councils issued a joint letter to every Midlothian MP, MSP and Councillor with a call to action to work jointly to prevent enormous cuts to vital public services in Midlothian. On Tuesday 31 January, our Vice Chair addressed a special meeting of Midlothian Council to repeat our opposition to these cuts.

The cause of the £14m deficit this year is the consistent underfunding of local authorities in Scotland by Holyrood and a COSLA funding formula that is no longer fit for purpose. To compound the inadequate model, over £3m of council tax raised in Midlothian is removed and distributed to other local authorities. Those funds are almost half the value of the proposed cuts.

Unless the funding crisis is addressed now, over the next 4 years Midlothian will only be able to deliver statutory services, resulting in the worst affected being the unemployed, low paid, elderly and those with disabilities.

The proposed cuts include:

– Grant funding to charities will be axed affecting over 7000 residents with complex needs and disabilities, and charities providing after school care & breakfast clubs.
– Axing council funded transport services.
– Axing 16 council funded police officers.
– Removing all staff from libraries.
– Closing school buildings out-with school hours, leaving community groups and charities homeless.
– Axing 174 teachers.
– Stopping school swimming and music instrument lessons and a school closure.
– Axing School Crossing Patrols.

Even if we save these services this year, it will only postpone the inevitable next year or the following year, unless our local authorities are properly funded. On Thursday at Holyrood we saw MSP’s laugh and joke whilst making cheap political points during the budget debate when 6 miles away we are facing vital services being axed.

Robert Hogg Chair of Midlothian Federation of Community Councils said:

“These cuts will affect our most vulnerable, disabled and low income residents hardest. Vital services will be lost with hundreds of job losses and thousands of our most vulnerable residents abandoned.”

“We repeat our call for our politicians to stand up for the people of Midlothian and repeat our call for COSLA and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy to urgently address this crisis. Our message is simple – no more cuts.”

Tweet Share on Facebook  

Subscribe to the Midlothian View newsletter

Support Midlothian View from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Thank you.

Comments are closed.