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).
A campaign which aims to encourage all 15-17 year olds who will be eligible to vote for the first time in the Scottish Parliament election scheduled for May 2016 to sign up and register has begun across Highland and Islands. The initiative is part of a wider campaign that has been launched nationally across Scotland by the Electoral Commission.
The Highland Council's new improved recycling service begins next week. From 31st August residents can also put plastic pots, tubs and trays (excluding black plastic) into the blue recycling bin - in addition to cardboard food & drink cartons, aerosols and envelopes which were added in earlier in the summer.
The Highland Council Care and Learning Service has been successful in securing Ā£250,000 to support the development of the use of technology in learning. The bid, led by Louise Jones, ICT in Learning Manager was submitted to the Inspiring Learning Fund a Scottish Government fund developed by the Scottish Futures Trust.
Hundreds of potholes have been repaired in the first 6 months of this year. 1,437 potholes were repaired between January and June 2015.
The Highland Council is not impacted on any current projects by the "interruption" of EU funds to Scotland for 2007 -13 Programmes. The āinterruptionā relating to 2013 will have no bearing on claims submitted by the Council in 2014 or 2015 and Highland Council projects, audited in 2013, received a clean bill of health.
Highland Council welcomes the announcement today by the First Minister that 5 local schools are going to receive additional funding as part of the Attainment Scotland Fund. This second phase of the national initiative involves 57 schools across Scotland, and the five in Highland are - Merkinch and Bishop Eden (Inverness), Coulhill and Milton (East Ross) and South Wick (Caithness).
Highland Council residents can now apply for Council Tax discounts and exemptions and report change of circumstances online with the launch of new online forms on the Council's website. The new forms allow customers to complete online rather than by paper when applying for council tax discounts/exemptions and to report changes that may impact on their council tax, housing benefit or council tax reduction.
The Highland Licensing Board is advising people who have had their personal licences revoked that rules have changed and they may now be able to reapply. Since December 2014 The Highland Licensing Board has had to revoke a number of personal licences where the licence holder failed to comply with the mandatory refresher training requirements.
The PFR stone table with the inscription 'Out of Caithness to the World' will become the centre piece of the NDA Archive when it opens its doors in 2017. Construction of the new facility has begun at Wick and was officially opened by David Flear, Dounreay Stakeholder Group chairman, when he cut the first turf at an opening ceremony in August.
LEADER of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson met with Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabularys in Scotland (MHICS), Mr Derek Penman, today to discuss the Inverness Police Control Room. She said: "I would like to thank Mr Penman for taking time to come to Inverness and listen to the concerns of the Highland Council.
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