Council Revenue Budget Set For 2011/12
11th February 2011
The Highland Council has confirmed a freeze on the Council Tax for a fourth year in succession. The tax for 2011-12 is: Band A: £775.33; Band B: £904.56; C: £1,033.78; Band D: £1,163; Band E: £1,421.44; Band F: £1,679.89; Band G: £1,938.33; Band H: £2,326.
It has also confirmed a balanced revenue budget of £598.8 million for 2011-12. Spending includes £235 million on Education Culture and Sport; £23 million on Children and Young People; £106.55 million on Social Work; £62.8 million on Transport Environmental and Community Services; £9.25 million on Housing and Property.
The total savings now made and identified by the Council (2010-2013) is £55.763 million, leaving a gap of an estimated £3 million - £4 million to be agreed by February 2012.
Councillor David Alston, Budget Leader, said that as a result of recent budget announcements by the UK and Scottish Governments, the Council faced a 2.5% reduction in grant in the new financial year, equivalent to a cut of about 6% in real terms.
He said: "We have been faced with an enormously difficult situation. I think we have dealt with this as best we can. One just needs to look across Scotland, where many other councils are facing much worse decisions than us today.
"This is because we have prepared a three year budget plan and have been prepared to take some tough decisions. My thanks go to everyone in this Chamber who has been prepared to face up to difficult decisions. We have listened to the public through consultation and protected community centre, swimming pools and leisure centres and grants to voluntary organisations.
"I would like to pay tribute to a number of organisations, which have engaged with the council to agree different ways of doing things in a more cost effective way."
He said it was inevitable that there would be fewer jobs in the council in future. "By planning ahead, we have a much better chance of managing any reduction in posts through natural turnover we have in our staff."
The Council also pegged council house rents for 2011-12 to 3% - an average weekly increase of £1.92 per week. The increase will see the average council house rent increasing from £64.15 to £66.07 per week (over 48 weekly charges).
The twenty-second Highland Archaeology Festival gets underway at the end of this week (Friday 2nd October) with another packed programme of events across the Highlands. The fortnight-long Festival, which is co-ordinated by The Highland Council's Development and Infrastructure Service in partnership with dozens of local event organiser across the Highland Council area and in Moray, runs from Friday 2nd October to Sunday 18th October.
On 1 October 2015 the law changes as new consumer rights come into force. The Highland Council's Trading Standards team is offering advice and assistance to Highland businesses to ensure that they continue to give their customers a good and fair deal.
Significant energy is being spent on work to plan ahead and identify savings to address the anticipated budget gap. The Council meeting in June 2015 considered a report which estimated a forecast budget deficit for the next three financial years of ¬£46.28 million.
Community Planning Partners (CPP) in Highland have agreed unanimously to support the recruitment of retained firefighters. Chair of the CPP Board and Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson said: "Resilient communities are dependent on having trained fire fighters available and accessible.
Consultations commence on a review of the Highland-Wide Local Development Plan, Onshore Wind Energy Guidance and the Local Housing Strategy. The Highland Council has today launched three online consultations on planning and housing issues across the area, including a review of its main planning policy document the Highland-wide Local Development Plan.
Details of a process for a call for community transport grants applications will be considered by The Highland Council's Community Services Committee at their meeting on 5th November 2015. Twenty-two third sector organisations are currently grant funded through transport services and have been advised that their grants expire on 31st March 2016.
The Highland Council welcomes the announcement of the approval to this first stage of the roll-out of the new European Social Fund (ESF) Employability Programme for Highland which will be operating up to December 2018. This will allow the Council and Partners to develop the detailed operational programmes, which will deliver services to people with barriers to employment and provide incentives to employment for small and medium enterprises in Highland.
Councillor Margaret Davidson (Independent), Leader of the Highland Council today welcomed the commencement of work to start dualling the A9 which was formally launched today by Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities. This first phase of work is the five-mile long section between Kincraig and Dalraddy which is due to be completed by summer 2017.
The Royal Regiment of Scotland will receive a warm welcome in Inverness on 15 October 2015 when granted the Freedom of the Highlands by The Highland Council. Members of the Council's City of Inverness and Area have agreed that ¬£24,401 Inverness Common Good funding will be allocated towards the cost of arrangements required for the granting of Freedom status.
Nominations are invited from people seeking election to all Community Councils across Highland this autumn. This is your chance to help represent the views of your community to the Highland Council and other public agencies.
[Printer Friendly Version]