Local Labour Councillors have launched a “Stop the cuts: protect our local services” campaign calling on the SNP Government to end their austerity cuts and protect East Lothian’s vital local services.

Over the past six years, the Council has been forced to make savings of £34million as a result of cuts in the core funding received from the SNP Government and a rise in demand for services. Any further cuts this year will be unsustainable and have a detrimental impact on our frontline services and local communities.

This year’s draft Scottish Government Budget currently now means that East Lothian Council will see another reduction in its core Grant for 2020/21, necessitating further savings of over £12million. To protect services from the budget cuts we have increase the Council Tax by the Scottish Governments limit of 4.84% that will generates income of £4,436 million. We also reduced our Loan repayments by £4,556 million due to a Loans Fund Review. This reduced the savings required to just over £3 million.

As one of the fastest growing council areas in Scotland, East Lothian is experiencing significant increases in demand for all core services, especially education and children’s wellbeing. These are all areas for which the Council receives no additional funding, despite the population growth.

Labour Council Depute Leader Cllr Norman Hampshire said:

“I’m calling on Kate Forbes and the SNP Government to stop their austerity cuts to our vital local public services and instead protect them by providing more funding from any Barnett Consequences that come from the UK Budget proposals.

“East Lothian is the second fastest growing local authority in Scotland but, at a time when Scottish Government should be supporting us with extra funding, they have actually been cutting our core grant.

“This is a totally unacceptable and unsustainable position putting services under immense strain. We have already had to make savings of £34million over the past six years and can no longer keep making further savings to our Communities vital services.

“I’m calling on everyone to support our campaign for fair funding to protect our services. It is time to send a clear message to the SNP Government that enough is enough and we need and value our public services more than ever.”

As the budget progresses through the parliamentary process Labour councillors are calling on all residents of East Lothian to support our campaign for fair funding to protect our services.

If you support your local public services then make your voice heard by signing the petition at http://chng.it/VRjzW8F8

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