Council leader’s cash call falls on deaf ears

Midlothian service users hand over joint trades union petition to Council leader, councillor Derek Milligan outside the Scottish Parliament.
Midlothian service users hand over joint trades union petition to Council leader, councillor Derek Milligan outside the Scottish Parliament.

Midlothian Council leader’s call for more funding from the Scottish Parliament has been rejected by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance.

Councillor Derek Milligan met Derek Mackay last week to discuss Midlothian’s growing financial challenge, facing a budget shortfall next year of £13.5 million, rising to £44m by 2021/22.

Councillor Milligan (Lab set out the severe financial pressures the council is facing as the result of reduced Scottish Government funding. He said: “Our plea was not accepted. This despite the fact that we will soon be the fastest growing area in Scotland, and will be harder hit than other areas by the impact of a massive growth in new housing and a fast-growing population.

“I made it clear to Mr Mackay that without an end to the cutbacks and additional funding from the Scottish Government, the impact on local services will be devastating for Midlothian’s communities.”

Councillor Milligan also presented Mr Mackay with a public petition containing more than 3000 signatures, on behalf of the Midlothian Council joint trades unions, calling on Holyrood to provide additional investment to protect jobs and services.

The Scottish Government is expected to announce its grant funding for local councils on 14 December.

Meanwhile, a series of savings proposals prepared by council officers to help meet the shortfalls in Midlothian Council’s budgets are currently the subject of a community consultation. Details are available at www.midlothian.gov.uk/shapingourfuture