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No Redundancies In Highland Council's 24/25 Budget But Job Reductions Over 3 Years

23rd February 2024

Highland councillors will meet on 29th February 2024 to agree the proposals set out in the papers published today. There has been a long period of public consultation on the proposals and although there are unpalatable suggestions they will balance the books.

Cuts to staffing are inevitable when funds are insufficient but they will be managed over the 3 years recruiting less staff, transfers to departments. The only are not to face cuts in numbers will be teachers as Scottish Government has placed restrictions on this area. However the post of Principal Teacher in Primary schools will affect 70 positions. Teacher numbers are not affected but management is.

There are complex arrangements across the council and the budget paper contains many proposals that affect how departments will change.

Very big cuts start with a £12 million reduction in funding for adult social care over three years with £7 million from this year alone; reducing staff, mostly in middle and upper management.

Fees and charges are to be raised - including for garden waste which go up by 2.5 per cent, business waste by 4.6 per cent and minimum parking fees will increase from £2 to £3.

The council's assets will be looked at to become more efficient to generate income." Some buildings will be disposed of and more schools may be amalgamated.

There will be a one per cent efficient target aimed at saving £3.2 million across all council budgets except those that have their own savings or are exempt.

High life Highland continues to be asked to contribute - it made savings of £2.7 million; and the Coastal Communities Fund and Ward Discretionary Budgets will be cut by 10 per cent equating to either £334,000 or £336,000.

But the single biggest cut appears to have fallen on adult social care which amounts to £7 million this coming financial year - a further £5 million will come out over two subsequent years.

The social care sector is already under enormous pressure so there will be concern about what this looks like at the service level but there is no detail on that in the budget papers.

The council's is required to set a balanced revenue budget and deal with an immediate £65 million gap for this financial year - and a £113 million budget shortfall over the next three years.

Job reductions look to be in the region of 130 Full Time Equivalents.

The full 24/25 budget papers can be read
HERE

The Highland council meeting on 29 February 2024 will debate the proposals. The debate can be viewed on the councils webcast
HERE

 

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