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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.

 

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