Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

Highland Council Considers Planning For 3-year Budget Gap

7th September 2018

The Highland Council has agreed to plan for a potential budget gap of £66.7 million over the next three years.

It was agreed by Members in June to develop plans for a multi-year budget for the next 3 financial years (2019-22) to meet the challenge of a potential funding gap dependent on a wide range of variables.

The budget assumptions are based on two key variables, namely the level of revenue grant funding received from the Scottish Government and the annual staff pay award. The budget gap could range from £34.1m to £124.9m, because the Council has no certainty on either of these variables. Having such a wide potential range for the budget gap, makes planning work incredibly difficult, and so it has been decided that the budget planning will focus on a scenario of a 1% annual reduction in government grant funding and an annual 3% pay award. Setting the variables at this level assumes a budget gap of £66.7m over the 3 year period.

Over the period 2013/14 to 2018/19 the Highland Council has already had to approve budget savings of £102.1 million as well as agree Council tax rises of 3% in each of the last two years in order to deliver a balanced budget.

Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "In Scotland, local government has probably been the hardest hit of the wider public sector in terms of real terms reductions in funding. This Council has seen a cut in real terms over the past 5 years and the outlook continues to look grim.

"The future is by no means certain, but by assuming a budget gap of £66.7m, this allows us to prepare a plan which we can adapt as new information arises. This way, by starting our planning early, we can prioritise and accelerate proposals or defer certain options if we can.

"Work is already well advanced in developing information to inform the budget process. This involves taking a close look at services and identifying where there are opportunities for becoming more efficient and commercial and ensuring there is best value for every penny spent."

He continued: "It has not been easy in the past budgets and it will not be easy to find even more savings on top of those we have already made. Income generation, commercialisation and efficiencies become even more vital in this context in order to protect essential services and we do not have the luxury of the significant reserves we once had to give us any wriggle room. It is undoubtedly the case that there will be very hard decisions to make and we all need to work across the chamber to do the best we can for the people of the Highlands."

A recently produced report by SPICe highlights that between 2013/14 and 2017/18 there was a 7.1% fall in the local government revenue settlement in real terms. Over that same period the Scottish Government revenue budget decreased by 1.8% in real terms. The same SPICe report identifies that over the period 2013/14 to 2018/19 Highland Council has seen a reduction in funding per head of population of £172, the fourth highest of all mainland authorities.

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

17/9/2018
New Chief Exec Appointed To The Highland Council - Donna MansonThumbnail for article : New Chief Exec Appointed To The Highland Council - Donna Manson
The Highland Council has appointed a new Chief Executive.  The successful candidate is Donna Manson, currently Service Director for Children and Young People in the Scottish Borders.  
17/9/2018
Trade Unions Recommend Reject Vote On Revised Local Government Pay Offer
Local services throughout Scotland could be plunged into crisis after - UNISON, Unite and the GMB - wrote to COSLA to say they will recommend their members reject their revised pay offer when they consult them in the coming weeks.   The revised pay offer, made by COSLA on 6th September 2018, was a 3% increase for all local government workers earning up to £80,000, but the trade unions are angry that this is below inflation and does not improve low pay.  
7/9/2018
Response to Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme Consultation
Members have discussed the consultation and proposed response to a review of the structure of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme.   The Highland Council Pension Fund is one of eleven constituent funds of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme.  
6/9/2018
Council seeks new staff to ensure Highland's children get the best start in life
The Highland Council is looking for experienced staff or existing managers to drive the Early Learning and Childcare initiative forward, to ensure our youngest children get the best start in life and are ready to succeed.   The Council will be almost doubling the provision of early learning and childcare over the next two years.  
6/9/2018
Leadership Award Secures Funding For DevelopmentThumbnail for article : Leadership Award Secures Funding For Development
High Life Highland today announced that it has been successful in an application to the Year of Young People National Lottery Fund, to support its HLH Leadership Programme.  "Choose to Lead" will be a Leadership Award that will be recognised by the SCQF Framework and accreditation of the award will be carried out by the University of The Highlands and Islands.  
6/9/2018
Highland Council supports moves to improve local democracy
The Highland Council is encouraging local community groups to participate in the Scottish Government's Local Governance Review.   Members have today considered the work to date preparing for The Highland Council's contribution to the Local Governance Review.  
5/9/2018
Positive progress on strategic review of public conveniencesThumbnail for article : Positive progress on strategic review of public conveniences
Progress on the Highland Council's review of its public conveniences has been welcomed by the Council's Administration.   Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council's Environment Development and Infrastructure Committee said: "It's important that we put the review into context and acknowledge that Highland Council is the largest provider of public conveniences in the UK.  
29/8/2018
Wick High school positive destination news welcomed by Caithness CouncillorsThumbnail for article : Wick High school positive destination news welcomed by Caithness Councillors
Caithness Councillors have welcomed information that shows progress being made in respect of destinations of pupils on leaving Wick High School in recent years.  The information was presented at the Caithness Area Committee meeting held in Wick on Tuesday 28 August.  
29/8/2018
Highland Council Takes Action To Address Overspends In Its Budget
The Corporate Revenue Monitoring Statement for Quarter 1 (Apr - June 18), has been considered by the Council's Corporate Resources Committee.  The paper sets out actions to address the projected 1% overspend of £5.1m.  
27/8/2018
New Probationer Teachers In HighlandThumbnail for article : New Probationer Teachers In Highland
One hundred and nineteen probationer teachers were recently welcomed to the Highlands at an Induction Course held in Smithton Free Church Hall.   We were also delighted to welcome a group of 13 new Canadian teachers, recruited through our agency partners TimePlan Education who will work in our primary and secondary schools across the authority.  

[Printer Friendly Version]