"Less smoke and mirrors from Scottish Government" demands Highland Leader
29th June 2017
During a debate about the future of Highland Council finances, Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson, has challenged the Scottish Government to be more open about the funding they provide for local councils across Scotland.
"In recent years' we’ve seen too much smoke and mirrors when it comes to the Scottish Government handing out their annual grant to local councils. They give the impression that councils receive a cash bonanza yet when you look at the detail you find that you have lost out. Often any new money is liked with stringent conditions leaving councillors with no room for manoeuvre.
There was a welcome for the constructive approach offered by the SNP opposition and the Leader urged all councillors to join her in lobbying Scottish Ministers to announce forthcoming funding earlier and to move to provide certainty over a longer-term to allow Highland Council to plan budgets over a three to five year period.
Commenting after the debate, Councillor Alister Mackinnon, Chair of Corporate Resources commented, “We need to convince the government to confirm funding for more than one-year at a time so that we can plan for the future. Doing so on a year-by-year just leads to short-term thinking and poor choices. As we plan our budget for future years we need to know now whether the government will give councils more flexibility over Council Tax levels, or impose another cap as they did last year. That will allow us to consider all options in the months ahead."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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