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.
Blueprint for safe return to classes. Detailed guidance on practical measures to allow schools to re-open on 11 August has been published.
The Highland Council is assessing the implications of the First Minister's announcements made on the 21st May about the first stage relaxation of lockdown, concerning teachers and other education staff returning to the workplace during June to prepare for the return to school and settings on 11th August. Highland Council's Education Committee Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The return to workplace and Highland schools for our Education staff will have to be undertaken carefully and gradually.
The Highland Council's Environmental Health Team is advising consumers to use their water wisely and check their private water supply systems for any signs of water leaks or risks of contamination. A private water supply is a property that does not have a Scottish Water mains water connection.
The Highland Council can now confirm which of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region will re-open from Monday 1st June 2020. A phased approach to re-opening the sites will be adopted with strict controls in place to help manage social distancing and to ensure the anticipated high number of visitors and volume of waste can be handled safely and efficiently.
The Highland Council's Housing Service currently operates an annual garden aid scheme, cutting grass in approximately 1,300 council house gardens. The Garden Aid service is for older or disabled tenants who don't have anyone to help them cut their grass.
Businesses in the Highlands and Islands looking to boost their productivity and competitiveness through Internet of Things (IoT) technology, are being offered the chance to hear from industry experts. Internet of Things technology enables devices, such as everyday objects, machinery and systems to connect to the internet.
Following an ambitious bid by Highland Council supported by NHS Highland, to deliver rapid active travel interventions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Highland Council has been awarded £752,954 from the Scottish Government's Spaces for People fund, which is administered by Sustrans. Over the coming weeks towns across Highland and the City of Inverness will see a roll-out of temporary walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure along priority routes.
Public assurance is being provided by Highland Council that the organisation is fully transparent and accountable during the COVID-19 emergency response as it publishes decisions made by its group of senior officers - or Gold Group* - under emergency procedures. The list of decisions made since 19 March 2020 is on the Council's website at the following link and will continue to the added to and updated as further decisions are made using emergency procedures.
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.
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