Highland Council - New Administration of Independents, Liberal Democrats and Labour Councillors
10th May 2017
Councillor Margaret Davidson announced today that an agreement had been reached to form anew administration to run Highland council for the next five years.
Councillor Davidson will once again be the leader of the council and she said,"We are pleased to announce that a coalition of Independents, Liberal Democrats and Labour Councillors have formed an Administration to take Highland Council forward for the next five years. This is an agreement that provides a sustainable Administration for the long term, and represents the widespread opinion across the Highlands.
Meanwhile the Scottish National group councillors expressed their unhappiness. Cllr Smith issued the following statement -
Today the Independents in Highland Council announced that they have done a deal with the Lib Dems and Labour Groups to form an Administration. They met with their Independent Group at 1pm today, without first giving us the chance to negotiate. The reasons given for choosing the others was that they didn't like the rhetoric on the doors against the SNP!
As an SNP Group we returned the same number of councillors as in 2012, although percentage-wise more, as there are less wards now. We are astonished that the Independents have taken this stance. We are a Group of 22 and they are a Group of 28 and together we would have formed a robust, stable and experienced coalition, which would have remained in place for the 5 year term. Given that our vote stayed high and the Lib Dems, Labour and Independents all lost seats to the Tories, this does not make sense and is a betrayal of the public vote.
We proved ourselves trustworthy in allowing the Independent minority Administration to stay in power for nearly 2 years and instead of being rewarded for that trust, we have been kicked aside in favour of a threeway alliance. Cllr. Margaret Davidson and her team have taken a short-sighted view of the future and we struggle to see how working against the party in government is a positive thing for our Highlands.
As an Opposition, we will of course, do our best to scrutinise what goes on and continue to have the best interests of the Highland people at our core.
The conservatives and the single green councillor will sit in the opposition along with the SNP.
74 Members were elected on 5 May including 31 new Members.
The proposal for a majority Administration of the 41 Members of the 3 Groups will be put to The Highland Council meeting on 18 May for formal agreement. Office Bearers are to be formally agreed at this meeting, including the appointment of Cllr Margaret Davidson as Leader of the Council.
Scottish Conservative and Unionist 10
Scottish Green Party 1
Scottish Labour Party 3
Scottish Liberal Democrats 10
Scottish National Party (SNP) 22
Total elected 74
74 Members were elected on 5 May including 31 new Members. Further information here: http://www.highland.gov.uk/info/799/elections_and_voting/371/elections/4
Highland Councillors agreed a council tax increase of 3% which will mean an increase of £35.93 per annum on a Band D property. Overall, the budget gap of £15,146 million has been met by a package of savings which includes increasing Council Tax income by £3.448 million, increasing income by £3,059 million, setting a target of £2,250 million to be saved through Redesign and reducing expenditure by £5.1 million.
Redesign is about the Council being more open-minded to new ways of delivering services, more commercially-minded to raise income to support services and jobs across the region and being more community-minded, listening locally and supporting more community-run services. The Highland Council is seeking to release over £2.2 million in savings this year through redesign projects.
An election will take place for Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council on Wednesday 21 February 2018. The maximum permitted membership for the Community Council is 7 and as 8 nominations have been received, the 1349 electors in the community council area are being invited to cast their vote via a postal ballot.
Over three thousand people visited Inverness Town House last weekend to see for themselves the completion of interior works on the public historic Grade A listed building following recent renovations. Around 2,000 visitors passed through the Town House doors on Saturday 10th and another 1,200 people on Sunday 11th February.
Nomination packs for prospective candidates for the Caol and Mallaig Ward by-election are now available from The Highland Council's website. The by-election is being held following the sad death of Councillor Billy MacLachlan who was one of three Councillors representing Ward 11.
Maps of the Council's gritting routes by priority and policy are available online at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting The information provided is a summary of reports from operational staff and is intended to give a general indication of typical conditions in each area at a point in time. It is not intended to imply that any individual route is entirely snow and ice free and drivers must be aware that conditions can change rapidly and make their own assessment of conditions for travelling.
In recognition that roads are a high priority for communities in Highland the Administration at The Highland Council will be putting forward a budget on Thursday (15 February) that protects the budget for local roads. Chair of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said: "We have nearly 7,000 kilometres of roads in the Highlands and this network is vital to our rural communities and lifeline services.
The Highland Council is asking stakeholders and members of the public for feedback on new draft guidance aimed at ensuring high quality designs for traditional, replacement and new shopfronts. Not only does the draft Shopfront Design Guide: Planning Guidance provide advice to help promote good quality applications but it encourages developers and applicants to consider design at the earliest stage in their proposals.
The Highland Council Budget team have agreed their final budget proposals which will go to Council for agreement on 15 February 2018. Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "We have done everything we can to protect frontline services and jobs in a good budget.
The timetable for the election for the return of a councillor for the Caol and Mallaig ward of The Highland Council has been announced today (Monday 5 February) The by-election is being held following the sad death of Councillor Billy MacLachlan who was one of three Councillors representing Ward 11. The other Ward members are Councillors Allan Henderson (Independent) and Ben Thompson (Independent) The Notice of Election and Nomination Form will be published on the Council's website www.highland.gov.uk (external link) on Tuesday 13 February.
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