Take Part In The Council's Budget Challenge - Council Budgets Are Facing Huge Problems
18th November 2023
Highland Council's engagement with communities and staff will help to inform the budget proposals and consequent decisions which will be made in February 2024. This includes allocating resources to deliver the Council's strategic priorities and enable the best outcomes across the Highlands.
The Council anticipates a budget gap of £60-70m in 2024-25 and £108m over the next 3 years. The budget gap will need to be closed by spending less, reducing some services, being more efficient and by increasing the level of income the Council generates from Council Tax and other fees or charges.
Over 145 people have now watched a short video a short video on our You Tube channel which explains the budget challenge the Council is facing.
Leader of the Council, Raymond Bremner invites people to take part. He said: "The Council is deeply affected by the financial crisis we are all experiencing. We are facing increasing costs and higher interest rates, leaving us with a significant budget gap next year.
"You can attempt the budget challenge yourself, using online budget simulator , to see how you would make choices to balance the budget.
"You can also take part in a short budget survey and we would really like to hear your views."
Convener of the Council Bill Lobban added: "It is vital that we understand what is important to communities to help us make the right decisions as we plan ahead for the next three years.
"We want to be able to deliver our Programme priorities and invest in the Highlands and, in order to do that, we need to prioritise how we use the resources available to us. We also have a legal duty to balance the Council's budget."
You can get more information, watch the video and find out how to complete the survey or take the budget challenge here:
Themes emerging from the engagement activity will be reported to Council in December.
Highland Council continues to explore external funding opportunities to help families in the region who experience disproportionately higher levels of fuel poverty than the rest of Scotland. External funding is targeted at households classed as fuel and extreme fuel poor and is available Highland-wide.
The Highland Council is inviting applications from groups and organisations to the ‘Communities and Place' strand of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). £1 million of funding is available for capital and revenue projects, that will empower communities to build on their own strengths, support local needs, and deliver on the fund's main objective of ‘building pride in place and increasing life chances'.
A strategy which proposes a two-stage approach towards the development of vibrant community hubs in partnership with High Life Highland and sportscotland was agreed at the Council's Education Committee. The report set out the principles for investment over the long-term and the next steps to develop individual plans for each of the Council's 29 associated school group (ASG) areas.
The Highland Council are inviting all tenants to have their say on the rent levels for the year ahead. We encourage everyone that lives in a council house to take this chance to have their say, the results of this will have a direct impact on the services we are able to deliver next year and in the future.
Suppliers working in the wedding market are being invited by Highland Registrars to a newly established Wedding Fair. The Highland Wedding Fair will take place on Sunday 4 February 2024 with public access from 11.00am - 3.00pm (suppliers will have access from 8:30am).
The Highland Council has announced the timetable to make a final attempt to reform the 30 Community Council elections that failed to form in September 2023. Community Councils are voluntary organisations that express the views and concerns of local people within their area across a wide range of issues from new buildings and roads to local services and facilities.
For the first time, The Highland Council's Employability Service is offering Paid Third Sector Placements to unemployed Highland residents. Funded by the Scottish Government through the No One Left Behind policy, this initiative proposes 6-month paid work experience placements hosted by charities and non-for-profit organisations.
Highland Council's Playpark Strategy and Action Plan for 2023-2033 was agreed and adopted by members of the Communities and Place Committee on 29 November 2023. Resource - The service has limited revenue budget for maintenance of £176,900 for all sites.
It was announced on Friday 1 December 2023 that Workhaus Projects has been awarded the contract to carry out the interpretation for the interior of the Inverness Castle Experience. Workhaus Projects will combine creativity, design, technology and craftsmanship to create a world-class visitor experience within the transformed castle building, bringing the vision of content designers Mather & Co to fruition.
Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth has announced £900,000 in new funding for staff to tackle poor behaviour and attendance in schools. The funding will be provided directly to local authorities to train support staff to respond to new challenges and develop behaviour management strategies in schools post COVID.