Midlothian Council ‘needs urgent financial strategy’ to make progress on big challenges
Midlothian Council needs to deal with a “significant budget shortfall” as it faces further pressures as Scotland’s fastest-growing council, the local government public spending watchdog has said.
In a report out today, the Accounts Commission said the council urgently needs a medium-term financial strategy to address a £14.5 million budget shortfall by 2022/23 and ensure it can plan funding for services in the future. At the same time, Midlothian is also experiencing a projected 13 per cent rise in its population by 2026, the fastest rise in the country.
The spending watchdog said that in recent years the council has used its funding reserves rather than make difficult decisions on how services are provided. All councillors now need to show better leadership in pushing forward necessary changes.
The council has delivered high profile projects in schools, housing and transport and it works well with partners and local communities. The Commission said this will help it when addressing its challenges.
Accounts Commission member Tim McKay said: “Midlothian needs to address the significant challenges it faces - the cumulative funding gap and the additional pressures from a fast-expanding population.
“The council has a good record of working with its partners and local communities. This will help in supporting a medium-term strategy and transformation programme to get its finances and services in good shape for the future.”