Council Revenue Budget Set For 2011/12
The Highland Council has confirmed a freeze on the Council Tax for a fourth year in succession. The tax for 2011-12 is: Band A: £775.33; Band B: £904.56; C: £1,033.78; Band D: £1,163; Band E: £1,421.44; Band F: £1,679.89; Band G: £1,938.33; Band H: £2,326.
It has also confirmed a balanced revenue budget of £598.8 million for 2011-12. Spending includes £235 million on Education Culture and Sport; £23 million on Children and Young People; £106.55 million on Social Work; £62.8 million on Transport Environmental and Community Services; £9.25 million on Housing and Property.
The total savings now made and identified by the Council (2010-2013) is £55.763 million, leaving a gap of an estimated £3 million - £4 million to be agreed by February 2012.
Councillor David Alston, Budget Leader, said that as a result of recent budget announcements by the UK and Scottish Governments, the Council faced a 2.5% reduction in grant in the new financial year, equivalent to a cut of about 6% in real terms.
He said: "We have been faced with an enormously difficult situation. I think we have dealt with this as best we can. One just needs to look across Scotland, where many other councils are facing much worse decisions than us today.
"This is because we have prepared a three year budget plan and have been prepared to take some tough decisions. My thanks go to everyone in this Chamber who has been prepared to face up to difficult decisions. We have listened to the public through consultation and protected community centre, swimming pools and leisure centres and grants to voluntary organisations.
"I would like to pay tribute to a number of organisations, which have engaged with the council to agree different ways of doing things in a more cost effective way."
He said it was inevitable that there would be fewer jobs in the council in future. "By planning ahead, we have a much better chance of managing any reduction in posts through natural turnover we have in our staff."
The Council also pegged council house rents for 2011-12 to 3% - an average weekly increase of £1.92 per week. The increase will see the average council house rent increasing from £64.15 to £66.07 per week (over 48 weekly charges).
Following feedback from Highland food and drink producers and providers The Highland Council is to run a workshop on social media networking and launch a Think Local Facebook page to build business contacts and to promote local food and drink. Over the last few months crofters, caterers, hoteliers and shop owners have attended meetings throughout the Highlands as part of the councilās Think Local Highland Food and Drink project aimed at enabling better collaboration in this sector.
The public is being urged to comment on The Highland Councilās first green transport strategy. The deadline for responses is 30 April.
The Highland Council has welcomed funding to enable people living in fuel poverty to make their homes warmer, more environmentally friendly and cheaper to heat. The amount of Ā£2,055,346 from The Scottish Government for the Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland is the fourth highest allocation in Scotland.
Trading Standards officers with The Highland Council are warning consumers to be wary of paying upfront fees to companies claiming to be offering services connected with the Governmentās āGreen Dealā scheme. Problems with one particular company have highlighted the dangers of upfront fees.
Work will start at the end of April on the year-long second phase of the River Ness Flood Alleviation Scheme, Inverness. The council has confirmed the award of the Ā£9.3 million contract to McLaughlin and Harvey Ltd, the company that recently built the new ferry terminal extension at Sconser, Skye.
`Social Enterpriseā is an increasingly fundamental part of what makes the Highland tick and The Highland Council is looking for input to its strategy. Link To Draft Strategy A draft Social Enterprise Strategy for the Highlands covering the years 2014-2017 has been published for consultation by the Council and all interested parties are being asked to take part and help shape the future of this sector.
The Local Government Boundary Commission For Scotland have issued the following statem,ent regarding the latest review of boundaries and councillor numbers. We started our Fifth Reviews of Electoral Arrangements on 21 February 2014.
The Highland Councilās recycling team is reviewing the operation of its network of 21 recycling centres to encourage the public to make a bigger effort to separate waste that can be recycled from waste that cannot. The Council wants to increase the amount of material recycled and at the same time reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.
Seven new projects totalling Ā£800,000 of expenditure on repair and replacement works in seven Highland primary schools have been approved by members of The Highland Councilās Adult and Childrenās Services Committee. The new projects, which will be funded from the Councilās Education, Culture and Sport capital programme will be completed in the financial year 1 April 2014 ā 31 March 2015.
Members of the licensed trade in the Highlands are being reminded of the need to undergo refresher training to ensure they retain their personal licences - and the authority to sell alcohol on their premises. Personal Licences are issued for a period of 10 years.
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