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News Archive

There's no way Hammond can end austerity and balance the books
Budget Day Monday 29th October 2018.   There is much speculation as always about the coming budget.  
Lower drink-driving limit ‘has little effect' on road deaths and accidents
The reduction in Scotland's drink-driving limit has had little effect on the level of deaths and accidents on the nation's roads, according to a University of Strathclyde study.   Researchers found that the lower limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) had not been followed by a statistically significant overall drop in road fatalities, including during the peak accident periods of night-time and weekends.  
Scottish Government Budget Requests To UK Government
The UK Government must deliver on its pledge to end austerity in its budget, according to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.   Speaking ahead of the UK Government's budget, Mr Mackay has called for a 'meaningful uplift' in public services funding, as well as expressing concerns about the direction of Brexit negotiations and the roll-out of Universal Credit.  
SCC Quarterly Economic Indicator Q3 2018
Survey illustrates robust trading performance, but manufacturing confidence and overall investment fall amid rising material costs and uncertain political environment The survey, produced by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde Business School's Fraser of Allander Institute, illustrates a broadly positive Scottish economy, but slowing investment across a range of sectors, and a challenging set of results for the manufacturing sector, suggest that the need for certainty on the UK's Exit for the European Union is paramount.   Driven by rising costs of raw materials, the manufacturing sector has posted its first negative result for optimism / business confidence since 2016, despite a reasonably strong set of financial results.  
Commentary On The Public Sector Finances Release: September 2018
1.  The Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury published their Statistical Bulletin on the September 2018 Public Sector Finances this morning, covering the first half of the 2018-19 fiscal year.  
Caithness And North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update
Weeks commencing 15th & 22nd October.   Energy & Business Services: Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, the Parent Body Organisation at Dounreay, made a significant announcement last week on opportunities for its workforce .(, which included a commitment to "develop training and support programmes to put individuals in the strongest possible position to move into another local job with one of the growing industries such as space or renewable energy.  
Council tax dwellings and tax base figures for 2018 published
An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland Scotland's council tax base increased to 1.988 million Band D equivalents in September 2018.  This figure, calculated after taking account of Council Tax Reduction is 1.1 per cent higher than for 2017, Both years are calculated using the new multipliers in Bands E to H, which took effect from April 2017.  
State Of The Scottish Economy Report
Scotland's economy has continued to strengthen in the first half of 2018 with annual GDP growth the strongest since 2014 and above the UK as a whole.   Independent growth forecasts suggest growth could strengthen further over the next couple of years, however, uncertainty relating to the form and timing of agreement for leaving the EU remains a key concern for many sectors of the economy.  
Business Rates Cap Extended
Hotels across Scotland and offices in Aberdeen are amongst those who will benefit from a cap to their business rates bill following an announcement by Public Finance Minister Kate Forbes.   Having already benefited from the cap in 2017-18 and 2018-19, hospitality businesses will now see rates capped at a maximum of 12.5% in real terms each year until 1st April 2022.  
Interested In Returning To Teaching? Free Course From Highland Council
The Highland Council are running a free return to teaching course for any fully or provisionally registered teacher based anywhere in the Highland Council area who is considering a return to teaching.   If you have had a break from teaching, are a retired teacher or are new to the area and are keen to apply for a teaching post or join the supply register that allows you to set your availability around your lifestyle and family commitments, come along refresh your skills and gain confidence, meet a Head Teacher, Care and Learning Staff as well as new colleagues who are also returning to teaching in Highland.  
Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd - Sale 25 October 2018
DINGWALL, Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd., (October, 25th) sold 5,736 breeding & feeding sheep.   Gimmers (751) averaged £89.14 and sold to £140 gross (4 times) for Texel crosses from Smerral Farm, Bower and Balmaglaster Farm, South Laggan, Crosses from 12 Annat, Torridon and Cheviot Mules from 134 West Langwell, Rogart.  
Highland Council Budget Engagement To Commence
The Highland Council has agreed to commence a public budget engagement process beginning on 1 November 2018.   The Council is planning for a potential budget gap of £66.7 million over the next three years.  
Highland Council Chief Executive Steve Barron RetiresThumbnail for article : Highland Council Chief Executive Steve Barron Retires
At his final meeting of The Highland Council (Thursday 25 October 2018), Chief Executive Steve Barron received tributes from Councillors across the chamber.   Mr Barron retires after 10 years' service with the local authority, the last 5 of which were as Chief Executive.  
Challenge set to "talk up" the Highlands
Each year we survey our Citizens' Panel on their views on performance and attitudes and the results are used to help inform Council decisions and drive continuous improvement activity across the organisation.   The survey shows that what is important to people is maintaining good quality services, providing value for money, listening to local people and being efficient.  
Iconic sites benefit from Council and Tourism fund investment
Six Rural Infrastructure Fund projects have been successful in attracting £1.1m of funding from the £3m available in the first round of the Scottish Government's Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.  These funds are in addition to significant Council and LEADER funding for new facilities to help meet the needs of growing visitor numbers.  
Urgent Action Needed To Tackle Mounting Pressures In The NHSThumbnail for article : Urgent Action Needed To Tackle Mounting Pressures In The NHS
Immediate action is needed to shift the NHS towards long-term, fundamental change.   In her annual review of the NHS, the Auditor General for Scotland finds that performance continued to decline in 2017/18 and the NHS is not financially sustainable in its current form.  
Equiniti Wins Nuclear Pensions Contracts To Be Serviced In Caithnesss
Equiniti Group plc ("Equiniti"), one of the UK's largest pension administrators, is delighted to announce that it has been awarded pension administration contracts for the UK Atomic Energy Authority and for the Combined Nuclear Pension Plan (“CNPP”).   The schemes, which have 60,000 members, support virtually all employees and former employees engaged in the UK nuclear industry, will be serviced from EQPaymaster’s office in Caithness, Scotland.  
Review outcome plots the largest network of public toilets in UKThumbnail for article : Review outcome plots the largest network of public toilets in UK
Contrary to some newspaper reporting, only 9 of the 94 public toilets which the Highland Council currently manages, are earmarked for closure and these are where there are alternative facilities close by.   Amongst the 29 toilets originally considered for rationalisation, several have been recommended for retention as council run facilities.  
Eann Sinclair Appointed Area Manager For HIE In Caithness And SutherlandThumbnail for article : Eann Sinclair Appointed Area Manager For HIE In Caithness And Sutherland
Eann Sinclair is the new area manager for HIE in Caithness and Sutherland.   Eann is from Thurso and graduated from Glasgow University with a degree in Scottish and English Literature before gaining an MSc in Tourism.  
Destination Thurso - Public MeetingThumbnail for article : Destination Thurso - Public Meeting
Thurso Community Development Trust (TCDT) have been successful in their bid to secure EU Highland LEADER funding to add to their already announced securement of Caithness & North Sutherland Funding (C&NSF)to enable them to deliver the "Destination Thurso" project.   Funding awarded of £33.5k by EU Highland LEADER and £5k by C&NSF will see the employment of a Tourism Development Officer until November 2019 to deliver a programme which includes a one-stop shop "Destination Thurso website and social media, localisation workshops and through consulting the community a tourism development plan for Thurso.