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.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, has now paid out £56,286,250 million to 5135 Highland businesses. The Highland Council's Head of Development and Regeneration, Allan Maguire, said: "We now are processing applications and approving payment within days of a business submitting a complete online application form and its accompanying evidence.
The Highland Council is pleased to announce that preparations are well underway for re-opening many of the Household Waste Recycling Centres across the region to the public from Monday 1 June 2020. The sites in Highland, along with all other Scottish Local Authorities, have been closed since the end of March due to the government's Covid-19 restrictions on non-essential travel.
Highland Council's Recovery Board Chair, Cllr Alasdair Christie has welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government's road map phasing the way out of lockdown, which was published earlier today. The First Minister revealed that Phase 1 of the Government's new four phase plan, could come into effect on 28 May, however the advice remains stay home, protect the NHS and save lives for now.
The Highland Council has noted the outcomes at Inverness Sherriff Court this morning regarding Home Farm Care Home on the Isle of Skye. The Sheriff made no decision on the Care Inspectorate's application to suspend registration but has adjourned the matter until 10 June 2020 on the basis that the collaborative approach being taken will continue to be monitored.
The Highland Council would like to remind Garden Waste Collection Service permit holders that the service resumed last Monday (11th May 2020) after being suspended due to the impact of COVID-19 on staff resources. Carron McDiarmid, Executive Chief Officer for Communities and Place said: "Feedback from our crews from the first week of collections is that the quality of the material collected from the brown bins was excellent with very little contamination which is really positive and I would like to thank the public for making a concerted effort to ensure that only the correct material was put into their bins.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, has now paid out £48.9m million to 4359 Highland businesses. This now includes payments to owners of multiple premises following the expansion of the scheme on 5th May 2020.
A Highland Council Recovery Board has been established to lead and plan the Council's emergence from lockdown and provide strategic coordination for a Recovery Action Plan for Council services. The Board will also provide oversight and direction for the Council's partnership with communities and partners to support the Highland Region’s return to wellbeing, prosperity and economic success.
The Tune into Tourism team recognise that the last few months will undoubtedly have been the most difficult experienced to date as a tourism business owner. We are concerned not only for the welfare of each and every business, but also their owners and operators.
Mr Dodds joined the board of HIE in 2014 and became Deputy Chair in 2018. He has also chaired the development agency's risk and assurance committee for the past four years and represented HIE on the board of the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Highland Council has announced it is to begin a restricted grass cutting service across the region. Despite significant challenges in terms of staffing, the local authority is pleased it is in a position to deliver a limited service at this time.
[Printer Friendly Version]