East Lothian Council Budget Consultation 2024-2025

Closed 5 Jan 2024

Opened 24 Nov 2023

Feedback updated 19 Mar 2024

We asked

The budget the Council needed to set for 2024/25 was one of the biggest challenges East Lothian Council has ever faced.  This is because of the rising cost pressures and increasing demand on our services which is not being matched by increases in national funding.

Forecasts suggested that the Council could face a gap of over £27 million between its projected funding and what it spends on providing local services in the next financial year, 2024/25.

The Council carried out the budget consultation to get peoples’ views on the Council’s priorities, the commitments set out in its Financial Strategy to reduce the cost of services, potential savings and the level of Council tax increase.

You said

A full copy of the results of the survey is available at: 1124_Bdgt_Consltn___Analysis (1).pdf

472 people responded to the online survey (c. 0.5% of population over 16).

Of those who responded:

  • 88.5% said that the Growing our People objective is Very Important and 9% said it is Somewhat Important
  • 66% said Growing our Capacity is Very Important and 28% said it is Somewhat Important
  • 60.5% said Growing our Communities is Very Important and 31.5% said it is Somewhat Important
  • 41% said Growing our Economy is Very Important and 47% said it is Somewhat Important

The most favoured options for reducing spending were Early Intervention & Prevention and Asset Rationalisation, and the least favoured option was Service Reduction.

The five options for which there was least support for service reduction as opposed to increasing Council Tax to protect the service were:

  • Investing in services for vulnerable children
  • Maintaining existing staffing levels within schools
  • Tackling anti-social behaviour and working to improve community safety
  • Supporting older people, e.g. care at home and care homes
  • Investing in the road network and street lighting

The five options for which there was most support to reduce the service were:

  • Providing discounts for empty business premises
  • Supporting tourism and the visitor economy
  • Investing in staff training and development
  • Supporting cultural activities like the arts and museums
  • Maintaining home to school transport

Respondents were asked to provide views on different levels of Councill Tax increase to protect council services. Almost as many respondents said they would support an increase of over £5 a week (20%) as said they did not support any increase in Council Tax (23%); 72% would support an increase of up to £3 per week; and 40% would support an increase of up to £5 a week.

We did

A full set of the results of the survey was reported to elected members before they deliberated on the 2024/25 Budget - 1124_Bdgt_Consltn___Analysis (1).pdf.

The budget was approved at a meeting of the Council on 20th February where Councillors agreed to accept Scottish Government funding to freeze the Council tax for a year.  The projection is that Council Tax will increase by 10% in the following year (2025/26) and by 5% in the following year.

In setting the budget the Council has tried to protect the Children’s Services and Education Services budgets as well as the budget supporting older people.  However, in order to do this, and balance the budget taking into account increases in Council Tax from new homes, the level of support grant from the Scottish Government and use of reserves and financial management measures, the Council had to make a total of just over £8m in efficiencies and budget savings. Almost £4m of these efficiencies and savings were put forward in the budget approved in February 2023; including, three weekly residual bin collections, a new charge for Garden Waste collection, and £1m from a review of council assets.

A further £4.5m efficiencies and savings were also approved including:

  • 100% Council Tax premium for 2nd homes (£900,000)
  • Charges from empty Non Domestic Rates Relief (£430,000)
  • Restructuring of management (£435,000)
  • Reduction in revenue budget for roads (£330,000)
  • Use of Under 22yr old bus pass for home to school transport, instead of council provided buses (£220,000)
  • Reduction in funding for Brunton Theatre Trust (£200,000) and Enjoy Leisure (£100,000)
  • Reduction in Library Service (£180,000)


Budget Consultation 2024-25

Consultation document 

Budget Consultation Document

Every year East Lothian Council sets a budget to determine how much money will be spent on services. We need to manage the challenge of significant spending demands and cost increases within the funding available, which mainly comes from the government and council tax.

This requires tough choices about priorities for the future. As we plan our spending for the year ahead, we need to hear your views on:

• our council tax proposals,

• whether we are prioritising resources in the right areas,

• your suggestions for how we might find further savings.



  • All Areas


  • Everyone


  • Budgets and spending