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More Pain For Highland As HIE Budget Gets Second Year Of Cuts

10th February 2020

According to the draft Scottish Govenment budget, Highlands and Islands Enterprise will get £58.2 million in the upcoming financial year - down from £61.1 million last year.

2018/19 the budget was £71.7 million. This means a cut of £13.5 million over just two years.

Highlands and Islands MSP, Rhoda Grant, who is also Labour's Shadow Finance Secretary, said: "The fact that HIE has suffered another cut in its funding rings alarm bells that the Scottish Government still has the organisation’s merger within its sights.

“This seems to be the death by a thousand cuts.

“When the Government did a U turn and retained the board of HIE three years ago, I suspected this would not be the end of the fight.

“It would appear, that money is being taken away from this region to fund the creation of South of Scotland Enterprise. This is ludicrous as HIE never covered the south of Scotland.

“It is stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

“Kate Forbes, in her new role, needs to get a grip. She of all people should understand the challenges that the Highlands and Islands economy faces.

These cuts will create further damage."

Added to this there are likely ot be further cuts to the Highland council services. Although a further half billion of funding is being added it does not close the funding gap for councils. COSLA estimated that a full one billion pounds was required to stand still. Hal that amount almost certainly means a further squeeze in Highland only mitigated if other income can be found from thing like increased charge and expanding parking charges.

 

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