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 tenants claiming Universal Credit are being urged to log on and update their UC claim this April 1st to ensure their entitlement covers their annual rent increase for the year ahead. Those who fail to do so will face a shortfall in their housing entitlement, putting them at risk of arrears.
Householders are advised that from the 1st of April 2019 vehicle tyres will no longer be accepted for disposal at Highland Council Household Waste Recycling Centres. The Highland Council currently disposes of 22% more waste per person than the Scottish average.
The Highland Council is raising awareness of the opportunity to help shape future growth and development across the Inner Moray Firth area, and is encouraging anyone living, working, investing and being educated in the area to get involved. The Council has announced its intention to review the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan.
A report that aims to demonstrate the continuing commitments of Highland Council, it's Education Authority and Highland Licensing Board, to advance and mainstream equality into day-to-day work was approved today by Councillors on the Care, Learning and Housing Committee. Local Authorities, Education Authorities and Licensing Boards are required by legislation to publish a report every 2 years on how they mainstream equality into their work.
The Highland Council is today (12 March 2019) launching a 12 week consultation giving the community until 5 June 2019 to comment on the proposed contents of the Common Good Fund Asset Register. Section 102 Community Empowerment (Scotland) 2015 states that before establishing a Common Good Asset Register the Council must first conduct a public consultation on a list of property (buildings, land, artwork, regalia and funds) it is proposing to include.
People living in The Highland Council area can now find out how to foster and adopt in the comfort of their own homes. Alison Gordon, Highland Council's Fostering and Adoption Resource Manager explained: "We have created this website to try to make it easier for anyone living in the Highlands who is considering fostering or adoption and we have tried to make the process of applying easier.
Council has agreed 22 strategic improvement priorities and a Highland Improving Performance Programme for the Council which aims to make the connections across services and communities and drive the improvement. The proposed strategic improvement priorities are identified from the Council's knowledge of where performance needs to improve and where the Council has already set ambition for improvement.
The Council's Programme "Local Voices: Highland Choices" was approved at today's Council meeting 7th March 2019, along with a Corporate Plan which provides the measures and actions required to deliver and monitor the Programme. The Corporate Plan also underpins the priorities set out in the Council's budget strategy and change programme "A Sustainable Highland" which was approved by Council in February 2019.
Overall the Council's key performance indicators (KPIs) for 2017-18 are performing well with 81% (22) either improving or being maintained. The principles that underpin the Council's values include that the Council will be fair, open and accountable.
Paper discussed at Highland council today 7 March 2018. The debate will be available for viewing later at https://highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/374561 HIGHLAND COUNCIL Date: 7th March 2019 Report Title: Council preparations for EU exit Report By: The Chief Executive 1.
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