Full Council meeting hears about financial challenges

East Lothian Council faces further significant budgetary challenges in the years ahead, councillors heard today.

It was reported to a meeting of the full council that further real terms reductions in the amount of funding from central government – which makes up more than 70 per cent of the council’s income – would result in large cost savings having to be made.

Depute Council Leader Norman Hampshire said:

“As a council, we have continued to defend and protect the vital public services which so many people across East Lothian rely on.

“At all times, our priority is to continue delivering for the people of East Lothian. Whether it’s helping our children achieve their potential, supporting older and vulnerable people, protecting the environment or building an increasingly sustainable economy, we want to make East Lothian the best county it can be for all those who live and work here.

“Yet at a time when demand for services has increased in our rapidly growing county, we’ve already seen a reduction in the amount of central government funding available to us – which makes up more than 70 per cent of our budget.

“We’re awaiting news of how much money we will receive from the Scottish Government next year. Indications suggest that a significant reduction in funding is likely and therefore there are real challenges ahead.

“This means that, when councillors meet in February to agree our budget for 2018/19, we will face some tough choices.”

The council has agreed to carry out advance work on budget development for 2018/19 and beyond.

In November, a series of events are being held aimed at gathering the views of local people on some of the things the council could do to meet the challenges ahead.

An initial budget proposal will then be developed and considered by Cabinet on 16 January. Councillors will then have an opportunity to consider any amendments to the Administration budget, with formal proposals to be considered at a meeting of the full council on 13 February.

Published: Wednesday, 1st November 2017