Midlothian Council published savings proposals on Friday January 20th to be considered by councillors at a special meeting of the full Council on Tuesday 31 January. The proposals are to help bridge a projected budget gap of £14.481 million rising to £26.575 million by 2027/28. Council Leader Councillor Kelly Parry said no decisions will be made ahead of Tuesday 21 February when the full Council will meet again to set a balanced budget. However, she warned the council faces radical cuts and changes to the way it delivers services.
Midlothian’s Community Councils met through a Midlothian Federation of Community Councils (MFCC) special meeting on Wednesday January 25 to discuss these proposals. It was unanimously agreed to reject them and send an open letter to Council Officials and all Midlothian MSPs, copied to all Midlothian Councillors, to express our deep disappointment and grave
concern regarding the ‘Saving Proposals for 2023/24’ published by Midlothian Council. A copy of that open letter can be found here (link). ENCC fully supports the MFCC response and has participated in its drafting and submission. The request for a deputation from MFCC to address the special meeting of Midlothian Council on Tuesday (Jan 31) has been added to the agenda. It will be for the meeting to agree to hear us. Various groups intend to gather on Tuesday at 10:30 opposite Midlothian House to protest.
Robert Hogg, Chair of Midlothian Federation of Community Councils said “The cuts proposed by Midlothian Council are unacceptable and will disproportionately affect the lowest paid, elderly and those without digital skills or devices. Midlothian Council key priorities for 2022-23 are to improve health and learning outcomes and prevent child and household poverty, yet these cuts will significantly increase the inequalities in these areas. The suggestion that volunteers can take over services is unworkable fantasy. The impact of these proposals has not been fully and properly investigated with councillors expected to make decisions without accurate information. MFCC recognise the crisis in local authority funding which must now be addressed by Councillors, COSLA and the Scottish Government Finance Secretary. Our message is simple – No more cuts“.