Highland Council Develops Bids For Levelling Up Fund
27th May 2021
The Council is continuing to work at pace to submit bids into the UK Government's Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund.
The Highlands can submit one transport bid and one bid for each Westminster constituency. At the Council meeting on 13 May it was agreed that the transport bid would relate to the North Coast 500 route, tied in with an expansion of Electric Vehicle Charging Points and improvements to tourism related infrastructure.
The bid for the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Constituency will focus on Wick as a centre for regeneration, and encompass various interlinked projects such as infrastructure works on the Wick Harbour outer seawall which will hopefully attract further investment to the port, physical regeneration of the town centre and other active travel and environmental improvement projects.
The bid for the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Constituency will be centred on Inverness Castle, Northern Meeting Park and Bught Park facilities and a compelling case can be made for these three significant venues in the City, which taken together could lead to significant improvements to attract increased visitor numbers, improve facilities that are in great need of investment. It is also proposed to identify whether smaller environmental regeneration projects relating to Aviemore and Nairn Links can be incorporated into the overall bid submission package.
The bid for the Ross, Skye and Lochaber Constituency is intended to focus on a comprehensive regeneration scheme to develop the gateways to the Outdoor Capital of the UK and Eilean a’ Cheo. This is intended to comprise investment in physical regeneration of cultural and heritage assets such as the Nevis Centre and the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre as well as the important transport related assets of Portree Harbour (as part of the wider Portree regeneration schemes) and potentially the Corpach Marina.
Speaking on the progress being made, Cllr Margaret Davidson, Leader of The Highland Council said: "These are ambitious and exciting projects and the Council is working extremely hard to develop these bids within a very tight timescale. I have had very positive discussions with our MPs over the last few days and they have been most supportive, not just over our proposed bids, but also they share our very real concerns over the metrics that the Government used to determine our ranking for these funds.
“I have raised these concerns directly with UK Government ministers and I am hopeful that these concerns have been taken onboard."
The public is being asked for its views on proposals by The Highland Council to review the maximum level of charges for the hire of taxis or private hire cars fitted with taxi meters operating under licence of The Highland Council. The Council has a statutory duty in terms of Section 17 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 to review its scales for the fares and other taxi related charges every 18 months.
Scotland's Chief Statistician today released the latest Council Tax Collection Statistics which provides Council Tax collection figures for Scottish local authorities, up to and including the financial year 2020-21. In 2020-21 for Scotland as whole the total amount of Council Tax billed (after Council Tax Reduction) was £2.675 billion.
Scotland's Chief Statistician today released the latest Council Tax Reduction statistics. In March 2021, Scotland’s Council Tax Reduction scheme supported 496,580 households (compared to 469,370 in March 2020) and the total weekly income forgone by local authorities was £7.328 million (compared to £6.525 million in March 2020).
The Highland Council has submitted bids to the UK Government's Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund totalling over £80 million. When the Chancellor set out details of the Levelling Up Fund in March 2021 the Council was advised that they could submit one transport bid and one bid for each of the three Westminster constituencies.
Two Highland Council by-elections to take place. Following the recent resignation of two Councillors, preparations are underway to hold by-elections in both the Inverness West ward and the Wick and East Caithness ward.
Boundaries Scotland (external link) has submitted its final proposal for Councillor numbers and wards in the Highland Council Area to Scottish Ministers. The Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 required the Commission to review six councils containing inhabited islands - Argyll and Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar.
The Highland Council today launches Building Our Future Highland - a campaign dedicated to keeping the public updated on the progress of works for the re-profiled capital programme's education, housing, and property projects across the region. Chair of the Housing and Property Committee, Cllr Ben Thompson said: "I would encourage anyone interested in the development of our housing, property and schools to utilise this new campaign and keep informed on the progress of works in Highland.
Taxi and Private Hire Drivers and Taxi Operators are set to benefit from a new grant scheme, following an announcement from Scottish Government. If you are a licensed taxi or private hire driver who previously received support through the Taxi Driver and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Support Fund, and hold a current Driver Licence, you are eligible for an additional payment of £1,500.
Councillor Nicola Sinclair will stand down as an independent councillor for East Caithness on 25th June 2021. She will take up a position as reporter for the Press and Journal returning to her former career as a journalist.
All eligible young people are being encouraged to apply for a weekly, term time allowance of £30 per week from August 2021. The Highland Council administers Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in respect of eligible young people from across its 29 secondary schools.