Highland Council by-election postponed
3rd October 2020
The by-election for The Highland Council's Ward 12 - Aird and Loch Ness has been postponed for public safety due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Returning Officer, Donna Manson is implementing clause 70 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 that allows Returning Officers to postpone Local Authority Elections in Scotland and will set a new by-election date for 2021 once all available dates have been considered.
Following the death of Councillor George Cruickshank (Scottish Conservative and Unionist), a by-election for Ward 12 - Aird and Loch Ness would normally have been held in Spring 2020. A new polling day which was set for Thursday, 5 November 2020 has now also been postponed.
Mrs Manson explained: "I have held a number of meetings with my Election Team and considered the risks to election staff, the public and the democratic process. In light of the current public health advice around the control of the coronavirus and under the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 I am postponing this by-election of the vacancy until a future date in 2021.
"The decision to postpone has been made following consultation with Scottish Ministers, the Electoral Management Board Convener, Electoral Commission and my Elections Team - while taking into account the latest public health advice.
“This decision is not made lightly but is made under the very fast-moving situation of the COVID-19 crisis which continues to have a significant impact on our daily lives. The pandemic has seriously impacted on our ability to deliver safe democratic processes to enable the by-election to take place and the health and safety of the public and our elections staff is paramount."
Highland Council Members approve response to Scottish Government's proposals for the regulation of short-term lets in Scotland. Members at yesterday's meeting of Highland Council homologated its response to the Scottish Government's consultation on the proposals for the regulation of short-term lets in Scotland.
Fiona Duncan has been appointed by The Highland Council as Executive Chief Officer for Health and Social Care, taking over from Fiona Malcolm who has been undertaking the Interim ECO role since early September. Ms Duncan is due to take up the position in January 2021.
At today's meeting of The Highland Council members gave their backing to a motion that highlights the need for the UK Government to review the sick pay system and reform it as a matter of urgency. Councillor Alasdair Christie, Chair of the Council's Recovery Board who put forward the motion along with Councillor Alex Graham said: "It has become more obvious than ever during the current Covid 19 crisis that there are clear and substantial long-standing inadequacies in the sick pay system.
REGIONAL Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has welcomed a commitment from Highland Council to return all schools to a hot meal service. In a letter to the MSP this week, the local authority confirmed more than 60 per cent of schools have gone back to serving hot meals already and it said all schools are expected to follow suit "shortly".
The Leader and the Chief Executive of The Highland Council earlier today took part in a meeting of COSLA focussing on the Scottish Government's new five level protection system for Covid. The meeting gave council leaders the opportunity to examine in more detail the mechanism outlined by the Scottish Government along with the framework of how the tier system will be implemented.
Following its launch on Tuesday 20th October 2020, Highland Council has received and paid out the first Business Hardship Fund grants. As part of the Scottish Government's response to the COVID-19 Brake Restrictions which came into effect on 9 October, the Council has been asked to deliver this grant scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Highland Council Trading Standards are keen to raise awareness of the role of The Small Business Financial Ombudsman Service in resolving disputes between small and medium sized businesses (SME's) and financial service providers which include banks, insurance and money lending businesses. David MacKenzie, Highland Council Trading Standards Manager explains: "We realise the financial struggle that some SME's have had recently because of Covid 19 restrictions.
At the Caithness Area Committee on 22 October 2020 members unanimously confirmed their full support to the business case for Wick John O'Groats Airport to receive Public Service Obligation (PSO) status by putting forward a motion and reinforcing their commitment to working with stakeholders and partners to deliver this as a matter of urgency. The motion lodged recognises the fundamental strategic importance of Wick John O’Groats Airport to the economy of the region, and the energy, business and tourism sectors in particular.
Members of the Caithness Committee have identified fuel poverty as their number one concern and are pleased to announce that the member-led capital housing budget has increased to 10% as they welcome £2,253,000 of investment which will be used to carry out improvements to the housing stock across the county. A specific priority of the capital programme is improving heating and make homes more energy efficient, with over £1,300,000 of budget approved to replace the oldest and most inefficient heating systems with a further £150,000 for one-off heating replacements.
Highland Council Trading Standards supports FASathon - the Friends Against Scams marathon day Highland Council Trading Standards is encouraging Highland residents to take part in ‘FASathon', the Friends Against Scams marathon day, on 21st October 2020. The aim of the FASathon campaign is to get as many people as possible to complete the free Friends Against Scams online awareness session to learn about the different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others against scams.