East Lothian Council

Council to oppose boundary commission proposals

Published Wednesday 23rd April 14

John Muir House

Council rejects proposals to reduce number of councillors

East Lothian Council has agreed to oppose Boundary Commission proposals to reduce councillor numbers in East Lothian from 23 to 21 contained within their review of Local Government Electoral arrangements.

At the full Council meeting held on Tuesday 22 April, Councillors heard that as part of a review being carried out by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland new factors including the use of deprivation were being introduced to determine councillor numbers and as a result the Boundary Commission suggested a reduction of two elected members for the county.

Council Leader Willie Innes described the proposals as ‘unacceptable’ and added:

“The Boundary Commission risks losing its reputation and credibility with these proposals which fail to recognise established community boundaries and will alienate the public. East Lothian’s population has risen tremendously in recent years and the county is predicted to be the fastest growing area in Scotland over the next decade. To reduce the number of elected members during a period of rapid growth does not make sense.” 

Each council area in Scotland is contained within the Boundary Commission report and councillors heard that the commission has proposed increases in the number of councillors in some areas with decreasing populations.

A new factor introduced to determine councillor numbers is the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) as ‘it is believed to be a reasonable indicator for a range of factors that impact on council services and on the work of councillors’. East Lothian Council agreed that it is inappropriate to use levels of deprivation as there has been no studies in the last 20 years that suggest levels of deprivation contribute significantly to a councillor’s workload.

Councillors agreed to a proposal made by Cllr Jim Goodfellow to challenge the use of deprivation as a key determining factor and authorise officers to respond to the consultation on the basis that rather than reducing the number of East Lothian councillors, the growth in population would justify an increase in councillors from 23 to 24.

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East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.