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.
What is 'shielding'? If you fall within one of the groups recommended to shield, you will have received a letter or text from the NHS. Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people by minimising contact between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.
During this time of restrictions it is important that we all stay active, for our physical health and mental well being. Recreation outside is an important element of this, but it is essential that each of us practice good social distancing while outside.
The Highland Council has launched a free helpline to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support during Covid19. The single line number - 0300 303 1362 - will connect callers to relevant Council specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.
Highland Council will be providing e-vouchers to families to support access to free school meals from week commencing 30 March 2020. This innovative and easy-to-use service will ensure over 4,000 school children will continue to receive support for school meals while schools are closed.
The Council has been working at pace to set up centres for the children of key workers. Anyone who has applied for a place at one of the key worker hubs in the Highland Council area will be contacted by the end of today (Wednesday 25th) with confirmation of the arrangements that have been put in place.
THE HELPLINE GOES LIVE TODAY FROM 2:00pm ONWARDS. The Highland Council has launched a free helpline to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support during Covid19.
Due to the COVID19 restrictions and the closure of Council Service Points, there has been a change in the way Highland Council provides its Homeless services. If you become Homeless, please contact the Council's Service Centre on 01349 886602 (during office hours) and 01349 886691 (out of hours) for further help and support.
As a landlord, the Council's priority is maintaining the welfare of our tenants and providing you with essential services at this difficult time. The situation is changing daily, but this bulletin contains the most up-to-date information about where you can seek advice if you have any concerns about your wellbeing, income or other tenancy matters.
The Highland Council today launched on behalf of the Scottish Government, the COVID-19 business grant scheme. Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 are available for eligible businesses.
In light of the UK and Scottish Government's decision tonight to begin a three-week lockdown in order to delay the spread of the Coronavirus, the Highland Council has taken the decision to cancel the provision of school meals tomorrow Tuesday 24th March. The current format of provision would involve staff and children gathering at school premises and this would go against national advice and directives.
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