A review of the 2018/19 financial year and draft annual accounts been presented to a meeting of East Lothian Council.

The report highlights that the council continues to operate within extremely challenging financial conditions.

There was an overspend on services of around £1 million in 2018/19, with a number of financial control measures taken to mitigate the impact.

Council Leader Willie Innes said:

“Like all councils the length and breadth of Scotland, we’re operating in a very difficult financial climate.

“East Lothian is Scotland’s fastest growing council area and, as highlighted last year by the Accounts Commission, we are a council which performs well with strong financial management in place.

“While we’ve continued to manage our resources effectively and in line with our financial strategy, this report highlights the scale of the challenges encountered and ahead.

“The vast majority of the funding we need to run the council and deliver services comes in the form of government grants. But this hasn’t kept pace with rising costs, meaning we’ve had to deal with mounting service demands and related financial pressures.

“We’ve already taken action to reduce costs and increase income – with some difficult decisions having to be taken in the process.

“But the stark reality is that it’s increasingly imperative that, in order to maintain a balanced budget, we must do more. This includes, for example, maintaining the pace of planned transformation to reduce costs and deliver innovative ways of providing services to local communities, such as increased digitisation, and other measures that can enable us to be more efficient.

“Doing so is imperative if we are to continue focusing on our priorities such as reducing inequalities, helping children achieve their potential and supporting vulnerable people, while maintaining a high standard of essential services for residents who depend on them.”

Published: Tuesday, 25th June 2019