Highland's Budget Allocation from Scottish Government May Make Financial Position Worse
18th December 2018
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. Initial indications are that a large part of the settlement is ring-fenced for new things and the cut to our core budget to fund existing services is much greater that we had feared. We will not know an accurate position until early in the New Year, but we will certainly be facing an extremely challenging situation."
Depute Leader Alasdair Christie called for a rethink of the proposals. He said: "I would echo the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities' view that this is very bad news for people in our area. We all know that the Highlands is a unique area and should be treated in a different way to the central belt we have significant challenges of scale, fragility remoteness and many rural communities and a vast and aging and decaying road and building infrastructure. The draft budget indicates a severe cut to our day to day budgets and greatly increases the risks to the delivery of essential everyday services in the future year all this will have a very negative impact on the local economy and all residents."
“In Highland, we are ambitious for the future and we want to see investment in our communities to reach their full potential. It is frustrating and disappointing to see a draft budget which, yet again, disinvests in Highland.”
Commenting following the individual allocations, from the draft Budget, for each of Scotland’s 32 councils COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor said:“This is not good news for Scottish Local Government and without a rethink from Scottish Government or a Parliamentary intervention it puts at risk the delivery of essential services in the coming year.
“I stand ready to work with Scottish Government and all Parliamentary parties to discuss how we can mitigate or reverse cuts that will have a direct impact on the crucial services we deliver. Without meaningful movement on the basic settlement and proper discussions around enabling Local Government to raise more locally I fear we are running towards a cliff edge.
“The circular announcing individual Council budgets allows us to see the real impact of the £237 million pound cut on the ground, and there can be no hiding from the fact that budgets at the local level, in local communities, have gone down substantially.
“The issuing of the circular today, basically confirms what we already knew, that this is a severe cut to the core budget that provides the vast majority of our essential services.
“This is bad news for communities - the impact on jobs and services is significant. The budget does not recognise our role as an employer, procurer and deliverer of essential services.
“If this settlement is not changed it will mean substantial job losses in places where Local Government is the main employer. Scottish Government need to look at the bigger picture and really start to think again about the economic impact of such a challenging settlement for Scottish Local Government.”
Highland council will issue a further update and analysis on 7th January 2019.
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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