Policy priorities for Highland in post BREXIT
1st December 2018
Since the referendum decision to leave the European Union, The Highland Council has considered and made representations on a number of issues which have potential implications for the Highland economy and Highland communities.
EU funding has brought hundreds of millions of pounds of assistance to the region over the past 40 years which has been critical to the region's growth. The Council has taken every opportunity to work with partners to identify to the Scottish and UK Governments, the potential implications in Highland arising from BREXIT to ensure we have the right support in place to allow Highland to continue to thrive.
The Highland Council agreed key policy areas on which to lobby post BREXIT at its meeting in September. There is a need to ensure that Scottish and UK policy addresses the economic circumstances of Highland, to ensure that the challenges of living and working in the region are identified, and that the case for investment and support is made to enable the region to realise its full potential. In this context, the Council has agreed that regional policy; inward migration, access to markets and agriculture crofting and land management, are priority issues to be progressed.
In order to support the Council's continued engagement and ensure the needs of our businesses and communities are recognised, a Brexit seminar is to be held on Friday 30 November at Council Headquarters. This will see discussion on potential impacts but also how these might be addressed with speakers from The University of Strathclyde, SCDI, SRUC, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and Scotland Europa.
Councillor Jimmy Gray, Administration lead for European matters, said:
"Discussions depend on good will between all parties and governments. This is a very complex subject which needs us all working together. There are a lot of partners involved, all with different priorities and we need to find some common ground. If we can have a clear voice on priorities across the Highlands and Islands, we have a better chance of success."
Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson added: "The risks are clear and the opportunities and positives are a lot less clear. My duty is to represent the Highlands, including those who voted for Brexit.
“We need to talk about a common regional policy and we need to be asking very clearly what we want to be devolved to a regional level. Since the administration of EU funding was centralised, this has been a disaster with funding unspent and long delays in distributing the funding. This illustrates the importance of devolving powers to regional level."
Brexit activity including Committee reports and consultation responses can be found on our website - https://www.highland.gov.uk/brexit
Highland Council's Environmental Health team have identified raised levels of naturally occurring algal toxins following routine monitoring in coastal waters at Loch Glencoul, Kylesku area. Eating shellfish such as cockles, mussels, oysters or razor fish from these areas may pose a health risk arising from the consumption of these algal toxins.
Highland Council's Environmental Health team has identified raised levels of naturally occurring algal toxins following routine monitoring in coastal waters at Loch Eishort. Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles, oysters or razor fish from these areas may pose a health risk arising from the consumption of these algal toxins.
Funding for food and activities during the summer break. More children and young people will benefit from a nutritious meal and a place to play this summer holiday.
At a meeting of The Highland Council on Thursday 27 June 2019, Councillors decided to discontinue the provision of education at Altnaharra Primary School, dividing its catchment area between Tongue Primary, Farr Primary and Lairg Primary schools. A copy of the consultation report, together with the original proposal paper and all relevant appendices can be viewed on the Council's website at: www.highland.gov.uk/schoolconsultations The Council is satisfied that implementation of closure is the most appropriate response to the reasons for formulating the original proposal identified by the authority.
"Highland Council as agreed to allow a question time for members of the public at future Council meetings. The motion was presented by Depute Leader Cllr Alasdair Christie and means that from December 2019, Highland Council meetings will include a time allocation for questions from members of the public.
Highland Councillors have unanimously agreed that the Council will support the continuation of the exemption from UK Air Passenger Duty for flights departing from airports in the Highlands & Islands; and Members also agreed that the Council will continue working with HiTRANS to present the case of the need for, and benefit arising from an exemption from the current UK Air Passenger Duty and any successor duty. The Council's stance comes this week as calls have been made by Aberdeen Airport for greater parity with Highlands & Islands.
Suicide prevention is a key priority for The Highland Council. Members have agreed today, to take forward a piece of research with partners including NHS Highland and Police Scotland, to better understand the current evidence base and experience of suicide in Highland.
The introduction of a service to support the mental health and wellbeing of Highland Council staff and councillors has been approved by the Council as part of a range of measures to improve wellbeing. An Employee Assistance Programme for staff and Members will be put in place to offer telephone and internet-based counselling 24 hours a day.
Councillor Mackie had a written question at today's meeting of Highland council. Item 12 - Question Time To the Chair of the Environment, Development & Infrastructure Committee "Official Highland Council guidance indicates that, unless extended, successful Community Asset Transfer requests should be completed by the Local Authority within a nine months' timeframe.
From highland council Meting today 27 June 2019. Item 12 - Question Time To the Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee "What are the current best estimates for present total Highland Council debt and the annual financial commitment required to service this debt?".
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