Loanhead group’s budget branded ‘a disgrace’

Loanhead CC chairman Pat Kenny, outside Loanhead Library
Loanhead CC chairman Pat Kenny, outside Loanhead Library

Loanhead Community Council is angry at Midlothian Council’s decision to provide less than half the money it requested for the next year.

Despite asking for £865, the local authority refused to provide ‘honorarium’ payments to the group’s chairman and secretary. This left the grant for 2016/17 at £365, down from £400 last year.

Loanhead Community Council chairman Pat Kenny insists this will devalue its work in the local community.

He said: “We provide a service that’s very important to the local community.

“We used to help local groups and charities but we can’t do that anymore. We are all volunteers. We give up our time for the benefit of the local community. We know what’s required in the area, to help local people and organisations. But we can’t do that anymore.

“The community council as it is just now can’t run with the money that is provided by the council. It’s all just getting more and more expensive.

“It’s a disgrace that we are given a pound a day. It’s pointless, I’m really shocked.”

Mr Kenny questioned the continued cuts to the group’s budget, down from £700 in 2014/15. He said: “We have expenses with secretarial stuff and things like that with communications, postage expenses. So this year’s budget will not last long at all.

“The last thing we want to do is fold. We will have to appeal to the council - ‘please sir can we have some more?’

“And we will possibly have to fundraise locally ourselves to maintain the service that we provide for the community.

“I think it’s vital for all communities to have a voice. People come to us with their problems and we help them.

“I know the cuts the council have to deal with. But I don’t think this is the answer.”

A council spokesman said: “The panel felt that the requested ‘honorarium’ payments of £400 for the secretary and £100 for the chair should not be funded. No other community councils applied for money to cover personal payments to office bearers. The panel agreed to fund the core costs, which were listed on the application form as £240 for lets, £100 for stationery/IT and £25 for a Remembrance Day wreath.”