Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Highland Council Proposals For A Three-year Budget.

9th February 2019

The proposals are based on themes which emerged from weeks of consultation with staff, communities, groups and partners. The themes focus on Efficiencies, Income generation, Redesign and a flexible Workforce.

The Council has identified a budget gap of £60.297m (10.65% of the 2018/19 budget) for the period 2019/20 to 2021/22. This gap reflects the difference between the estimated costs of continuing current service levels plus the additional costs of any new expenditure commitments and the income the Council will have available to it over the period.

Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "This is a budget for jobs. We are the second biggest employer in the Highlands and our staff are central to their local communities. Council jobs are fundamental to the economy of the Highlands and we are committed to delivering a budget which protects jobs and services and doing everything we can to avoid redundancies.

Many pages of the budget proposals show job reductions but the council is continuing its policy of no redundancies where possible.

"We have engaged extensively in recent weeks and months with staff and communities and we have been working positively across political groups to achieve consensus so that the budget will be supported as widely as possible.

"The £4.2M additional funding from the Scottish Government is very welcome, however we still have a significant budget gap to balance. We plan to use £2.5M of this money to create a change fund which will help us to deliver a programme of transformational change across the Council."

Scottish Government is allowing councils to reduce adult care spending by 2.2% but again the Highland council proposal is not to do so.

Leader of the Council Margaret Davidson said: "Despite the cap on council tax being raised, we are proposing to restrict any increase to 3% to protect hard pressed family budgets as far as possible." The Scottish Government is allowing councils to raise council tax by 4.79% but Highland council has decided to go with the lower rise.

The Administration wish to make additional investment in roads maintenance, recognising this as a particular priority area, and as such are proposing adding a recurring £1.5m to the roads budget.

She added: "I want to thank everyone who has participated in the process of putting these proposals together. We have had very honest and open dialogue with all members throughout and I welcome all the views and suggestions we have received. Our final proposals reflect that considered feedback and I am hopeful that all members across the chamber will get behind this budget which is designed to deliver more sustainable services with a more secure and flexible workforce."

With regard to reduction in jobs the budget report states "The Council is committed to do all that it can to avoid redundancies and has an excellent track record of managing service change and savings without the need for redundancies. The Council workforce is currently around 10,270 people with an average rate of over 10% staff turnover per annum meaning that over 1,000 people are recruited each year. Strict vacancy controls are already in place for recruitment, with some 435 vacant posts currently held back. This provides the opportunity to re-profile the workforce while protecting jobs."

Education will see a range of reductions

The third sector will also see further cuts but with many held over for one more year to allow reviews to be undertaken.

There are a wide range of increases in charges including school meals, lets of schools, burials, cremations, heavy uplifts, garden wast collection and several more

To see the full details see Agenda and Reports available at -

The council meets on 14th February 2019 at 10.35am to agree the budget. The meeting will be webcast on the Highland council web site at


Related Businesses


Related Articles

£1.5m Extra For Roads Across Highland - Caithness Share £164,400
Investment of an additional £1.5m for roads maintenance was approved as a priority area for the Council's revenue budget.   The additional money will help to boost the annual budget for pothole repairs, clearing culverts, and bridge maintenance.  
Tighter Controls On Recycling Centres In Budget Reductions
Tighter controls on what can be taken to the public recycling centres are set to save £300,000 over the next two financial years.   This proposal introduces restrictions on construction and demolition waste brought to our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC), limiting quantities to small amounts generated through minor DIY activities.  
Blythswood Lose £75,000 Grant Funding From Highland Council For Waste Management
The main activities that the social enterprise groups currently carry out directly for Highland Council waste management are the servicing of re-use containers on our household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).  These currently divert around 150 tonnes from 11 HWRCs.  
Newstart - Removal Of Grant Funding For Waste Management
Newstart Highland that took over Home Aid in Caithness is set to lose a £75,000 grant from 2019/20.   The Highland council agreed the reduction at its budget meeting on 14th February 2019.  
Highland Council Budget Increases Planning And Building Warrant Fee Income
Planning and building warrant income is to be increased over 3 years as part of the Highland council 3 year budget plan.   2019/20 - £600,000 2020/21 - £328,000 2021/22 - £182,000 Total - £110,000,000 The current income target for planning and building control fees is £4.867m.  
Highland Council Puts Pressure On Highland Highlife To Deliver Significant SavingsThumbnail for article : Highland Council Puts Pressure On Highland Highlife To Deliver Significant Savings
Savings of £610,000 are being asked from Highland Highlife in addition to inflationary pressures of £900,000 to be absorbed by the organisation.   The arms length organisation has proved to be an outstanding success in the few years since it was floated by the council.  
Increased Charges For Burials And Other Community Services
Highland councillors reluctantly agreed to range of increase charges under the community services part of the budget.   Many of the charges reflect inflationary increases The total of £2.063 million will be rolled out as follows - 2019/20 - £771,000 2020/21 - £.636,000 2021/22 - £656,000 The split is as follows - Export licences for fish were included in the above figures but a change was agreed at the meeting that should make the saving in total.  
Highland council targets Industrial sites for rent increases
Additional Income projected £216k of is projected for thenext three years - 2019/20 - £118,000 2020/21 - £58,000 2021/22 - £40,000 Through a proactive approach to lease extensions (with premiums) and increases in rental income the council will seek to maximise the performance of the industrial and investment portfolio, including selling off poor performing industrial sites and focusing investment on high performing, high rental sites and properties.   Net income £2.776m - excludes income for the Housing Revenue Account and Inverness Common Good Fund.  
Early Years Organisations suffer Cut Backs in Highland council budget
The Highland council agrred to slash £258,000 from the budget for Early Years organisations for 2019/20 The current budget for Early Years' Grants is £458k per annum.  This is primarily an area-based budget where partners are able to apply for funding for one-off grants.  
School Meals To Increase By 5 Pence In Highlands
Councillors today 14th February 2019 agreed to increase the price of school meals despite some councillors pointing out that previous increase last year resulted in reduced number taking the meals.   Councillors have little room to help as they did in the past to basically subsidise meals.  

[Printer Friendly Version]