The Scottish Labour Party Conference has backed a motion from East Lothian Labour Party calling for a commitment to increase support for local authorities dealing with infrastructure challenges.

The local party’s motion called 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.

The motion was moved at the conference in Perth by Councillor Shamin Akhtar, the local party’s delegate, and received overwhelming backing from other delegates.

Speaking after the debate, Cllr Shamin Akhtar said:

“East Lothian Council is required to build another 10,000 houses over the next few years. This substantial increase in housing will create additional pressure on the county’s infrastructure, such as schools, roads, utilities and other community facilities.

“We believe that local authorities, particularly smaller ones like ours, need more support to cope with the impact of all these new houses. Our motion proposed practical solutions to help tackle these infrastructure challenges and I was delighted to move it at conference and receive the support of colleagues across Scotland.”

Iain Gray MSP said:

“Areas like East Lothian, which the Scottish Government is requiring to take a substantial number of new homes, desperately need greater flexibility to deal with the infrastructure challenges posed by all this development.

“By submitting this motion to conference East Lothian Labour put this important issue firmly on the party’s agenda. Having been debated and supported by members from around the country, the proposals for extra help will now be considered for inclusion in our manifesto for next year’s elelection.”

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