Members of East Lothian Labour Party are urging the Scottish party to include a commitment to do more to support local authorities with infrastructure costs in its manifesto for next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.
The local party has agreed a motion on the issue for submission to the party’s forthcoming Scottish Conference in Perth. The motion calls for a future Labour Scottish Government to allow councils to set an infrastructure charge to apply to all new housing and to create an infrastructure fund to enable councils to have greater control over developments in their area.
Cllr Jim Goodfellow, Chair of East Lothian CLP, said:
“The Scottish Government has told East Lothian that we must build another 10,000 houses over the next few years. Such a substantial increase in housing raises important questions about the capacity of existing infrastructure and services not least in areas like North Berwick, which I represent.
“I think it’s time to do more for local authorities, particularly smaller ones like ours, to enable them to better deal with the impact of all these new houses. What our motion proposes would go a long way towards giving councils the powers they need to overcome these infrastructure challenges.”
Iain Gray MSP said:
“I’m pleased that local party members have made this call for additional help for local authorities on infrastructure costs. The costs of building roads, schools, utilities and other community facilities, such as care facilities, for new developments can be huge and yet local authorities currently have to bear most of the additional expense themselves.
“Areas like East Lothian, which is being expected to take a substantial number of new homes, need more flexibility to help them deal with the challenges posed by all this development. This motion is a useful and practical contribution to the debate on how best to address this problem.”
Scottish Labour Party Conference, which is taking place from 30 October and 1 November, will, for the first time, include Members’ Sunday, a day dedicated to discussing issues raised by local constituency parties.