Seamless Transfer of Business Gateway to Highland Council
31st March 2009
Today (1 April 2009) responsibility for providing business advice has transferred from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to local authorities. Advice will be provided through the Business Gateway service which already operates in the rest of Scotland
In The Highland Council area it will be managed by the Council's enterprise trust, Highland Opportunity and will be the first point of access for information and advice on all services to business and social enterprises in the Highlands.
The new service can be accessed on-line: www.bgateway.com or by telephone: 0845 609 6611 or walk-in to the Business Gateway office, 81 Castle Street, Inverness, or if outwith Inverness, at one of the Council's network of 37 Service Points.
Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of the Council's Planning Environment and Development Committee, welcomed the move.
He said: "Everything is in place to ensure a seamless transfer of this important advice and information service to the council, via our enterprise trust, which offers an extensive range of advice and financial support to new and existing businesses."
HIE will continue to work with businesses offering significant growth potential including those involved in research and development or engaged in international trade. In addition they will work with social enterprises with growth aspirations.
Charlotte Wright, HIE's Regional Director - Highland said: "We have been working very closely with local authorities to ensure that businesses will get the first class advice and support they need, leaving our agency able to specialise in bringing real advantage to businesses with significant growth aspirations."
Nominations are being invited from people seeking election onto eight community councils across the Highlands. The resignation of some members have brought the following six community council's down to below half of their memberships so interim elections have been called in order to fill the vacancies.
The Highland Council and its Commercial and Procurement Shared Services partners Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils are running a series of events to help businesses supply to the public sector. Some of the events are hosted by other organisations and we will be signposting suppliers to these as well.
Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has moved to reassure communities about forthcoming budget decisions. She said: "No decisions will be made until the Council meets on 15 February.
At Highland Council work has been ongoing for some months to prepare a Revenue and Capital Budget for 2018/19 and beyond, with the anticipation of a significant cut to available funds. The Scottish Government's proposed grant settlement was announced on 14 December 2017.
Around £3 million of funding has been agreed for a ground-breaking Highland project that could transform the lives of people with complex health needs as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. The business case for the ‘FitHome' assisted living project was approved in November last year with £3m funding from the Scottish Government.
An article in the Press and Journal today 9th January 2018 highlights the cuts in staffing levels across Scottish councils with Highland being one of the highest. In 2009 Highland had 9953 Full-time Equivalent Staff and in 2017 it had dropped by 21% to 7838.
Highland Council Trading Standards team has recently seen an increase in scams targeting Highland businesses. The most common scams reported by businesses relate to marketing and publishing but other frauds such as those involving demands for payment for unsolicited goods sent to businesses (such as ink cartridges which were never ordered) are also on the rise.
Cognitive improvements to be included in Blue Badge scheme The disabled person's parking badge pilot, which was launched in April 2016, has been made permanent by the Scottish Government. The eligibility criteria were revised and extended under a pilot to allow carers and relatives of people who pose a risk to themselves or others in traffic to apply for a disabled person's parking badge, provided they meet the criteria.
People looking to pick up a New Year bargain in the sales on the internet, by mail order or on the high street are being encouraged by The Highland Council's Trading Standards team to be aware of their consumer rights and to stay safe online from scams and fake websites that try to dupe inexperienced online shoppers trying to buy a bargain. Consumers have extra protection when they shop online.
The British Hospitality Association secured a major victory today (21 December2017) as the Scottish Government confirmed that any plans for a ‘tourist tax' in Edinburgh - or any other Scottish cities - are firmly off the table. The BHA has been campaigning consistently for over six years against the implementation of any such additional and uncompetitive tax and is delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised our reservations.
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