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 Highland Licensing Board has launched a consultation on whether to introduce a supplementary policy statement on extended opening hours for special events of national and local significance. The aim of the supplementary policy statement, if introduced, would be to promote consistency of decision-making and to give advance notice to applicants of the Board's likely approach to determining applications.
The first ever National consultation on the future management of flood risk in Scotland begins on the 2nd March 2015. For a period of 3 months, the draft â€˜Flood Risk Management Strategy', and â€˜Local Flood Risk Management Plan' for the Highland & Argyll Local Plan District will be available to view, and the public are invited to provide comment and influence the future of how flood risk management will be carried out over the next 6 year period.
Massive implications for people looking for Housing in Caithness. The way in which housing is allocated in Caithness has changed.
Highland Council's Revenues and Business Support section in the Finance Service has won a Bronze COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) award for their "Highland Helping Those in Need" project. COSLA Excellence Awards are held annually to reward and recognise projects and developments which establish excellent delivery of services to communities.
SIX Digital Champions are to be nominated to assist with promoting the Digital First Programme and the availability of online services. Digital First Programme aims to greatly increase access to online services, enabling at least 40% of transactions to be carried out online by April 2017.
The Highland Council has created a new way of keeping people up-to-date on the preparation of Development Plans in Highland and giving information of how and when people can get involved. The Development Plans Newsletter provides detailed information on what is happening across the Highlands in a more readable and accessible way making it more appealing to communities and stakeholders.
Members of The Highland Council's Resources Committee have today agreed proposals to localise the Carbon CLEVER Community Grant Fund in 2015/16. The Carbon CLEVER Community Grant Fund, agreed in June 2014, is a Â£200,000 capital fund which aims to provide communities with financial support to implement relevant and innovative projects to tackle climate change.
FOLLOWING the resignation of Councillor Colin Macaulay (SNP), a by-election will be held to elect a Member for Ward 19, NAIRN Ward. Nairn is a four-member ward.
Digital First Programme aims to have at least 40% of transactions online and deliver Â£1.3 million in savings over next four years. THE Highland Council Digital First Programme aims to greatly increase access to online services, enabling at least 40% of transactions to be carried out online by April 2017.
A six month review of the Highland Council website, which was launched in 2014, reveals high satisfaction levels amongst Highland residents. The majority of people visit the website to access services or to find information on Council meetings.
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