Thu 2 Feb, 2017

Greens stand firmly with East Lothian communities and public sector workers affected by cuts and closures, and these new funds secured by Green MSPs mean we can start to repair the damage done by years of underfunding and lack of local flexibility. Jason Rose

East Lothian Greens are welcoming the party's historic deal to secure £160million of additional funds from the Scottish Government to protect local council services such as schools and social care.

Using the local government allocation formula, East Lothian’s share is £3million. This cancels the £3million cut proposed by the Scottish Government. This additional cash should be factored into East Lothian Council’s budget deliberations, due on 21 February.

Following discussions with Green MSPs over the draft Scottish budget, Scottish Ministers have agreed to abandon their proposed tax giveaway for higher earners and provide a total of £160million for local councils to spend on local priorities.

Jason Rose, Green campaigner for Musselburgh, said:

"Greens stand firmly with East Lothian communities and public sector workers affected by cuts and closures, and these new funds secured by Green MSPs mean we can start to repair the damage done by years of underfunding and lack of local flexibility.

“In East Lothian we've already seen terrible cuts to local services. Additional Support Needs teachers have been cut, library hours have been reduced, we’ve seen an increase in homelessness charges and a reduction in devolved school management budgets. In Musselburgh, local facilities are under threat and in need of investment such our library and the Hollies day centre."

Sarah Beattie-Smith, Green campaigner for Dunbar, said:

“This year the Labour-Tory-Independent council administration is threatening to leave vacancies unfilled, to cut funding to social care, IT in secondary schools, leisure centres and even our prized countryside ranger service. With the £3million secured by our Green colleagues in Parliament, there is now hope for these services and for the dedicated people who deliver them.

"The Scottish Greens have achieved the biggest budget concession in Holyrood's history by working constructively with the Scottish Government. This is, however, only the start of a journey to restore financial powers at local level. Our communities across East Lothian must have a greater say in how to fund the services we all rely upon and Greens will continue to work for genuine local democracy and local power."

Sarah Beattie-Smith & Jason Rose

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