Colin Beattie, SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, and Christine Grahame, SNP MSP for Midlothian South, have asked the Scottish Government to revisit, with COSLA, the way funding is allocated to councils in Scotland, as the current method of allocation fails to take into account the significant population growth in their constituencies.
Posing his question during a General Questions session in the Scottish Parliament, Colin Beattie MSP asked what steps the Scottish Government is taking to support the delivery of public services by local authorities, such as Midlothian and East Lothian, where the population growth has been higher than forecast, having risen by 16.1 per cent and 12.6 per cent respectively between 2011 and 2022.
Christine Grahame MSP, representing the southern half of Midlothian, supported Colin Beattie in his call.
In response, the Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees, Emma Roddick, advised them that the local government settlement uses the most up-to-date information and that the 2024-25 settlement will use the latest population census figures. She added that the settlement is discussed and agreed each year with COSLA and that Ministers “are open to considering changes in the funding formula.”
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“Due to the significant rise in population within my constituency, it’s imperative that East Lothian Council and Midlothian Council receive adequate funds to cater to the heightened demand for public services in these areas. The existing funding model for local authorities needs to ensure it adequately reflects these demographic changes. I am encouraged that the Minister is willing to consider this matter alongside COSLA.”
Commenting, Christine Grahame MSP said:
“Given the substantial population growth in Gorebridge, Penicuik and Newtongrange in my constituency in particular, it is vital that Midlothian Council have sufficient funding to meet the increased demand this places on public services. I am keen to see the current local authority funding distribution model revisited to fully take into account such population growth, and I was pleased that the Minister was open to looking at this with COSLA.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The transcript of the exchange is available here: https://www.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/official-report/search-what-was-said-in-parliament/meeting-of-parliament-05-10-2023?meeting=15481&iob=132087#orscontributions_M3751E419P755C2522258