Scottish Conservatives achieve key wins in East Lothian budget

Scottish Conservative councillors have today supported the budget for East Lothian Council after achieving a number of key wins.

Following negotiations with the administration, the group managed to secure the future of rural schools in the area, and stop the introduction of parking charges in town centres.

This was in addition to a review of the council’s management structure in order to achieve financial savings, and the creation of working groups to set a long-term strategy for the council.

The deal has meant that the Scottish Conservatives kept their manifesto promise to ensure the council is run efficiently, while not harming frontline services.

Some of the key commitments achieved by the group include:

  • No closure of rural schools
  • No introduction of parking charges in town centres
  • No increase to the restrictions for free school transport
  • A management organisational review that will achieve significant savings over the next three years
  • Focusing resources on education and giving those resources to the appropriately qualified people.
  • The creation of working groups that will collectively provide longterm strategic planning for the council
  • A review of the Council’s assets and in particular its property assets in order to ensure we have the right assets in place for strategic purposes

Speaking in the budget debate, Scottish Conservative group leader Cllr Brian Small said:

“We believe that through constructive dialogue with the Administration over recent weeks that the clear imprint of our priorities run through this budget.

“Important red-lines for us have not been crossed, including the closing of rural schools, introducing car park charging in our town centres and increasing the mileage limit for free school transport.

“We want East Lothian to be viewed as a place where we look after our people, young and old and indeed in between, no matter what - but if we ask people to pay for council services then they should be of a high standard and delivered in a way that suits them.

“People in East Lothian want us to ensure the council is run effectively and cost-efficiently but they also want the most vulnerable people in our community, both young and old, to receive what they need regardless of their ability to pay for that support.

“We have taken a sensible, pragmatic and longer term approach on what needs to be achieved and we will continue to work to have our own thoughts and plans implemented throughout the course of this administration.”