Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Paying too much for broadband? Move to PlusNet broadband and save£££s. Free setup now available - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.  

 

Council seeks to balance the budget with fewer job losses

3rd February 2017

The Administration of The Highland Council is hoping to balance the council's budget with far fewer job losses and cuts to services than previously feared.

Following considerable analysis of potential savings and consultation with staff and opposition groups, the Administration have developed a package of proposals to take to the Council meeting on 16 February for approval.

Budget Leader Cllr Bill Fernie said: "We have just heard that the Scottish Government have agreed to increase spending on Local Government services, but we need to see the detail of this before we can understand how much this will impact on next year's budget cuts. In the meantime, we have to continue with our planning based on current assumptions and analysis."

"This year has brought a tough settlement forcing us to make £26 million of savings to meet the budget gap. This has meant that cuts to services and the funding we provide are unavoidable. The Budget Proposals will be published on our website on Friday 10 February and decisions will be made at the Highland Council meeting on 16 February.

"We have however done our best to mitigate the impact whilst recognising how our decisions will affect communities, partners and staff.

“Our refined package of proposals enable us to balance the budget with as few cuts and job losses as possible. We are allowed to raise council tax by 3% and this together with the Scottish Government's increase in tax to the higher bands, will bring in over £8 million in additional revenue.

“Through recruitment restrictions and a planned management of vacancies over the coming year, efficiencies which can be made through redesign, increasing income revenue and rationalisation of management structures, we have been able to reduce the amount of savings which had been originally proposed for some services.

“This means that we will not be taking forward any cut to Woman’s Aid and have reduced the level of cuts to some of the voluntary groups that assist with childrens’ services.

“We will not bring forward the cut to advice services through Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) which was agreed by The Highland Council in December 2014 to reduce the level of financial support to CAB by 10% in 2018/19. This will allow time to develop scope for a more efficient delivery mechanism for this service across the Highlands without reduction to the level or quality of direct advice offered.

“We are also proposing to reduce rather than delete the Rangers budget and to examine the potential for moving this service to High Life Highland which would fit well within the provision of leisure and educational services. We have also reduced the level of proposed cuts to music tuition."

Cllr Fernie went on to say: “We also see the clear value in keeping our streets clean and tidy and for this reason we intend to propose a lesser reduction in street cleansing, by prioritising the areas serviced and by promoting a culture change in attitudes towards littering.

“We have also reduced the allowances to senior councillors which I know is something which the public want to see. Around 1000 people have taken part in our budget simulator which demonstrates the difficult challenges we face in balancing the Council’s books. The feedback provided gives us an understanding of people’s priorities.

“There will be fewer staff over the coming years through our vacancy controls and we will need to continue with redesign and change in order to manage the workload falling on fewer staff. Taking £26 million out of the budget will certainly have an impact, but we have done our very best to mitigate this for vulnerable people in our communities."

The budget simulator can be accessed at https://highland.budgetsimulator.com until Monday 6 February.

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

21/11/2017
Highland Military Tattoo To End As Council No Longer To Provide Funding
The Highland Council has responded to the news that the Board of The Highland Military Tattoo have taken the decision not hold another Tattoo.   Provost of Inverness and Area Cllr Helen Carmichael said: "While we respect the decision of the Board of Directors of the Highland Military Tattoo, this is very sad news for the Highlands.  
20/11/2017
Return of unwanted brown bins
The Highland Council's chargeable garden waste brown bin collection service started on 3rd July 2017 and to date approximately 32,000 garden waste brown bin permits have been purchased.  This accounts for 48% of households that previously received the Garden Waste Collection Service.  
One Card Library PassThumbnail for article : One Card Library Pass
Pilot gives access to more than 120 libraries - and 1.6 million books.   A pilot for a single card that can be used in any library has been launched in the north east.  
17/11/2017
Success at national awards for Council's Planning ServiceThumbnail for article : Success at national awards for Council's Planning Service
The Highland Council received two awards at last week's Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning.   One Award was in the "Process" Category for the Highland eDevelopment project and the second was in the "Place" category for the Nucleus Building in Wick.  
10/11/2017
Kingussie Flood Alleviation Channel - Works Underway
The Highland Council is pleased to announce that the main phase of the work to construct the Kingussie Flood Alleviation Channel is now underway.  The project is a joint venture between the Council and Pitmain Estate and is located on the Estate's land above the village of Kingussie.  
10/11/2017
Council's Carbon Management Plan- savings achieved
The Highland Council achieved a 6% reduction in its year-on-year carbon emissions in 2016/17, equivalent to a saving of over 4,000 tonnes of CO2.   In addition, thanks to a variety of energy efficiency measures implemented throughout the organisation, the Council saved almost £180k compared to the previous year, despite increasing energy costs.  
10/11/2017
Views sought on new developer contributions guidance
Communities and developers will be invited to have their say in shaping a refreshed approach to dealing with developer contributions for developments across Highland.   At today's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, members gave the go ahead for a six week public consultation on the Draft Developer Contributions Supplementary Guidance which will begin in early 2018.  
8/11/2017
Highland Parent Council Partnership conference
Parent representatives from 206 Parent Councils across the Highland region have been invited to attend the Highland Parent Council Partnership conference which will be held on Saturday 18 Nov 2017 from 9:30am to 3:30pm.   Guest speaker at the conference - to be held at Highland Council, Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness - will be John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.  
8/11/2017
Online register introduced for animal establishment licensing
The Highland Council have reviewed and updated the administrative procedures around miscellaneous and animal establishment licensing making it easier for people to access information and provide feedback.   An online register of all applications is now published on the Council's website and the procedures are clear on how individuals or groups can raise concerns or object to applications for these types of licence.  
8/11/2017
Five Year Strategic Housing Investment Plan approved
The Highland Council remains on track to provide much-needed affordable homes for a growing population with a pledge in its Strategic Housing Plan 2018-2023 to approve 500 units each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership.   Members of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee today (Wednesday 8 November) had the opportunity to discuss the Housing Investment Plan for 2018-2023 and to reaffirm the council's commitment to deliver new homes in the Highlands.  

[Printer Friendly Version]