Highland Council Budget Leader Disappointed With Scottish Budget Announcements
18th December 2016
Reacting to the Scottish Government's Budget Settlement for 2017-18, Budget Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Bill Fernie said:"Disappointingly, our worst predictions are realised in that there has been a real cash cut to councils of £350 million. The devil will be in the detail, but an early analysis equates this to a significant cut in the grant to our core budget. Further clarification is being sought on the extent of this.
"Two of the additional income streams announced are ring-fenced for educational attainment and to Health and Social Care, which is to be paid through the Health budget. These do not increase our core budget and therefore do not reduce the budget gap that the Council is facing.
“The Scottish Government has increased higher council tax bands substantially with the “Council Tax multiplier". This will mean higher bills for council tax payers in bands E and above.
“However, I am relieved to see that, following a motion agreed at The Highland Council, that money raised in Highland should stay in Highland, the Scottish Government are now allowing councils to retain this extra income with no constraints. This will help to reduce our Budget Gap by about £5million, leaving us having to find savings of possibly £20m to £25million.
“A cut to our budget on this scale will mean cuts to services and difficult decisions to be made. We will also need to increase our income and this may include increased charges and proposals to raise local council tax."
Cllr Fernie added: “We are currently preparing a range of potential draft budget options for discussion with staff, members and communities, prior to decisions in February 2017. We remain open to listening to the views of service users and the staff providing those services, and we are seeking consensus across the chamber in order to make the best, most pragmatic decisions for the people of Highland.”
Leader of the Council Margaret Davidson said: “The Scottish Government settlement effectively hands us money with one hand and takes it away with the other. Taking into account existing pressures and ring-fenced services, this leaves us with a huge budget gap. At least we now have a better idea of where we stand and where we stand is over a big hole in our budget, which will undoubtedly mean stopping or reducing some services. The planning and ground work to date has been useful, and we will now have to consult on a range of options to balance our budget.”
As part of Scam Awareness Month, Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau and Highland Council Trading Standards want to alert young job seekers about the potential pitfalls when applying for jobs or signing up to recruitment agencies online. Glenys Brown, Trading Standards Officer, based in Inverness explains, "Unfortunately, nationally, there has been a sharp rise in the number of online job hunting scams and the age group most likely to be targeted with fake job offers are young adults aged between 18 to 24 years".
The Highland Council is looking for your views on our draft Local Housing Strategy. The strategy sets out our aims for housing over the next 5 years and what we will do to.
Council confirms Corran Ferry is back up and running. The Highland Council is pleased to report that at 12.30pm today (Thursday 20 July 2017) the Corran Ferry fully resumed its foot passenger and car service.
Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson is calling for transparency on the UK Government's announcement this week that Council Leader calls for transparency on HMRC move to Edinburgh Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson is calling for transparency on the UK Government's announcement this week that 2,900 HMRC civil servants will be relocated to a new hub in Edinburgh city centre by 2020. Councillor Davidson said: "I am very concerned that Inverness is cited in news coverage of the UK Government's intention to move HMRC staff in regional offices to Edinburgh.
Teams from The Highland Council have been walking back to happiness and feeling the benefits of more active lifestyles following completion of the summer Step Count Challenge, run by Paths for All. The 8 week challenge, which attracted 968 teams of 5 from across Scotland started in May and finished on 25 June 2017.
Inverness, the largest city in the Scottish Highlands, has seen over 17,000 people access its free city centre WiFi in just 6 months following a collaboration between The Highland Council, Purple and Rapier Systems. The Highland Council sought a WiFi solution that would allow them to identify who visits the city and gain a way of effectively communicating with people.
Trading Standards officers at The Highland Council have discovered a new scam threat to local consumers. A local man was cheated out of a substantial sum by a conman posing as a reputable property landlord who used the man's mobile number to find out personal information from his Facebook account.
The Highland Council, one of several local authorities in Scotland which license UV tanning salons, will be conducting an audit on all licensed premises in Highland to verify compliance with EU safety standards regarding the output of ultra violet (UV) radiation. Environmental Health Officers have become increasingly aware of concerns nationally whereby the UV bulb strength in many cases have been found to exceed the standard for such equipment.
Motorists using Highland Council car parking machines will no longer have to search for change with the introduction of ‘RingGo' phone parking payments across the region. RingGo is a quick, easy to use mobile phone service, which lets motorists pay for their parking with a credit or debit card, rather than using cash at a machine.
Prosecuting people who share or threaten to share intimate images without consent will be easier under a new law which comes into force this month. From 3 July 2017, those convicted the offence could face up to five years in prison under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016.
[Printer Friendly Version]