The Highland Council has agreed a budget for 2017-18
16th February 2017
The Highland Council has agreed a budget for 2017-18, which includes a council tax increase of 3%.
A package of £10.689m savings were agreed for 2017-18, on top of £5.824m savings agreed in previous budgets.
Overall, the budget gap of £20.344m has been met by increasing Council Tax income by £3.510m, increasing income by £2.841m and reducing expenditure by £12.819m. The Council also agreed to remove the planned reduction in funding to NHS Highland for adult care and fund this by £1.174 from Reserves.
Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: "This is a budget which seeks to retain jobs which are vital to communities across the Highlands, and to protect education, roads and winter maintenance, adult services and especially older people."
She added: "I would like to thank colleagues across the chamber for their engagement over this budget. We have a consensus which has been achieved through a significant amount of discussion and listening to what is important to communities. I also want to thank the Unions for their commitment to the process and to Officers for their hard work in helping to pull together the savings proposals and information required for decisions to be made."
Budget Leader, Cllr Bill Fernie said: “People have made it clear to us that their priorities are children, education, roads and adult care. It is also clear that most people are happy to pay a bit more council tax to prevent £3.5m further cuts to services, so I am pleased that this proposal was unanimously agreed.
“This has been a very difficult budget with having to bridge a gap of £20m between expenditure and funding. We have done our best to reduce the savings where we can to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and safeguard employment.”
The savings agreed are set out in booklets A and B in the Council papers with two amendments.
The Council AGREED:-
a 3% increase in Council Tax for 2017/18 as per Paragraph 8.1;
the savings proposals from February 2016 as outlined in Paragraph 7.2 of the report;
the specific proposals for additional income and reduced expenditure as per the savings proposals outlined in Booklet A and detailed in Booklet B - subject to the following changes -
- an additional sum of £1.174m for the NHS Highland settlement to be sourced from balances;
- Community Services – to remove the £60k saving from Bulky Uplifts and increase the capacity of the Green Waste Collection by £60k;
- Development & Infrastructure – to add £279k from residual funds to mitigate the reduction to the Employability Funds on the basis that early clarity would be sought on the full employability spend and the additional ESF monies; and
- Care & Learning – to provide reassurance that there were no proposals to close partner centres whilst scoping exercises were being undertaken and any future proposals would go to Area Committees for discussion in due course;
the list of posts to be removed under the Employee Early Release Scheme as detailed in Paragraph 10.8 – on the basis that further information on the details of costs would be provided in due course;
to meet the cost of this Scheme from Reserves as detailed in Paragraph 10.9; and
to rebuild balances as detailed in Section 11.6 of the report.
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]