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Around 240 jobs at risk as council tries to save £13.5m

Libraries could close and the number of classroom assistants may be reduced in Midlothian.

Council: Proposals will be discussed again in December.
Council: Proposals will be discussed again in December. Google 2017

Around 240 jobs are under threat at Midlothian Council as the authority tries to cut £13.5m from its budget.

Staffing cuts and an overhaul of services were among proposals which were put before councillors at a special meeting on Tuesday.

Under the plans, libraries could close and the number of classroom assistants could be reduced.

STV News understands the loss of around 240 jobs is among the proposals considered.

The public will be consulted on the proposed cutbacks before councillors discuss them in more detail in December.

The council faces a shortfall of £13.5m next year, which is projected to rise to £45m by 2021/22.

Council leader Derek Milligan said "tough decisions" would have to be made as a result of reduced Scottish Government funding.

'The council now needs to take some very tough decisions which will undoubtedly have a severe impact on our ability to deliver services.'
Council leader Derek Milligan

He said: "Midlothian faces unprecedented financial challenges, as a result of the continuing, severe cuts in Scottish Government funding at a time of growing demand for vital public services.

"Seventy-five per cent of our funding comes from the Scottish Government and the amount we receive is being drastically reduced year after year despite the increased pressure from a fast growing population on education, health, social care, child protection and other services.

"All of this means that the council now needs to take some very tough decisions, which will undoubtedly have a severe impact on our ability to deliver services at current levels."

He added: "The savings proposals being drawn up by senior council officials are aimed at addressing the budget shortfall, while at the same time allowing us to continue focusing our priorities on protecting the most vulnerable in our communities."

The council has said there would still be a budget shortfall even if council tax was increased by the 3% allowed by the Scottish Government.

A final decision on the proposals will be made next year.

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