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 UK Governments ongoing changes to welfare, which began in 2010, will substantially reduce the amount of benefits paid to households and families. The Council continues to voice concerns about the impact that Universal Credit, and in particular the payment of housing costs, is having on Highland tenants and landlords alike.
The Highland Council will issue invitations to tender for the construction of West Link Stage 1, (Dores Road to the A82) and Canal Parks Enhancement Project, to eight contractors tomorrow, Friday 20 November 2015. A number of contractors expressed an interest and the eight contractors have been selected to submit tenders following a pre-qualification process.
The Highland Council is inviting the public to submit written representations to the Council about proposed changes to public entertainment licensing activities. All representations should be made to the Council by Friday 18 December 2015.
Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson has welcomed the level of public engagement that is helping the local authority plan to deliver its services through more localised decision making. The Highland Council approved a localism action plan at its meeting of the full Council on 29 October 2015 that will start to map out how to deliver decentralised decision making powers to local communities.
With the approach of winter householders are reminded that Garden Waste Collections will cease for a period of 3 months from the end of November. There will be no brown bin collections in December, January or February.
Highland Council has highlighted its successful joint working with BEAR Scotland and Transport Scotland. The Council's Head of Roads and Transport Richard Evans, BEAR Scotland's Operating Company Representative for the North West Eddie Ross and Transport Scotlandâ€™s Acting National Network Manager Jonny Moran delivered a joint presentation at last weekâ€™s Community Services Committee meeting.
Over 1,200 people took part in the second of a series of Highland Council Budget Facebook Chats on Tuesday 3rd November. Chair of the Councils Community Services Committee Councillor Allan Henderson and Director of Community Services William Gilfillan took part in the event which focused on Community Services and ways in which savings could be made.
Approval for significant programme of capital investment. The Highland Councils Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee has today (Wed 4 Nov 2015 approved nearly Â£8 million of capital investment in Town and Countryside regeneration projects throughout Highland over the next nine years.
The Highland Council has welcomed British Airways announcement this morning of a new Heathrow link with Inverness from May next year. Leader of the Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson welcomed the news saying This is excellent news for the economy of the Highlands.
The Highland Council has appointed 6 new Head Teachers at schools in the Highlands. The appointments include: Nigel Engstrand as Head Teacher at Inverness Royal Academy.
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