"Less smoke and mirrors from Scottish Government" demands Highland Leader
29th June 2017
During a debate about the future of Highland Council finances, Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson, has challenged the Scottish Government to be more open about the funding they provide for local councils across Scotland.
"In recent years' we’ve seen too much smoke and mirrors when it comes to the Scottish Government handing out their annual grant to local councils. They give the impression that councils receive a cash bonanza yet when you look at the detail you find that you have lost out. Often any new money is liked with stringent conditions leaving councillors with no room for manoeuvre.
There was a welcome for the constructive approach offered by the SNP opposition and the Leader urged all councillors to join her in lobbying Scottish Ministers to announce forthcoming funding earlier and to move to provide certainty over a longer-term to allow Highland Council to plan budgets over a three to five year period.
Commenting after the debate, Councillor Alister Mackinnon, Chair of Corporate Resources commented, “We need to convince the government to confirm funding for more than one-year at a time so that we can plan for the future. Doing so on a year-by-year just leads to short-term thinking and poor choices. As we plan our budget for future years we need to know now whether the government will give councils more flexibility over Council Tax levels, or impose another cap as they did last year. That will allow us to consider all options in the months ahead."
Close to 100 professionals met yesterday for what is one of the largest Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) events of its kind in the country that specifically targets Gaelic Education staff. The event took place in Merkinch Community Centre, Inverness for Highland Council's annual Gaelic Education In-Service.
The safety of children walking and cycling to and from school and traffic calming measures in Wick were under the spotlight at yesterdays meeting of the Caithness Committee (Wednesday 21 February 2018). Local Councillors have given the go-ahead for proposals to introduce a 20mph speed limit and traffic calming measures across Wick designed to get motorists to slow down when driving around the town.
The Highland Council has agreed to use City-Region Deal funding to part fund new mid-market housing projects throughout the Highlands. The affordable housing projects will be developed by Albyn Housing Society and Highland Housing Alliance in Ullapool, Fort William, Alness, Inverness, Aviemore, Grantown, Drumnadrochit and Newtonmore and will deliver 61 new homes targeted at young people working in the area.
The Highland Council is set to make it easier for the public to report incidents of fly tipping and be advised when action is taken. As part of an evaluation of its street cleaning service an in-depth LEAN review of how the council deals with fly tipping has been carried out to look at ways of improving responsiveness and customer satisfaction.
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.
[Printer Friendly Version]