Bonnyrigg councillor calls for end to fund

A GREEN councillor has called for an end to environmental funding awarded to elected members at Midlothian Council.

Each councillor is currently allocated £15,000 a year to be spent in their own ward on environmental improvements or community projects, with unused funding carried forward indefinitely.

Councillor Ian Baxter (Green) believes that the funds could be used to influence elections, and is calling for them to be scrapped: “Allowing councillors to build up a fund of £75,000 over five years, to be spent in the year before an election, is outrageous.

“The fact that this influence is not available to election candidates who are not sitting councillors is fundamentally undemocratic.”

Under Councillor Baxter’s proposals, the funding would be pooled and disbursed to community groups either on a ward-by-ward basis or across Midlothian, with decisions taken by all councillors and applications matched against set criteria.

From April this year, the money would go instead into a Community Development Fund, with councillors given a year to use up their existing allocations.

Read full story in the January 17 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.