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No more cuts needed in setting 2012/13 budget (19/12/11)
The Highland Council’s Budget Leader has said that the Council will require to make no further cutbacks before setting its budget for 2012/13 on Thursday 9 February, next year.
Councillor David Alston told the full council meeting (Thursday 16 Dec) that £20.4 million of savings had been identified earlier in the year and thanks to prudent budget planning – involving consultation with the public - the budget was balanced for the new financial year. The Council would spend £600 million on services and have £75 million available for building projects, such as school projects, roads, flood prevention and caring for older people.
He said: “We have planned ahead, made the difficult decisions well in advance, so when we meet in February to confirm the budget we will have no further cuts to find. This demonstrates the value of three-year budgeting and asking the public for their views on proposed savings. I am also pleased that we will be able to maintain our capital programme at its current level. This is good news for local contractors and the general economy of the Highlands.”
Looking ahead to 2013/14 and 2014/15, he said the picture was not so bright. He envisaged the Council having to find £27 million in each of these two financial years covering pay inflation, price inflation and budget pressures.
A new Council would be elected early in May next year and it would be for them to identify future savings.
He added: “There is still a lot of work to do. But we will leave a legacy of prudent budget management.”