Budget Consultation Timetable Agreed
28th June 2012
The Highland Council has agreed to embark on a four-month public consultation over budget savings needed in 2013/14 and 2014/15. The Council estimates the savings targets will be £11.5 million in 2013/14 and £18.2 million in 2014/15.
Having run a successful budget consultation exercise in 2010/11, the Council will repeat the exercise by posting the budget consultation document on its web site: www.highland.gov.uk in early August and holding public meetings in August, September and October through ward forums and stakeholder discussions.
Analysis of the consultation exercise will take place in October/November and budgets considered in December before the two-year budget is finalised in February of next year.
Councillor Dave Fallows, Chairman of the Finance Housing and Resources Committee, said it was important to consult fully with the public over the budget savings.
He said: "A longer-term financial planning process offers a number of advantages to the Council, allowing us to forward plan our budget and identify any savings required. At the same time, it allows improved links between the revenue budget, the capital programme and the Council programme priorities. It is therefore proposed that following agreement of a two-year budget in February 2013, work will commence on developing a longer-term plan, covering a five-year period up to and including 2017/18."
Later, the Council was advised that it had achieved £13.162 million of efficiency savings in 2011/12 - £562K more than the target set by the Scottish Government. This had been the sixth year in succession that the Council has met its efficiency savings target.
It was also reported that the Council's statement of accounts for the year to 31 March 2012 had been published - ahead of the 30 June deadline. The statement had shown an underspend of £5.5 million - only 1% of the overall annual Council spending - which was mainly attributable to savings on financing charges.
Highland Council Trading Standards are warning consumers to be on their guard against phishing emails purporting to be from Apple iTunes following an increase in enquiries. The unsolicited email from fraudsters informs the recipient that they if they did not make the purchase in question, that they should click on the link provided to obtain a refund.
Members of the Highland Council Resources Committee have noted research showing the benefits of being online and the work being done by the Council to promote digital inclusion. Research shows that across the UK 89% of adults have access to the internet at home, however 17.9% of people in the Highlands never use the internet.
Two projects have been approved for capital discretionary funding by the Councils Resources Committee. Members approved a contribution of Â£100,000 over 2 years towards the Falls of Shin Community Project, subject to full a funding package being in place.
The Highland Council has approved funding of over Â£250,000 for projects across the region that will improve transport links, reduce carbon emissions and save the Council money. The funding comes from Highland Councils Carbon CLEVER capital budget, which has supported a wide range of projects over the past 18 months, including the upgrading of streetlights in Highland to LEDs, improved cycling facilities, the installation of biomass boilers, and a grant fund which has allocated funding to more than ten community projects which reduce carbon emissions.
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.
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