Highland Council Analysis Shows £31 Million Budget Gap For 2019/20
9th January 2019
DETAILED analysis of the Scottish Government's funding settlement, which makes up the vast proportion of the Council's budget, has been carried out and the net result is that the Highland Council will see a reduction in its grant funding to provide the current level of services. This, together with the additional pressures equates to a £31.2M budget gap for 2019-20.
The Council has been planning for several months for budget reductions over the next 3 years and has carried out significant public and staff engagement to identify local priorities and areas of potential savings.
Budget Leader Cllr Alister Mackinnon said: "The funding settlement and additional requirements for Local Authorities has increased our anticipated budget gap substantially. We were already preparing for a significant reduction, but this news sets us a huge challenge and may mean we will need to bring forward savings from future years.
"The work we have been doing stands us in good stead and we are much better prepared for a challenging scenario. We have taken a new approach to the budget setting this year, looking at re-basing all budgets, focusing on outcomes and removing all inefficiency. We are also continuing to work on current in-year pressures with tighter financial controls and a freeze on filling vacant posts.
“The situation will require big changes to what we currently do and how we do it and will require support from our workforce and across the political spectrum. Income generation and efficiency are key to managing the situation we are in. We are determined to do the best we can for Highland within the resources we have and to deliver a budget which protects essential services and jobs which support the wider economy."
Chief Executive Donna Manson added: “I would like to thank the public and staff who participated in our public engagement across the Highlands. This has given us a huge amount of information and a much better understanding of how we can do things better. The overwhelming theme has been that the Council can be much more efficient and our aim is to do everything possible to demonstrate that we are listening and acting on what we have heard.
“We will be back out again to meet with partners, groups and communities as we work to develop the detail of the budget in the coming weeks."
Road users are advised that on Saturday 22 June 2019 part of the C1112 Glen Affric Road will be temporarily closed to vehicles from 11am to 5pm during the Highland Cross 2019 event. The area affected is between the road's junction with the C1110 Cannich - Fasnakle - Kerrow Wood Road and its end at the north side of the road bridge over the Abhainn Gleann nam Fiadh.
People working in Highland trades businesses are being urged by The Highland Council to attend a supplier briefing roadshow event near them coming soon across the region if they wish to tender for future Council contracts. The Council has created a new Trades Services Framework for repair, maintenance and minor works to maintain and improve the Council estate and to help deliver the Council's property maintenance programme for domestic and non-domestic properties.
Steve Walsh OBE has been appointed as the Chief Executive designate for High Life Highland, it was announced today by Donald McLachlan, the Chair of the charity's Board. Mr Walsh will take up post in early September 2019, following the retirement of current Chief Executive, Ian Murray.
Highland Council Trading Standards have been made aware that cold call telephone scammers have recently changed tactics and are now targeting individual bank customers to gain access to bank accounts and clear bank accounts of cash. The so-called "authorised push payment scam" involves a fraudster impersonating a bank representative and phoning an unsuspecting potential victim by telephone.
The Highland Council is asking communities and other stakeholders for their thoughts and opinion on a draft strategy to improve the town centres of Brora, Dornoch, Golspie, Thurso and Wick. The draft Caithness and Sutherland Town Centre Strategy presents several potential actions for each of the town centres.
Highland schools and Police call on people to share information on suspected anti-social, alcohol and drug activity. Highland Council secondary schools in the Mid Highland area and Police Scotland are writing to parents and carers urging them to share any concerns or information related to possible anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug activity in their areas.
William Gilfillan, Director of Community Services will be leaving the Council on Friday, 7th June 2019. William joined Highland Council from Fife Council in 2000 to lead the New Community School development in Alness Academy.
Highland Council is to seek the views of local communities on a proposal to establish a Gaelic Medium catchment area for Mount Pleasant Primary School. The change is being proposed in line with Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Medium Education.
Re- opening on the horizon for Caithness. Highland Council's Care Learning and Housing Committee today agreed a package of revenue and capital funding which is a major milestone towards the re-opening of Caithness Horizons, Thurso.
The Highland Council's new Education Transformation programme is taking shape with various initiatives put in place to deliver better educational outcomes for young people, as detailed in a presentation to the Care, Learning and Housing Committee today (29 May 2019). The Education Transformation programme has the dual purpose of improving outcomes for all children and young people whilst ensuring that resources are used wisely and efficiently.
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