The Highland Council Budget is to be set on 15 February 2018
11th February 2018
The Highland Council Budget team have agreed their final budget proposals which will go to Council for agreement on 15 February 2018.
Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "We have done everything we can to protect frontline services and jobs in a good budget. Our approach has been to explore commercial and income generating opportunities, to identify efficiencies and to use redesign methodology to streamline our processes and make savings.
"It has not helped that we have had to wait until the 11th hour on 31 January for the outcome of our grant settlement. We had always anticipated a significantly larger budget gap and we have been planning for that. We have left no stone unturned in looking for ways to make savings with the least possible impact, but have had to consider some unpalatable but necessary cuts. This has caused a great deal of undue uncertainty and concern for communities and our staff for many weeks until additional funding materialised in the Scottish Government's last minute deal with the Green Party to agree their budget.
"This has meant that we, thankfully, do not have to cut as deeply this year as we had feared. We are able to protect education, additional support needs and roads maintenance completely and avoid deeper cuts considered on a range of other services. We do however still have to agree a range of savings to meet the pressures on our budget.
“Funding cuts to some organisations would also have been much higher if we had not had the additional funding and this, I hope will be welcomed. Our proposals for savings mainly focus on efficiencies and raising additional income where people can pay a bit more for non-essential services such as garden waste and parking."
Leader of the Council Margaret Davidson added: “It is unacceptable to be expected to plan our finances strategically when we are working in the dark with our hands tied behind our back. An announcement of a one year budget and local authority grants on 31 January gives us just 8 weeks to deliver a balanced budget for 18-19 and still no idea of what our situation will be in future years. This is not the way for the country to do business. We will continue to lobby for fair and transparent funding with a vastly improved process which allows Scotland to plan ahead."
The full details of the budget proposals can be found at -
The Highland Council has invited people in Thurso to attend a public exhibition highlighting proposals for flood prevention measures along the River Thurso. The Council is currently developing a Flood Protection Study (FPS) for the River to identify solutions that will alleviate the risk of flooding.
Following a Highland Council Trading Standards investigation, Wick Sheriff Court has imposed a court order on a 42 year old local woman who was found to be selling counterfeit goods. The Order places stringent restrictions on her future conduct and any breach of it can lead to a hefty fine or imprisonment.
On 22nd January 2019 the Moray West wind Farm planning application returns to the North Planning committee but merely for some slight changes to the location of some turbines to lessen the impact on certain views. The original permission and this one is not within the power of the committee but they have the ability to enter an objection.
Police in Lochaber can confirm that a 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged consumer protection offences in Fort William. It follows an investigation by Police Scotland and Highland Council Trading Standards, after a report was received this week of "bogus workmen" in Fort William and alleged fraudulent activity relating to charges for work carried out on a house in the town.
DETAILED analysis of the Scottish Government's funding settlement, which makes up the vast proportion of the Council's budget, has been carried out and the net result is that the Highland Council will see a reduction in its grant funding to provide the current level of services. This, together with the additional pressures equates to a £31.2M budget gap for 2019-20.
Highland Council Trading Standards have produced guidance on how to spot the signs of scams that target businesses and also remind businesses to inform their employees on what to look out for when dealing with unsolicited telephone calls, emails and texts. All businesses as well as non-profit organisations (such as charitable organisations) may spend a lot of time dealing with potential scammers.
The Highland Council has written to parents and carers of school transport pupils to inform them that D&E Coaches have recently transferred a number of Highland Council contracts to Stagecoach and some school transport routes are included. These changes are to take effect from the first day back after the school holidays, Monday 7th January 2019 and timetables have been supplied for the routes affected.
Twenty nine members of The Highland Council's Care and Learning team have celebrated their success in completing the Council's 15 month ‘Lead On’ programme. ‘Lead On’, is a programme designed to develop practitioners’ understanding of change leadership and apply this through a change initiative in their place of work.
Highland Councillors are looking forward beyond the current Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and asking: "What next and where?". Following publication of the Deal's annual report, Leader of The Highland Council Cllr Margaret Davidson said: "A meeting will be convened in the New Year with Councillors who have a particular interest in the City-Region Deal to talk about where we can go next and what we can do.".
Work underway to determine Highland's Budget allocation. Commenting after the news received last night of Councils' individual allocations, from the Scottish Government’s draft Budget, Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "Having received the details of our allocation just last night, it will take some time to work through the proposed settlement and do a detailed analysis.
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