Budget Consultation Timetable Agreed
28th June 2012
The Highland Council has agreed to embark on a four-month public consultation over budget savings needed in 2013/14 and 2014/15. The Council estimates the savings targets will be £11.5 million in 2013/14 and £18.2 million in 2014/15.
Having run a successful budget consultation exercise in 2010/11, the Council will repeat the exercise by posting the budget consultation document on its web site: www.highland.gov.uk in early August and holding public meetings in August, September and October through ward forums and stakeholder discussions.
Analysis of the consultation exercise will take place in October/November and budgets considered in December before the two-year budget is finalised in February of next year.
Councillor Dave Fallows, Chairman of the Finance Housing and Resources Committee, said it was important to consult fully with the public over the budget savings.
He said: "A longer-term financial planning process offers a number of advantages to the Council, allowing us to forward plan our budget and identify any savings required. At the same time, it allows improved links between the revenue budget, the capital programme and the Council programme priorities. It is therefore proposed that following agreement of a two-year budget in February 2013, work will commence on developing a longer-term plan, covering a five-year period up to and including 2017/18."
Later, the Council was advised that it had achieved £13.162 million of efficiency savings in 2011/12 - £562K more than the target set by the Scottish Government. This had been the sixth year in succession that the Council has met its efficiency savings target.
It was also reported that the Council's statement of accounts for the year to 31 March 2012 had been published - ahead of the 30 June deadline. The statement had shown an underspend of £5.5 million - only 1% of the overall annual Council spending - which was mainly attributable to savings on financing charges.
The Highland Council has launched a consultation paper with detailed proposals for saving over Â£15 million towards a total budget cut of Â£64 million over the next five years. The Council has already achieved over Â£77.7m of cuts, including some through efficiency savings over the past 5 years.
Highland and Islands Councils have signed a multi-million pound contract on behalf of the Pathfinder North Partnership, led by The Highland Council, for the provision of Network Services starting in March 2016. The deal is part of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) Framework agreement awarded to CAPITA in February 2014 and has a potential value of around Â£33m (over 7 years) across the five Partners for whom it is expected to generate significant cost savings.
Housing projects helping to support local construction sector and wider economy. Finance Secretary John Swinney has announced a deal to deliver new affordable homes for rent in Inverness, providing a boost to the local construction sector and wider economy.
The Highlands and Islands Convention was welcomed to the Merkinch Community Centre in Inverness today (Monday) by Councillor Drew Hendry, Leader of the Highland Council, who stressed the importance of ensuring a highly skilled workforce that would contribute to the continuing economic growth of the Highlands and Islands. He also highlighted the need for partners to be working together to deliver good quality services to local communities and to sustain and enable those communities in the Highlands and Islands to flourish.
The Highland Council's Trading Standards Officers are backing local Citizens Advice Bureaux in their campaign to ensure that Highland consumers get a fair deal over private car parking. Both agencies have seen an increase in consumer complaints about private parking in recent times, with a range of problems being encountered by motorists, as David MacKenzie, Team Leader at Highland Council Trading Standards explained: "Sometimes the problem is poor signage resulting in drivers being unaware of large penalty charges and the scale of such charges can also be controversial.
The Caithness District Partnership next meets in Wick on Friday 31 October 2014 and the agenda will feature an update on the progress made in the implementation of a Family Team for Caithness. The meeting will also feature updates from Bob Silverwood, the NHS Area for Caithness and Sutherland the Manager.of Scottish Ambulance Service will also deliver a presentation on Public Access Defibrillators.
The Leadership of Highland Council has turned up the heat on OFGEM and called for action against unfair surcharges which make electricity costs higher for consumers in the Highlands and Islands. The Highland Council Administration is responding in support of action being taken by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and will be writing to OFGEM to call for fairer energy charges in the Highlands and Islands.
If either of the statements, â€˜I wish I'd been told about that before I bought my carâ€™ or â€˜the car salesman failed to tell me about this...â€™ sounds familiar - then read on. The Highland Councilâ€™s Trading Standards team is today launching an online Used Car Buying Survey in conjunction with Trading Standards authorities across the North of Scotland.
Council renews call for permanent reinstatement of ETVs. Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Drew Hendry has renewed The Highland Council's call to permanently retain and reinstate previous levels of emergency towing vehicles (ETVs) covering the Minch and Northern Isles.
Members of The Highland Council's Licensing Board were (October 7, 2014) informed that 811 Personal Licence holders have still to notify the Board that they have completed their refresher training. Personal Licence holders had until the 31 August to sit their training.
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