Provost appeals for calm after ‘shockingly rude’ public comments made to staff

Council staff subjected to 'shockingly rude' comments from the public.

Midlothian provost Debbi McCall made a plea for calm in council chambers last week after revealing council staff had been subjected to “shockingly rude” comments by members of the public on social media.

Councillor McCall was speaking before a report on savings proposals aimed at helping to plug a £14m budget gap were presented to councillors.

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The proposals, which have been put out for public consultation, include cuts to community funding, teaching jobs, school crossing patrols, libraries and even Christmas lights.

The provost appealed for people to be ‘mindful of their language’ ahead of what, she said was going to be a very emotive discussion.

She told the chamber: “I have been contacted by several members of our staff over the weekend who have been really upset about things that have been put on social media.

“It is just not acceptable and I would with that in mind, given how shockingly rude some members of the public have been towards our staff, please bear that in mind.”

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Following the meeting Ms McCall appealed to people to remember council staff are their neighbours and local residents before posting comments on social media.

She said things had escalated after the draft savings proposals were published.

She said: “On Facebook people put things they would never normally say to people face to face and it seems to have gotten nastier.

“I don’t know if it is the pressure caused by the cost of living crisis but remember we are talking about real people and it is not acceptable.

“This is not the first time we have had to make cuts and I understand everyone is frustrated with what is happening but that is no excuse for being really nasty.”