Highland Council responds to Syrian Refugee Crisis
8th September 2015
A cross party meeting of Group Leaders from The Highland Council has today met to discuss Highland Council's initial response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
The Group Leaders also met with Bylthswood representatives to hear of the work they are doing to support the Syrian Refugees.
The Highland Council has advised COSLA that it would be willing to play its part in any government arranged Syrian Resettlement Scheme.
Speaking on behalf of the Group Leaders of Highland Council, Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: "We understand and share the genuine concerns of people across the Highlands about the desperate situation of thousands of people fleeing from the war in Syria.
"The Council is committed to do whatever it can to offer practical support. We have today advised COSLA that we are willing to play our part in the government's Syrian Resettlement Scheme. Clearly this is a fast moving and complex situation and we await further details from the UK and Scottish Governments as well as COSLA, as to how this scheme will operate.
"We will be meeting with our community planning partners on Friday to explore what practical assistance can be given in the event of receiving refugees into the Highlands.
"If people wish to help in the short term, the most effective way to help at this stage is to donate cash to recognised UK charities. Blythswood have set up an appeal which people can donate to very simply."
Blythswood Chief Executive, James Campbell welcomed the opportunity to brief Group Leaders on the work they are doing to support the Syrian Refugees. He said; “I am grateful for the support of the Council for the work that we are doing. I wish to thank all those who have already contributed to our special appeal. If anyone wishes to help they can text SYRI15 £5 or donate at www.blythswood.org."
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.
Chief Executive of The Highland Council, Steve Barron said: "The Council is continuing to do all it can to support employees who lost their jobs following the change in contract for the processing of recycled waste. Evanton-based William Munro Construction laid off the staff after Highland Council transferred a recycling contract.
The Highland Council has successfully prosecuted a food business after discovering unsafe hygiene practices in the transportation of food. An investigation by officers of the Council's Environmental Health Team discovered that N E Meats Ltd of Newcastle had been transporting and delivering foods from the North of England to the Highlands without any temperature control measures.
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