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Council Budgets Face Hard Decisions - See what Audit Scotland SaidThumbnail for article : Council Budgets Face Hard Decisions - See what Audit Scotland Said
Tighter squeeze on councils.   Councils are showing increasing signs of financial stress and face even tougher challenges ahead, says the Accounts Commission.  
Proposal to establish a Gaelic Medium catchment area for Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar
The Highland Council is to seek the views of local communities on a proposal to establish a Gaelic Medium catchment area for Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar.   The change is being proposed in line with Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Medium Education.  
Highland Council approves ‘modest' increase in housing rents
Highland housing tenants are to receive a small 0.5% increase in council house rents for the coming financial year 2018/19 which equates to an average weekly rise of 36p.   Members of Highland Council's People Committee have approved the 0.5% rent increase which would result in an increase in the average weekly council house rent from £72.88 to £73.24 (£0.36p).  
Below inflation increase of 3% for garage and garage sites rents
Highland Council has listened to its customers and agreed a below-inflation rise in garage and garage sites rents.   The results of a Highland Council consultation on housing, garage and garage sites rents has directed the decision making of Highland Councillors today (Thursday 25 January 2018) at the Council's People Committee.  
Council agrees to transfer Music Tuition Services to High Life Highland
As part of The Highland Council's Redesign Programme, Members of the Council's People Committee today considered a report on the "Review of Music Tuition Services".  They have agreed that High Life Highland will deliver Music Tuition services from April 2018.  
Is Trump ready to embark on a trade war?
In response to the decision by the US to impose tariffs on washing machines and solar panels Dr Fragkiskos Filippaios, Reader in International Business at Kent Business School at the University of Kent, has provided the following comment.   'Recently, the US administration decided in favour of the introduction of trade barriers on the imports of washing machines and solar products.  
"Serious concerns" over Clackmannanshire CouncilThumbnail for article :
Clackmannanshire Council must take urgent and decisive action to sort out its financial problems, says the Accounts Commission.   In a new report published today, the local authority watchdog highlights serious concerns about the council's financial position as it faces making savings of £29 million over the next three years out of an annual budget of £118 million.  
Highland Council Announce No Cuts To ASN And PSA Posts
Highland council have announced ahead of the budget on 15th February 2018 that there will not be cuts to additional support needs (ASN).   Several protests erupted after budget papers were leaked showing cuts.  
Caithness Horizons Cuts Manager Post And Reduces Curator HoursThumbnail for article : Caithness Horizons Cuts Manager Post And Reduces Curator Hours
Uncertainty over funding from Highland council.   Caithness Horizons, which tells the story of the county of Caithness from 416 million years ago to the present day, has deleted its manager post and cut its curator's hours from 40 to 20 hours a week in anticipation of funding cuts.  
End game in sight for Royal Bank of Scotland
Watching RBS executives appear before the Scottish Affairs Committee and defend their decision to close a third of all branches in Scotland, it was hard to know whether to laugh or cry.  How many times have officials from this state owned bank sat before Parliamentary Committees and, with straight faces, defended the indefensible? This is just one more instance, relatively small in the scheme of things, of the fundamental and the ever-widening disconnect between the citizen and our system of free market capitalism.  
Homelessness And Housing Options StatisticsThumbnail for article : Homelessness And Housing Options Statistics
Scottish Local Authorities received 17,797 applications for homelessness assistance during the six months April to September 2017, 2% higher compared to the same period during 2016.  However when looking over the whole of the last 12 months, there has been a smaller 0.3% (118 applications) annual increase from 34,746 applications in the 12 months to end September 2016 to 34,864 applications in the 12 months to end September 2017.  
Scottish Commission On Social SecurityThumbnail for article : Scottish Commission On Social Security
A new independent scrutiny body that will hold Scotland's social security system to account is to be created by the Scottish Government.   Amendments to legislation currently going through Parliament would create a new Scottish Commission on Social Security that would independently scrutinise the new social security system and ensure it lives up to expectations, according to Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman.  
Jobs Created In Orkney As Software Development Company Expands
A global software development business with its technology hub based in Orkney is moving to larger premises.   Kyloe is set to double its staff in the next few years and has secured £191,250 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help it move to a more suitable premises.  
£60 Million Fund Open For Low Carbon Projects
A £60m fund to keep Scotland at the forefront of low carbon innovation is now open for applications.   The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP) will fund large scale projects which support the ambitions of the Scottish Government's new Scotland's Energy Strategy, which was published in December 2017.  
HIE Invests In Ambitious Shetland Engineering Firm
A Shetland boat building and engineering company has increased its workforce and is set to expand internationally as orders for workboats grow.   Six new jobs have already been created at Malakoff Ltd after opening a new site earlier this year at Greenhead Base in Lerwick.  
Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd - Sale 23 January 2018Thumbnail for article : Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd - Sale 23 January 2018
DINGWALL, Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd., (January, 23rd) sold 21 prime cattle.   Prime bullocks (1) averaged 209.0p (+0.9p) and sold to 209.0p and £1,295.80 gross.  
Building Future Relations With EuropeThumbnail for article : Building Future Relations With Europe
Membership of the Single Market and Customs Union will mitigate the damaging effects of Brexit, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop has said ahead of visiting Brussels.   Following the publication of Scotland's Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment the Cabinet Secretary will meet MEPs and EU ambassadors in Brussels to set out the Scottish Government's position on Brexit.  
Environment Secretary challenges UK Government over deposit returnThumbnail for article : Environment Secretary challenges UK Government over deposit return
Scotland will push ahead with a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and is calling on the UK Government to match its ambition, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has said.   Ms Cunningham has already pledged that Scotland will back the EU's vision to phase out single use plastics by 2030 and urged the UK Government to do the same - "Brexit or no Brexit." Earlier this month, the Scottish Government became the first UK administration to announce plans to ban the use of plastic cotton buds, one of the items most often washed up on beaches.  
Need For More Universal Credit FlexibilityThumbnail for article : Need For More Universal Credit Flexibility
More than 2,500 people take up Scottish Universal Credit choices The rational for introducing Scottish Universal Credit (UC) choices will be outlined by Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman when she gives evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into the roll-out of UC.   Over a seven week period 5,800 new applicants in full UC service areas were offered the Scottish UC choices.  
School roll capping in Inverness for 2018-19
Due to current pressures on school rolls and following an analysis of school roll forecasts, The Highland Council is ‘capping' or limiting school rolls and reserving places in some Primary Schools in Inverness for the 2018/19 academic session (beginning August 2018).   The schools affected are Kinmylies Primary, Duncan Forbes Primary, Smithton Primary, Hilton Primary, Holm Primary, Lochardil Primary and Milton of Leys Primary.